< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 8 OF 10 ·
|Mar-16-09|| ||chessman95: <What difference does it make what move it's on? The pawn is eventually going to d4 anyway.>|
Two things: one, the move of the d-pawn to d3 is comittal, so if white plays it to d3 too early then black will have many ways to get a good position. In the Ruy, white does not commit too early and waits until well into the game to put the d-pawn out somewhere. Secondly, it's stupid to play d3 if you're intending to get the pawn to d4, because that just wastes a tempo. This is another problem actually; many times you want the pawn on d4 but if you've already put it somewhere (like on d3) then you'll have to take another move to do so, which just gives your opponent more and more time to get a good position.
|Mar-16-09|| ||ganstaman: Maybe I missed it, but has anyone responded to my question from above?|
<Maybe the issue comes down to how you define 'unsound.' Some feel an opening is unsound for white if it allows black to equalize. I don't feel this way as I feel that the best openings for white that black has to allow leave black with an equal (drawn) position in the end. To me, and unsound opening for white leaves black with a large enough advantage to win with. How are you defining unsound?>
It's not possible (or just incredibly stupid) to argue about if an opening is sound without defining 'sound.'
|Mar-16-09|| ||chessman95: I guess when I say unsound I usually mean that the opening, as you said, <leaves black with a large enough advantage to win with.> However, when people talk about gambits being 'unsound', they usually do not mean that the opposition has enough of an advantage to win, but that the gambiteer does not receive full compensation for the sacrificed material. That's what I mean when I say <the King's Gambit is unsound>.|
|Mar-16-09|| ||Nuncle: <many times you want the pawn on d4 but if you've already put it somewhere (like on d3) then you'll have to take another move to do so, which just gives your opponent more and more time to get a good position.>|
Not really; black has no real way of capitalising on it. Anyway, if what you say is true, then that pretty much invalidates all those variations in the open sicilian where black plays e6/d6 even though he wants to play e5/d5 eventually. Sometimes, a little buildup is required before you can play the move you want.
Since this kind of closed two knights/giuoco piano has been played by the likes of Adams, Anand, Kramnik, Karpov and even Kasparov, I'd hardly dismiss it out of hand. Although, then again, Kasparov did play the evans gambit as well, and could probably make any opening look good.
|Mar-16-09|| ||chessman95: <that pretty much invalidates all those variations in the open sicilian where black plays e6/d6 even though he wants to play e5/d5 eventually.>|
That's totally different. In the Open Sicilian the pawns on e6 and d6 play a key defensive role, and it's far enough into the game for black to start commiting into a certain position. In the Bishop's Opening, white's playing d3 before anything has happened, and this allows black to get at least an equal game.
<black has no real way of capitalising on it.>
Not in the near future, but eventually it will pay off. Why do you think so many opening books focus on getting up tempo? In fact, almost all gambits rely on this fact. In most gambits, the effects of white's lead in development (or something else) do not show themselves immediatly, but white hopes to later in the game get a winning attack.
<Since this kind of closed two knights/giuoco piano has been played by the likes of Adams, Anand, Kramnik, Karpov and even Kasparov, I'd hardly dismiss it out of hand. Although, then again, Kasparov did play the evans gambit as well, and could probably make any opening look good.>
Once again, that's totally different. We're talking about the Bishop's Opening, not the Italian Game or Open Sicilian.
|Mar-17-09|| ||Nuncle: <That's totally different.>|
No it isn't. In both cases, the pawn serves a defensive purpose briefly, before later being moved again. 3 d3 is not a pointless move, even if white never pushes the pawn to d4. It supports e4 and allows Nbd2.
<it's far enough into the game for black to start commiting into a certain position.>
Black normally plays e6 or d6 on move 2. How is that 'far enough into the game'? Normally black has decided what type of structure to play before the game has even begun. The same goes for white in the Bishop's opening, or any other opening for that matter.
<We're talking about the Bishop's Opening, not the Italian Game>
The Bishop's opening is very closely related to the italian game, and often transposes into it.
After 3 d3 Nc6 4 Nf3, we are in an italian game. Black can avoid it with something like 3 ...c6, but that's no better.
