Caro-Kann Defense – Advance Variation in Depth ⎸Chess Openings

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The Advance Variation is the most precise way for white to fight the Caro-Kann Defense, but it’s also an extremely solid position for black, who creates a pawn triangle in the center and resolves the problem of „the bad bishop“.

For the introduction to the Caro-Kann watch this video:

Caro-Kann Defense, B12 Advance Variation – Chess Openings for Tournament Players

The advance variation became the most popular way for white to fight the Caro-Kann, it even surpassed the main lines which occur after 3.Nc3 for white. White simply advances his e pawn, gaining central space and getting more room for maneuvering. In exchange, black is able to play Bf5 fast, getting rid of his potentially worst piece, and he can then close down his pawn triangle with e6. Black thus has a perfectly solid central structure and white gets more space in exchange.

There are many approaches to the Advance Caro-Kann for white (and white gets to choose the variation on move 4). Here are the most common lines:

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 – Short Variation (the positional approach for white, simply developing, castling short and using the space advantage later on)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nc3 – Van der Wiel Attack (a very aggressive line for white, black is sacrificing his h5 pawn in exchange for some queenside initiative but both sides have great attacking chances)

Game to study: Shirov vs Topalov 2008 Olympiad
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3 e6 5. g4 Bg6 6. Nge2 c5
7. h4 h5 8. Nf4 Bh7 9. Nxh5 Nc6 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Bg2 Kf8
12. Bf4 Rc8 13. Bg3 Nge7 14. Nf4 Bd4 15. Qe2 Qb6 16. Nd3 Bxd3
17. cxd3 Bxe5 18. Bxe5 Nxe5 19. Qxe5 Qxb2 20. Rb1 Qxc3+
21. Qxc3 Rxc3 22. Rxb7 g6 23. Kd2 Ra3 24. Rc1 Rxa2+ 25. Ke3
d4+ 26. Kf4 Rh7 27. Rcc7 Nd5+ 28. Bxd5 exd5 29. f3 a5 30. h5
gxh5 31. g5 Rg2 32. Kf5 Re2 33. Rc8+ Re8 34. Rxe8+ Kxe8
35. Kf6 h4 36. g6 Rh6 37. Rxf7 1-0

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 – Tal Variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Ne2 – Bronstein Variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.c4 – a great surprise weapon for white; this line gives white a lot of positional advantages

Game to study: Ruslan Ponomariov vs Jan Timman, Pamplona International (2005)
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Nd7 6. a3 Ne7
7. c5 b6 8. b4 a5 9. Be3 axb4 10. axb4 bxc5 11. bxc5 Rxa1
12. Qxa1 f6 13. f4 g5 14. exf6 Nxf6 15. fxg5 Ng4 16. Bd2 Qb8
17. Nge2 h6 18. h3 hxg5 19. Bxg5 Bg6 20. Rg1 Bh6 21. Qc1 Bxg5
22. Qxg5 Nh6 23. Qf4 Qb4 24. g4 Nf7 25. Qe3 Be4 26. Bg2 e5
27. Bxe4 dxe4 28. Rg3 exd4 29. Qxd4 Qxd4 30. Nxd4 Ng5 31. Ke2
Kd7 32. Nf5 Ng6 33. Ke3 Rxh3 34. Nxe4 Rxg3+ 35. Nfxg3 Nf7
36. Nh5 Ke6 37. Kd4 Nfe5 38. Nf2 Nf3+ 39. Ke3 Nfe5 40. Ke4 Nd7
41. Nd3 Ngf8 42. g5 Kf7 43. Nhf4 Kg8 44. Kf5 Kg7 45. Ne6+ Nxe6
46. Kxe6 Nf8+ 47. Ke7 Nh7 48. Nf4 1-0


  1. when i was playing the Bf5 line in blitz games, a lot of people were playing g4 against me, i now play c5 instead, because a lot of players arent familiar with it

  2. I don't have words to say that how well the opening concept are explained. Thanks you so so much. These are really very helpful.
    I hope your channel gets more recognition❤️

  3. after knight to b5 wouldn't Queen to A5 win the knight?

  4. thanks i learned the scandinavian and this is very useful if they push

  5. Excellent but far too fast for me and most probably for a lot of other players. So although thorough it's not easy to follow accurately and remember. Probably useful for rated 2000 and over.

