Take care – it's the Caro-Kann

by ChessBase
12/19/2007 – Caro-Kann players have to be a hardy lot. There are quite a few aggressive schemes against it, and a moment's carelessness can get even a player slaughtered. Tonight our Playchess lecturer Dennis Monokroussos looks at a example by the great Caro-Kann expert Alexey Dreev. Be there and learn.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

Caro-Kann players have to be a hardy lot. There are quite a few aggressive schemes against it, and a moment's carelessness can get even a player slaughtered in 25 moves or less. Just ask Larsen, Hort, Tal, Timman, Speelman, Akopian, Dreev, Shirov, Karpov and Kasparov! One must be alert. Once one has survived White's early initiative, however, any result is possible. In fact, there are a number of lines in the Caro-Kann where the long term prospects tend to favor Black, and that makes this opening an attractive choice to players with good technique.

One such player is Alexey Dreev. A great player who occasionally pops into the Linares group, Dreev is an outstanding technician, and he has used the Caro-Kann to good effect throughout his career. As an example, we'll have a look at his game with Konstantin Lerner from the Rostov-on-Don Open in 1993. Lerner played 1.c4 c6 2.e4 (transposing to the C-K) d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 5.Bb5+ and held on to the pawn, eventually ceding the bishop pair to do so. When we take a superficial glance at the position after, say, Black's 15th move, we might think that Black's compensation isn't anything special.

When we take a deeper look, however, we'll see that Black's compensation is substantial. Dreev's technique is so powerful and logical that we're likely to do an about-face and wonder if White could have saved himself in the queenless middlegame. We'll examine this game in depth, because most of us could stand to improve our technique, and analyzing the games of players who excel in that area is a great way to improve.

So if you're a player whose technique could be just a little better, you could do a lot worse than to join us tomorrow night - Wednesday night - at 9 p.m. ET. The show is free; hope to see you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

Monokroussos in Mexico: world championship 2007

Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the Internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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