Opening Advice

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Opening Advice

Post by fanat on June 23rd 2009, 3:29 pm

Now that ICS revised their opening material and came up with Scandinavian/Center-Counter for month 4 I'm seriously thinking of learning it.

My main objective is to learn some ok openings that don't require massive theory so I will have time and concentrate more on other ICS material + endgame and tactics. With lots of opening theory to learn this is just not going to happen. We all have work/family.

I was learning French little by little but looks like ICS will go into the French starting month 9 and pretty deeply. So, I'm thinking of quickly learning Scandinavian because there is obviously much less to learn than in French. I just want to learn a basic opening so I can play a game and not loose because of my poor opening skills.

So, Scandinavian against e4 and then wait for French for month 9.

Against d4, I will follow ICS' reccomendations and go with the Dutch because once again there is less theory there than in Nimzo-Indian/QID or Slav/Semi-slav.

Does this all sound like ok plan at least? I'm just trying to keep afloat with all the material Sad
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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 23rd 2009, 4:51 pm

I tried the Qd6 scandy for a while. I had a really high draw percentage and got bored with it sort of fast.

Temposchlucker had a similar experience, as he mentioned here:
http://temposchlucker.blogspot.com/2008/12/preparation-for-corus.html

On the other hand, perhaps the ICS commentary will make it more fun, giving plans and such.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by fanat on June 23rd 2009, 4:57 pm

Blue Devil Knight wrote:I tried the Qd6 scandy for a while. I had a really high draw percentage and got bored with it sort of fast.

Temposchlucker had a similar experience, as he mentioned here:
http://temposchlucker.blogspot.com/2008/12/preparation-for-corus.html

On the other hand, perhaps the ICS commentary will make it more fun, giving plans and such.

Can you give me a bit more detail? Why did you get bored? It's a quiet opening? Or leads to quiet games?

French is not exactly the most exciting opening either! Laughing
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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 24th 2009, 9:28 am

I would probably quit chess if forced to play the French. It wasn't that bad. Surprised

I don't remember many details. Just lots of draws. White plays normal developing moves, I would play my normal moves, and often we'd just end up in a sort of boring position. It wasn't because of symmetry or anything typical like that, so it's a bit strange.

Sorry, I only dabbled with it for a couple of weeks. You should do the same perhaps you will like it. I didn't have very good material on the opening (just that one book which is largely a game dump with no planning instruction), and ICS will probably be better so give it a shot and let us know.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by cofresi on June 24th 2009, 9:54 am

I tried Qd6 for a while too -- but I kept running into a cramped position for Black. I also never really went back to study and look for a way through that cramped position, which is what I should have done. In other words, take my games to the drawing board and find better continuations.

That is my weak link -- analyzing my own games.
I guess that's my next step on my path --

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by fanat on June 24th 2009, 10:11 am

I've looked at Scandivanian a little more and it looks like Black has a lot of choice on how to develop. The positions won't necessarily be cramped.

Some e4 defenses like French or Caro-Cann lead to cramped positions and perfectly solid and playable so maybe it's not that bad!
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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 24th 2009, 10:39 am

I would just try it online and see how the positions feel to you.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by fanat on June 24th 2009, 12:54 pm

Thanks for all the input. I will try it as soon as I get a chance!
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Center Counter

Post by Chessbud on July 5th 2009, 11:39 pm

I played the center counter for 20 years or so. Have a lot of good results with it busted some masters etc. I took it up when someone played it against me. 20 years ago everyone thought it was junk as well as myself. I couldn’t believe how quickly this guy neutralize all my advantages when he played the center counter. I almost lost the game but it ended in a draw. After that it has been my primary weapon until about 2007. I have very good results with the CC. Then Anand played it at the world championship and suddenly everyone knew how to play it. I didn’t play the q-d6 line but the q-a5 line. Have still played it from time to time. It does produce a lot of draws. However, in my case I normally play in the open sections at tournaments so that is good. However, now I have been experimenting with the French. Why give up the center counter????…Kind of torn but sometimes I would have that master player just torture me in a solid but slightly passive position for 6 hours..
However, instead of giving it up maybe I should of updated my repertoire. Looking at the statistics of the opening I have about 90 tournament games with a 2080 performance which is on par with my rating, but against masters and higher I have 31 games with a 2180 performance. Therefore, it has been a very good opening for me against higher rated players. I think it is a very solid opening and definitely playable. After playing the French lately I do wonder why I gave it up…I had a French game against a 2550 at the world open and he crushed me. I would of be much more solid with the center counter I think….Still would of lost probably, but he would have had to work a lot harder I am sure. I plan to give this q-d6 line a close looking at… Also melts has a brand new book on the Q-d6 line. Just came out a few months ago. However, in defense of the French I have had a number of games against masters with very good postions and just blew it...Also it seems like an intense study of the French may reap big rewards... Good thing about ICS is they teach both openings as well as the sicilian...

