Fighting against carokann

Review: Fighting against the Caro Kann with the advance variation, by Viktor Bologan

By Davide Nastasio

Bologan, candidly, tells us that there is no refutation against the Caro-Kann, but he wants to give us a way White can approach this opening strategically. Bologan says that there are about twenty strategic ideas one must know, and thanks to this DVD they will be easy to remember. In fact, Bologan makes his case in a way that is particularly familiar to me. He says that many Chessbase amateurs often see him or hear his words during a game, and thanks to those words they know the course of action they should take. This happened to me, because once I was in a difficult situation and I heard what GM Alterman said in a video; I was able to calm down, analyze the position, and come out with a draw from a lost position. Yes, for some of us these DVDs are an astonishing learning experience.

Bologan also says that he gives 2-3 alternatives for White, because today some opponents prepare against us, and we should be always ready to circumvent their preparation. In particular GM Bologan points out that he will teach us how different pawn structures change our plans, and what we fight for. A piece of advice we hear over and over, in this case also from Bologan, is to study strong players’ games. He mentions the following from the new generation: Karjakin, Caruana, Maxim Vachier-Lagrave.
He is a specialist of this opening because he played it for 20 years.

In reality, Bologan is not precise since he played this opening for more than 20 years!
Here the first game I was able to find in which Bologan used the advanced variation,

I’d like to share also another game from GM Bologan of that initial period. His games are quite exciting, and we can learn and notice a pattern in these two games that hopefully we can use in ours:

Bologan, like all the universal players of this period, is also skilled in the dark side of the Caro-Kann, as we can see in the following game:

This is important, because only through a holistic understanding of both sides of the conflict, a teacher can guide us onto the right path. In the first video Bologan shows us a move which he has used successfully as Black, and tell us what is the best way to neutralize it.



Then Bologan goes on to explain which are the good squares for the Black pieces.



He does this throughout the videos, giving us an invaluable visual tool to understand both sides, and why Black plays the moves he plays. This will save us time on the clock, because we don’t have to figure out Black’s hidden motivations since Bologan gave them to us!

In the DVD there are 21 videos covering all Black’s answers, followed by 20 video clips of drills, where Bologan asks to find the best continuation in order to prove that one understood the strategic ideas explained in the videos. Then Bologan also gave a database of 50 model games. In reality there are 49 games, because one of the games played by Wesley So against Margelashvili is repeated twice.

As always, thanks to Megabase 2015, I made my own database, based on the ECO B12. In the filter I put the following parameters: 2500, for rated players, since I want to know what the strongest players on the planet thought, then I added the time period as from 2000 to 2015 to see all the games played in the last 15 years, and the result was 5500 games! From the Statistics over these 5500 games, it is possible to see that White has a promising easy game, winning 40% of the time, and drawing 33% of the time. While Black only has a winning percentage of 25%. Using the Megabase 2015, I went on the annotator tab and found that GM Lukacs annotated 207 games, so I already had more than 200 games to look and learn from.

This is an example of annotated game using megabase:


At the end of the DVD, I was totally impressed by the amount of information a modern amateur chess player must know, in order to play an opening in a decent way. But at the same time I was grateful to have such a good teacher paving the way for me.


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