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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult? (Read 17631 times)
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #30 - 09/28/09 at 04:58:57
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Many thanks to all those who responded.  I have begun playing the Open spanish using the berlin move order.  This seems to be a great fit for my repertoire... kind of like the 2 knights vs. the italian.  If white plays inferior lines black gets easy equality after a few tactical nuances, and if white plays the critical response (transposing to the open spanish), black gets a more imbalanced game (like the morphy 2 knights) than the quiet lines of the closed lopez.

I trust the comments of Markovich (and others) than if white deviates on moves 5 or 6, black's game is easier than the main lines of the open spanish.  However, it seems impossible to find any literature to guide the black player in the supposedly less critical lines.  I'll make another post in this forum to address these specifically.

Thanks again!
  
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Jormechea
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #29 - 07/28/09 at 15:30:48
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Holbox wrote on 07/02/09 at 08:20:17:
Quote:
I prefer stark imbalances (unclear) to drawish equality.


The Old Steinitz Defense can be your never ending weapon. Try it!!



I think the modern Steinitz with g6 is interesting. I know you said you havent had luck with these types of setups lasting you a life time but my chess coach who has played chess for more than 40 years has consistently stuck with his opening set ups and is now close to 2000.

Its a flexible system and I believe that if you stick with something long enough you will be a lot more comfortable than any of your opponents. If you know your line inside and out then you have the better chance of taking advantage of your opponents mistakes!
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #28 - 07/08/09 at 00:05:39
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My recommendation would be to either play the Berlin Wall, using Cox's book as your reference, or follow Davies's 1.e4 e5 repertoire, but using the two Gajewski variations (9...Rb8 and especially 9...Na5 10.Bc2 d5). Very few <2000 players have seen the line, and none of those have a booked-up response to it.
  

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #27 - 07/07/09 at 18:51:50
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I'm 1800 and felt like Cox's Berlin book was pitched at a significantly stronger player than me.
  
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JonathanB
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #26 - 07/07/09 at 17:35:58
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TalJechin wrote on 07/06/09 at 07:22:43:
For practical reasons - i.e. the popularity of the Exchange variation below the IM-level - I'd suggest the Berlin.

Cox' book on it is an excellent effort ....


Got to agree with you about Cox's excellent book on the Berlin.

I'd also say this about the Berlin (based on my practical experience with it against the kind of opposition mentioned in this thread)

1.  You'll almost never get a Wall against this strength of opposition.  most people play 5. Re1 not 5. d4.  Re1 is very comfortable for Black.

2. As said above the Wall itself is not drawish anyway.


If not the Berlin - which many won't favour because of the potential for the early queen exchange - I found the Zaitsev fairly easy to understand and played it for many years.

Essentially, it seems to me, this is because you can boil the opening down to "attack e4" ... Knight on f6, Bishop to b7, Rook to e8 and get the other bish out the way, play ... exd4 where necessary.

No idea what the theoretical status of it is now but that won't matter for the strenghth of opposition mentioned in the thread.  Also - I found nobody ever takes the forced draw so no need to worry about that.
  

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #25 - 07/07/09 at 15:57:14
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Maybe you should do everyone a favor and do a reunion tour! The Qd3 line is Khalifman's choice if I remember correctly?
  
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Markovich
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #24 - 07/07/09 at 15:38:15
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TonyRo wrote on 07/07/09 at 15:30:29:
I remember quite a while ago (when I was a teenager...given that I've played through my BS and MS degrees, it seems like forever ago...I can only imagine what people who've played decades think about their early chess) when I played this line I thought this page was indespensable, so now I get to thank you in person. Thanks!

http://correspondencechess.com/campbell/hard/h990517.htm

It's from 1999, so you might want to check out all the lines with a database and a number cruncher to make sure these lines still work. I can't imagine the theory of the Classical Ruy Lopez has advanced too far.


You're welcome.  But no, my notes have been totally revised since writing that.  One of the newer ideas is a White's early Qd3 in the c3 line, but Black appears to be OK there as well.
  

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #23 - 07/07/09 at 15:30:29
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I remember quite a while ago (when I was a teenager...given that I've played through my BS and MS degrees, it seems like forever ago...I can only imagine what people who've played decades think about their early chess) when I played this line I thought this page was indespensable, so now I get to thank you in person. Thanks!

http://correspondencechess.com/campbell/hard/h990517.htm

It's from 1999, so you might want to check out all the lines with a database and a number cruncher to make sure these lines still work. I can't imagine the theory of the Classical Ruy Lopez has advanced too far.
  
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Markovich
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #22 - 07/07/09 at 15:19:21
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Schaakhamster wrote on 07/07/09 at 13:08:42:
Markovich wrote on 07/07/09 at 12:23:47:
One defense not mentioned so far is 3...Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5.  This is sound, in my opinion, and quite serviceable.


I do find Nxe5 a bit tricky for black.


It's a good try for White, but I think Black is O.K.  Unfortunately I am not at liberty to share my specific ideas since this defense is relied upon, with good success I might add, by a talented and ambitious former student of mine.
  

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #21 - 07/07/09 at 13:08:42
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Markovich wrote on 07/07/09 at 12:23:47:
One defense not mentioned so far is 3...Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5.  This is sound, in my opinion, and quite serviceable.


