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  1. 12 Jul '13 20:12
    Hello.

    I have always played the sicilian, but I'm thinking of switching to the Caro-Kann (no idea why though, maybe it's because I want to play an opening which is a little less common, and because I like the fact that it permits me to get my bad light squared bishop active).
    I'm currently 1600 Elo on rapid, 1300 Elo on blitz, and 1800 Elo on correspondence.

    But I've heard from a strong player that choosing the Caro-Kann is not a wise choice for beginners.
    Here is what he said (it's a translation) : "This is not the most obvious defense for the amateur - white having the choice of weapons, more than on other answers to 1.e4..."
    Is it true? And if it is indeed true, am I considered as a beginner/amateur and should I leave alone the Caro-Kann, or am I strong enough to try it?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.
  2. Standard member RJHinds
    The Near Genius
    12 Jul '13 21:00
    Originally posted by Marc Benford
    Hello.

    I have always played the sicilian, but I'm thinking of switching to the Caro-Kann (no idea why though, maybe it's because I want to play an opening which is a little less common, and because I like the fact that it permits me to get my bad light squared bishop active).
    I'm currently 1600 Elo on rapid, 1300 Elo on blitz, and 1800 Elo on corres ...[text shortened]... ne the Caro-Kann, or am I strong enough to try it?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.
    In my opinion, the best response to 1.e4 is probably the classical 1...e5. The problem with it is that it has been extensively analyzed and you must be aware of all the tactical traps and pitfalls that may result from the different variations at White's disposal.

    I believe this is why the Sicilian Defence 1...c5 became popular, because it gives Black a chance to reduce the choices at White's disposal so that Black can try to stir the game into a safe variation that he has studied. However, as you know, now the Sicilian Defense has been analyzed extensively from both sides and without much study the beginner is still at a disadvantage against one who knows this analysis.

    So, in my opinion if you have been able to learn the ideas behind the Sicilian and don't mind playing it, I don't see why you can't learn the ideas behind the Caro-Kann. It is not likely to give you a quick win, in my opinion. But it can give you equality coming out of the opening because I have played against it. However, I think I agree with most masters that it tends to lead into only endgame wins, if you are able to overcome the drawing chances on either side.

    The Instructor
  3. 13 Jul '13 03:35
    Ok I am a solid 1300 player. So, beginner. I play the Caro-Kann against e4. It's a defense. I does not lead to sharp play and tactical fun. But, as a beginner, I'm glad for that. Its a positional defense. I does lead to longer games, but if you have a decent end game, I think you will like it.

    Good luck
  4. Subscriber Ragwortonline
    Ex Duris Gloria
    13 Jul '13 10:24
    Originally posted by Marc Benford
    Hello.

    I have always played the sicilian, but I'm thinking of switching to the Caro-Kann (no idea why though, maybe it's because I want to play an opening which is a little less common, and because I like the fact that it permits me to get my bad light squared bishop active).
    I'm currently 1600 Elo on rapid, 1300 Elo on blitz, and 1800 Elo on corres ...[text shortened]... ne the Caro-Kann, or am I strong enough to try it?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.
    I don't agree with the strong player you quote. White's responses to any reply to 1. e4 are limited by human creativity. In fact going by the ECO code White's creativity has been sadly lacking against the Caro Kann with a mere 10 strands (B10-B19) versus a whopping 80 (B20-99) in the Sicilian and similar against 1. e5. (C20-C99).

    I played the Caro Kann as my main defence to e4 from about the age of 10, encouraged no doubt by my Dad making a hash of playing against it. I have moved onto other things since but still play it in ECF rated OTB games occasionally when my mood suits. Try it for a few games and see how it goes...
  5. Subscriber moonbus
    Uber-Nerd
    19 Jul '13 16:17 / 4 edits
    am I strong enough to try it?
    I don't think playing strength has anything to do with it. It is more a matter of temperament: C-K suits a player who, for example, is confident of his endgame skills and is willing to wait patiently for an opportune moment to trade down to an endgame where his opponent is out of his depth. Whereas, if you want to deal your opponent a knockout blow within 20 moves, you might prefer, say, the Evans Gambit.

    C-K, along with French, is one of the essential closed openings which anyone who plays 1.e4 must be prepared to meet. And one of the best ways to prepare to meet an opening is to play it yourself (regardless of your strength).

    You can learn a lot about pawn structures playing closed systems.