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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Ruy Lopez at the club level (Read 1042 times)
gillbod
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #21 - 11/06/18 at 12:21:08
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From a chess development perspective, I think the sidelines should be embraced.

Understanding why certain sidelines are no good and then outplaying weaker opponents from these positions is really valuable and forces the development of good middlegame and endgame skills.
  
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Monocle
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #20 - 10/29/18 at 22:56:37
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Stigma wrote on 10/29/18 at 21:47:10:
I also have the impression that the London can be especially annyoing if Black is committed to an early 1...d5, i.e. 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4.


I generally prefer facing the London and other d-pawn systems from a 1...d5 move order.  I find it more annoying when committed to an early ...e6.
  
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Stigma
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #19 - 10/29/18 at 21:47:10
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Horatio wrote on 10/29/18 at 15:49:02:
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but these days most of them play the London system, which saps my will to live.


My feelings exactly!
How sad is that. I am a developing players and would love to improve my chess by playing some interesting OTB games, but most of the time I get those boring sidelines. How can I ever get to the 2000+ level?!

Anyways - thanks for all your comments, very interesting indeed.

I also have the impression that the London can be especially annyoing if Black is committed to an early 1...d5, i.e. 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4. But if that's the situation and you still want to play a Queen's Gambit now and then, one solution is to choose a QG defence that can be reached via 1.d4 Nf6, i.e. 2.c4 e6 followed by 3...d5 or 2.c4 c6 followed by 3...d5. That cuts out some options, like the QGA, the Tarrasch (especially the Von Hennig-Schara), the Noteboom, The Slav 3...dxc4 lines, etc., but the main lines of the Slav, Semi-Slav and QGD are still all on the table.

The idea is to do something non-d5 against the London, like 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 c5. 2.Nf3 would be tricky, but there if nothing else Black can allow 2...d5 3.Bf4 and argue that White has lost some options due to the early Nf3. 2.Nf3 e6 is also an option if Black is ready for a Semi-Slav or QGD.
  

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Horatio
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #18 - 10/29/18 at 15:49:02
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but these days most of them play the London system, which saps my will to live.


My feelings exactly!
How sad is that. I am a developing players and would love to improve my chess by playing some interesting OTB games, but most of the time I get those boring sidelines. How can I ever get to the 2000+ level?!

Anyways - thanks for all your comments, very interesting indeed.
  
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mn
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #17 - 10/29/18 at 15:13:22
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RdC wrote on 10/29/18 at 12:57:01:
mn wrote on 10/29/18 at 12:35:56:
For what it's worth (probably not much), my two Ruy Lopez games on the White side this year have followed the absolute main line up until I deviated with 9 d4. These were both against opponents rated around 2000.


Presumably your opponent declined to offer a Marshall with 7. .. 0-0.

9. d4 is a line that can economise on knowledge of theory by cutting down Black's choice of defences at the possible cost of not being as good for White as main lines. By playing 8. d4 against 7. .. 0-0, you also have an anti-Marshall line.

In recent years with the popularity of d3 systems, I've found as Black, it necessary to be familiar with a wider range of Black's defensive options, rather than to concentrate on one named "system". The point being that White can change the nature of the position by playing d3-d4. The tactical and strategic ideas behind main line systems can then come into play depending on how Black responded to the apparent lack of threat posed by d3 lines.



One of the games did, in fact, go 7...0-0 8 c3 - I'm not so unhappy allowing a Marshall.

I agree with the second point, as well, it helps to have some familiarity with all of the Chigorin, Zaitsev and Breyer to play the Closed Lopez.
  
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Straggler
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #16 - 10/29/18 at 13:05:07
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Well, I've come to grief quite a few times against unusual Black moves in, say, the first 6 moves of a Ruy Lopez, and when Black plays such a line he does often know it quite well. Patzers do know some theory -- the theory of their pet sideline!

But I'm not suggesting that it's wise to play sidelines in order to avoid your opponents' sidelines, only that this may be one reason why patzers do in fact play sidelines. I'm sure the best way to improve is to aim for main lines and, when you are tripped up by a sideline you haven't seen before, make sure that that's the last time you are tripped up by it. But this does mean being willing to lose rating points in the short term, and I suspect that many people are reluctant to do that in the hope of long-term improvement -- even people who take their chess seriously and would be happy to learn main lines if they were likely to see them on the board with any frequency.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #15 - 10/29/18 at 12:57:01
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mn wrote on 10/29/18 at 12:35:56:
For what it's worth (probably not much), my two Ruy Lopez games on the White side this year have followed the absolute main line up until I deviated with 9 d4. These were both against opponents rated around 2000.


Presumably your opponent declined to offer a Marshall with 7. .. 0-0.

9. d4 is a line that can economise on knowledge of theory by cutting down Black's choice of defences at the possible cost of not being as good for White as main lines. By playing 8. d4 against 7. .. 0-0, you also have an anti-Marshall line.

