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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Openings for adult class players (Read 94593 times)
Uruk
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #63 - 10/14/09 at 06:23:34
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It's a good idea that a player's development follow the historical development of the game.

And 19th century guys played 1.e4. Rapid fire, f7 weakness etc.
  
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Zatara
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #62 - 10/14/09 at 03:45:41
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Interesting post.  maybe a few will read mine.  Markovich makes a great point all positions open up.  Period.  So first learn how to play open positions Then one can move on.  I agree but I think semi open positions are still ok.  It is 1500's who like to play the French and the the Stonewall....   Oh course these are ok openings and the french in particular has similar plans that 1500s can understand but they should have slugfests. 

Lets take a look at some people.  Karpov played 1.e4 when young, sure it was not as sharp as Kasparov playing 1.e4, but the point is that Karpov still went through a course in open sicilians ect.  He can play open positions!!! Only Later did he go COMPLETELY into the Karpov we know and love!!!

I think the inbetween ideas I have are an interesting  compromise between Symslav fan and markovich!?!?  My Idea is that under 2000 one must know tactics and be able to play tactically.  So playing the black side of a QGD exchange variation isn't good as there is more manuevering then say the QGA.  So people can play the KID for example as there are tactics that come again and again.  Do you need to play French exchange or play 3Nc3 and play the steintz variation.  I say both are good - tactics!!!  Even in the sicilian, I would recommend the Dragon before the Kan (as used in Hellstens book Hedge hog positions!). 

Also there are positions in the Ruy Lopez that people can play according to there limitations or style!!  For example the open ruy is still tactical but less so then say the Schleiman wich is better for the people still learing basic endgame stuff!  But both are tactical!!! 

So no Colles or Torres or even the London system.  Better maybe is a 1.e4 rep with frech exchange, the exchange caro kahn (like fischer Played)  and open sicilians with Be2 for example.  or even 1.d4 with the exchange slav, exchange GGD, main line QGA, all are semi open to open positions.  and more tactics I think then London system for both repertoires! 

So lets all agree TACTICS TACTICs!!!  Oh and a little sprikilg of positional play so you can get an advantage which can be exploited through tactics.  SOmeone once said something like "let me get to positions like Alekine gets then I can make the same combinations!!"

Well I am off to do tactics!

cheers,
Zatara

  
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Smyslov_Fan
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #61 - 10/14/09 at 00:42:55
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Markovich wrote on 10/13/09 at 16:41:36:
 I disagree with most of your other remarks as well, but there's no point in belaboring these points.  


I was hoping you would belabor the points, Markovich, since it is in the repetition, reification, and rethinking of ideas that gives them weight.*  As long as we are respectful listeners of each other, then there is a great deal to be gained by revisiting points that we think we made.

I already know from previous discussions that we agree more than we disagree.  Rather, it is on the peripheries of how to teach chess that we disagree and where I can learn the most from you.  (And of course, I'm self-centered enough to hope that you can learn something from me in return!)

So please, reconsider taking up the gauntlet.  

Cheers!

*  It's been decades since I read Kundera and the intro to The Unbearable Lightness Of Being is still with me.
« Last Edit: 10/14/09 at 08:41:37 by Smyslov_Fan »  
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FischerTal
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #60 - 10/13/09 at 19:48:37
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LeeRoth wrote on 10/13/09 at 00:15:39:
Open games are best for beginners, but at what point is it appropriate to switch?

I started on the open games.  But at some point, I came across IA Horowitz's How to Think Ahead in Chess, and started playing  the Dragon.  I've also heard it said that the Dragon was taught to Russian schoolboys, but perhaps they were already past the beginner's stage.

IIRC, Ken Smith recommended tactics, tactics, and more tactics until about 1500 to 1600 and then suggested adoption of a universal opening -- like the Colle as White and 1..b6 as Black.

And then there was the old Bernard Cafferty book that set forth an opening repertoire for club players with 1.e4 as White, the French as Black and I forget what he had vs. 1.d4.



 

Caferty's book suggested the orthodox QGD VS D4, C4 ETC.
  
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Markovich
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #59 - 10/13/09 at 16:41:36
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Smyslov_Fan wrote on 10/13/09 at 16:02:15:
To say that open games are to chess what algebra is to mathematics is just wrong on its face.


