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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White (Read 22683 times)
CraigEvans
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #28 - 05/06/09 at 20:55:05
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SWJediknight wrote on 05/01/09 at 17:21:22:
I always think of the "if you don't play the Ruy you're missing out on a side of chess and it's a big shame" as like saying "if a football team that normally plays a particular style doesn't try out a different style then they're missing out on another side of football and it's a big shame".  Or you're missing out if you don't have children, or you don't spend at least a year living in Australia, etc.  In a sense I agree with the "you're missing out" part of it, but its relevance to the individual depends on what the individual wants to get out of chess.  


Exactly. You're missing out on another side of chess by not playing 1.g4 as well, yet there aren't too many maniacs trying to recommend this to all chess players (shush, Lev).  Grin

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As an aside in my competitive games at the 1600-1900 level I seem to face 1...e5 in reply to 1.e4 in roughly two games out of three, and they tend to defend much better against the Ruy than against the Danish or Goring.


I tend to see a lot less of 1...e5, but it's true that from my experience the blck players play the main line Lopezes or Two Knights/Italian positions pretty well on the whole, whereas their defensive play against the Belgrade/Danish is pretty suspect at times.

Still, for people who want to play the Lopez, of course it's a great opening, and probably objectively second-strongest for white after the BDG.  Wink
  

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tafl
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #27 - 05/02/09 at 15:22:41
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Please. Kasparov terrorized his opponents with 1.d4 in his youth. And anyone who has studied Vukovic knows what a fearsome attacking weapon 1.d4 was in the hands of Alekhine and Capablanca.


It must be said that Kasparov mainly played 1.e4 up to 1978/79. At that point he was about to earn his first Elo-rating which was around 2550 and good enough to beat top GMs (Polugajevsky, Vaganian, Browne etc.) on a quite regular basis.
  

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SWJediknight
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #26 - 05/01/09 at 17:21:22
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I always think of the "if you don't play the Ruy you're missing out on a side of chess and it's a big shame" as like saying "if a football team that normally plays a particular style doesn't try out a different style then they're missing out on another side of football and it's a big shame".  Or you're missing out if you don't have children, or you don't spend at least a year living in Australia, etc.  In a sense I agree with the "you're missing out" part of it, but its relevance to the individual depends on what the individual wants to get out of chess.  

The other thing is that these arguments start with, "it would be a shame not to at least try the Lopez" and then once the player starts playing the Lopez, they progress to "why not play the Lopez almost exclusively since it is objectively a better opening than the others".

As an aside in my competitive games at the 1600-1900 level I seem to face 1...e5 in reply to 1.e4 in roughly two games out of three, and they tend to defend much better against the Ruy than against the Danish or Goring.
  
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MartinC
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #25 - 05/01/09 at 13:13:46
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My guess would be that it varies rather with where you're playing. As I remember I've faced it a reasonable amount, although rarely(never?) from the sort of really well prepared opponent who would be a problem.

One person is a pretty useless sample though - I've somehow managed not to face a single Nardojf since switching back to 1 e4 a couple of years back. That isn't because people have stopped playing it!

I don't know if anyone collects reliable stats for what openings really are popular at (various grades of) club level? They won't make most databases of course.
Maybe internet blitz games but opening there is something else again.

Certainly no outright need to learn to play the lopez but for me its one of those openings which is so rich that its a real shame not to at least try, especially if not playing at a level with lots of computer prep etc.
  
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ANDREW BRETT
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #24 - 05/01/09 at 11:01:37
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Just on the Ruy it is possible to play it slightly more sharply by using 9 d4 rather than 9 h3 in the main line or even 5 d4 for that matter. Not saying that these lines are that strong .

I agree with Craig's observations on tactics and the use of the initiative being a key to success. On the other hand, it can be dangerous for a player's development to have totally relied on gambits since for some of them they don't work so well at higher levels .

I don't agree that it's essential to learn the lopez to be over 2200 elo for 1e4 players. Gawain Jones and Stewart Haslinger have done well over the years with the Scotch for example.

One issue that does seem to be arising out of this discussion is how often do 1e4 players face 1..e5 . From what I've read it doesn't appear to be that popular.
  
