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  1. Standard member paultopia
    High Priest
    28 Jul '08 04:26 / 1 edit
    Hi,

    I'm having trouble as black in the caro when white plays an early Bd3, e.g.,

    1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nd7 7. Bd3

    when black doesn't have many good options. That is, 7. ... Bxd3 8. Qxd3 seems to take a major development disadvantage, and anything else murders the kingside pawns. A recent game of mine continued...

    7. ... Qc7 8. Bxg6 hxg6 9. Qd2 O-O-O 10. Qf4 Qa5+ 11. Bd2 Qb6 12. O-O-O Ngf6 13. Ne5 Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nd7 15. e6 fxe6 16. Be3 Qa6 17. a3 e5 18. Qg5 e6 19. Qxg6 Bxa3 20. Qd3 Qxd3 21. Rxd3 Bc5

    and I eventually won because my opponent couldn't handle the endgame, but at one point, I had not one, but TWO sets of doubled, isolated pawns on the kingside, and was saved only by tactics. Which, you know, is fine, I happened to be tactically superior to my opponent. But I can't believe the point of the caro is to get in a position where you have a few tactical shots, and if they don't work, you have a totally lost endgame. :-) There has to be a better way!

    In general, it would be great if someone could point me to a decent resource on the black side of the caro for someone who is totally new to the opening? I usually sicilian naj or alekhines as black against e4... but I'm dropping too many games to early attacks as black, and I need something quieter. Trying to get a sense for the major plans in the caro.

    (Before you look at my profile and say "with a rating that low, you shouldn't be worrying about openings," ignore my RHP rating, I haven't played here in a long time and timed out a bunch of games before leaving.)
  2. 28 Jul '08 04:58 / 2 edits
    Letting white take the bishop on g6 is fine if your h-pawn is still on it's original square. If white forces you to play h6 with an early h4, then you should definitely exchange on d3.

    Your biggest mistake in the game you posted was delaying e6, which is a very important move in black's setup. Even if you want to castle queenside, you still have to develop your kingside, and e6 is an essential move for that. It also stops white from playing e6 himself, which can be pretty nasty in that structure, as you probably noticed.

    7. ... e6 and you're fine. If he takes your bishop, the open h-file is more than enough compensation for the doubled pawns.
  3. Standard member paultopia
    High Priest
    28 Jul '08 05:10 / 1 edit
    thanks... yeah... and actually try and have SOME influence on the center, that makes sense. :-)
  4. 28 Jul '08 13:36
    Originally posted by Heroic Metool
    Letting white take the bishop on g6 is fine if your h-pawn is still on it's original square. If white forces you to play h6 with an early h4, then you should definitely exchange on d3.
    Indeed. Having your opponent exchange on g6 doesn't weaken your pawn structure so much as players tend to think. On the other hand, it reinforces your control over f5 and also h5, which means the knight on g3 is very badly placed, and additionally the h-file is opened for your rook. You can often get away with not castling at all but playing something like Kf8-g8 and activating the rook via the h-file.

    The disadvantages are that the doubled pawn makes the pawn structure a bit immobile, making it hard to advance it, and in case you castle kingside white can pry the h-file open more easily.