Well we shall have to agree to disagree then, since I think that this analogy is a rather good one.  I disagree with most of your other remarks as well, but there's no point in belaboring these points.  Still I agree when you say, "Too many players still seem to think that passive play is a style (positional) and active play is another style."
  

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Smyslov_Fan
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #58 - 10/13/09 at 16:02:15
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We must beware of false analogies.

To say that open games are to chess what algebra is to mathematics is just wrong on its face.

Markovich has done a great job of advertising the virtues of 1.e4, but adults are not children. Adults play chess for many subtle reasons. To suggest that there is only one legal move that will guarantee improvement is ridiculous.  I know that Markovich doesn't quite go so far as to suggest that only by playing 1.e4 can anyone improve, but the monotone of his messages convinces me that is what he would have us believe.

I know for sure that an adult can improve his or her chess and gain great enjoyment in the process by playing moves other than 1.e4.  While I do agree that 1.e4 and open games are essential for a well-rounded player, adult chess players don't always have to worry so much about being well-rounded.  

It is entirely possible for an adult to improve and enjoy the game by playing the Colle as white and the Benko as Black. Personally, I would be bored by such a choice. But I won't deny adults the freedom to choose such openings by stating that anything other than 1.e4 is less than ideal.

As MNb has pointed out, my mantra is for the player to have fun.  Nobody should choose his or her opening repertoire out of fear, and so everyone should at least consider playing main lines because those are "the best by test".  Having said that, there are many, many possible lines that are fun and give players the chance to be creative.

Apart from 1.e4 and 1.d4, adults can choose 1.Nf3, 1.c4, and 1.f4.  The key to improvement isn't in the first move, but in understanding that passive play is bad and active play is good.  Too many players still seem to think that passive play is a style (positional) and active play is another style.  

So, while I do agree that a full chess course for absolute beginners should begin with 1.e4, I disagree strongly that it is the only way for adults to have fun and improve their game, especially when the adults don't want a full course!
  
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Markovich
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #57 - 10/13/09 at 13:40:43
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Straggler wrote on 10/13/09 at 00:55:18:
But the argument for playing open games as an adult seems to rest on the assumption that everyone can improve their tactical ability.


Not entirely.  It's also that open positions are fundamental.  I say again, you must know how to play open positions well in order to play chess well.  If someone 1700 or so just wants to have fun playing chess, he should play whatever strikes his fancy.  If he wants to improve at chess, he should play systems that lead to open positions, and he should not be shy of playing with the IQP.

I don't think that starting out with the attitude that he can't do something is very healthy for the student, in all frankness.  If someone were my student and said, "I can't do this because I'm no good at tactics," I would say, "Don't sell yourself short!"  

nyoke wrote on 10/12/09 at 20:35:12:
The whole proposition makes me think of the medieval (correction - medi-evil) idea that one should write with one's right-hand because it is more 'right' and beautiful and so on; I do now, as a result of that peculiar mentality, but you won't be able to read my handwriting...

The whole thing of forcing a style that goes against the grain has - happily- been abandoned in other fields of education....


It is not a question of style.  Algebra and calculus are not styles of mathematics.  And just like algebra is a prerequisite for calculus, the ability to play well in open positions is a prerequisite for playing well in semi-open and closed positions.

It is true that for players of a certain strength, the choice of systems is a matter of style and taste.  Just like some mathematicians specialize in algebra, some in real analysis.  But this is not true for students.    

We've been over this ground repeatedly in this forum, and it's fair to point out that particularly the more experienced and successful chess coaches here are broadly in agreement about this.

Speaking only for myself however, I find the idea that a 1700 player has a style quite ridiculous.  He doesn't have a style; what he has is limitations.
  

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MNb
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #56 - 10/13/09 at 11:35:40
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nyoke wrote on 10/13/09 at 04:43:13:
It's an adult player who plays for fun, for chrissakes,

Being an atheist Christ's sake does not interest me very much, thank you. Driving your point home by selective quoting is convenient, isn't it? If an adult player has fun with playing the London or the Najdorf or whatever, (s)he has my blessings as I already wrote in my previous post. You don't contradict me despite your fierce attempt.
Don't you think Msiipola is better qualified than you to tell us what his goal in chess is? I could be wrong of course, but this

msiipola wrote on 10/10/09 at 08:43:27:
I don't want to waste those few hours on ineffective opening study.Does it mater which defense I select against 1.e4?


indicates he wants to improve. If yes he should play 1...e5.
  