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #23 - 05/01/09 at 11:00:02
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Aziridine wrote on 05/01/09 at 08:52:23:
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Closed openings will stifle players who are learning the game... I do not know of many people who've made 2200+ without gaining experience in open and tactical positions before graduating into positional understanding.

Please. Kasparov terrorized his opponents with 1.d4 in his youth. And anyone who has studied Vukovic knows what a fearsome attacking weapon 1.d4 was in the hands of Alekhine and Capablanca.
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quite frankly, I'd rather cut my eyes out with a rusty scalpel than play some of the long, patient manoeuvering games that frequently occur in the Ruy.

It's unfortunate you're blinding yourself to a completely different side of chess. Some of us are having twice as much fun as you are Wink


Kasparov could have opened h4 and he still would have terrorized a lot of players.  Grin


  
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #22 - 05/01/09 at 08:52:23
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Closed openings will stifle players who are learning the game... I do not know of many people who've made 2200+ without gaining experience in open and tactical positions before graduating into positional understanding.

Please. Kasparov terrorized his opponents with 1.d4 in his youth. And anyone who has studied Vukovic knows what a fearsome attacking weapon 1.d4 was in the hands of Alekhine and Capablanca.
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quite frankly, I'd rather cut my eyes out with a rusty scalpel than play some of the long, patient manoeuvering games that frequently occur in the Ruy.

It's unfortunate you're blinding yourself to a completely different side of chess. Some of us are having twice as much fun as you are Wink
  
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CraigEvans
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #21 - 04/30/09 at 18:32:27
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Okay,

Firstly - Zatara. I would never recommend 1.d4 for beginners or aspiring players. A lot of club players around 1500-1800 have played 1.d4 or 1.Nf3 religiously and are very solid players... with absolutely no tactical awareness or imagination. Closed openings will stifle players who are learning the game, and I am a huge advocate of playing open positions and gambits with both colours whilst improving. Positional understanding and mastery of closed positions will come with experience, but if one is completely unable to string together any sort of tactics, then positional players will not be able to convert their advantages. Playing 1.e4, or at worst the BDG, will make white players acutely aware of the value of the initiative, provide them with the skills to counterpunch or even "swindle" should their positions not be great, to search out and successfully navigate tactics where they are favourably there. Once this is learnt, or at least the player reaches a fair proficiency with tactics, then they can ally this with positional development and mastery of closed positions, and we have a good player on our hands. I think there was an element of jest in Schaakhamster's comment about giving a novice a book on tactics and a BDG opening manual... but there is more than some truth as well. If you can get a beginner to quickly improve his/her tactics and attacking play, then this will stand him/her in good stead in the short-term, and as long as he/she then works on his or her other parts of their game in due course, they can become a good player. I do not know of many people who've made 2200+ without gaining experience in open and tactical positions before graduating into positional understanding.

As for what openings I'd recommend... The guioco piano, scotch and king's gambit are excellent openings for any aspiring player as white to become familiar with, the openings which emphasise the initiative, development, and quickly targetting black's achilles heel on f7. The danish/goring, and even the BDG (here we go...) are also not bad choices for developing attacking and creativity and resourcefulness - as long as the openings are used as a stage in development and not as a repertoire for life. For my first few seasons I played the KG (with very good results, and without much theory), along with several dubious gambit lines against various other tries, and with the occasional BDG or Bird thrown in for variety. I've played the Ruy a few times (with some success), but based my 1.e4 repertoire around the Belgrade since passing 1800 (yet to lose from 10-12 games), and in the last year or so I have started to play 1.d4 against selected opponents (i.e. anyone who plays the sicilian or caro-kann, or anyone I know to play the dutch.).

I admit and agree that there are sidelines in the Ruy such as the Exchange, the Worrall et al... and these can form part of, or indeed much of the basis of, a repertoire. However, the question was on the main line Lopez, and my response was tailored to the same.

As for "a couple of critical lines", my personal feeling is that there are far more critical lines than in any other opening, and that the level of knowledge and understanding required to competently play the positions is far greater than both the level needed to play almost any other white opening with confidence, and also a far greater drain on time than I have at my disposal.

