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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Sadler:  "The Slav" (Read 7879 times)
Smyslov_Fan
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #16 - 06/25/05 at 23:44:05
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Thanks, HgMan!  I'm following the Chebanenko thread now.
  
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HgMan
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #15 - 06/24/05 at 21:43:09
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I still haven't decided whether the obliging 4.cxd5 or c5 is better.  I play the Slav from both sides, but don't really play 3...a6.  Which do you think is more difficult to meet?


I think it is rapidly becoming clear that c5 is the sternest test of the Slav lines with ... a6.  See the Chebanenko thread...
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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Smyslov_Fan
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #14 - 06/23/05 at 23:00:40
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I learned the Slav by going through Glenn Flear's The Slav for the Tournament Player.  His book was an excellent introduction to the key ideas and concrete variations of the Slav circa 1991.  Of course, the ...a6 (Chebanenko System) hadn't been invented and vetted at that point, so I had to work on that opening on my own until Burgess' book came out. 

I still prefer Flear's old book for most of the variations.  Burgess confused me more than he enlightened me with his various chapters on what happens if White does or doesn't play an early Nf3.  I understood the nuances, but didn't see the need for entire chapters devoted to offbeat lines that will rarely if ever come up.  His chapters on ...a6 have been more useful.  I still haven't decided whether the obliging 4.cxd5 or c5 is better.  I play the Slav from both sides, but don't really play 3...a6.  Which do you think is more difficult to meet?
  
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HgMan
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #13 - 05/15/05 at 08:42:31
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If the Slav is central to your repertoire, then the Burgess book is definitely a must.  My lone regret is that he doesn't provide much attention to the Smyslov variation (5 ... Na6), which is a favorite of mine.  Sadler remains the best book here...
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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Longspur
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #12 - 05/15/05 at 04:14:59
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Thanks, HgMan.

It is way too easy for me to rationalize buying yet another chess book, but in this case I think the points you made sound valid and make good sense.

If only you could just sleep with the book under your pillow and soak up all the information . . . but there's always a bit of work involved, right ?

In any case, I play the Slav, and this book is now on my must buy list.

  
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #11 - 05/13/05 at 07:24:06
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Your point is taken re. Burgess, and it would be great if there had been room for a few complete games.  Nevertheless, Burgess is very clear in explaining the ideas and move orders that arise in his books.  This is more than just a variations book; it has plenty of text and explanation.  Supplement the book with a free, online database (and learn by doing your own analysis as you play through games), and you shoud be in good shape.
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #10 - 05/13/05 at 07:06:52
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"Of course Semkov is right in his main thrust, but this should not be understood as implying that there is no longer any point in studying the "ideas" behind openings these days, in the way that Sadler recommended.  Particularly for serious "improvers" below master level, the "ideas" are still important and useful. The truth is that ideas and concrete knowledge are both needed. " -- Paddy

I agree with this -- if, like me, your rating is down in the classes.  There's absolutely no way I'm ever going to remember variations a number of moves deep.  Often a "plan" is simply to find a decent move in each position, guided by those "ideas." 

Playing over well-annotated "complete" games is my favorite way to study an opening, because it is fun, but I hope by doing this to develop some kind of pattern recognition.

For that reason I have been hesitant about "The Slav," by Graham Burgess (Gambit, 2001).  The plus side is the book has in a number of places been reviewed very favorably, Burgess has a good reputation, and I generally just like Gambit books.

The downside is, I understand, the book does not have complete games.  If it is just pages of variations and analysis, abandoned after the opening moves, no matter how good others might consider it I am not sure it would be really useful to me.  Maybe it might be useful in looking at my games after the fact.  Dunno.

Any thoughts on this book ?

  
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Semkov
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #9 - 05/12/05 at 16:16:59
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Thank you for the replies. YOU (WE!) are all right. The point is that we should study all stages of the game and that includes opening too. It is not obligatory to KNOW a lot of variations. You can develop your own pet line and feel OK with it. I used to play a lot 1...d5, 2...e6, 3...c6 and then ...a6 or ...b6 at times when it was regarded nearly as a blunder. There was no theory, but I was ready to challenge everybody to an opening dispute and I was doing well and was very proud with some games. Well, now even Kasparov played that....
  
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #8 - 05/12/05 at 07:09:17
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"Unfortunately",  modern chess is very concrete. There is no main aim of an opening. Even in one particular system there are a wide range of completely different plans that involve totally different approaches. The worst thing is that only one game is able to kill a whole line which has been played for decades. The next day everybody will know about it..


Of course Semkov is right in his main thrust, but this should not be understood as implying that there is no longer any point in studying the "ideas" behind openings these days, in the way that Sadler recommended.  Particularly for serious "improvers" below master level, the "ideas" are still important and useful. The truth is that ideas and concrete knowledge are both needed.

