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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4 (Read 7398 times)
chk
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #22 - 03/18/15 at 09:23:00
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My experience (with the Sicilian and the C-K) is that people tend to play a bit of everything these days (I guess it has to do with the engines or the available databases to prepare).

I find the Caro Kann and the Sicilian (let's pick the Najdorf) inherently different when it comes to Anti's:

Sicilian: 4-6 main lines with broadly similar setups (say 6. Be2, 6. Be3, 6. Bg5, etc.) and 4-6 distinct Anti's (Closed, Alapin, GP, Moscow, Gambits, some early anti-Najdorfs, etc.).

Caro-Kann: 3 main lines which are distinctly different from each other (Classical, Advance - mind you there are various different systems in here -, and the Panov) and ~5 important Anti's (KIA, 2 Knights, Exchange, etc.). The Anti's do not look particularly bothersome, but the main lines are sometimes difficult to handle and it's like having to learn 3 different openings in a sense. If you are happy with all the 3 main lines, then the Anti's should not be a problem (like you state for the Sicilian). And would expect to face them say 1 out of 3 games (at least).

My 2c

Edit: Of course I stick to my earlier advice of taking advantage of your broad experience with many ML Sicilian lines and choose your move order to avoid some bothersome Anti's, plus study some more the Alapin and the Closed S. I find it difficult to consider quiting the Sicilian due to the many Anti's. Some of them do feel to me like an improved version of the Dragon. I think you could do a bit of everything in the (long) long-run, like keeping the Sicilian and have another secondary weapon (or even 2 in your case).
  

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DenVerdsligeRejsende
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #21 - 03/18/15 at 04:57:52
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I found that interesting about going through the complete games as part of the theory, I am usually a "forced-lines" man after using Stockfisk and its brute force to depth=33 and move 45 in the 6. Bg5 (recently with 6...Nbd7) lines as home preparation. I remember back in the early 2000s when I used to analyse the Najdorf Poisoned Pawn down into move 40+ because it was just more fun, despite being much more dangeorus than playing against, till exempel, 1. e4 c5 2. d3.

I suppose it is perhaps psychological, the anti-Sicilian stuff has plagued me actually longer than I had in my other thread where I struggle to equalise quite often as White in the opening, and usually get destroyed off of the board in many games. The Closed Sicilian with 6. Be3, for example, always considered harmless and usually not analysed in severe detail in most Sicilian books, has caused me extreme problems since 1999. I believe that in my entire chess career, I only have one win against the 6. Be3 Closed Sicilian out of perhaps 12 or 13 (cannot remember exact number) games , and that was back in 2004.

I agree that it is a weird thing to fear an easier equalising anti-Sicilian choice by part of White, but many things I find more difficult and defies logic, like how I usually find it easier to secure draws and play straight for the win as Black, but as White I want to at least equalise.

In fact out of my entire Black repertoire, the anti-Sicilians are the only group of openings that I can feel the "traditional" disadvantage of not having the first move. Just weird, I guess. But at least I have The Killer Sicilian for some new anti-Sicilian suggestions Smiley

But I still wonder if it is true with other Sicilian players that anti-Sicilian White players tend to play main lines against Pirc and Caro-Kann.
  
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TonyRo
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #20 - 03/17/15 at 22:54:33
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TN wrote on 03/17/15 at 21:57:24:
To answer the OP, one of the main points of the Sicilian is that if White avoids 2.Nf3/3.d4, you get quite easy equality (with the possible exception of the Rossolimo/Moscow, where some work is required) and no forced drawing lines.

I agree completely - if you don't like the Anti-Sicilians, I'd first decide whether or not you need to change your answers to them somewhat, and then I'd make an effort to study all the theory in those lines and play through a lot of complete games. If you still simply find your understanding lacking or the positions not to your taste, I'd move on from 1...c5. You simply have to get to the point of hoping for moves other than 2.Nf3 if you're to be a successful Sicilian Defense player.
  
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TN
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #19 - 03/17/15 at 21:57:24
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To answer the OP, one of the main points of the Sicilian is that if White avoids 2.Nf3/3.d4, you get quite easy equality (with the possible exception of the Rossolimo/Moscow, where some work is required) and no forced drawing lines. If you don't like these positions then it means you either have a very large gap in your chess understanding/knowledge or the Sicilian doesn't suit you at all and you'd be better off with 1...e5, for instance.