If your aim is 2200+ play and a real, deep understanding of chess... then the Lopez is almost unquestionably the way to go. If your aim is to enjoy chess... well, quite frankly, I'd rather cut my eyes out with a rusty scalpel than play some of the long, patient manoeuvering games that frequently occur in the Ruy. Each to their own, but that sort of chess doesn't appeal to me, I don't have the understanding in order to successfully play it and, despite my positional uselessness and dogmatisms, I've broken 2000 FIDE which is pretty much the only target I ever had for myself. I play for enjoyment and, whatever arguments are given about stifling development and so on, I simply would not want to play chess anymore if I had to play the Ruy. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way, either.

(Incidentally, I've seen plenty of people get cut to pieces playing routinely against the Bird defence... I do not think the line is 100% reliable but I certainly think it is more dangerous than you give it credit for, and I believe there was some correspondence IM/GM who used it frequently with excellent results even in that format).

My main argument is that white has so much to worry about already with the sicilian, caro-kann, pirc, alekhine, french, scandinavian etc... the entire Ruy Lopez complex, even as a general overview and relying on understanding from there on, is a lot of work for an amateur who might get to play it once a month in league games. I suppose this will always vary from person to person however and, if you are able to digest even a small fraction of the theory on the Lopez and put your knowledge effectively into practice on it, then you're a far better person and player than I.  Wink
  

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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #20 - 04/30/09 at 07:50:31
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CraigEvans wrote on 04/28/09 at 21:16:04:
Yes. I'm sure you could learn all of the above lines if you had a free decade. Given that Kasparov couldn't crack the Berlin (even taking into account that the players we play will not be Kramnik), and that Radja continues to make the Schliemann work at super GM level, and that some of the critical lines in the Zaitsev are not reached until move 20+ with countless deviations and move-order subtleties between moves 9-20, not to mention the open leading to a sharp struggle (as does the Archangel), and black can essay one of 6 or 7 other closed lines which all havetheir own positional nuances and ideas, I think you might be trivialising white's task somewhat here.

So there are a couple of critical lines, which opening hasnt? One advantage of the Ruy is that even if you stray from the best path you still have the initiative. This goes in particular for the closed lines. Against all the lines you mention you can do 2 things, go for the most critical lines or choose a sideline. In both cases a perfect memory isnt necessary as you will usually still end up with the initiative. Ie if you go for the Schlieman main line (the one Emms and Khalifman go for) the worst that can happen is an opposite bishop ending a pawn up.
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Not to mention that you are completely ignoring options for black like the Bird, Cozio, 3...Bc5 etc - not necessarily critical tries, but all again relatively sharp systems where white can go quickly wrong if he's not careful.

I simply disagree with this. If you play standard developing moves and aim for c3 and d4 in most cases, you wont go wrong.
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When you add all the above on top of needing lines against the Petroff, Philidor, Latvian, Elephant, and then throw on the fire all black's other possible 1.e4 defences...

The Petrov may be a worry (though there are easy lines there as well), the others arent. They usually are only a bother in blitz as you may need to think a little deeper.
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I suppose your question boils down to what you feel you need to know. But if you want to play the Lopez well as white, you have one hell of a lot of work to do, just on that. I have always been of the opinion that no amateur does (or should) have enough time to really learn and understand the Lopez, and his time is better spent elsewhere learning simpler systems. I have no doubt that 3.Bb5 is white's strongest continuation, but whether it is the most time-efficient way to spend your study time, is a wholly different matter.