In recent years with the popularity of d3 systems, I've found as Black, it necessary to be familiar with a wider range of Black's defensive options, rather than to concentrate on one named "system". The point being that White can change the nature of the position by playing d3-d4. The tactical and strategic ideas behind main line systems can then come into play depending on how Black responded to the apparent lack of threat posed by d3 lines.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #14 - 10/29/18 at 12:35:56
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For what it's worth (probably not much), my two Ruy Lopez games on the White side this year have followed the absolute main line up until I deviated with 9 d4. These were both against opponents rated around 2000.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #13 - 10/29/18 at 08:26:26
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Straggler wrote on 10/28/18 at 10:21:52:
IsaVulpes wrote on 10/27/18 at 12:08:27:
people think the Ruy is just something for SuperGMs who know endless amounts of theory, and that it's entirely unplayable if you haven't learned every single moveorder nuance by heart.

Actually my coach (an IM) advised me not to play the Ruy Lopez because there are too many tricky things that Black can throw at you. Bologan requires as many DVDs to cover it for White as he does the Open Sicilian! I know you can cut down the theory with d3 stuff, but those positions are too subtle for the likes of me.

I don't know whether I'm typical, but my choice of openings is strongly influenced by the fact that most of my opponents don't play main lines. I would play 1.e4 e5 all the time if I knew that my opponents would play the Ruy Lopez, but most of them don't. I know that much of the other stuff is theoretically unchallenging, but you do need to know something about it, and I don't really want to study it because I don't find it very interesting.

Likewise I would play 1.d4 d5 all the time if I knew my opponent would play the Queen's Gambit; but these days most of them play the London system, which saps my will to live. It's got to the point where my top priority is to get an interesting position against the London, and finding a defence against 2.c4 is secondary!

So perhaps it's a vicious circle? Patzers play sidelines because their opponents play sidelines?

I'm sure Black can theoretically throw a lot of tricky things at you, but I feel in practice you don't really need to know them.. the nature of the position is such that you will be able to deal with most surprises (and even mainlines) OTB. A book author naturally can't cut corners without being accused of laziness later, but as an actual player.. what's the worst that's going to happen if your opponent plays the Breyer and you don't know theory, but are just throwing out random general moves?
The things that one has to know are the Jaenisch/Schliemann, the Marshall (here "knowing" means "know to avoid"), aaand.. that's mostly it? The rest for the most part I feel can be dealt with to sufficient extend by just going for natural looking moves and seeing where the game goes.
After all, least of all the same applies to Black as to you: He almost never faces the Ruy, so how much work will he have put into that repertoire? Personally I play the Marshall with Black, but I know almost nothing about it, as White never goes for the Spanish anyhow..

I can wholeheartedly recommend Lokander's Open Games With Black! It's a good read, easy to remember, covers all the non-Ruy lines, and offers a neat repertoire against each of them that leads to straightforward & fun positions.
In general I don't feel like this can really be a concern.. there are more than enough variations to make mostly everything "interesting", if you just look around a bit. Here's the start to my last OTB game against the London:

Now, is this too boring? ..
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #12 - 10/28/18 at 10:21:52
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IsaVulpes wrote on 10/27/18 at 12:08:27:
people think the Ruy is just something for SuperGMs who know endless amounts of theory, and that it's entirely unplayable if you haven't learned every single moveorder nuance by heart.

Actually my coach (an IM) advised me not to play the Ruy Lopez because there are too many tricky things that Black can throw at you. Bologan requires as many DVDs to cover it for White as he does the Open Sicilian! I know you can cut down the theory with d3 stuff, but those positions are too subtle for the likes of me.

I don't know whether I'm typical, but my choice of openings is strongly influenced by the fact that most of my opponents don't play main lines. I would play 1.e4 e5 all the time if I knew that my opponents would play the Ruy Lopez, but most of them don't. I know that much of the other stuff is theoretically unchallenging, but you do need to know something about it, and I don't really want to study it because I don't find it very interesting.

Likewise I would play 1.d4 d5 all the time if I knew my opponent would play the Queen's Gambit; but these days most of them play the London system, which saps my will to live. It's got to the point where my top priority is to get an interesting position against the London, and finding a defence against 2.c4 is secondary!

So perhaps it's a vicious circle? Patzers play sidelines because their opponents play sidelines?
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #11 - 10/27/18 at 21:29:19
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When I took up 1.e4 e5 I instantly gravitated towards the Breyer.  I hear the recommended line for starting out in the Closed Ruy is the Chigorin, using Rubinstein's setup (with the bishops on d7 and e7 and the knights on f7 and g7), but I disliked how blocked the positions get.  The Breyer always seemed like the most harmonious and flexible system to me.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #10 - 10/27/18 at 20:27:52
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One additional problem is that the Ruy Lopez is a real maze even for a player willing to answer 1...e5. The rest of the open games is rather straighforward or gives the choice between two main options : Italian/2Knights, Mieses/Bc5Scotch, ...
I was lucky when I started looking at the theory to stumble upon Emms' fantastic "Easy Guide To The Ruy Lopez". But after a decade of defending the Ruy Lopez, I am still unsure about which variation to settle on. That makes the opening truly wonderful but scary aswell. Where to start? Even Sokolov had to settle on early deviations at first.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #9 - 10/27/18 at 15:39:39
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The Sicilian is a provocative opening where Black dares White to attack him, and I don't really think that's the best way of handling weaker opponents.

