Sunday, November 23, 2008

This was probably inevitable, and a cry for help

There's good news and there's bad news in my opening repertoire.

The good news
Because I hated the queen's gambit declined (QGD), I tried an unsound gambit (a variation of the Englund) for a while. I really liked it, as it lead to kooky open games. But it also is a bit tense. Since I've been playing the Caro Kann as black against e4, I realized I might as well play the Slav as black against d4. They have similar pawn structures, both are quite solid (neither will ever be "broken" by white), and neither requires a ton of memorization (in particular I have found this true in the Slav, where playing natural moves leaves me with good games).

These similar pawn structures show me something about myself: I hate having the "problem" of where to develop my light-squared bishop. As in the French, so in the QGD, you typically lock in that poor guy early on and then fight to find a place for him. That turned me off to the damned French. The Caro is the solution to that problem. The same logic applies in the Slav as compared with the QGD.

The bad news
As white, I'm almost happy with my repertoire. I like the Smith-Morra (a lot) against the Sicilian. Against the French as white, I'm thinking of taking up the Tarrasch variation instead of the Alapin gambit. Again, trending toward more solid openings, with an emphasis on good pawn structure from the start.

My main remaining problem, then, is that my Danish gambit (1 e4 e5 2 d4!?) doesn't score all that well. On the positive side, the Danish is nice because it basically forces black to play my game, but I'm realizing that it weakens my pawn structure too much, leaving me in a scramble to find an attack before I reach a losing endgame.

The problem is, I hate all the damned variations that come with the standard white openings like the Ruy. I've considered the Scotch, but then I'd still have to deal with the Petroff, the Philidor, and that whole early deviation bullshit. Is there any escape?

I want something offbeat, but solid in response to e5. The less memorization required the better, i.e., I want to be able to play natural moves and end up in a decent position, and don't want to navigate a 20 ply tightrope on every variation just to get to += (that is, no King's Gambit). That's not to say I don't want a gambit: I am quite happy with the Smith-Morra. I just tend to like openings that are sort of "systems" where there is a general strategy you follow most games unless the opponent deviates in unusual lines.

I would really like something something for which there is a really good book out there, one that explains strategy from move one, and which covers the early deviations very thoroughly (so even if you have a book on the Open Variation of the Ruy from white's perspective that you really love, I don't want to hear about it).

What about the King's Indian Attack? Are there any good books on that which start 1 e4 e5? [Answer: no].

And yes, I know the openings don't really matter at my level, but this is fun!

Update: based on some comments from masterwannabe, I just had a look at my old Bishop's opening repertoire. It was actually quite strong, and is a fairly systemic opening (there is a set structure you aim for, only deviating when black acts strangely). Why did I stop playing it? I think I stopped playing it when I picked up the Smith-Morra gambit against the Sicilian, under the idea that I wanted similar pawn structures, began playing the Danish (which almost always transposes into the Goring Gambit in the version I played).


Blogger Unknown said...

What about the King's Bishop Gambit? It was favored by Fischer and Spassky, so it must have some merit. I also heard that "The Fascinating King's Gambit" is a good book. Hope I helped, and if you would, check out my blog, please


11/23/2008 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I want something more solid and less sharp than the KG (as I said in the post when describing what I want, 'no King's Gambit').

I'm finding there is basically nothing out there on a KIA repertoire based on starting with 1 e4 e5. They all recommend it against the French, or Caro, or Sicilian, but not e5. How odd. I'm sure it's not the best, but why is there nothing about this out there?

Am I missing any material out there on the KIA after e4 e5?

11/23/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I missed that no KG comment sorry....What about the Vienna? Its solid and there is a lot of material on it.... or maybe the Going Gambit... its less solid but it resembles the Smith Morra

11/23/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

The vienna is pretty good. I played it for a while (well, I transposed to it in the Bishop's opening). I'm pretty much transposing to the Goring gambit with my Danish: it has some of the same weaknesses.

I'm going to try out the King's Indian Attack for a bit, but I'll think about the Vienna too.

11/23/2008 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Ever consider the Skotch Gambit?

1.e4 e5 2.Nf6 Nc6 ( typical) other responses like Nf6 can be interesting... then 3.d4 you get similar games like the S&M I used to play that last year when I was doing EXACTLY your repertoire and playing 1.e4.

I've been back on a 1.d4 kick as white and finally straying away from the London. Hastings inspired me to play these Queens gambits for now.