Trying to argue that white's position is inferior after 3 d3 is pointless, as it is still played at the highest level. You're welcome to dislike those positions, of course, but this is a trivial dispute to fight to the death over.
|Mar-17-09|| ||keypusher: Nothing like an endless argument over openings, is there? For an interesting explanation of these kinds of arguments, see <The Peter Principle>.|
A few simple points:
There are reasons, besides fashion, that top GMs play the Ruy and the Slav more than the King's Gambit or the Bishop's opening. We don't have to follow their example, though.
Nothing silly about characterizing the King's Gambit as positional. You can find a lot of Bronstein games that fit that description.
I would describe an opening as "unsound" if it allows the opponent to gain a clearly superior position.
Under this criterion, the Bishop's Opening is certainly not unsound. But it gives White fewer chances to gain an advantage than the Ruy (or the King's Gambit, for that matter), which is why you don't see it much.
Tartakower and Du Mont's 500 Games of Chess includes an 18th century Bishop's Opening. After 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4, they write "The <Truth> -- as it was known in those far-off days." I love that note.
I also loved this post by Minty: <I don't know what level you play at, but I'm generally of the opinion that below about 2200, nobody really 'positionally outplays' their opponents. There are players down here who *think* they have a 'positional style' just because they play quiet openings, but really there are only good tacticians, bad tacticians, and cowards.>
I'm a coward. And I am definitely stealing that last line.
|Mar-17-09|| ||chessman95: <3 d3 is not a pointless move>|
Of course it isn't, but it is a defensive one, played because white's opening has allowed black to attack a pawn, and the consequence being that it will take white an extra move to push the pawn to d4.
<even if white never pushes the pawn to d4.>
A good point, but the pawn on d3 almost always has to advance at some point in the game, and all those little tempi can build up and cost you the game.
<Normally black has decided what type of structure to play before the game has even begun.>
Most players have if they are prepared, but remember that the pawn structures in certain openings (like the d6 or e6 Sicilian) have been analyzed over and over again by many to chess players and have shown themselves to be 'far enough into the game' from pure practical results.
<The Bishop's opening is very closely related to the italian game, and often transposes into it.>
Yes, but in the Italian Game the move d3 is more 'permitted' because the knights are out, castling is an option, and white has waited to see what black's response was (although in the Italian and Two Knights it usually doesn't make a difference). In the Bishop's Opening, white plays d3 (in my opinion) too early, and this of course is one of the main reasons that the Bishop's Opening is not popular at any levels. As far as transpositions, I personally think that it's better for black to stay in the Bishop's Opening, so I wouldn't consider the Bishop's Opening to be extremely related.
<Trying to argue that white's position is inferior after 3 d3 is pointless>
I don't know who said this, but personally I think white has the slightly stronger position, although I wouldn't disagree with someone who said the position's equal. As <keypusher> said though, <Under this criterion, the Bishop's Opening is certainly not unsound. But it gives White fewer chances to gain an advantage than the Ruy> Well put. I'm not saying that the Bishop's Opening is 'inferior for white', or 'unsound', but I do beleive that an opening that does not make a considerable effort to get a good game would be classified as 'passive'. (Not to say that white doesn't have a good game, but not as good of one as s/he could have had.)
|Mar-17-09|| ||Nuncle: <As far as transpositions, I personally think that it's better for black to stay in the Bishop's Opening, so I wouldn't consider the Bishop's Opening to be extremely related.>|
That would mean playing 3 ...c6, I guess, since pretty much everything else for black either transposes or is just plain bad. I think this line is probably the most drawish, but no more so than the Petrov (and certainly not as boring as the Petrov), which white can't avoid if he plays 2 Nf3.
For me, the bishop's opening is just a way to get into the italian game without giving black a chance to play the Petrov. Its popularity at GM level tends to be highest whenever the Petrov is doing well.
<keypusher: Tartakower and Du Mont's 500 Games of Chess includes an 18th century Bishop's Opening. After 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4, they write "The Truth -- as it was known in those far-off days." I love that note.>
Well, I kind of regard it as the opening that time forgot. When Larsen took it up in the 60s, his only sources of theory came from Philidor and Greco. I still think it's pretty underrated even today.
|Mar-17-09|| ||keypusher: <nuncle>
<For me, the bishop's opening is just a way to get into the italian game without giving black a chance to play the Petrov. Its popularity at GM level tends to be highest whenever the Petrov is doing well. >
Yes, that sounds right. I have the 1982 London Phillips & Drew tournament book; Nunn had some success with the Bishop's Opening in that tournament.
|Mar-17-09|| ||Minty: <I'm a coward. And I am definitely stealing that last line.>|
Heh. Years ago I realised I was playing wimpy openings like the London System, not because they were good positional choices, but because I never learned to play open games properly and was scared of making mistakes in sharp positions. It was kind of an epiphany. Now it's my opponents who make the mistakes in sharp positions.
|Mar-17-09|| ||chessman95: <Nuncle: That would mean playing 3 ...c6>|
Yes! In fact, this move is highly reccomended by most authors (like in Opening Essentials Vol. 1 to name an example). While there's nothing wrong with transposing to the Italian Game, 3...c6 leaves white in a position that is inferior to many other openings.