I suppose you could make an exception for variations like the Kalashnikov where White's not often going to get a typical kingside attack. Of course, you've still to deal with things like 2. c3 and 2. Nc3 and, in this case, the Rossolimo ...
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #8 - 10/27/18 at 13:32:15
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IsaVulpes wrote on 10/27/18 at 12:08:27:
1) At the amateur level, there is a very prominent opinion that 1. ..e5 is playing for a draw ("The GMs make all these draws!"), and wow a 1600 might sometimes play against a 1300, who then of course is unbeatable with 1. ..e5, so instead they have to pick up the Sicilian, because that's the "play for a win asymmetrical yada yada" option.


This is pretty much exactly what I believed as a 1600 player when I took up the Sicilian.

One thing I noticed when I later switched back to 1.e4 e5 is actually how much easier it is to dispose of weaker players.  The Sicilian is a provocative opening where Black dares White to attack him, and I don't really think that's the best way of handling weaker opponents.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #7 - 10/27/18 at 12:08:27
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Horatio wrote on 10/26/18 at 16:55:33:
I think this is the issue with the mid-range players. But why?

From my experience, it goes more or less like this:

0-1500: Beginners, who play 1.d4 d5 and 1.e4 e5, because they're told to / those are the most normal looking moves

Then around 1500, people want to stop being beginners, so they put some work in. They learn some tactics, they do some endgames, ..
.. aaaaaaand they of course want to learn some openings, as they almost always believe that's the real crux of their game. Now there's a branching spot between 2 different types of players:
1) At the amateur level, there is a very prominent opinion that 1. ..e5 is playing for a draw ("The GMs make all these draws!"), and wow a 1600 might sometimes play against a 1300, who then of course is unbeatable with 1. ..e5, so instead they have to pick up the Sicilian, because that's the "play for a win asymmetrical yada yada" option.
2) They google "aggressive opening for black, with low theory that gets my opponent out of book, so I can play attacking chess and avoid theory monsters", followed by buying the first book that promises 'inspiring play in the Qd6 Scandinavian' or 'allowing you to put your personality on the board with 1. ..b6' or 'go 1. ..d6 against everything! Wow you only have to learn one first move!' or any number of these things.

Almost none of the beginner-turned-intermediate players goes "So far I've played 1. ..e5, let me learn a bit about that". Almost everyone goes "1. ..e5 is the move for beginners who don't know better, and for superGMs that learn 10 books worth of theory in the Ruy Lopez; let me instead play [the solid caro kann, because the chesscom personality test said I'm a solid player]"

This means in the rating range of 1500-2000, everyone plays either the Sicilian (as the #1 asymmetrical opening, to get away from the boring 1. ..e5), or their own slightly offbeat system that they found in some pamphlet / internet article / anywhere, which promised all of aggressive play, low theory, high practical value, and of course that learning plans is everything you need.. be that the Scandi, some g6 Stuff, 1. ..b6, or something entirely else.

2000+: Now, why does it change at this level? Two possibilities, which it's probably a mix of:
1) 2000s are better, so they understand more things, amongst which is that playing 1. ..e5 is not the worst idea
2) The people around ~1800 level, who figure out that 1. ..e5 is a good move and learn it, quickly raise their rating to above 2000; while the people trying to win with 1. ..b6 are more likely to get stuck at that level

Personally I am part of the latter group - when I was 1300/1400, I read some advice to play "1. ..g6 against everything", and went ahead with that cause wow cool, then at 1600(?) I tried to switch to the Kan & Benko from Pirc+KID, and with Lokander's Open Games with Black I went back to 1. ..e5.
My rise from 1300-1700 with the g6+Kan/Benko complexes took me 12? years despite being a youngster; now in the past 2-3 years I've climbed to 2000 with 1. ..e5.

Regarding the Ruy Lopez itself, there it's strangely a bit different with people being very content of playing their junior opening all their life, but in the end "reputation" is still the main factor;
Even if we ignore the people who switch to c4/d4/Others, we end up with smth like 60% Italian, 20% Scotch, 10% Derivatives (Scotch 4N etc), 5% Kings Gambit, and then equal parts Ruy & "Bollocks" (Reverse Philidor, etc); again people think the Ruy is just something for SuperGMs who know endless amounts of theory, and that it's entirely unplayable if you haven't learned every single moveorder nuance by heart.
Of course a big role here will also play that almost noone goes 1. ..e5, so almost noone really bothers working on their 1.e4 e5 repertoire - you get much better payoff by looking up some Sicilian variations, or even if you study the Alekhine.

E: The same or at least similar also applies to the QGD: Start out playing it, then want to 'emancipate' yourself from it so you either switch to the Slav (if "solid"), the King's Indian (if "attacking"), or the Dutch/various (if "want to avoid theory and surprise my opponent with a system that I know the plans of, while they will have never seen it and will just stumble around!")
  
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