Caro-Kan as black


Carokan [B19]

This is my first article on this fashionable variation of the Caro-Kan defense, the remainder should arrive very soon...This variation of the Caro-Kan defense tends to become popular at the highest level, even Anand played it succesfully. Nevertheless the great specialist is the Spanish GM Jorge Madem-Baldas.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nf6!?

The normal move is Nbd7 preventing white from playing Ne5. I really like this varaiation for black as with a minimum of risk they have good chances of winning the game.

8.Ne5 Bh7 9.Bc4 e6 10.Qe2 Nd5

10...Nbd7?? 11.Nxf7+- Do you understand why white played Qe2 ?



I don't like much this move in combination with h4, now the white king side is weakened and black with very orthodox play should take the advantage.

11...Nd7 (11...Qxh4? 12.Bxd5+-) 12.Nxd7 (12.Re1 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Qxh4 14.Bxd5 exd5 15.e6 fxe6 16.Qxe6+ Qe7) 12...Qxd7 13.c3 Be7 14.Qg4 A) 14...0-0-0 15.Qxg7 (15.Re1 h5 16.Qh3 g5 17.Bxg5 Bxg5 18.hxg5 h4 19.Ne4 Bf5 20.Nc5 Qe8 21.Qh2 h3 22.g3 Qe7 23.f4 f6 with a very unclear position, but black keeps good compensations.) 15...Bxh4 16.Qg4 Be7 17.Bxh6 Bf5-+

; B) 14...Rg8 was played in Nguyen-Zonthak but I prefer the more active move : 14.0-0-0

; 11.Qh5 A pseudo active move, the queen is somehow misplaced at h5, her only task is to protect the h4 pawn !! 11...Qc7 12.c3 Bd6 13.0-0 0-0 14.Bd2 Nd7 And white has a classical Caro-Kan position : solid and sure, probably with a small advantage.

; 11.c3!? A normal move, but there is no danger for black, they should play as in the other lines. 11...Nd7

; 11.Bxd5!? A critical variation, without any doubt the sharpest one ! The only game known by theory is a game Miralles-Speelman, 1999. 11...cxd5 only move 12.Qb5+ Nd7 13.Qxb7 Nxe5 14.dxe5 Rb8 15.Qa6 is the move played by Miralles (15.Qc6+ Qd7 16.Qxd7+ Kxd7 17.c3 Be7 and in my opinion this endgame is very unclear.; 15.Qxa7 Bxc2 16.0-0 Rc8 17.Qa6 Be7 18.Qb5+ Kf8 19.h5 Rc5 20.Qe2 d4 unclear) 15...Qd7 16.0-0 Be7 17.a4

11...a5 12.a4

12.0-0!? the alternative, nevertheless white has many weaknesses in particular the h4 pawn which is not protected anymore by the h1 rook. 12...Nd7 13.c4 White must seek some activity if he wants to get a compensation for his structural weaknesses. 13...Nb4! Better than N5f6 which was played in Khuzmin-Khenkin 14.a3 (14.Qh5 Nxe5 15.dxe5 a4 16.Bd1 and black's advantage is obvious.) 14...Nxe5 15.axb4 Qxd4 16.Rxa5 Rxa5 17.bxa5 Bd3 18.Rd1 Bc5


This is the main drawback of a4, maybe better is : 13.Kf1

The only move

13...Nd7 14.Nh5

White wants to put pressure on the g7 pawn with Rh3-g3. Of course black WILL NOT castle short !!

14...Rg8! 15.Bxd5

15.Nf4 Nxe5 16.Nxd5 cxd5 17.dxe5 Qc7 18.Bf4 0-0-0 19.Rh3 Kb8 =+ black had the advantage and won in Chaw-Rausis.

15...cxd5 16.Nxd7 Kxd7!?

The only move, but black's position is so strong that he can allow himself such a recapture !!

17.Rh3 Ke7 18.Rg3 Kf8

This was an original defensive king maneuver and now black gets a very good advantage !

19.Rh3 Be7 20.Bf4 Rc8 21.c3 Rc4

And white went on to win in Mrdja-Kenkhin.

The following will come soon.....

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