Caro-Kann Course Updates

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The ChessGoals Caro-Kann Course is one year old! We initially released it on February 18, 2021. Since then, we have published three other opening courses.

I guess this means we are due for the next course in June 2022! Since the publication of the 1.e4 Course, I have been revising the Caro-Kann. Here are some of the updates that the course has seen.

Caro-Kann Course
Caro-Kann Course

Updated Caro-Kann Text

The original Course was written in ChessBase. I can safely say that ChessBase is a terrible text editor. It doesn’t correct any misspellings, and when the engine is churning I don’t think it registers every keystroke! 🙂

I also checked for errors like incorrect coordinates, ‘kingside’ instead of ‘queenside’, and other chess-related mistakes.

Most importantly, there is now a live version of the text on lichess that includes beefed-up text. Unclear lines are now expanded upon to make things clearer. Our YouTube Channel is expanding its library of Caro-Kann content with help from Jesse and JD. In the updated text of the course, I link to these YouTube videos for deeper dives. Here’s an example position from the Advance 4.c3 chapter.

Caro Advance 5.f4
Caro-Kann Advance 4.c3 Position

In the course text, I link to the following video where I go into more details on this pawn structure. As we expand our opening course content I will continue to build upon the live version of the course. This is part of the lifetime updates that are included with the course purchase.

Caro-Kann Advance 5.f4

Updated Usability & Lines

The PGN files that come out of ChessBase worked well, in ChessBase. When importing the files into a lichess study, the text editor would add some ugly page breaks making the text more difficult to read. I’ve gone through and removed all of the pages breaks so any future versions of the PGN will display nicely in any PGN editor. In Chessable, some issues are also cleaned up now. For example, when lines ended with a White move instead of a Black move have been fixed to include a Black reply. These are a couple of ways the course has been improved upon. The lichess link is available in the main course document in Google Drive.

“Don’t change the lines, Matt!!”

Course owners, I know that’s what you’re thinking! I have been very careful about making any changes to the moves themselves. I’ll list out the changes here so you know where to look.

Course Outline

Chapter 1 – Advance 4.c3

Each line now ends in a Black move for Chessable importing. No other changes.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5

This position is a transposition and now has one more move listed for Black so it uploads to Chessable correctly.

Chessable fix

Chapter 2 – Advance Others

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.a3 Bxc5

At the end position of this line, we were recommending 11…b6. I have changed the recommendation to the stronger move 11…a4. This locks the White pawn on b5 so that it cannot be protected by a4 from White.

Theory update

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.dxc5 e6 5.Be3 Nd7 6.Bb5

At the end of this line, there was a move 11.cxb6 Qxc3+ included. This simple tactic was not meant to be a trainable line and is now only mentioned in the text.


Chapter 3 – Panov Attack

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exc5 cxd5

This was a stray move 4.Nf3 that is now removed from the list. It was causing an error in Chessable.


Chapter 4 – Exchange Variation

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 6.c3 Qc7 6.h3 with 11.c4

In this position, we had recommended 11…Bd7. I found this line confusing and also good for White. A bad combination! The line has been updated to recommend 11…Ng6.

Theory update

Chapter 5 – Tartakower 5.Nxf6+

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 6.Nf3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0

In the diagram position we mentioned 13…Bxh3 and 13…Ng6, depending on when you purchased the course. The current recommendation is now to play 13…Ng6, preparing the bishop sacrifice on h3 next.


New Chapter 10: The Hillbilly!

There is a new chapter 10, focusing on the recently popular Hillbilly Attack. It currently has 4 lines and is linked to our Hillbilly Attack video on YouTube for more information. As new offbeat lines occur more frequently, they will be added to chapter 10.

Caro-Kann Hillbilly Attack

Private YouTube Playlist

There is now a private YouTube playlist for course owners to watch any of the chapters on YouTube. In the description of each video, I added timestamps to each of the 10 lines in the chapter. This allows the viewer to easily click between lines to hear our thoughts on a specific position. Chapter 1 is available to the public and linked below.

Coming Soon

Coach JD and I are working on the Caro-Kann Games Course to be released this month. 36 games of full PGN text analysis accompanied by video analysis from JD and I that focuses on the middlegame plans. The other courses will eventually get the same treatment. Subscribe to the email list and the YouTube channel to receive updates!

Have a great day,