Friday, December 30, 2005

Chess Openings for Black, Explained

I just got what looks to be a great opening book by Alburt, Dzindzichashvili, and Perelshteyn. It's title is the title of this post. They recommend the accelerated dragon against e4. I don't even know what that means yet...The book is very novice-friendly, though, so I should know soon enough.

Here are some quotes:

Book Hype
The chances are extremely high that this book will give you the best opening foundation you've ever had. You'll understand the ideas we present so well that you're likely to be surprised at the innovations you come up with on your own. And in the process of trying to find better and more interesting moves, you will of course constantly increase your understanding of your openings and of chess. (p. 20)

The 25% Rule (p. 18, emphasis mine)
Opening study just doesn't deserve to be so all-consuming, especially for nonprofessionals, for two basic reasons:

1. There are lots of other areas to study in chess that will make a more dramatic difference in your results--just one compelling example is the study of tactics.
2. There have been many grandmasters who became prominent, even world-class players, using an opening system roundly condemned as at least slightly inferior.

As a rule of thumb, you should spend about 25% of your chess study time on openings.

Don't be a "switcher"
Getting caught up in the switching syndrome---jumping from opening to opening, memorizing and getting discouraged, and never making much use of all the time you've invested--is as impractical as it gets. (p. 17)

The next time you are tempted to switch your opening because the latest Informant game shows how the world champ beat a tournament tailgater in 40 moves--think it over. There isn't a line that wouldn't look bad in such a match-up. And when you lose in the city championship to a smartly played mating attack by the ultimate winner, don't rush to blame the opening. The reason for your loss may lie elsewhere. (p. 20)

10 Comments:

Blogger Temposchlucker said...

As gm Joe Gallagher put it: a dragon player is a person who has studied 6 exchange sacrifices on c3 before breakfest.

12/30/2005 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Druss said...

Sounds like good advice - especially the not switching bit.

I found at my level (1200 ish) that the Sicilian is tricky to play. I like it, but it is dangerous. I've found it can catch me out because I've missed a tactical shot somewhere.

Although I do play it occasionally, I tend to adopt the more boring approach of 1 .. e5 and slide into a Ruy Lopez!

Maybe that's one of the reasons why I'm not getting better though ... ;)

12/31/2005 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Qxh7# said...

My personal tournament experience is; if your not going to spend most of your chess time on opening preparation stay away from the Sicilian. YMMV of course. I too agree with the "don't be a switcher" advice though.

12/31/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Interesting advice about the Sicilian. I typically play the Ruy Lopez (as white). I prefer that to the Guico Piano, which I used to play all the time, as in the Ruy I end up with a more open game.

OTOH, there is tons of theory on the Ruy, and everyone plays it. For black, the statistics are much better if you play the Sicilian. OTOH, those statistics don't mean squat if you don't know what you are doing.

At any rate, I'm just patzing around, not focusing mucn on openings. My focus is tactics. What I like about this book is that it is so thorough, when I get my ass handed to me in the opening, I'll be able to go check what they recommend.

Also, I am just lazy. This book provides a well thought-out opening repertoire by people who are way better than me. I'm gonna give it a shot. (I know that for patzers like me it is recommended to play e5 to e4, so I'm going against that advice: if it feels 'wrong' I'll switch back. However, I'd like to follow the 'don't switch' advice, and if this is true, why not start out in chess with a good opening that I'd like to use anyway 'in the future.' Why not make the future now so I don't have to relearn opening when I am better at chess? It just seems more efficient).

Their book with an opening repertoire for white comes out in February. I have pre-ordered it at Amazon.

12/31/2005 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger St. Patzer said...

Yep Im with the no changin appraoch 100%. However as I am equally good(meaning equally lack knowledge equally) in all of blacks e4 responses I have made the following observation in OTB play at the sub 1300 level.

If I play e5 white kicks off into their planned game, however if i play c5 and look dead smug and stare into the eyes of my opponent, it unfalingly un-nerves them. I have experimented with all sorts of openings but the one that creates maximum disonnance is c5 and a smug smile.

In our club we have a history and an apporach to beating oppoents through 'psyching' them out (we play a lot of universities with fragile personalities).

We systematically orientate pieces the wrong way, places pieces way off center.. that sort of thing.

I have found c5 for black against a low ranked fragile minded player worries them right from the off.

Anyone else ever tried this ?

I tried this once against a 1650 rated player and I think I resigned at move 17 .. but I held the act even in defeat.. its really half the fun.

12/31/2005 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger takchess said...

BDK, you generated alot of lively discussion with your post. It's funny in that opening play is very personal and we become very attached to them

I feel differently about the Guico in that they open up quickly for me since I play the max lange attack, 2 knights & fried liver attack and other lines rather than the quiet game lines. I like to play where I can sac a bishop and open up the pawn structure in front of the castled king.


It's the Ruy to me that seems closed and I tend to stay away from it. just too much theory.

Chess.fm has a couple of good Pete T segments on these types pf openings now. Which speaks about these lines. e-4 e-5 defenders and the two knight defense.

As for against the Sicilian I've recently started playing the Smith Mora Gambit. It removes the need for a lot of theory study and to me it plays like the Italian game once I have given up my pawn for development.

New Years day I'm traveling to the
Boylston chess club for the 25 dollar tournament. BKD if you're in NH you might want to travel down it's not that far.

Happy New Year

12/31/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dante said...

Being a switch hitter isn't necessarily bad if you are truly a beginner. It is a way to get a feel for the openings that you will see come your way. And it gives a better sense of opening theory to get a taste of many different ideas.

But I do think that the boring and way to overplayed Ruy Lupez is a very good opening to learn for beginners. It is the epitemy of chess logic and opening theory. Although the Guicco Piano is also very logical. I think these are the best places to start.

My 1.e4 answer is the Alekhine... It really throws people off, even masters. But it is pretty sound. My idea of an opening is to create imbalances so that two people have something to argue about. Although you argue without words but with logic.

The Accelerated Dragon is also an imbalanced game ,but there are almost as many people studying it as there are the Ruy Lupez.

Endgame is where you should really focus if you are a beginner.

Disclaimer: By the way I do not claim to be a master or any good for that matter. This is just my personal opinion.

1/02/2006 01:17:00 AM  
Blogger King of the Spill said...

That sounds like good advice, and I think you chose a good one for getting into interesting games. For what it's worth, my Seirawan opening book recommends the Pirk. I tried it and found it ok but a little difficult. I personally would lean towards the Sicilian, especially since you probably aren't playing tough tournament players yet.

1/02/2006 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger JavaManIssa said...

Book sounds like it has some good advice :)

I hate playing the ruy lopez, it has too much theory. When i have to play it with black (when im blitzing) we get into move 20 in a few seconds... it's all memorized out :(

1/04/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

I disagree totally with javamanissa.

You could spend a lifetime playing the black side of the Lopez, and have
new and interesting experiences every day.

Nobody, not even the top 10 GM's has
the Ruy Lopez memorized out to 20 moves. There are dozens of thick books on individual variations like the Marshall, Breyer, Schliemann, etc.

1/05/2006 04:20:00 PM  

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