I think Larsen expressed it well:

"The trouble with chess is the opponent: if you know only the "ideas behind the openings" and he knows the ideas AND a lot of variations, he is likely to beat you."

I suspect though that many of us who contribute to the forum spend far too much time on the minutiae of sharp openings. That's fine for those who treat opening theory as a sort of hobby in itself, but anyone serious about improving needs to ensure that enough of the available chess "study time" is devoted to the other essential aspects of the game, particularly studying middle-game "types",  playing through complete well-annotated (not just "commented") grandmaster games, acquiring precise endgame knowledge, and studying typical methods of conducting endgames that are not immediately reducible to precise positions. To this end, Shereshevsky argued in "The Soviet Chess Conveyer" that serious "improvers" around Candidate Master level benefit from having an opening repertoire based on sound main lines that have stood the test of time and in which the theory is not in constant flux, thus leaving enough time to study the other aspects of the game.
  
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #7 - 05/08/05 at 15:20:04
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I am in strong agreement with Semkov here.  Chess is much more interesting and attractive as a game of creative ingenuity--regardless of whether the creativity and ingenuity take place at home or at the board.  I would take minor issue with the notion that the opening is the richest and most interesting part of the game.  I'm not sure I disagree, but I am developing a strong interest in the middlegame and the ending.  I would agree that the opening requires careful attention and that a player can derive great joy and success from time and energy spent developing opening innovations.  But the middlegame and the ending also possess their attractive elements.  Such is chess...

And, of course, chess without the computer is also richly rewarding, even if we miss stronger continuations or blunders.
  

"Luck favours the prepared mind."  --Louis Pasteur
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Semkov
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #6 - 05/07/05 at 14:19:39
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We play Chess not only for points. Sometimes it is more satisfactory to win the battle of ideas (if one does not play for a living and even then!). I do not understand people who just want to come out of the opening without big casualties and to start playing from there on. They are missing half of the game. The opening is the richest and most interesting part of chess. Digging deeper, perceiving the subtleties of variations can bring enormous creative satisfaction. Of course, if one only aims at playing 3 min blitz all day long, this talk is senless, but perhaps 3D shooters are better in that case.
Computers calculate formidably, but who cares to study computer games?! This is mostly due to the fact, that they have no fresh opening ideas, they do not defend their point of view.
I'm writing these lines just to check the forum's opinion on the issue. 



  
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #5 - 05/07/05 at 10:03:42
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Semkov is completely right. The only problem is, that mediocre players with a bad memory - like me - fail to remember the concrete opening moves; moreover they do not know what to do as soon as opening theory is left behind ..... The only remedy is alas a combination of calculation and the appliance of general ideas.
  

The book had the effect good books usually have: it made the stupids more stupid, the intelligent more intelligent and the other thousands of readers remained unchanged.
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Semkov
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #4 - 05/06/05 at 09:21:06
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"Unfortunately",  modern chess is very concrete. There is no main aim of an opening. Even in one particular system there are a wide range of completely different plans that involve totally different approaches. The worst thing is that only one game is able to kill a whole line which has been played for decades. The next day everybody will know about it. Many years ago I used to be winning most of my White games in the 4-pawns King's Indian until M. Marin caught me on an excellent novelty in my main line. I could not find an improvement so I had to bury my main weapon for good. It did not help me at all that I still knew perfectly the ideas - the move-by-move analysis made my knowledge obsolete. The same is hapenning everyday now in all the openings. Computer chess shifted the focus from plans to moves.
General ideas are "half-truth" and half-truth is often false. I think that you should better learn one variation, but really well, move-by-move, than deceiving yourself with useless generalizations. Of course, it is best to know deeply many openings, but for a start one repertoire is enough.
  
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #3 - 05/06/05 at 05:13:39
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Any other thoughts on a good book, or books, for an overview of the Slav ?

I like this, from Sadler's introduction to his book:

"In my opinion, opening preparation can be successfully reduced to three simple steps:
1. Knowing the main aim of our opening.
2.  Knowing the value of move-orders.
3.  Understanding typical positions. "

I have avoided the now very popular . . . a3 Slav because everyone keeps saying it is hugely theoritical, which sounds like lots of work and burning of the midnight oil.

  
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Re: Sadler:  "The Slav"
Reply #2 - 05/03/05 at 07:22:56
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Sadler is not terribly useful if you already know your slav well. He is very dated in the a6 slav lines. But if you are starting out on the main line open slav, then he's a good start.

I very much like Rogozenko's Chessbase Slav CD. If only i've gotten this earlier!~
  
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