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Normal Topic Thoughts on Bishop's Opening and f4-f5 Push (Read 1893 times)
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Re: Thoughts on Bishop's Opening and f4-f5 Push
Reply #3 - 02/20/06 at 11:37:54
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dsanchez wrote on 02/19/06 at 03:34:50:
But recently I have been following an IM on ICC who invariably plays a setup such as 1.e4 2.Bc4 3.d3 4.Nf3!? 5.c3 6.Nbd2.  He has had very good results with this setup.

Is there a name for this setup?  It looks kind of like a Bishop's/Ruy hybrid.  What are some typical strategic ideas in this system?

It will most probably transpose to a Giuco or Two knights. Basically there are two plans for white.
Plan 1: Expand on the queenside with b4 and a4 and some combination of Qb3, Nc4 and Be3 (not Bg5)
Plan 2: "Autopilot plan" Nbd2, Re1, Nf1, Ng3 (sometimes e3), d4. Bishop usually stays at c1 for a long time and certainly not to g5. This plan resembles the Ruy main line and has been played by Karpov against Korchnoi in one of their matches. A friend of mine also plays this system against almost any set-up by black (sicilian, french etc), though not always with the bishop on c4.

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Re: Thoughts on Bishop's Opening and f4-f5 Push
Reply #2 - 02/20/06 at 01:52:43
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The Bishop's Opening with 3.d3 hardly has independent significance because of the many transpositions. So White must be familiar with several seperate systems:
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Na5 (Bb4 is sound too) and White will have to prepare f2-f4 very thoroughly. So White's best might be 4.Nf3 (4.d3 variation of the Two Knights Defence) when Bc5 5.c3 transposes to the Giuoco Piannisimo (3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3). Black has the choice of d6 and a6. As the centre is still flexible, both must play the whole board. That is why the stronger player retains winning chances even if the position is equal.
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.f4 Nc6 6.Nf3 is an important line of the King's Gambit Declined: 2.f4 Bc5 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 etc. My thumbrule is, that White only must consider f4-f5 when Black has castled kingside.
1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 d5?! 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 is the 4.d3 variation of the Two Knights Defence again; pawn e5 is severly weak.
The only important independent line is Paulsen's Variation 3.d3 c6!?
TopNotch has pointed out, that Black can play this in an improved version with 3.d3 Bc5 4.Nc3 c6! (o-o 5.Bg5!? or 5.Nf3 and 6.Bg5) 5.f4 exf4 6.Bxf4 d5 7.exd5 o-o! and Black has more than enough compensation. So White's best try is 4.Nc3 c6! 5.Nf3
a)5...d5 6.exd5 cxd5 7.Bb3 and White has sometimes the pseudo-sac Nxe5.
b)5...d6 6.a3 is the Giuoco Pianissimo with colours reversed and will be about equal.

When you strive for classical openings, like Tater Salad does, you might rather play the move order 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 to avoid 2.Bc4 Nc6.

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Re: Thoughts on Bishop's Opening and f4-f5 Push
Reply #1 - 02/19/06 at 05:27:21
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i think you really hit the nail on the head when you mentioned d5. if it weren't for d5, an early f4 would give white all the advantages of a latvian game, but without the disadvantage of having to scramble to develop. obviously it doesn't really work out that way though.

i play the bishop's opening, but i have never been very impressed with any of the closed systems. i've seen a lot of nice games with those systems by players like karpov, but in my opinion most of those games were just a matter of a player being outclassed and had not much at all to do with the opening system.

the problem with these systems is that there just aren't that many plans for white, and while the plans at white's disposal are okay, they're also very predictable from the other side of the board. i don't think that a player will have much success playing these lines unless they are a very strong positional player as well as very patient.

as far as f4 plans specifically, i think that a vienna setup is stronger than d3/c3/Nd2. as with some other openings, like various anti-sicilians, people like to compare this to the ruy, but in my opinion, there's really no comparison. the #1 feature of the ruy, aside from complexity, that makes it attractive to so many players, is that white continually exerts pressure on black right from the start. that really isn't the case with these other systems, and i think that makes a big difference. against the ruy, you can't really just sit there and defend as black. you have to counter in one way or another to divert white's force. against these other systems, black really can just sit there and defend if he's so inclined. in my own personal experiences, when black has gone this route, i usually ended up just hitting a brick wall as far as coming up with a plan. i suppose karpov doesn't have that problem, but i'm no karpov.

although i play the bishop's opening exclusively against e5, i don't really think its a very practical choice unless you fit into a very specific mold as far as what you like to play and what you like to avoid playing against.

1) i don't play the ruy, because i just don't think its worth the time and effort for anyone rated below 2400 unless they are well off enough that they have the luxory and desire to devote massive ammounts of time learning to play it correctly. i think distributing that time among other less complex openings is a better investment.

2) i don't like playing against the petrov and the philidor. white almost always still has the option of playing a vienna, italian/2knights defense game out of the bishop's, so, since i don't play the ruy, there isn't much +side to playing 2.Nf3. in my opinion, there are no 3.d4 systems that warrant having to be prepared for the petrov, philidor, and latvian defenses, especially with the low % of games that would be the latter 2.

3) i am well versed in the urusov, bk, vienna/fd, max/scotch, and i don't mind playing any of those openings. its a nice set of options to have if you know anything about your opponent.

i think that if a player doesn't fit these 3 points, they're better off just not playing the bishop's opening at all. the closed is okay, but i really don't see any advantage to it over some of the more simplistic d4 systems that give the same type of game with less danger and less preperation involved than having to worry about the sicilian as well.
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Thoughts on Bishop's Opening and f4-f5 Push
02/19/06 at 03:34:50
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I was always under the impression that whatever potency the main line Bishop's Opening held for White lay in the fact that after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 Black has blocked his f-pawn while White's is still free to advance f2-f4.

I believe the same sort of idea exists in the various "Botvinnik Systems."

But recently I have been following an IM on ICC who invariably plays a setup such as 1.e4 2.Bc4 3.d3 4.Nf3!? 5.c3 6.Nbd2.  He has had very good results with this setup.

Is there a name for this setup?  It looks kind of like a Bishop's/Ruy hybrid.  What are some typical strategic ideas in this system?

Also, in my own games with the Bishop's Opening, I often have trouble with the timing of f4-f5.  Sometimes this leads to a successful attack when combined with g2-g4-g5.  Other times it seems simply to expose my own King's position.  I think that one rule of thumb is that White should not play f4-f5 unless he is certain that Black cannot play ...d5 (meeting a flank attack with an attack in the center.)  But this is not always easy to judge.  Does anyone have any other tips for playing this line?

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