Learning and understanding the Ruy is imo impossible unless you are a Russian GM whose name starts with a K Grin
I do however think that the only way to try and do that is to actually play it. I am sure people will have their setbacks, but I think in the long run it is a much better investment than the other lines. You get to work with the initiative, kingside attacks, queenside attacks, nipping nasty counterpunches by black in the bud, space advantage and last but not least you get an actual middle game.
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The problem with the Lopez is that, usually, the stronger player will win at U2200 level. If white does not know the opening well, then he will be gifting black major chances that the Lopez is not meant to give black - white will be at a huge disadvantage if he misplays the opening. Most of black's "inferior" tries like 3...Bc5 and 3...Nd4 are still potent enough to cause problems if white does not know them. Black's major tries (Zaitsev, Chigorin, Breyer, Keres etc) are major, major opening complexes, and a white player who is not familiar with both the theory and the understanding of the openings is in danger of finding himself rapidly being outplayed by a black player who has studied them. This sort of understanding takes a lot of memorisation of long lines, as well as studying a lot of games in each particular line, really working to understand the move orders and subtleties in every position.

The real question is if that is necessary at all. Sure you could learn all the lines in Khalifman by heart, but I dont think it is necessary (I find it very useful but more for analysis after the game or to look up a critical line). I am more in agreement with Cox in his intro in his 1d4 book.
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If this sounds like a couple of afternoons sitting back with a book and a beer, then feel free. To me it seems like a hell of a lot of work for an opening which you would probably get in 1/5th of your games (assuming that 50% you play as black, and 60% of your white games people meet 1.e4 with something other than 1...e5, 2...Nc6 - in most cases this figure is probably even higher).

I would think it is even lower. Out of my last 7 games as white I had none in the Ruy Wink
Still I dont think it is a reason to skip such an opening.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #19 - 04/29/09 at 13:56:23
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Well this a common problem: short vs long term improvement. Give a novice a book on tactics, teach him the BDG and watch him devour other beginners.  Grin

  
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #18 - 04/29/09 at 12:47:58
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Hi,

Kaufman's "Chess Advantage in Black and White" gives a repertoire based on the Exchange-variation. His suggestions against black's deviations at move 3 are very ecconomic, but nethertheless White has
some chances to achieve an advantage.
For players rated below 2000 these third move deviations (and the Modern Steinitz) are the most important lines in praxis.


Btw
most lines of the Ruy are much more "forgiving" than let's say the King's gambit and can be played without too much preparation at amateur level.
If white has mastered black's third move deviations, then it is easy to proceed step by step to the main lines, because there are Qe2-, d3-Nc3 and exchange- lines - at least for starters who want to play it save.   

Nethertheless I would agree that the Italian game with c3 and d3 combined with the d3 variation against the two-knights is the better choice beyond 2000 if you are mainly interested in winning as many rating points as possible, but the Ruy is more demanding and more fun. If you have the opportunity to analyse your games with a stronger player you will learn more by playing the Ruy Lopez.
  
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MartinC
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #17 - 04/29/09 at 09:39:30
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Also - having played a bit at a semi decent club level without knowing all that much theory - I have to say that up to some it isn't that hard an opening to play on semi understanding.

There's an obvious danger of running into really prepared black players but it really is easy to overstate this threat. Also quite possible to take a lot of heavy theory out with semi side lines of course.

Its certainly less work dependent than something like the open sicillian!
  
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #16 - 04/29/09 at 09:30:42
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ANDREW BRETT wrote on 04/29/09 at 08:33:28:
I agree with Craig's comments on the volume of work to be done for the lopez. Although it's not that great for those needing to save time might do better with the Guioco Piano with 4 c3 5 d3 etc

Indeed a lot of work
but also a lot of fun
and you as White that you have an advantage (not in the Giucco Piano!)
therefore I play it with White and Black - understanding is the key to success

As Shirov says on his DVD (free out of my mind - he certainly tells it differntly):
"Is it possible to play the Ruy Lopez just with positional understanding - probably not. Is it possible to memorize all the lines - probably not. Therefore you need to work on both aspects"
  
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ANDREW BRETT
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #15 - 04/29/09 at 08:33:28
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I agree with Craig's comments on the volume of work to be done for the lopez. Although it's not that great for those needing to save time might do better with the Guioco Piano with 4 c3 5 d3 etc
  
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Re: New Spanish mainline repertoire book for White
Reply #14 - 04/29/09 at 00:13:25
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@CraigEvans Just curious what other systems do you recommend vs 1...e5 as white and are you recommending 1.d4 rather than 1.e4 even for developing players??
thanks,
Zatrara
  
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