As Black, I play the C-K and Slav for the same religious reasons... "thou shalt honor thy light squared bishop"

But seriously, check out the Skotch gambit, it's ideas are a lot like the Smith Morra eel gambit.

11/23/2008 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...


From my post:
"I've considered the Scotch, but then I'd still have to deal with the Petroff, the Philidor, and that whole early deviation bullshit."

And as I mentioned in the update, I've already been playing that (I transpose to the Goring gambit). I don't like it all that much. It's not as solid as the SM, and I don't like that black's c6 Knight typically gets good counterplay against the bishop and queen (which is usually placed on b3).

11/23/2008 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Not an easy task if you want to continue to play 1.e4
2.Bc4 or the Vienna comes to mind. But you already know that.

Or have a look here.

11/23/2008 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tempo: I've just dusted off my old Bishop's opening repertoire. It is actually very good, fun, and often transposes into very good lines in the KGD (without all the early kooky sharp lines). I think I am going to do it.

11/23/2008 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

By the way, tempo, great site!!!

11/23/2008 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger From the patzer said...

I think all openings with starting moves 1. e4 e5 are good if you know what the plan is behind the theory moves of that opening

11/24/2008 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

There are so many opening repertoire books built around 1.e4 e5, it would be hard to list them all -- though that might make for an interesting post (note to self).

If you do not mind playing with an isolani (which you get sometimes with the Smith-Morra), I would most recommend to you Sam Collins's "An Attacking Repertoire for White." He covers the Scotch (not Scotch Gambit -- but safer, sounder, and still fun); the c3-Sicilian (which fits well with your Smith-Morra and would allow you a safe option on occasion); the Advance French; the Panov-Botvinnik Attack and other good lines. His definite preference is for isolanis, but I personally think isolani openings beat gambit ones and will teach you a lot. For one thing, you will begin to feel comfortable in positions that can also arise from a 1.d4 repertoire or from some Black openigns (such as the French). And I think this book will work for you. I would recommend also finding and reading Baburin's "Winning Pawn Structures" which gives you everything you need to know about the isolani position. And I might add the French Exchange with an early c4 (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.c4) as a good, open way of meeting the French, which might suit you better than the Advanced (though the Advanced can also arise from the c3-Sicilian, which makes it a good fit).

I also hear that you seem to be undecided between an attack repertoire built around the S&M Sicilian(when Collins would be great) and a more solid repertoire tending toward the KIA.

John Emms's "Attacking with 1.e4" offers a very solid repertoire around the Bishop's Opening / Vienna lines, and recommends the KIA vs the French (which is a good choice) and Closed Sicilian (which is consistent). I think he mostly recommends safe lines, but it is very solid and well thought out.

You probably could play the KIA against everything, and might consider 1.Nf3 on occasion. Starting Out: KIA by Emms is a good place to start and fits well with 1.e4 repertoires also. I have seen 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Qe2!? played with the intention of going KIA with g3, Bg3, d3, c3, etc. but it is no great shakes. I don't think Emms discusses that -- but you can find games in any database.

Ever consider the Urusov. I actually started out playing the Urusov, Smith-Morra, and Panov-Botvinnik (which is also a good way to meet the Center Counter with Nf6). That repertoire, together with the Exchange French with an early c4, would seem to lead to some interesting, open chess. Against 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 or 2...Bc5, I would recommend transposing to either the Evans Gambit or Steinitz-Svenshnikov Attack. And you would also need to know the Two Knights with d4 -- I recommend the Modern Variation (as discussed in Chess Openings for White, Explained).

In the end, you will never find the perfect repertoire book to explain everything you need to know. You will always need to do your own research and piece together systems that work for you. Personally, I have been through at least five entire repertoires since I was a kid. Each is a learning experience, and I tend to think each also marks a stage of growth for the chessplayer (like different stages).

BTW: Have you seen Keene's "All Purpose Black Defence" article? I seem to recall either Soltis or Silman (or both) recommending something similar.

11/24/2008 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger likesforests said...

How are you handling the common 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3? Are you playing the Rausis System (3...dxc4) or you allow transpositions to the highly theoretical Semi-Slav / Meran with 3...Nf6 4.e3 e6 or ...?

11/24/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Michael: thanks for the great response. There's a lot here for me to consider, but let me give my first response.

That Keene article looks very good: indeed, it is inspiring and I'll have to print it out and study it. I have begun to look at 1..c6 as a good response to almost anything.

