Vidit's clever line in the Caro-Kann

by Vidit Gujrathi
4/21/2019 – Looking for something new to surprise your opponent in your next tournament game? Vidit Gujrathi, a 2700+ grandmaster and one of the brightest young players around, shows you a line that few opponents will expect. And here's the deal: you invest three minutes listening to Vidit, and then you can try out the line, right there in your browser, against an engine that matches the playing strength of you potential opponents. Thirty minutes of training that will get you some extra rating points!

The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2 The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2

The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.

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An interesting opening idea in the Caro-Kann

Recently Frederic Friedel, co-founder of ChessBase, gave me a rather tough task: to find an interesting opening idea which I could teach the readers of ChessBase News in under five minutes. I began to think. At 2700+ level, when working on openings, I tend to spend hundreds of hours fine-tuning my ideas. How can I teach something in just five minutes? But with all of that work, comes a feel for the position — a feel about where all the pieces belong.

This is exactly what I want to share with you today.

I have made two DVDs for ChessBase on the Caro-Kann. I think that the analysis in the DVD is quite sound, but opening trends keep changing all the time, and I want to offer you a new idea against the Classical Caro-Kann.

After 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.c3 you look at the position and start thinking — for heaven's sake, there is just so much theory to study here! Hence, I want to give you an idea which is easy to understand. 3...dxe4 4.xe4 f6!? 5.xf6 exf6!? This system is so easy that in a very short time you will be able to start using it in your tournament games. All you have to do is:

  • spend three minutes watching my video;
  • read my analysis in the board below;
  • and then spend 30 minutes (actually an hour would be better) playing against the engine on the ChessBase board at the end of this article.

Who knows? After this exercise you might be able to score a pretty victory or two! I wish you the best in your Caro-Kann journey! Here are all my comments on a replay and analysis board. 


[Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "2019.04.11"] [Round "?"] [White "An easy to learn idea in the"] [Black "Caro Kann"] [Result "*"] [ECO "B15"] [Annotator "Vidit Gujrathi"] [PlyCount "24"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] [SourceVersionDate "2019.04.11"] {This is a small opening idea that I would like to share with you that can give you a solid repertoire against the Classical variation in the Caro-Kann.} 1. e4 c6 2. d4 (2. Nc3 {Once you have gone through the main line, you will see that the two knights against Caro-Kann is also sorted because you can play the same idea again.} d5 3. Nf3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 {You can follow the main line in order to understand how Black should play in this position and pawn structure.}) 2... d5 3. Nc3 {The main line in the Caro-Kann.} dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 {This is an easy to learn opening system.} (4... Bf5 {Traditionally this has been the main line.}) 5. Nxf6+ exf6 {The idea is to go for quick development as now the bishop on f8 is open and you can castle quickly. One of the best things about this line is that Black's moves remain pretty much the same irrespective of how White responds.} 6. c3 (6. Nf3 {is a normal move but when the knight is on f3, White is usually trying to castle short, and this is somehow not the most critical.}) 6... Bd6 {The bishop always comes out on this active square.} 7. Bd3 O-O {Black always castles short.} 8. Qc2 {This is the main line putting pressure on the h7 point.} (8. Nf3 {This is the normal development for White.} Re8+ 9. Be3 Nd7 {The Black knight develops on d7 and moves to f8 defending the h7 pawn and can later come to g6.} 10. O-O Nf8 { Black has many possibilities in this position. The bishop on c8 can go to e6 or g4 completing the development.}) 8... Re8+ {The rook coming to e8 is not just a check, but you also put your rook on the only open file in the position. } 9. Ne2 h5 $1 {I like this move, because it kills two birds with one stone. Firstly the pawn on h7 was hanging, so you save it, but on the other hand the h-pawn can be used as a battering ram to soften White's position.} 10. O-O h4 $1 {The h-pawn doesn't stop!} 11. Bd2 h3 12. g3 Nd7 {As always the knight will move to f8 where it will defend the king and will be ready to jump to active play from g6 or e6. The bishop on c8 will go to e6 and g4 completing the development. Keep an eye out for the light squared weaknesses in White's position. Who knows, a black queen might land on f3 and it is game over!} *


Try to play the Vidit's Caro-Kann line against Fritz

Now play Vidit's suggestion, 5...exf6, and continue against an opponent of your choice. 

You can use the following buttons below the board (hover with the mouse for info): New game, Take back move, Play move forwards, Play now, Get hint, Very weak opponent, Serious amateur, Club player, Master, Switch colours, analyse with a chess engine. You can play any number of games and test different ideas, as far as possible following the instructions of the super-GM.

Were you able to beat the program? If you were you should try the next-higher level — click the New Game button on the left of the ribbon and the program will jump back to the end of the variation we are learning. Keep doing this to try alternate continuations. You will find that your are learning the ideas behind the opening. It will help you in your games against human opponents.

Choose an opponent to match your playing strength and try your luck with my line in the Caro-Kann. This is a good way to prepare for your next beach game, a more serious encounter, your next club tournament, or even an international GM event. And let me know how you fare.

Vidit Gujrathi, who is now India's second strongest grandmaster, in the ChessBase office with the strongest active female player on the planet


The Fashionable Caro-Kann Vol.1 and 2

The Caro Kann is a very tricky opening. Black’s play is based on controlling and fighting for key light squares. It is a line which was very fashionable in late 90s and early 2000s due to the successes of greats like Karpov, Anand, Dreev etc. Recently due to strong engines lot of key developments have been made and some new lines have been introduced, while others have been refuted altogether. I have analyzed the new trends carefully and found some new ideas for Black.

More...


Links




Vidit is the youngest Indian to breach the 2700 Elo mark and is known for his thorough opening preparation and solid style of play. He won the U14 World Championship in 2008 and gained a bronze medal at the World Junior Chess Championship U20 in 2013.
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rokko rokko 4/22/2019 08:56
No disrespect to Vidit but he was nr. 2 just for a few days on the Live Rating list (nothing official).

Harikrishna remains ahead of him, in particular if he continues his winning streak in China.
Offramp Offramp 4/21/2019 07:54
I agree with "Thirteen".
thirteen thirteen 4/21/2019 02:15
Excellent presentation. In club chess, of course your most regular and particularly best-liked defensive lines soon become known and 'slippery as a fish' it is great to have more than one alternative, reliable, playing system within any general same opening.
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