e4 vs d4 or c4

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e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by fanat on November 16th 2009, 12:21 pm

I'm hearing all the time that people should play open games at the start of their career to improve tactics.

I'm thinking of trying out e4 to improve tactics (which definitely needs lots of improvement) and improve my attacking chess. At my level I don't need to know tons of opening theory as most of my games are decided in the late middlegame or endgames.

So a question for more experienced players - how much truth is there in the benefit of playing open games? Should I answer e4 with e5 also or just playing e4 with white is enough?
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by hoopy on November 16th 2009, 3:21 pm

I only ever played e4 and in response c5,

Conclusion... I missed out on a rounded chess education. Given that 90%+ of my games are won ( or more often lost) in the middle game. My view -with hindsight is to play as many different openings as possible so that you are exposed to as many middle game situations as possible. I reckon this would maximise the learning experience.
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by HangingKing on November 16th 2009, 3:43 pm

I don't understand why you guys are so bounded by only 2 or 3 openings !
Isn't this a little boring on the long term ?

I usually open in many different ways depending of my mood, e4, e3, d4, c4, Nc3, even g3 or b3 from time to time, and same spirit for black.

With the time, i notice i like more some kinds of games than others, and play a little more in this opening system, and get crushed by the specialists of it, so i learn 1 theoretic move further in this line.
And when i get crushed again by wrong moves in the opening, i learn 1 more theoretic move and so on.

So, as time goes by, my own opening knowledge increase according to my needs, knowing 8 moves or more in some particular position i play often, and just 2 in less practiced lines.

But i do not force me with some given system, like playing open or closed game, center of flank attacks, and so on... I play the games in with i'm not too lost with, in the middlegame, and learn the opening moves little to little when i feel i'm stuck with garbage play at some level.

So as a consequence, even if i'm terrible against someone's opening fav', i'm more adaptable to any player and get lesser really surprised. Also this leads to more variety in my play.

Just a remark, if you really like open positions, you can always play some anti Caro-Kann system, eating all black Caro-Kann panws (1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 dxc4 5. Fxc4 or something similar).
What's sure is that the board is clear, no stable center, 2 open files, there will be fight.

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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by fanat on November 16th 2009, 4:26 pm

There are 2 good basic books that I have "Attacking with e4" and "Starting out: e4".

Attacking's main opening is Bishop opening and Starting out has Scotch. Anybody has any opinions on both or have a preference?
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by Blue Devil Knight on November 16th 2009, 8:29 pm

Great discussion of similar issues at my blog in the comments section:
http://chessconfessions.blogspot.com/2009/05/is-1-d4-not-good-for-those-who-want-to.html

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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by chesstiger on November 17th 2009, 12:50 am

Beginners get advised to play 1. e4 because of tactics is a bit one sided. 1. e4 is recommended because it leads more to open positions so that positional chess is a a little bit bypassed. Also in open positions one can learn easier to let pieces work together.
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by Blue Devil Knight on November 17th 2009, 9:08 am

I had an IM coach who, when I was starting out, said to try lots of different openings so I could get a good sense for how to play in different pawn structures. I did this, and not only was it fun, but he was right. Since I'm a patzer the opening doesn't matter anyway, so anything can be played, and the game is pretty much guaranteed to open up in a weird way once someone makes a mistake, so the whole pressure to play e4 and only e4 is misplaced for those starting out.

Fanat asked:
fanat wrote:There are 2 good basic books that I have "Attacking with e4" and "Starting out: e4".

Attacking's main opening is Bishop opening and Starting out has Scotch. Anybody has any opinions on both or have a preference?

They are both great, depends on your preference. I liked Bishop's a lot as there are transpositional possibilities to a very favorable King's Gambit Declined (I'd play an early f4 fairly often). It's a lot of fun you get a good kingside attack going. The Scotch I played the Goring Gambit, which is a helluva lot of fun, though ultimately I gave up on it because when black plays Bb4 and takes my Knight, and I just didn't like my pawn structure getting so broken up (though objectively speaking, one could argue that he is giving you the Bishop pair for no good reason, and opening up the position, which is what you want in a gambit anyway, so it isn't good play from black).