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Straggler
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #55 - 10/13/09 at 09:55:39
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MNb wrote on 10/13/09 at 02:12:07:
If the maximum level an adult can reach is fixed by limited tactical skills, so that the adult won't be able to play the Open Games with confidence, is there still another road to improvement? I don't think so. I think all games on a 1500 level are decided by tactics, most of them quite elementary ones. In other words, I think it even for the adult does not make much sense to study a closed positional opening when (s)he invariably may expect to be tricked by some cheapo between move 20 and move 40.

I think this is the crux of the matter. You may indeed be right. But Nigel Davies argues that if you can't hope to out-calculate your opponent you may still be able to win by understanding the position better and keeping the tactics under control. See, for example, his columns in the ChessCafe.com archives, especially nos 19 and 20.

This makes sense to me. Of course it shouldn't be taken to extremes: I haven't seen Davies suggesting that a 1500 player should play the Catalan and the Hedgehog. But, as Stigma says, it isn't hard to understand (say) the French better than most players in the 1500-1800 range.

I think Davies's approach is probably worth a try anyway. If it doesn't work, no harm is done. And he says that many of his adult pupils have improved a bit by this route.
  
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nyoke
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #54 - 10/13/09 at 04:43:13
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Quote:
If such a repertoire helps to become a better player is something I highly doubt.


It's an adult player who plays for fun, for chrissakes, not a youngster who's going for the World Championship.
Much fun by the way when the two meet for a club game with your proposed repertoire !

  
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MNb
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #53 - 10/13/09 at 02:12:07
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LeeRoth wrote on 10/13/09 at 00:15:39:
Open games are best for beginners, but at what point is it appropriate to switch?

As soon as you hope that White will play anything but the Ruy Lopez and meet it too often.
I have another question. If the maximum level an adult can reach is fixed by limited tactical skills, so that the adult won't be able to play the Open Games with confidence, is there still another road to improvement? I don't think so. I think all games on a 1500 level are decided by tactics, most of them quite elementary ones. In other words, I  think it even for the adult does not make much sense to study a closed positional opening when (s)he invariably may expect to be tricked by some cheapo between move 20 and move 40.
Now if the adult gives up all hope to improve, like I have done, than the advise is simple: do what you feel like and have fun. Nobody else will care.
In this special case I have modified my advise - keep the Colle in the repertoire, but spend the time on openings useful. Given the level and the desire to improve on tactics there is only one conclusion.
If time management is that important, the Petrov is less work than 2...Nc6. Two fun lines, especially on 1500 level are 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6
a) 3.Nxe5 Nxe4 4.Qe2 Qe7 5.d4 d6
b) 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.0-0 Qh4!?
  

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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #52 - 10/13/09 at 01:09:11
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Oops. Make that 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.c3 e6 5.Bd3. My excuse is that I gave up 1...Nc6 years ago; I never found an answer to 2.Nf3 I was 100% comfortable with.
  

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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #51 - 10/13/09 at 01:05:13
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1. e4 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Bd3 is a "material error"; maybe you were mixing it up with the Caro-Kann?
  
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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #50 - 10/13/09 at 00:57:34
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I agree with the "open games are best to begin with" argument if one takes a long-term view of developing one's chess, such as with junior players. But there are other kinds of positions and plans I like to teach early in a player's development. I may use the French to teach about pawn chains and pawn breaks, and the Dragon to teach about opposite-side castling, pawn storms, the value of a stable centre for an attack to work, and sacrifices to open lines around the king. If some student gets fascinated by these openings and wants to try them I don't object, because I know how important interest is to effective learning and improvement.

