Nigel Davies: learn to face the Caro-Kann

by ChessBase
9/24/2018 – For White, the Exchange Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3) is a simple and easy to answer to the Caro-Kann. It is probably something you can use very effectively in your next tournament, especially if you have been given instructions by a true expert, and have practised the strategies he advocates against a human-like chess engine that matches the strength of your future opponents. That's precisely what you'll find here. Give it a try and see what it does for your understanding of this popular opening.

Play the Exchange Variation against the Caro-Kann Play the Exchange Variation against the Caro-Kann

The Exchange Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3) is a simple and easy to learn answer to the Caro-Kann. By clarifying the central tension White gives himself a clear plan of attack using the half open e-file and the e5 square. This is far from easy for Black to meet as Bobby Fischer, Jan Timman, Walter Browne and other leading Grandmasters have demonstrated in their games. Black too has his resources but he needs to know what he's doing.

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Play the Exchange Variation

After playing 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 White has clarified the central tension and given himself a clear plan of attack using the half-open e-file and the e5 square. This is far from easy for Black to meet, as Bobby Fischer, Jan Timman, Walter Browne and other leading Grandmasters have demonstrated in their games. Black too has his resources but he needs to know what he's doing. Watch Nigel Davies introduce this line:

Now practice what Davies has told you in his video above. You can pick an electronic opponent that matches your playing strength, and try alternate continuations from the given position: 

Play 4.Bd3 against an engine of your choice – following the advice of the GM Nigel Davies

You have buttons for a number of functions: (from left to right) New game (from the given position), Take back move, Play move forwards, Play now, Get hint, Very weak opponent (baby mode), Serious amateur (blue tie), Club player (blue T-shirt), Master (Yay!), Switch colours, analyse with a chess engine.

You can even change sides by taking back an opponent's move and playing a different one yourself.


After you have played a few games you will probably discover that you are understanding the strategy much better. You may want to explore the different defences that Black has:

  • 6...e6,
  • 6...Bg4 7.Qb3 Qc8,
  • 6...Bg4 7.Qb3 Na5,
  • 6...Bg4 7.Qb3 Qd7,
  • 6...g6,
  • or what to do if Black plays 5...Qc7 or 5...g6 one move earlier.

These lines are all dealt with in the 60 Minutes video training by Nigel Davies, which is available in the ChessBase Shop for €9.90 – definitely a good investment for your playing strength. Of course, if you have a Premium ChessBase Account you can watch his lectures on each of the lines directly in your browser. If you are not an Account holder you will only be able to access the first two minutes. A Premium Account costs €49.90 per year. It gives you access to many hundreds of similar videos, as well as many other interesting servicesRegister now.

For now, we ask you to devote 30 minutes of your time listening to the grandmaster (six minutes) and then following his advice against a suitable chess engine. It would be of great interest to us to know how you fare.


Play the Exchange Variation against the Caro-Kann

The Exchange Variation (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3) is a simple and easy to learn answer to the Caro-Kann. By clarifying the central tension White gives himself a clear plan of attack using the half open e-file and the e5 square. This is far from easy for Black to meet as Bobby Fischer, Jan Timman, Walter Browne and other leading Grandmasters have demonstrated in their games. Black too has his resources but he needs to know what he's doing.

More...


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