28 April 2012

Annotated Game #43: New tournament; Caro-Kann Classical

After Annotated Game #42, about two years passed before I played in another tournament, due to my work and life circumstances.  However, this next tournament turned out rather better than the last one and I at least held my own overall.

This first-round game features the Caro-Kann Classical, with a relatively unchallenging sideline (7. Be2) chosen by White.  Like most variations chosen by Black in the Caro-Kann, the Classical Variation is solid rather than unbalancing, so deviations by White from "book" play allow Black to more easily reach equality, rather than offering the chance at an advantage.  Black is assessed by the engines as equal on move 12 and by move 14 I would say has successfully taken over the initiative, along with having an advantage in piece coordination.  Some subtle inaccuracies in piece placement (18...Nb6) and then choosing to dominate the wrong file means that Black is unable to turn his initiative into anything concrete, although he is certainly no worse.  The Bishop vs. Knight ending that occurs after a series of exchanges illustrates a typical Caro-Kann piece imbalance, where Black's knight and pawn placement are sufficient to contain White's bishop.

Games that lack a lot of fireworks can still be useful (perhaps sometimes more useful) to draw lessons from. In this case, the analysis shows where Black could have better placed his pieces in the early middlegame, specifically the queen's knight and the doubled rooks, something which will better inform my future play.  This is also a relatively rare example of a use of the ...e5 break in the Classical variation, where ...c5 is more usual, and is a good illustration of how it can be set up and employed.


  1. Hey ChessAdmin!

    Nice notes!

    And based on your thoughts on the opening I am going to switch to the Caro-Kann as Black against 1. e4. I switch my openings around about once every year. I think it helps with overall growth and keeps me from getting stale!

    I really do like your annotations!

  2. The Caro-Kann is a fun (no, really) and deep opening - I think you'll enjoy it. Glad the notes were useful.

    I should probably do a "Why I Play the Caro-Kann" post at some point, since I did one for the English.

  3. hey Chessadmin!

    Against 1. d4 I am considering switching to the Queen's Gambit accepted as it is fairly different from the Queen's Indian I have played the past year. OR would it be wise to try the Slav as it and the caro-kann have some similar attributes? (I will say I am leaning towards the QGA because it can be a wild ride and different types of pawn structures)

  4. I'd suggest looking at the QGA, actually, if you're already leaning toward it. I played it for a while and enjoyed it before switching to the Slav as a more solid approach. There are in fact a good number of similarities between the two openings, since in many Slav lines Black plays an early dxc4. The QGA isn't one of those openings where you can just wing it, but I think it pays off if you're serious about studying it. It definitely has a more open character to it. The Slav is an excellent opening but there is in fact little overlap between that and the Caro-Kann, despite the common c6/d5 pawn configuration.