By the way, black only transposes to the Italian Game about 2/3 of the time, so it's not a much more effective was to get to the Italian Game then through the 2.Nf3 lines, and the deviations are worse for white than the Petroff or Philidor is.
(Opening Explorer compared to Opening Explorer) In the 2.Nf3 lines, black only deviates about 10% (or less) of the time.
|Mar-18-09|| ||Nuncle: <chessman95>
3 ...c6 is still better for white. The problem with looking at the statistics in opening explorer is that the database contains many dubious games either from weak players or the 19th century etc.
For example, 3 ...c6 gives 29.6% white wins and 26.4% black wins. But if you go one move deeper, 4 Nf3 shifts the balance to 33.4% white wins against 19.5% for black, because all white's other alternatives are inferior. I can't browse any further on a free account, but I think white definitely has good chances after 4 ...d5 5 Bb3.
Personally, I'd rather face the Paulsen (3 ...c6) 10 times, than endure the sheer dullness of the Petrov even once, but I guess GMs are more practical.
|Mar-18-09|| ||keypusher: In honor of <nuncle>|
Larsen vs Spassky, 1978
|Mar-18-09|| ||chessman95: <3 ...c6 is still better for white.>|
Once again, I never said it wasn't. I simply poited out that there are statistically and theoretically better moves for white out there. Unless I say that an opening's better for black, then I'm assuming it's better for white.
<Personally, I'd rather face the Paulsen (3 ...c6) 10 times, than endure the sheer dullness of the Petrov even once>
Well, as long as you like the Italian Game, then I guess the Bishop's Opening is perfect for you. I don't mind the Petroff too much, although at times it does get annoying. People don't play it as much as you think though...
|Mar-18-09|| ||Nuncle: <People don't play it as much as you think though...>|
Well, the main reason I gave up with 2 Nf3 was because too many people at club level play the Petrov as their main defence to 1 e4. I gave up the french as well, because people kept playing the exchange variation. Sometimes it seems like nobody at club level wants to win games - they just want to avoid defeat, even if it means sucking all the life out of the position.
|Mar-18-09|| ||chessman95: <I gave up the french as well, because people kept playing the exchange variation. Sometimes it seems like nobody at club level wants to win games - they just want to avoid defeat, even if it means sucking all the life out of the position.>|
True. Nobody actually has the time or is into chess enough that they will actually play interesting openings. It's just exchange and simplify until draw. That's no fun for people like me who actually take the time to learn opening theory and then get stuck playing the King's Indian Attack and the [French, Caro-Kann, you name it] Exchange Variation. It seems that GMs have all the fun in the 'real' variations these days...
|Mar-18-09|| ||KingG: I actually think it's quite fun to play against the Petrov at club level, provided you know some of White's ideas. White has a pleasant position with active piece play in all the main lines. The game only becomes drawish at super GM level because they are so skilled at diffusing the activity of White's pieces and holding inferior endgames. But at lower levels the Petrov shouldn't be more drawish than most other openings.|
I think the exchange French isn't a clear draw either, although the position is almost certainly equal, or very close to it. For example 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.c4 leads to positions from the QGA or Petrov, with White a tempo down. I find it hard to believe this tempo is going to make any real difference at club level.
Having said that, the only time I ever really get into an exchange French these days is if I don't feel like taking on the Albin counter-gambit, and play 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.e3 exd4 4.exd4. If I face the French through a normal move order, I play 3.Nc3, giving Black the chance to show how well he knows his mainlines. Probably from the practical view-point it would make more sense to play the exchange, but it would also be less fun to play the same position all the time.
|Mar-19-09|| ||Nuncle: <I think the exchange French isn't a clear draw either>|
Well, no opening is automatically a draw at club level. It's not just the opening, either - not long ago, I won a clearly drawn R+P endgame (an actual tablebase draw) against a reasonable opponent (145 ECF, about 1950ish Elo) just by playing on until he made an error.