The main constraint is I want to continue with the Smith-Morra Gambit against the Sicilian. Before I discovered this I was pretty much bored or scared with all my options. I've put enough time in, and think it is rich and fun and I will grow old with it.

Because of that, I really want to play e4. My main wrangling is what to do with 1...e5?

The Emms book on the KIA, and all the other KIA references I've seen (such as Maddox's CD), don't actually discuss the lines that begin 1 e4 e5. This is very odd. Perhaps because the e4 pawn causes the g2 Bishop to bite granite, so there are more active openings out there against e5.

As I've said, I don't want to play 2. Nf3 because then I have to deal with all those pesky deviations.

This seems to leave the Vienna or the Bishops (as in Emms great book). Luckily as I explained above, I've already got the Emms book in bookup (I entered it a couple of years ago, doing a pretty thorough job actually). It leads to a very tactical game, almost too sharp for my tastes, but without giving away my pawn structure for nothing.

So in sum, I don't want a general white opening repertoire, but just a good one for what comes after 1 e4 e5 from white's perspective. I'm thinking Emms on the Bishop is good. I've picked it back up again, and started to remember some of the down sides (e.g., d4 tends to be a weak square for white), but also the up sides. At any rate it's better than the Danish version I was playing.

11/24/2008 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

How are you handling the common 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3? Are you playing the Rausis System (3...dxc4) or you allow transpositions to the highly theoretical Semi-Slav / Meran with 3...Nf6 4.e3 e6 or ...?

I've only been playing it a week, and haven't studied it.I think I likely just play Bf5. No way I want to play the semislav trapping that poor little bishop. I'm probably going to get a book on the Slav, but so far I've just been winging it and doing well. That's one reason I like it: I can play naturally and not end up in a disaster zone.

I usually sneak in an a6 somewhere early too. :)

11/24/2008 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I think this weekend I should study my games in the Danish to see if I lost because of the opening. Chances are probably 99% of the time no.

11/24/2008 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger likesforests said...

"That's one reason I like it: I can play naturally and not end up in a disaster zone."

Reasonable enough! :)

11/24/2008 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never mind me, but why don't you forget about 1. e4 and go hypermodern and be like me and play 1. b3!

You might like it!

11/25/2008 02:36:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

Gary Lane's "The Bishop's Opening Explained" offers a pretty good overview of lines arising from the Bishop's Opening. Though it can be superficial, I like it because it is NOT a repertoire book and is really intended just to show you the wide range of ideas and approaches that can follow from 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4. That way you get to choose the path that interests you.

I generally agree with you that 2.Bc4 is a nice way to avoid the Petroff and Philidor. As is 2.Nc3. For a while, I started playing the Four Knights via a 2.Nc3 move order just for that purpose. That way I can meet the Philidor with Bc4, d3, and f4 which is not pleasant for Black, no matter what your computer tells you.

I did think of one other thing, by the way: 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3!? is an under-estimated line of the Vienna that might give you lines like the KIA. Gary Lane gives it ok coverage in his Vienna book, and I played it when I was young -- inspired by a Spassky game. There is also Glek's 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 (or 2.Nc3 if you prefer) 2...Nc6 (or 2...Nf6) 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3!? This is covered at some length by Pinsky in his book on the Four Knights. It is considered rather solid if low-key. And you should be aware that the Four Knights line does allow a Reversed Halloween Gambit with 4...Nxe4!??!? which has been played more often than you'd expect, including by some very strong players.

11/25/2008 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

CMoB: I considered that, but I am still attached to e4.

Michael: thanks for the reading recommendation with Lane, and the great ideas for using the Vienna to transpose to KIA! Those are very interesting ideas as black might be a wee bit less likely to just employ the King's Indian Defense against the KIA in those cases. :)

And also, 3 g3 is possible, and hell why not 2 g3 even if it does tip my hand a bit :) In some ways, it seems the KIA might be best used as a backup opening when black starts to move ways you don't want him to. I guess that's sort of how it's used anyway!

