Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

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Dan O'Dowd
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Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Dan O'Dowd » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:17 am



I'm posting this game in the hope that someone high-rated will give me some constructive feedback on it from White's point of view, as to whether my play up to about move 30 had any massive strategical holes. Looking at the game, also bear in mind please, that Black (in a 90 0 game) used a total of 30 minutes for the entire game, excluding a 27 minute probable absence before his 24th move.

The time inequality explains my later inability to finish the game (I was down to 9 minutes by move 25, by necessity). The whole thing was complex and obtuse to my mind.

One final question, again for high-rated players. Were Black's moves up to 24, in your opinion, easy to play at an average of 30 seconds a move, including necessary calculation?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:24 am

14...Bd7 looks rather odd from black. 14...Nc6 is what I would have played there.

(24...Qxb3 looks even odder; is 24...Nxb3 not just plain winning?)

Dan O'Dowd
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Dan O'Dowd » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:44 am

Agreed Jack; I was thinking 14...Nc6 was coming, and I expected 24...d3. As far as White, looking at the course of the game (though I know that is not the typical prime way to find errors), I get the feeling I misevaluated the potential power of the Bishop on e3. I saw no way to leave the Knight there though, so perhaps I should have played 8. Bd3 and admitted the strength of the Knight. Any other particularly weakening moves from White before 30? :)

James Coleman
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by James Coleman » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:51 am

Only had time to look at the opening - I'm not keen on 5.f3 much to be honest. If that's the best White has, it would seem to me that 4.Be3 is dodgy - it's not clear what it does there that it's not doing on c1. 5.Bd3 seems more natural to me. If he were to then continue with 5...Nh6 you could probably just take on h5 with the Queen when I don't think he would have enough for the pawn. I'd be less keen to take on h5 in the actual game as ...Qb6 probably does give him real counterplay. That said, he gets ccounterplay anyway :)

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:58 am

James Coleman wrote:Only had time to look at the opening - I'm not keen on 5.f3 much to be honest. If that's the best White has, it would seem to me that 4.Be3 is dodgy - it's not clear what it does there that it's not doing on c1.
I'm not sure I see the point of 3 .. h5. I suppose it anticipates 4 Nc3 and 5 g4 but what if White just plays in the Short style with 4 Be2? Follow up with Nf3, 0-0, Be3 and Black has just played a rather pointless h5.

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by James Coleman » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:02 pm

I suppose it's only point is that it's noncommital, he can wait to see what White does before deciding what piece to put on f5. But yeah, I agree, I don't really like it either.

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:09 pm

I agree wih Roger and David, 3...h5 is a blitz move only. If white plays nc3 or nf3 immediately without thinking black can make it look useful. But against a Short system plan, or a c4 line it is both a wasted tempo and an unnecessary weakness. (A caro-kann player creating an unnecessary weakness should be deeply ashamed :) ).

Be2 doesn't normally threaten to take on h5, since normally white has had to play h4 to provoke it. But here, black is probably going to have to play h4 as well. Urgh. If you want to be offbeat in the advance caro-kann, 3...Qb6 (Speelman occasionally back in the day) and 3...a6 (Karpov and Podgaets not keen on it, but say it is a serious idea) are both better in my opinion.

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:57 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:But here, black is probably going to have to play h4 as well. Urgh. If you want to be offbeat in the advance caro-kann, 3...Qb6 (Speelman occasionally back in the day) and 3...a6 (Karpov and Podgaets not keen on it, but say it is a serious idea) are both better in my opinion.
3 .. Na6 is also possible since 4 Bxa6 can be met by Qa5+.

Play could continue as in the lines of the Modern where Black plays g6 and h5 :) . The Knight is going to c7 obviously, but then later to e6. In the Modern, it can do Nd7 - f8 - e6

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:20 pm

I got into a horrible tangle last month when my opponent played 7...h5 against me in a Caro-Kan. I'm giving it here as an example of how it can catch the unsuspecting unawares.


Richard Bates
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:49 pm

3...h5 is about as logical a move as 1.h4. Hope that helps.

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Dan O'Dowd » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:17 am

Richard Bates wrote:3...h5 is about as logical a move as 1.h4. Hope that helps.
This is about as far from constructive as it gets. I was asking for criticisms of my subsequent play, related to positional understanding, which caused me to get into worse positions. My opponent may have made bad moves, but I still have to learn how to exploit them. Remember Richard, we 140 players are human ;)

Re: James, Be3 is designed to take the sting out of a potential early ...c5. I looked in my database and found most people playing Bd3, it was a case of crossed logic as to rejecting this which I now understand. Be3 is common in situations in the Bayonet itself where Black is meant to play ...c5 but doesn't. As Roger said, it also prefaces a Short attack setup, and seemed most flexible :)

So is there any more constructive feedback on the positional elements of the game after the opening?

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Phil Neatherway » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:12 am

In order to avoid all this h5 nonsense, what about playing the Panov?

Richard Bates
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:58 pm

Dan O'Dowd wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:3...h5 is about as logical a move as 1.h4. Hope that helps.
This is about as far from constructive as it gets. I was asking for criticisms of my subsequent play, related to positional understanding, which caused me to get into worse positions. My opponent may have made bad moves, but I still have to learn how to exploit them. Remember Richard, we 140 players are human ;)

Re: James, Be3 is designed to take the sting out of a potential early ...c5. I looked in my database and found most people playing Bd3, it was a case of crossed logic as to rejecting this which I now understand. Be3 is common in situations in the Bayonet itself where Black is meant to play ...c5 but doesn't. As Roger said, it also prefaces a Short attack setup, and seemed most flexible :)

So is there any more constructive feedback on the positional elements of the game after the opening?
Oops sorry. Alcohol :oops:

3...h5 of course isn't as bad a move as 1.h4. However how good it is depends to some extent on how you respond to it. It is very easy to play a series of moves which manage to justify it subsequently. 3...h5 is looking to get some sort of light square bind so has some positional motivation. However because other than your e5 pawn you haven't really committed yourself you should be able to exploit it by changing tack. ...h5 is the sort of move that you would expect if white has already committed most of his pawns to dark squares eg. with c3 and f4. I think i would respond with 4.c4 to change the nature of the pawn structure and try to open up the position a little bit. Because if the position opens up then black will inevitably come to regret the consequences of ...h5 (weak g5 square, lack of an option for castling Kside, harder to challenge white's pawn structure with f6 etc).

Re: flexibility - i think there is less of a need for this once black has made committal moves like h5. Flexibility should be the watchword when black remains uncommitted.

Still you probably had a very good position at some point.

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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:34 am

H Chris

That game you posted. You missed something. :wink:

Instead of 25.Nb4



Good game.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Obtuse Caro-Kann 3...h5

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:58 am

Chris had at least four winning moves with that knight, in fact: 25.Nb6 and 25.Ne3 both pick up the rook. I'm not sure whether 25.Nc7 is winning as well.

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