For adults whose main concern is to find an opening they can stick with while working on the rest of the game, I suggest hit the database and find out what players in your rating range struggle with as White and Black. If you take up those openings they will be struggling against you! A few suggestions against 1.e4 using that logic:

- The Sicilian Accelerated Dragon
Many amateurs as White will treat this as a Yugoslav Attack or play an early Be2/Be3, in both cases Black gets in ...d7-d5 in one move. There are several other traps White can fall into, and those amateurs who play the Maroczy Bind (with c4) often don't understand it and allow the wrong exchanges, ending up with a bad light-squared bishop. As for Anti-Sicilians, 2.Nc3 a6!? intending ...b5 is not what Grand Prix or Closed players are used to seeing; 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 d3 puts an attack-minded Morra Gambiteer in a positional Maroczy Bind; and the move order 2.Nf3 g6!? is perfect against known fans of the Rossolimo (2...Nc6 3.Bb5).

- The French
Black's basic plans of attacking the pawn chain are easy to learn, and most White 1.e4 players on club level dislike closed positions.

- The Caro-Kann
Many Whites will play the Advance 3.e5 but don't have a clue how to play with a pawn chain. Something like 3...c5!? 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.c3? Nc6 is typical, when Black is already better. Besides the main lines with 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 or 4...Bf5 are considered boring and technical by many White players, who have therefore not studied the detalis.

- Nimzowitsch' Defence
The line 1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 served me extremely well as a young improver, again because most amateurs are not good with closed pawn chains. 4.Bd3 4.c3 e6 5.Bd3?! was a typical answer, exchanging the wrong bishop. I would just re-route my c6-knight somewhere and break wtih ...c5 or ...f6 in the style of Nimzowitsch himself.

- The Pirc
A controversial suggestion maybe, but worth considering if you like playing to undermine a big pawn centre. I took it up precisely because I hated facing it with White. It's become an easier opening to understand thanks to the wonderful explanations in "Pirc Alert" by Alburt and Chernin, the only opening book I've ever read from cover to cover.
  

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Re: Openings for adult class players
Reply #49 - 10/13/09 at 00:55:18
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When I first started playing chess seriously, about 30 years ago, it wasn't easy to get advice about one's opening repertoire. My earliest guide was Bernard Cafferty's "Chess Openings for You" (mentioned by LeeRoth), which recommended the French and QGD for Black, and for White quiet stuff like the Lopez Exchange, the Italian with d3, the Closed Sicilian etc. Leonard Barden recommended a somewhat similar repertoire (but with a Benoni/KID hybrid instead of the QGD) in his excellent book "Play Better Chess". He did suggest some gambits and counter-gambits, but only as surprise weapons. I don't recall seeing a repertoire book for Black in the open games until quite recently. Had one been available in the 1980s I would have bought it like a shot. But the consensus seemed to be that we patzers would do best to avoid very sharp positions.

Now it may be that everyone was wrong. But the argument for playing open games as an adult seems to rest on the assumption that everyone can improve their tactical ability. I find it hard to believe that that is so. Everyone has their own ceiling, in every field of human endeavour. I know that I will never be any good at (say) tennis, however hard I try. I know this because in my younger days I tried quite hard, without success. Why should chess tactics be different? After years of struggling to improve, my tactics are still weak. I very much doubt that I will ever master open games, even if I play nothing else for the rest of my life. Does that mean I should keep playing open games indefinitely, because I will never be qualified to graduate to anything else? If the best I can realistically hope for is to reach 1850 or 1900, I suspect that the surest way of doing that is (as Nigel Davies suggests) by learning to play certain kinds of quiet position and aiming for those kinds of position.

This is nothing to do with being tactics-averse. I like tactics: I'm just not very good at them. I don't pretend to have a "positional style", or any other style; but one of the main features of my play is my tendency to make tactical blunders. Doesn't it make sense to take account of that fact in deciding what openings to play?

I also don't quite understand why playing an open position once or twice a week (which will probably resolve itself into a quiet position after the early fireworks) is more likely to improve one's tactical ability than a couple of hours with CT-Art every day.

It is of course true that open positions are fundamental. If you have no idea how to play open positions, certainly you should learn how to do so. That's why kids should play open positions. But we adult patzers know the principles of play in open positions: get your pieces active, be prepared to sacrifice if necessary, and so on. The trouble is not that we don't understand open positions: it's just that we miscalculate, or overlook our opponent's threats. I don't really see how doggedly continuing to play open games will help. Unless it improves one's tactical ability, that is; but I suspect it won't.
  
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