Friday, April 03, 2009

Fun spinning wheels in the mud

As I mentioned earlier, I've been studying the Slav with Vigus' great book. I'm entering all the games/annotations from the first chapter. It is a great chapter, as he lays out the general ideas and strategies for the different pawn structures that emerge in the Slav. This should be required for all opening books, but in my experience only about half the authors take the time to do this.

To chess authors, be a mother bird, not Fritz. If I want Fritz I can turn on my computer and have him spit out variations.

The reason I call it wheel spinning is that I've played about 25 games as black this week. 95% of the time, white opens with e4. Within the remaining d4 games, not once did my stupid opponents play 2 c4. They play e3, or Nf3, or some such, often followed by Nc3. That is, they don't let me play the Slav.

Sometimes being a lower-rated player sucks, as studying the openings is truly useless. Sure, it is aesthetically very pleasing, but not useful in practice.


Blogger fussylizard said...

Not been on the chess/blog circuit for a while, but somehow ended up here and saw your post.

You should read Matthew Sadler's QGD book. It is amazing. Pity it is on the QGD since it is not the most fun opening to play as black IMHO, but it's a great book. He has books on the Slav and Semi-Slave but they are not quite as accessible IIRC (not looked at them in ages).

Hope all is well w/ all the Knights...


4/03/2009 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sound like a perfect candidate for this book.

4/03/2009 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...


Slaving on ICC sucks for the reasons you mention. May I suggest playing one of teh predictable Bots like WimpC. It plays d4/c4 and does well for me to train with the slav.

Are you going for the Meran? I tend to stay away from it unless my opponent plays an early e3 which usually means the Bishop is coming to hassle my queenside. For most games I like the "get the QB developed before I lock it in with e6" method of developing. The problam I encoutner mostly is white's determination to upset me on the queenside because as it turns out, that QB is pretty good at defending the b-pawn.
I've been experimenting with the a6 cameleon variation. Getting this pawn kick early seems to take teh sting out of Bb5/Qb3/Ne5 moves.

4/03/2009 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Fussy: Great to see you! I think have that Sadler book, but I'm on the Slav now. I don't like having to fret about my queen's bishop as in the QGD.

BP: Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a shot. I don't know what I'm playing. Vigus calls it the Sokolov. I get my B out to f5 pretty early, which is why I like it. He discusses the potential weakness at b7 in the book quite a bit.

CT: that book doesn't cover the kinds of things I see. Plus, half the openings are 1...Nf6, which I don't play. I'll probably get Rizzatano's book.

4/03/2009 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well i just thought i suggested it since in the introduction the writer says he assumes that Black is planning to play one of the Slav, Semi-Slav, QGD, Nimzo/Bogo or Queen's Indians etc. But anyway, an additional book that focuses on deviations always comes in handy if you're serious about playing either one of these openings.

4/03/2009 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger wang said...

You have just described why after almost two years of tournament play, I STILL don't have a reliable defense to 1.d4, not many people play it.

Now most rational people would simply say screw it and just play chess at those odd times when someone decides to play a Queen's Gambit against them. But hey, that isn't me, I still pore over opening books looking for a suitable answer to 1.d4, even though my chess study time would be better spent somewhere else.

4/04/2009 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger rpd said...


IMHO try the French defence!
(don't worry about the bishop being blocked in). The variation Qb6 (Wade variation in the Advance French-I think) in my experience often leads to fun games.Other variations ie Tarrasch or Exchange can be good too (the exchange variation does not have to be boring- put Ke7 & castle 0-0-0 as black & have some fun that way!
I have yet to explore the Winawer much which can I am told be quite complicated).

I tried the Slav but haven't played it for ages now- it was too stodgy & slow & boring for me (better I feel is SemiSlav and Noteboom variation). I often play e6 vs 1 d4 now except there are x2 fun ways to play vs 1 d4 - Budapest gambit or VonHennigSchara gambits.

One day I am going to learn the Sicilian defence but only after I have learnt more in the French.
(Not the CaroKann! I thought you wanted fun chess games and you are playing Slav & CKann defences?! ....mmm).
I urge you give the French defence a go or go directly to probably the best defence of all the Sicilian!

Hope you are well, regards and best wishes to you

4/04/2009 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

rpd: fuck the french.


4/05/2009 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger From the patzer said...

The problem is that there are so many answers after 1. d4 d5 . In the past 2. c4 was popular, now more 2. Nf3 is played which goes more to Colle or Colle-Zuckertort.

Although the Slav isn't death it's played less then in the past, even lower rated players don't play it often.

Maybe it's because the book a Killer chess opening repertoire from Aaron Summerscale was so popular a few years back.

4/05/2009 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

BDK! Do not feel like you are wasting your time studying this opening. First of all, once you get to the B section a lot of people begin playing d4 c4 so that they don't have to learn very much theory (I know that sounds weird but the fact of the matter is if you play normal moves as White you cannot fall very far behind, stark constrast to e4 where in the Sicilian you make a normal knight or bishop move and get blown off the board). So this will come in handy as you move into the middle sections. But... also, the pawn structures that arise out of the Slav are very good to know and this is the real strength of getting familiar with these plans, they will come in handy. One day you will find a position that came out of some random opening and you will recognize something special. A plan from this book will be useful at some point in some game.

I could not agree more about the general ideas and strategies being very helpful in an opening book. I do not think that all books should include this however. Some books are simply 'survey' books intended for strong players as an exhaustive analysis of an opening through all important games played and additional analysis by the author. The best of these books do not recommend taking one side of the opening but are rather geared towards players on both sides and general ideas are usually not necessary as through going through the games and variations the main ideas will become clear.

4/05/2009 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

For instance, if I were to play the Slav I would buy this book (I might end up playing it anyways depending how attached I get to the idea of playing 1d4).

4/05/2009 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Drunknnight--excellent stuff as always. Good point. A more advanced book probably doesn't need to go into all the word-heavy explanations. That is something more geared toward the lower-rated sections like me :)

"One day you will find a position that came out of some random opening and you will recognize something special. A plan from this book will be useful at some point in some game."

Like in the Caro-Kann, which I also play! :) I play these two because of the potential synergy as black's pawn structures in the main line are identical.

4/05/2009 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

As long as you're having fun. I've actually been working on Marin's Spanish Repertoire book. Same thing: the odds of getting a main-line Chigorin Rubinstein are pretty damn low. However, Marin's two black repertoire books for 1.e4 e5 are stellar. There's a lot of chess content in there, and they are to a large extent books on the middlegame, not just the opening.

I've been also trying to cobble together my own repertoire as White versus the Sicilian, based on the premise that ICC players are so used to people avoiding the open Sicilian that they won't really know what the hell to do when they get one.

4/06/2009 09:29:00 PM  

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