The Caro-Kann is one of the most difficult openings to beat in chess. It was a favourite of Capablanca, and in more recent times has been used with great success most famously by Karpov, and also by British players like Jon Speelman.
My great rival and friend Keith Arkell has also used this opening in countless number of games - he likes the solidity of Black’s set-up, and believes that the extra e-pawn that Black enjoys is very useful for any endgame. How to crack it? Not easy.
How to crack it? Not easy. The most popular ways that Black can play the Caro is to either develop the bishop to f5, which has become the most popular way to play, or the other move …Nd7, which is the favourite of Karpov and Speelman, and is the subject of this article.
To sum up, this way of meeting the Nd7 Caro is easy to learn and doesn’t require swallowing a lot of theory. White’s plan is simple- steady development with growing pressure on the queenside. The “catalan” bishop on g2 is quite difficult for Black to neutralise.
This is why perhaps the best way Black has of meeting this system is to play an early …b6 and try to exchange bishops- this may well reduce some of White’s advantage but practice has shown that even in the endgame White has chances of grinding out a win.
Danny Gormally is a talented English Grandmaster. He lives in the bustling market town of Alnwick, somewhere near Scotland.
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