Plus the Goring is just one sideline of the Scotch. My hunch is the Scotch opening has more legs, more depth, is something I would grow with more as a player.

I ended switching to d4 anyway as I got sick of all the different systems I had to learn when playing e4.

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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by fanat on November 17th 2009, 1:13 pm

Thanks for all the comments everybody. I definitely want to play it to have some fun without learning too deeply.

I'm playing c4 now and I can't say I like it that much. Switching to d4 is not the answer as obviously there is tons of theory there also (NID/QID/Slav/KID/Gruenfeld, etc.)
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by hoopy on November 17th 2009, 4:57 pm

Still think you should take the advice of HangingKing & me. The more openings you play the more fun and the more you learn. Results will take longer but will be better.
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by Blue Devil Knight on November 17th 2009, 5:46 pm

fanat wrote:Thanks for all the comments everybody. I definitely want to play it to have some fun without learning too deeply.

I'm playing c4 now and I can't say I like it that much. Switching to d4 is not the answer as obviously there is tons of theory there also (NID/QID/Slav/KID/Gruenfeld, etc.)

There is a lot of "theory" but things aren't very sharp. That is the key, as in unsharp openings you don't need to memorize a bunch of stuff, can get away with playing based on the principles you learn in ICS. Since switching to d4, I have basically stopped studying any opening theory and my games have been fine. A nice luxury!

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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by fanat on November 17th 2009, 8:35 pm

Blue Devil Knight wrote:
fanat wrote:Thanks for all the comments everybody. I definitely want to play it to have some fun without learning too deeply.

I'm playing c4 now and I can't say I like it that much. Switching to d4 is not the answer as obviously there is tons of theory there also (NID/QID/Slav/KID/Gruenfeld, etc.)

There is a lot of "theory" but things aren't very sharp. That is the key, as in unsharp openings you don't need to memorize a bunch of stuff, can get away with playing based on the principles you learn in ICS. Since switching to d4, I have basically stopped studying any opening theory and my games have been fine. A nice luxury!

I've been playing e4 against computer over the last couple of days and I realize how much I really suck at open positions.

I've been looking over my past games and obviously since I play mostly closed games this is not surprising. I play French and Semi-slav and with closed center I could play for 20 moves against a strong opponent and be absolutely fine.

Playing open/sharp positions is definitely very demanding and draining mentally. The whole game you have to be on your toes. No quiet moves. Not what I've been used to! However, I think it definitely teaches tactics greatly and I will try to take myself out of my "comfort" zone and see how it goes.

So, I will try to play only e4 and still play my French and Semi-Slav as I like them and want to get a feel for both closed and open position.
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Re: e4 vs d4 or c4

Post by HangingKing on November 17th 2009, 9:27 pm

Well, with open positions you know why you loose (tactical mistake), with closed positions you don't : you were feeling great then suddenly all is wrong.

Positionnal understanding is a bit more difficult to understand so that's why closed games are not recommended to begin, but on the other hand you can get absolutely crushed in open positions for free, because accurate defensive capabilities are also hard to master especially when multiple targets are attacked, which is often the case in open positions.

So one way or another, you get crushed by the stronger opponent sooner or later.

I'm not sure that saying "i have been able to sustain 50 moves against a much stronger player, but his pawn up won at move 17 made the difference" is really better than being mated quickly, because this is the nature of the closed position that requires time to get rid of pawn chains in order to be able to promote the gained pawn. So in fact, you loose at move 17 when you did gave up that pawn in early middlegame...

What i want to say, is that in open like in closed positions the score is often decided early, but in some manner, you understand obviously why, in open games, and you maybe able to correct this in next game, but you may not understand it in closed games, because the reason is more deep, or if you understand it, you may not be able to find a counterplay to avoid it.

That's my feeling regarding open -vs- closed games.

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