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Blue Devil Knight on July 6th 2009, 10:59 am

Chessbud good to know you liked it. That Melts book has been out since 2001, though I guess he has a second edition out. I owned it but was disappointed because it's basically a game dump, but perhaps the ICS material will be a good supplement with plans and such. I found it more drawish than the Qa5 variation, frankly. White seemed to be able to play standard moves and end up fine, with not a lot of problems set for him. However, I suck at chess, am rated U1200 and your experience at the high levels will probably be different.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Chessbud on July 6th 2009, 11:37 am

I really enjoyed the center counter as black and may play it again. I may even keep playing the Q-a5 line now that Q-d6 is the fashionable line. Better chance that players would not be ready to meet it. I’m not sure how I will like Q-d6 line because I always thought the queen was pretty exposed there. Seems tough to play as well. In the Q-a5 lines sometimes your queen could slide over to Q-h5 with a ready made attack… I like books like the starting out series, a few games that are well explained. Hopefully one will come out soon on the center counter. Andrew martin has a nice book on the Q-a5 center counter called the essential center counter. Well annotated games format. Many times white will not play 3.Nc3 so Q-d6 line is not possible. I have had all sorts of master level games where they play 3.Nf3 followed by c4 later, or 2.NC3 or some lower level players play 2.E5. I even had a master play 2.d3? once against me…I lost that game through a series of blunders. After the game the master said “I guess 2. D3 is not a refutation to the center counter”…I will never forgive myself for letting him get away with 2. D3… Martin’s books cover most of these lines. My reasoning for taking up the French is I may have more room to grow with intense study. However, all this talk about talk about the center counter has made me want to go defend it in a tournament game. 1200 rating is a good place to start. You should improve greatly with this ICS course…Do a lot of tactics…Good site for that is chesstempo.com. They have 30,000 tactics but more importantly is they do not offer any time limit to solve them, unless you are in Blitz mode. They also save your last 50,000 tactics(paying members only) so you can redo all the ones you miss. Many times in a tournament game you know there is a tactic there and look for 20-30 minutes to find it. I think chesstempo.com site simulates that well.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Blue Devil Knight on July 6th 2009, 3:33 pm

Chessbud, yes tactics is the main part of my non-game study. I use tactics software not a big fan of chesstempo or CTS. I did the tactics Circles etc..

Key for me is playing slow games and doing postmortems carefully. Everything else I look at as a supplement to that core, even ICS.

I just got destroyed in the U1200 section at the World Open. I scored 3/6. Quite demoralizing.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Chessbud on July 6th 2009, 4:39 pm

Blue Devil Knight - Hang in there improvement will come will just take a little time. I was at the world open as well. I would have introduced myself if I had known you were there. I go to the world open almost every year. You can find me hanging out constantly in the book store.
I lost two games in the open section to two 2500+ rated opponents and I won 1 and lost 2 in the Under 2400 section. Withdrew after that. I got two bad positions out of the openings as black and decided I needed to study some opening theory. I have all these books but if I knew the starting out books I would of done just fine.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Bilbo on July 7th 2009, 10:25 pm

Sorry to hear about your poor results BDK, I'm playing in the Minor Section of the British in just over 3 weeks time myself.


I just checked the link for that World Open, damn how many people took part in that?! There must have thousands playing!

I wish chess was that big here in the UK.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Blue Devil Knight on July 8th 2009, 8:37 am

Bilbo: it is the biggest tournament in the US. It has a reputation of attracting sandbaggers to the lower sections because the prizes are so big. I thought I would do a lot better (for instance, because I won an U1300 section a couple of months ago, drew a 1900 last month in a slow game). I thought I would do pretty well, at least break even. But the competition was quite fierce.

I overdosed on chess. Nine games in four days was too much (especially given that some of the games went more than four hours). I think five or six is my limit.

I'm taking a few days off, until I feel like playing again. I can understand why Michael de la Maza quit chess after winning his section of this tournament. It could easily be a burnout recipe.

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Chessbud on July 8th 2009, 9:00 am

The world open generally has between 1200-1500 entries. However, you are right a bunch of sandbaggers trying to get the prize money. That’s why I normally play up a section or even in the open section and forget about any ideas of winning money. The 7 day schedule is very nice and relaxing. Basically one round a day and you pour everything you have into that one round….

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Re: Opening Advice

Post by Chessbud on July 8th 2009, 9:13 am

Blue Devil Knight –
I have been looking at my Essential Center Counter book and seriously thinking about taking it up again. Your right the Q-a5 line is not so drawish if you play the proper lines. The main line is actually pretty exciting after:
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 c6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6 8.Qe2 Bb4 Line

I guess the main thing that turned me off of the opening was the knight hit variations like:

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6 8.Nd5 Line

Where black probably has to accept double pawns. Though black does get a nice g-file to work with and a solid position. I think I am going back to my Center Counter....

Martin has 36 games in that book and a thorough study should improve my performance.....

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