11/25/2008 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

I would not recommend 1.e4 e5 2.g3, unless you were interested in playing the endgame that might arise after 2...d5! 3.d3 (3.exd5 Qxd5 is not better, but maybe 3.Nc3!?) 3...dxe4 4.dxe4 Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 = I would not recommend it, though you can find some games where White does ok:

[Event "EU-ch U16"]
[Site "Szombathely"]
[Date "1993.??.??"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Johansen,Morten"]
[Black "Vujic,Mihailo"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C20"]

1.e4 e5 2.g3 d5 3.d3 dxe4 4.dxe4 Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 Nf6 6.f3 Be6 7.Be3 Nbd7 8.c3 Bc5 9.Bxc5 Nxc5 10.Kc2 0-0-0 11.b4 Ncd7 12.Bh3 Bxh3 13.Nxh3 Nb6 14.Na3 Rd7 15.Rad1 Rhd8 16.Rxd7 Rxd7 17.Rd1 Rxd1 18.Kxd1 h6 19.Nf2 Nbd7 20.Nd3 Ne8 21.c4 b6 22.c5 bxc5 23.bxc5 c6 24.Nc4 f6
25.f4 exf4 26.gxf4 g6 27.Na5 Kc7 28.Nb3 Ng7 29.Nd4 Nf8 30.f5 g5 31.Ke2 h5 32.Ke3 Nd7 33.h3 a6 34.a4 Kb7 35.Ne6 Ne8 36.Kd4 Nc7 37.Nd8+ Kc8 38.Nxc6 h4 39.Ncb4 Kb8 40.Nd5 Ne8 41.c6 Nf8 42.Nc5 g4 43.hxg4 h3 44.Nd3 Nh7 45.e5 fxe5+ 46.Kxe5 Ng5 47.Nf2 h2 48.Nh1 Nc7 49.Nxc7 Kxc7 50.Kf6 Ne4+ 51.Ke7 Kxc6 52.f6 Ng5 53.f7 Nxf7 54.Kxf7 Kd5 55.g5 Ke4 56.g6 Kf3 57.g7 Kg2 58.g8=Q+ Kxh1 59.Qa8+ Kg1 60.Qa7+ Kg2 61.Qb7+ Kg1 62.Qb6+ Kg2 63.Qg6+ Kf2 64.Qf5+ Kg2
65.Qg4+ Kf2 66.Qh3 Kg1 67.Qg3+ Kh1 68.Qf2 1-0

11/25/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Ugh that is pretty ugly. Thanks for the game.

11/25/2008 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

I feel your pain! The light squared bishop is the bane of my existence as black against d4. The Nimzo-Indian just isn't getting it done for me.

11/25/2008 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Polly: come to the dark side...The Slav! I frankly am not sure why I never played it before: maybe I was worried about not having c6 for the Knight, but it seems to have a natural home at d7 where it protects some important squares. It is really nice not having that cramped feeling.

11/26/2008 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

The Slav was my first 1.d4 defense. I can't recall why I switched from it, but I think it was because I wanted to try the QGD.

Sadler's book on the Slav (as well as his companion books on the semi-slav and QGD) are really good. You'd like them because he gives a Q&A internal dialogue that explains key ideas. They may be a bit dated by now (in particular, the Semi-Slav doesn't have enough on the Moscow/anti-Moscow systems) but for a basic intro to those openings I don't think they can be beat.

Whatever you choose, I think your struggle with openings will still be like Prometheus getting his liver eaten by a vulture on a daily basis. Except, maybe you cover your liver with your hands so he goes for your pancreas. You cover that, and he goes for your spleen. And so on. I'm more the type to let 'em come after my liver time and again, and because of their predictable attack I get the opportunity to occasionally wring their neck.

I should avoid analogies when sleep-deprived.

11/26/2008 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

LOL to

In airport on iPhone

11/26/2008 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger likesforests said...

"I think I likely just play Bf5."

I played the Slav briefly, but it always felt like a house of cards ready to topple at the slightest inaccuracy. Now I generally enter Semi-Slav lines.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Bf5?! 4.cxd5 and 4...cxd5 is met by 5.Qb3.

So the mainline of both the Slav and Semi-Slav goes 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3. What now?

4...Bf5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3 -- this line faces the same challenge.

4...dxc4 (The Slav) 5.e3 Bf5 - Your bishop is out at the cost of the center. 5...b5 is more popular--you're up a pawn but you usually have to give it back

4...e6 (The Semi-Slav) Black maintains control of the center, but at the cost of locking in his bishop temporarily.

Come to think of it, maybe I should resurrect the Slav for use against weaker opponents. They do, after all, have to prove they have compensation for the pawn.

11/26/2008 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

LF: it's probably best to be flexible, sometimes playing the Semi sometimes the regular Slav, depending on white's moves. I assume Nf6, Be7 are standard moves. I figure in a month or two I'll read about it once I have a better sense for the lines that give me trouble in practice.

11/26/2008 11:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About your Slav choice... Have you ever considered playing the much interesting Black Knights' Tango? Just a suggestion. I am looking into it myself as well.