In my case I found my understanding of the Anti-Sicilians as a whole improved drastically when I studied 'Experts on the Anti-Sicilian'. Don't worry about picking lines to form a repertoire, just go through it cover to cover, play through about a thousand top-level games in full, and you'll probably go from fearing Anti-Sicilians to begging for them.  Wink  Cheesy

  

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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #18 - 03/17/15 at 20:23:24
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ReneDescartes wrote on 03/17/15 at 01:33:14:
Apparently Eric finds the difficulty of play for him fits the theoretical assessments. For most players, though, certain variations or position types are just not congenial despite the variations' theoretical status. GM Marin decided that the Sicilian was just not for him; GM King, I believe, stated that he just can't get comfortable in Benoni positions as White. One IM quoted in Burgess's book was afraid of the Albin. I know another strong IM who plays 1.d4 2.Nf3 to prevent the Budapest, Benko, Schara, etc.  There are also openings where you perform ok but suffer the whole time. I know a master who always has trouble against the Old Indian. Do you think he hasn't studied it?

As long as your repertoire is not stultifying, there is nothing wrong, and a lot right, about constructing a repertoire that avoids certain openings where you are uncomfortable or consistently perform worse than expected.


I fully agree with this post. In fact I just published an article on my blog in which I described a scientific way to select openings which maximize the performance.
http://chess-brabo.blogspot.be/2015/03/openingchoices.html

  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #17 - 03/17/15 at 11:53:44
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If you also have the French in your repertoire, you can try to avoid some of the Anti-Sicilians by playing 1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5.

At club level there is a fair chance that your opponent will play 3.Nf3.
3. c3 should not worry you if you play the French. 3...d5 looks okay, and 3...b6 is an idea, too.

From time to time I try to make this approach work. I normally play the French, but I would like to play the Taimanow or the Kan Sicilian for a change without learning all the Antis.
Unfortunately I never dared to play 1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5 in a tournament game, because 3.d5 - the Franco-Benoni - leaves Black with a very passive position.

I would love to find something here, but the thread about the Franco-Benoni is not very encouraging:
http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1190012680

Still, it might be a decent surprise weapon. You can play like this against weaker opponents if you know they play the Exchange French and you definitely have to win.
  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #16 - 03/17/15 at 02:25:46
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ReneDescartes wrote on 03/17/15 at 01:33:14:
Apparently Eric finds the difficulty of play for him fits the theoretical assessments. 


Well, I'm fortunate that I've played the Sicilian for my entire chess-playing life, so there isn't really an anti-Sicilian system that I'm not comfortable with.  At least not after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6.

Of course, the stronger your competition and the longer you haven't played the Sicilian, the more difficult it is to make the switch. 

To answer the OP: of course, many people have secondary defenses that they play for a variety of reasons.  If you hate facing the anti-Sicilians, why bother with the Sicilian?  You're going to see them half of the time.  That's like trying to play the Nimzo-Indian when you hate facing 3.Nf3.
  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #15 - 03/17/15 at 01:33:14
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Apparently Eric finds the difficulty of play for him fits the theoretical assessments. For most players, though, certain variations or position types are just not congenial despite the variations' theoretical status. GM Marin decided that the Sicilian was just not for him; GM King, I believe, stated that he just can't get comfortable in Benoni positions as White. One IM quoted in Burgess's book was afraid of the Albin. I know another strong IM who plays 1.d4 2.Nf3 to prevent the Budapest, Benko, Schara, etc.  There are also openings where you perform ok but suffer the whole time. I know a master who always has trouble against the Old Indian. Do you think he hasn't studied it?

As long as your repertoire is not stultifying, there is nothing wrong, and a lot right, about constructing a repertoire that avoids certain openings where you are uncomfortable or consistently perform worse than expected.
  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #14 - 03/15/15 at 16:59:41
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Keano wrote on 03/15/15 at 14:07:15:
ErictheRed wrote on 03/12/15 at 18:13:40:
Keano wrote on 03/12/15 at 16:22:33:
Scarblac wrote on 03/12/15 at 15:19:44:
Most people consider the anti-Sicilians to be less critical than the Open (with the exception of the Rossolimo). It seems odd to avoid them, isn't it a good thing if your opponent plays a less critical line?


Not really a good thing in this case.


Why?  I play the Sicilian partly because I like the instant equality I get with all of the Anti-Sicilian systems. 