  6. In the Tal variation why can't we play h6 not giving him the g5 square

  7. 0:00 Introduction
    1:12 Botvinnik-Carls Defence (3…c5)
    2:44 Main Line (3…Bf5)
    3:58 Short Variation (4. Nf3)
    9:04 Main Ideas (general advice)
    9:39 Van der Viel Attack (4. Nc3)
    12:48 Tal Variation (4. h4)
    14:32 Bronstein Variation (4. Ne2)
    16:38 Sideline 4. Bd3
    17:36 Sideline 4. c4
    18:50 Quick Summary

  8. 17:40 Carlsen played a great game against Fedoseev in this line 1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. c4

  9. One thing that I would like to mention is that tough it is very good to exchange the light squared bichop on move four, black looses a king defender, so it's important to place a knight close to him and perhaps a bichop on f8 so we won't get mated.

  10. C5 is actually stockfishs most recommended move

  11. Thank you very much for all of your videos. I was looking for Caro-Kann and here it is. You are amazing at this so keep it up!!!

  12. Amazing video! The 4.c4 sideline you mention though is nowhere near as uncomfortable and I think easy to play if you play 5.Bb4, because like you said you gotta start thinking about that bishop if white is threatening of locking it out. 5Ke7 looks a bit masochistic ahah. Thanks again!

  13. Excellent analysis, thank you IM I am going to study all of your lessons with detail and improve my rating.

  14. Great content. Thank you for sharing. I'm new to playing the caro and have learned a ton. One question — what are the "general" plans for castling in the advance caro? Seems this is delayed in many lines? Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks again.

  15. I see 4.Bd3 alot at around 1500-1600 in rapid where Im currently at.

  16. Thanks! I have been learning some CK lines for white, but this is the clearest explanation of the options

  17. Thank you for this entire series of Caro-Kann opening theory. You explain it very well and patiently. A question I have is: could you recommend a website or an app to use to study more challenging positions like the 4.c4 sideline with engine support? Thank you so much in advance. I hope both you and your family are alright. We haven't gotten a new video in almost 2 weeks ;).

  18. Great video! Thanks for the overview! I'll have to study up on the c4 lines.

  19. Thank you for this. I love playing the Tartakower, so I struggle against e5 lines.

  20. Another great video! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. You are so thorough and clear!

  21. In the advance variation with c5, could you do a video on how to respond to Bb5+? It would really help me. The comp says to block with bishop but couldn’t the knight block be better. Thanks and hope you are doing well in your tournament!

  22. Your videos on chess are the best.

    Please keep up!

  23. Thanks for the great illustration and showing all the variations with clear way of teaching

  24. Wow, just another incredible video. Thanks so much.

  25. thanks for these detailed explanations.saves me from reading those thick books

  26. You go through the variations so well, thank you for such a brilliant explanation!

  27. What is the best move for Black if white moves c3 at turn 5?

  28. Fantastic explanation.
    You are talking that after 5. c4 in Tal/c4 we need to think about the dark square bishop and how to exchange it. What is a drawback of pining the knight in Tal after c4 (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5. c4 Bb4) and echanging it with the knight before white shuts down the diagonal with c5? Talking about tal or c4 variations:

  29. literally happened to me with the world cup final, it was 2-2, i took off and landed to an argentina win

  30. i tried this at a lower rating elo and at 1:18 my opponent played c3 to reinforce the center. what would be my best response in this case?

  31. This channel has Probably the most in depth series that exists on the caro kann and other related openings. 👍

  32. Great video, very informative.
    I have a question about the light-squared bishop though.
    – In the 5…c5 variation of the main line (short variation), you mention that you don't move the bishop but protect it with Ne7 because you want to get rid of the bishop.
    – In the Bronstein variation however you do move the bishop instead of protecting it with Ne7.

    Why is that?

  33. Hey, i read the description of the clip and i saw the game that you recommended (Short vs Topalov 2008). I searched the game on YouTube but i couldn't find it. Where can i study chess master games like that one?

  34. Exactly what I needed. Just played a game against the advance short variation and my follow-up wasn't great. Had no room to operate. Won, but I shouldn't have. Now I know how to turn it to my advantage.

  35. Every time white pulls out the advance variation on me i lose, studying this video so that hopefully I'll be able to finally hit 900

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