Caro-Kann Main Line in depth ⎸Chess Openings

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The Main Line of the Caro-Kann is one of black’s strongest weapons against 1.e4. With correct play black can comfortably equalize and have great attacking prospects.

For the basics of the Caro-Kann, opening ideas, principles and main variations, watch this video:

For an alternative to the Main Line learn these variations:

Fantasy Variation:
Advance Variation:
Exchange Variation:
Panov-Botvinnik Attack:
Karpov Variation:
Korchnoi Variation:
Bronstein-Larsen Variation:
Two Knights Variation:

The Main Line (or the Classical) Caro-Kann is by far the most commonly played variation after 1.e4 c6. It’s theory heavy, meaning that both sides could get in a lot of trouble if they are unfamiliar with it, but that also means that both sides have great attacking prospects and that most games will be exciting and double edged (unlike what non-Caro-Kann players think). I have covered all the opening traps after black plays Bf5, as well as all the sidelines white might venture into.

The Main Line Caro-Kann Defense occurs after the moves:

1.e4 c6
2.d4 d5
3.Nc3 dxe4
4.Nxe4 Bf5 – Black is developing the bishop seemingly with tempo on the knight, but after:
5.Ng3 black is forced to lose a tempo himself to retreat the bishop back with:
5…Bg6
The normal continuation which you will see in the vast majority of games is:
6.h4 h6
7.Nf3 Nd7
8.h5 Bh7
9.Bd3 Bxd3
10.Qxd3

However, white can deviate on move 6. The most common sidelines to h4 are:

6.Nh3 (Flohr Variation)
6.Nf3
6.Bc4
6.N1e2

50 Comments

  1. Would be better for queen on c7 if you have the horse and bishop attacking e7

  2. You need more viewers, your content is obviously of great quality. I will share your name in the capacity that it is possible, but you should seek some sort of marketing for yourself. Many players, including myself, will benefit from this great format.

  3. Very nice videos, Sir you will go long way…with love and respect..from fan..

  4. This is helping my caro cann ALOT..what is your rating ?

  5. Sir how to improve the calculation skill? ??

  6. Why give up the bishop pair against 5.Nc5 if you can simply play Nd7 6. Nxb7 Qb6 7. Nc5 Nxc5 8. dxc5 Qxc5?

  7. Please do some other videos on stuff like tactics and checkmates, love the vids

  8. Liked most of this but to claim the main line is unsound for white is too hyperbolic

  9. Sorry, the Trump ad is a deal breaker. Will study the Caro on my own.

  10. Thanks to you friend ! All of your videos are a great job !

  11. very informative channel really like the video of caro kann

  12. Nice video, i'd like to say that after Nh3 and e6 there is f4 move that should be considered.

  13. Sir but some people plays first h4 and then after h6 nh3….. than how shall we react to that as they are threading nf4 and then capture … ! How shall we react to it

  14. Playing Caro-Kann for first time after having played French many times and not really liking it. Came to move 7 and was told both e6 and Nd7 were good moves and prevented white Ne5, failed to see how e6 did that and your video clearly showed why it didn't seem correct to me. Thanks for the explanation, great channel.

  15. On the Flohr Var. What will be the best continuation for the movement 8.c3? I believe you offered some suggestions for 8. H4 and 8. Nh5 but with c3, the development will continue in the same way? Thanks!

  16. Nice video, but I think one crucial line is missing, namely playing the Flohr after h4, followed by a sacrificing attack:
    6. h4 h6 7. Nh3 (or N1e2) e6 8. Nf4 Bh7 9. Bc4 Nf6 10. 0-0 Bd6 11. Nxe6 fxe6 12. Bxe6
    Stockfish says Black is slightly better, but imo it's hard to play. And I dont see a good way to prevent this once you go for the main line.

  17. I’ve just started playing chess again after ten years. These videos are top quality Stepan. Keep up the good work sir!

  18. Fantastic video, thanks for sharing. I have learned a lot from this video and really enjoyed the explanation of the Flohr variation.

  19. Why is pawn c3 too weak blocking the queenh5 check?

  20. 7:40 why is c3 too weak to play? What would black be able to do to exploit it if white played c3? I don't see how it's supposed to be weak when if you follow the main line you play c3 anyways and you end up with your pawn on c4.

  21. Thank you, that's very instructive!

  22. Hi there. Fantastic video and great channel 🙂

    I have a query. Please can you explain why c3 is so weakening for white after black plays Qa5? When I play the Caro-Kann, my opponents usually castle kingside so I'm not sure where the weakness lies.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

  23. I have actually found the line with 7… e6 quite playable. It can be a good way to get your opponent out of main line theory and the knight on e5 can easily by challenged with moves such as Nd7 to exchange off his strong knight, and so i have always stood fine here.

  24. I've gone from 1,100 to 1,401 thanks to your videos. All in the span of two weeks.
    Thank you, master!

  25. IMO this is the best caro kann main line video.

  26. why u use so many losing or winning posistion in ur vids

  27. 6:20 nxe5 nxe5 qa5+ is better than trading queens because it wins a central pawn

  28. kudos to you sir, we appreciate the time and energy you have put in creating this content for us. god bless!!

  29. Thanks for the videos mate, great content.

  30. Thank you for making these, I consider you to be my coach.

  31. 15:11 why e6 instead of Nd7 controlling the e5 square? Is it because white hasn't pushed the H pawn?

  32. Why is …Nd7 necessary after 6. h4 h6, 7. Nf3 Nd7, but not after 6. Nf3?

  33. Against the floor Nh3 I prefer Nd7 with e5 if Nf4… Black stands more active

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