Of course, the original poster could just play Alhekine's Defense and be done.


which anti do you claim "instant equality" against??


All of them, except a few where Black is already slightly better, like some lines of the Grand Prix.  Of course in some there's still a lot of chess to be played.
  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #13 - 03/15/15 at 14:07:15
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ErictheRed wrote on 03/12/15 at 18:13:40:
Keano wrote on 03/12/15 at 16:22:33:
Scarblac wrote on 03/12/15 at 15:19:44:
Most people consider the anti-Sicilians to be less critical than the Open (with the exception of the Rossolimo). It seems odd to avoid them, isn't it a good thing if your opponent plays a less critical line?


Not really a good thing in this case.


Why?  I play the Sicilian partly because I like the instant equality I get with all of the Anti-Sicilian systems. 

Of course, the original poster could just play Alhekine's Defense and be done.


which anti do you claim "instant equality" against??
  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #12 - 03/12/15 at 23:00:19
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Stigma wrote on 03/12/15 at 19:44:53:
and 1.e4 d6 2.c4 (White is apparently happy with a King's Indian, Maroczy Bind, or English Botvinnik system, which Black may or may not be ready to enter).

Most White players seem unaware of these lines though and just trot out 2.d4/3.Nc3


I would have thought that idea used to be reasonably well known. Until the 150 Attack became well established, players could be afraid of facing Pirc main lines. It's also a relative of a method of avoiding the Grunfeld by playing 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4

Also there were players who would play 1. d4 d6 with the idea of provoking 2. e4 . Nowadays a move order can be 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Nc3 in order to provoke a Pirc. Equally 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 which leaves Black guessing as to whether it's an attempt to provoke a Pirc or a prelude to a Veresov or even a Blackmar-Diemer.

  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #11 - 03/12/15 at 21:50:11
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I looked in the database about 2. Nc3, and instead of transposing to the Grand Prix, I saw games where Black continued Pirc development and either White played d4 and transposed to the Austrian, which is no problem, or played Bc4, in which case Blackk often played ...c6 and then ...d5 or ...b5 which looks like an original position that I have not see in books, but in any case it looks less annoying than for example, Rossolimo stuff.

Still I notice that those who are "low-theory" players seem to enter the "main" lines of the Pirc and Caro-Kann, even though they might be a player who does 3. Bb5 or 2. c3 against the Sicilian, KIA or Two Knights against French. I am not exactly sure why this is, but if it is it could be to the advantage I suppose, if someone plays both Sicilian and Pirc.
  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #10 - 03/12/15 at 20:57:28
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Stigma wrote on 03/12/15 at 19:44:53:
1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 (trying to play like or even transpose to a Closed Sicilian or Grand Prix Attack, significantly with Black already committed to ...d6)


Nigel Short came up with an interesting and little tried anti-Pirc idea in his game with McNab in the 2006 Turin Olympiad.

That game started 1. e4 g6 2. Nc3 Bg7 3. f4 d6 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bc4 Nf6 6. e5 dxe5 7. fxe5 Nh5 8. d4 although it did briefly transpose to a game played in an Austrian Attack where White played Bc4 and Black met it with Nc6.

Obviously Black could have played .. c5 transposing to a Grand Prix Sicilian.

  
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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #9 - 03/12/15 at 19:44:53
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Actually there are two rather annoying "Antis" against the Pirc (that the repertoire books hardly mention at all, instead pretending that 2.d4 is forced):

1.e4 d6 2.Nc3 (trying to play like or even transpose to a Closed Sicilian or Grand Prix Attack, significantly with Black already committed to ...d6)
and 1.e4 d6 2.c4 (White is apparently happy with a King's Indian, Maroczy Bind, or English Botvinnik system, which Black may or may not be ready to enter).

Most White players seem unaware of these lines though and just trot out 2.d4/3.Nc3, even those who don't know much further theory. As White I would seriously consider 2.Nc3 and 2.c4 against the Pirc, if not for the fact that I mostly reach it via 1.d4 d6 2.e4.
  

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Re: "Anti-Anti-Repertoire" for Black for 1. e4
Reply #8 - 03/12/15 at 19:03:41
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hmm, 2. Qe2 in the Caro-Kann would be a new one on me.  2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 has been played by e.g. Fischer and Tal (famously against Smyslov).
  
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