11/28/2008 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I tried it it's fun but the book isn't great. I like the Slav better.

11/28/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Blue Devil Knight, why not try the Scotch with the move order 1.e4 e5 2.d4 ed 3.Nf3 ? The other alternative is the Four Knights. In that you have a ready-made answer to the Petroff and a choice between Bb5 or d4.

11/28/2008 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

laramonet: that's an interesting idea. That's pretty much what I transpose into usually. I'm thinking I might just stick with it. I said my percentage was low, but I just actually analyzed the percentages and I win over 60 percent of my games as white using the Danish.

11/29/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger transformation said...

dearest BDK, i hesitate to offer advise, since actually after meeting polly face to face last night, when i got home thoughs of you came up.

... i cannot recall the juncture, but clearly remember saying to you in my head, something like 'i could really advise you on X, but this is dumb, since you are so smart and have gone so far, really, i should be asking you for advise'.

oh... now i remember, it was about my plan to turn you onto some databases i have, and what i will write about it, but must wait till i can write it, rather than just say it in private. i need to do A, so i can do B, so B needs C, and its a long chain.

that said, three months ago, i finally made myself play the slav. i on the other hand DONT ever study opening books, instead relying on chessBase and massive viewing of GM games, both errantly and specific to my openings. use of lots, and lots of fritz.

i knew how to play the caro, and learned it all 'by hand' (and many a horrid beating, a violent flogging).

but to learn the slav, meant i had to really loose a lot. i have now played 38 of the last 42 days, for hours a day often... so it gets compressed... and in time, willy nilly, now almost dont make any major big mistakes but LET myself do so in size early on...

then with fritz, 'oh, if i play Bb4 too early, or Ne4 too early'... its bad at A, B, and C.

the other thing is, at ICC, if you play wimpD or wimpC a lot, 25% pf the time, you will get your opening (varies from e4 to d4; i played wimpB, but thats another story).

and it will throw you all the deviations, as programed, from a certain stem position. it will make errors randomly, so tests to see if you can punish it. far as i can tell, its a very strong prog which handicaps a percentage of the time with those errors and silly moves, or moving the king sideways...

as for White, Donaldson Strategic Opening Repertore.

let me know what openings you want short, but highly polished databased for with all the main lines and illustrative high level GM games, please.

the beauty of 1.Nf3 is that it immediately takes you away from ...e4, as the English does not.

ultimately, i had to give it up, as i found time and again myself loosing, and at blitz, reverted always when playing folks ++ to me in elo to 1.d4 and winning far more, so heuristically told me that i had to do it, even if it meant learning a lot more stems in the tree of variations.

love to you man, dk

11/29/2008 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

DK: thanks for the nice note. I won't be surprised if I end up with d4 at some point, in a few years when I'm more mature tactically etc..

You are hardcore in your approach, doing it the way a professional would do it. I'm more of an amateur in my approach, struggling to find a nursery-school introduction to an opening that can explain the main ideas and such (though of course I would discover many of these on my own as I gained experience with the opening).

OTOH, I must use a database (the one that comes with ChessDB) when I am in lines that are not covered anywhere. In particular in the Caro-Kann, this means the 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3?! varation, which is not covered in any books because (I suppose) we should be able to punish it or it should transpose into the main lines.

Do you use bookup?

11/29/2008 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Fellow C-K player. Vent as often as you want on my bloggish ear my friend. I feel your pain and eat C-K variants for breakfast.

As for the 2.Nf3 variant... the closest thing I can find in a book is Joe Gallagher's Starting Out: the Caro-Kann on page 181 whne he described the two knigths variant ( 1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3. Nf3) which is very similar. You are dead on about taking advantage of Bg4. Pin the sucker and exchange it. This song is no longer a blues( a reference to a previous post)... rather, you just hit a power chord and turned it into a punk rock. You exchange B for N and hold the center with e6. Lock it up and show how powerful your knights are over that bishop pair imprisoned behind your wall of voodoo pawns ( mexican radio style).

The one variant that disturbs me is when they play the Fantasy. (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3. f3) There's atrap line I fell into the first time but since I learned that this is rather lame and says " I don't know the C-K so I will play an inferior line in hopes you don't know it as well"

11/29/2008 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Np. Awesome stuff more later at Carnegie hall watching a Guthrie and pete Seeger intermission right now...

11/29/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: that's a great strategy, and one I'll take too. The power chord.