'not a clear draw' isn't the same as 'fun', however, and if I'm bored by the position I'm more likely to play it badly.
|Mar-20-09|| ||FiveofSwords: lol this arguing is really getting silly. Lets me just add some of my 2 cents to various comments made. 1st of all, ive studied the ruy plenty, it used to be all I played, and now that i always play the scotch or bishop's opening i must say that I tend to keep a more solid advantage in either of those than I ever did in the ruy. Everyone knows the various methods for black against the ruy, such as the marshall gambit, berlin defense, etc. and these are not refutable. (even stuff like the classical defense seem to give black a perfectly happy position) I do not know if black has some clear path to equality in the bishop's opening, but if there is one, nobody is playing it against me or in the GM games i search thru every week in my repitoire. In the bishops opening, white keeps the option of either the f4 or the d4 break, depending on how black reacts. If white plays d3 then he probably is going to go for the f4 break. Depending on how either side plays, the position can become a rather quiet but strategically interesting manouvering sort of game, like the ruy (in fact, black can even play in a way that makes it quite a lot like a reverse classical/schleimann ruy...and I think white keeps an edge in those lines...another point against the ruy from my pov). But theres also many possibilities for very sharp positions and interesting sacrifices that are extremely rare in the ruy. Theres many ways to play the bishops opening, I guess, and the way I play it its never anything like the italian game. |
Now concerning the strongest players in the world and the openings they pick. They often dont really have a reason. Usually, they learned their openings before they became so strong, these are the positions they understand, and they stick with it. When one of them plays something offbeat, by the way, it often gives them a tremendous edge. Im thinking of stuff like the game SHort won against l'ami in the 4 knights, the game carlsen won vs topolov in the alekhine, and the great results the reintoduction of the dragon has had. I play the bishops opening against elite players in casual games and i almost always have a very good advantage out of the opening, in fact, a better advantage than I know i might have if they were prepared.
Finially, the petroff and the exchange french are not necessarily dull and lifeless. it just depends on the player and what their are going for. In any normal open sort of position you can always find a safe 'boring' move and then you can find a risky interesting move. Often black doesnt want to make the risky move because he feels happy to accept a draw. Sometimes white has a chance to take a risk and declines...because he knows he can test the other guy in a long endgame where maybe he has tiny edge. I do not think its insane for white to play an exchange french, or black to play the petroff...in a must win situation. although you certainly would see them following it up with unusually energetic and interesting moves, and they better know some serious subtleties in these openings beyond your run-of-the-mill understanding.
|Mar-20-09|| ||acirce: <Now concerning the strongest players in the world and the openings they pick. They often dont really have a reason. Usually, they learned their openings before they became so strong, these are the positions they understand, and they stick with it.> But this is simply not true. Top players modify their opening repertoires all the time - sometimes drastically. Basically all of them take up new openings once in a while. And I definitely assure you they choose the openings they do for a reason... do you seriously believe otherwise?|
|Mar-20-09|| ||FiveofSwords: hmm uh a quick search will confirm for your satisfaction that no, any drastic change is quite rare. Im not saying it never happens. Most top players have a fairly narrow repitore and they generally stick to it to the end. gelfand switching to the petroff from the najdorf is about the most suprising change I can think of. Even players like morozevich that play a lot of different openings you will find that they generally happen to end up in the same sorts of positions just from different moves.|
|Mar-20-09|| ||keypusher: <1st of all, ive studied the ruy plenty, it used to be all I played, and now that i always play the scotch or bishop's opening i must say that I tend to keep a more solid advantage in either of those than I ever did in the ruy. >|
Blackburne said something like you can play the Ruy Lopez for years and never find out how good you are, but play the Scotch and you'll know right away. That's why I don't play the Scotch.
|Mar-20-09|| ||FiveofSwords: well its not such a big deal, what openings you play, as long as its one of the nearly infinate logical ones, white's advantage is about the same...so long as you are familiar with the position, and if theres any tricks you should know them, the rest isnt a big deal. Optimally you should find a way to reach positions that accent your personal strenghts and hide your weaknesses, but also its often hard to tell what positions really are forced, from most openings.|
|Mar-20-09|| ||Jim Bartle: Kasparov vs Bareev, 1993 Linares|
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