I'll also take a look at the two knights variations, with lots of transpositional possibilities (though lots of non-transpositional lines too, as often white plays c3 in this Nf3 variation).

Pete Seeger and Arlo were great: past their prime, to be sure, but it was great to see Seeger's last Thanksgiving show. He's 89 and still pluckin' at the banjo like I never will!

11/30/2008 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

i am late to this party, but my 2 cents is, suck it up and master the Danish/Goring first.
Goring gambit is simply equal. The bloodthirstiest grandmaster in modern times regularly ventured the Goring gambit against GM opponents. I am talking about Dragoljub Velimirovic. Talk about a badass name. Sounds like a dragon or velociraptor, and he played like one. Otherwise, LaraMonet's suggestion to transpose to a regular Scotch is brilliant. KIA will kill your tactics. Did Morphy play KIA? Hell no. KIA is also boring, and will require some studying (taking you away from tactics/endgames). :-D

12/01/2008 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Katar: you are right. After all this, I've decided to stick with it upon looking at my actual percentages, in which I score over 60 percent wins with white when playing the gambit! After playing the Caro, I started to place too much value on pawn structure and other wimpy things, when indeed objectively looking at my score I am clearly getting compensation for pawn structure weaknesses.

12/01/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

BDK - I have been stuck on my repertoire so many times, I feel your pain! When I really got serious about improvement I bought the book "The Chess Advantage in Black and White" by Larry Kaufman. I think this book would be very good for you. It gives a complete repertoire for White and Black. I play the Black side (against d4, I play Sicilian against e4) of this almost completely, it is very thorough and covers all important variations, which I'm sure you will like. As for the White side, I just substituted openings one by one and used the book as a back up when I didn't know what to do. He recommends the Ruy Lopez exchange for White against e5 which is kind of an uninteresting choice but his coverage of deviations to the Ruy Lopez which you said you don't like is very strong. I substituted the Scotch for this at first before undertaking the daunting task of learning the main lines of the Ruy.

I think the most important question to ask yourself when developing a repertoire, especially for White, is what do you want out of the opening? The KIA (I think the suggestion to introduce the KIA with 2.Nc3 is good and this is the way I would play it against 1...e5 btw) and Bishop's Opening are solid, but they do not give White a definite advantage and mostly result in closed positions. If you enjoy these kinds of positions and you don't wish to force an advantage from the opening then these are very good choices. But if you want to achieve a more exciting position with an edge then more work may be required. If you feel that you can just outplay your opponent in the middlegame then your opening must only get you to an equal middlegame which you are comfortable in. Don't get too caught up in being precise in the opening. If you are strong in the middlegame and the endgame then the opening should just be a tool to get you to positions you feel comfortable in where you have some chances. Also don't feel like if you choose the 'wrong' opening you are wasting your time. Even learning openings that you are not intending to play will broaden your understanding of the game and especially of the opening phase. Sometimes it is good to learn about an opening that you don't play as it will remind you of reasons that you choose a particular 3rd move over another one. Moves that early are largely subjective so it is most important to find positions you like and that you feel you can express your creativity in.

12/03/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

drunk: I had the Kaufman book and didn't like it, reviewed at one of my videos. His repertoire doesn't satisfy my criteria. I think you are wrong about the Bishop's opening: it is very dynamic but solid. The KIA is less dynamic, and even more solid but boring so I'm over that shit.

I'm gonna keep hacking at the Danish for a bit, see how much it really matters. That's where I definitely agree with you. It is silly to worry much about openings at my level!

12/03/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gurdonark said...

The Vienna variation 1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf5 3. g3 is easy to play and solid.

12/04/2008 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

Yeah it's silly to worry about openings but it's good that you are thinking about them. I really feel like the key parts to learning an opening are to completely ignore the variations at the beginning and just look at standard piece placements, maneuvers, EXCHANGES (if you focus on how the game changes as different pieces are exchanged within an opening you will learn a lot, for instance just looking at the Ruy Lopez Exchange where White trades his light squared bishop for a knight and the Main Line where White leaves his light squared bishop on the board (I've played Ruys where no piece is exchanged for the first 20 moves) is pretty interesting to me), and basic pawn structures. Sorry the format of this comment is so absurd. I posted again btw.

12/05/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

drunknite: good idea, and in particular I have just started to appreciate standard exchanges more. It seems to go along with a more strategic, long-term way of thinking instead of my usual short-term thinking.

12/05/2008 07:23:00 PM  

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