I do find Nxe5 a bit tricky for black.
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #20 - 07/07/09 at 12:23:47
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One defense not mentioned so far is 3...Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5.  This is sound, in my opinion, and quite serviceable.
  

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Michael Ayton
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #19 - 07/06/09 at 10:58:09
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[quote]Que? Why do you assume I'm talking about a non-Wall Berlin??
[/quote]

Probably merely because in Reply 13, where you speak of "several set-ups", you don't mention the Wall specifically.
  
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TalJechin
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #18 - 07/06/09 at 10:31:49
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[quote author=nmga link=1246508743/15#17 date=1246872157]Interesting discussion. Taljechin, I'd be interested in knowing which [i]non-[/i]'Wall' Berlin set-ups you/Cox consider attractive for Black. For example, what is the status of 7 ...Ne4!? these days?
[/quote]

Que? Why do you assume I'm talking about a non-Wall Berlin??


[quote]There is certainly something to be said for the Berlin but avoiding the exchange variation shouldn't be its main appeal.[/quote]

Well, it may not be the main appeal, but it's certainly a big perk!
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #17 - 07/06/09 at 09:22:37
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Interesting discussion. Taljechin, I'd be interested in knowing which [i]non-[/i]'Wall' Berlin set-ups you/Cox consider attractive for Black. For example, what is the status of 7 ...Ne4!? these days?

Talking of avoiding the Exchange Variation, I'd like to suggest 3 ...Nge7, followed by ...a6 and ...g6. In my experience this can be great at lower (i.e. my!) levels. You might find these threads of interest

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1141784971/12#12

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1156808757/0#0

http://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1207351628/0#0

though only the first of them took off. I've an improvement for Black which I can dig out if anyone's interested.
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #16 - 07/06/09 at 09:11:16
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TalJechin wrote on 07/06/09 at 08:46:23:
Schaakhamster wrote on 07/06/09 at 07:55:42:
At the 1800 level I don't get why one should be afraid of the exchange variation. It gives a full midllegame where black can outplay his opponent and endgame-skills are very poor at this level (which is my level).


Well, for exploiting poor endgame skills I still think the Berlin ending is much easier for black, while the Exchange imo is easier for white, and at this level white is usually very well booked-up for that ending as there are plenty of repertoire books advocating the Exchange for white...



I'm not going to dispute the value of the Berlin. I do feel it is an opening which will be either a hit or a miss for someone.

Quote:
Besides, in case white plays 4.Bxc6 I'd rather have Nf6 in than a6. In fact the Ruy is probably the only opening where black 'is supposed to' spend a tempo on encouraging white to double his pawns.


okay, are you serious? We are talking about the dreaded Ruy Lopez Bishop? There is certainly something to be said for the Berlin but avoiding the exchange variation shouldn't be its main appeal.


  
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TalJechin
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #15 - 07/06/09 at 08:46:23
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Schaakhamster wrote on 07/06/09 at 07:55:42:
At the 1800 level I don't get why one should be afraid of the exchange variation. It gives a full midllegame where black can outplay his opponent and endgame-skills are very poor at this level (which is my level).


Well, for exploiting poor endgame skills I still think the Berlin ending is much easier for black, while the Exchange imo is easier for white, and at this level white is usually very well booked-up for that ending as there are plenty of repertoire books advocating the Exchange for white...

Besides, in case white plays 4.Bxc6 I'd rather have Nf6 in than a6. In fact the Ruy is probably the only opening where black 'is supposed to' spend a tempo on encouraging white to double his pawns.
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #14 - 07/06/09 at 07:55:42
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At the 1800 level I don't get why one should be afraid of the exchange variation. It gives a full midllegame where black can outplay his opponent and endgame-skills are very poor at this level (which is my level).

The closed lopez is in my opinion an excellent choice. Some of the lesser played variations like the Karpov (Nd7) and Smyslov (h6) are also fully playable. And within the Chigorin there is a lot of choice.

Added benefit is that if one variation should come under pressure from a theoretical viewpoint or you would like some change an other variation is easily added.   


  
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TalJechin
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #13 - 07/06/09 at 07:22:43
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For practical reasons - i.e. the popularity of the Exchange variation below the IM-level - I'd suggest the Berlin.

Cox' book on it is an excellent effort and reading it will be good for your general understanding of chess as well; as it spends a lot of space on typical manoeuvres, good and bad pawn structures and what pieces to trade and why. The Berlin's reputation as drawish is highly exaggerated imo, probably because the 'Spaniards' don't want to face it!

Other benefits of the Berlin is that it's hard to prepare against since black has several set-ups and the focus is on understanding rather than variations.

Besides, if you want to branch out later, you can also enter the Open via the Berlin mainline after ...Nxe4 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 - again cutting out the Exchange variation. Smiley
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #12 - 07/06/09 at 01:24:35
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Agree with Willempie. 

Chigorin with ..Rd8 tends to give good play at the 1800 level.  Good coverage in Shereshevsky's Soviet Chess Conveyer and the Flear book on the Closed Ruy Lopez.

I also like the Bisguier lines with ..Bd7 and ..cd4.  Breyer also a decent choice.
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #11 - 07/04/09 at 12:13:21
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Zatara wrote on 07/04/09 at 03:29:07:
@Willempie: what about the Open Ruy???
Thanks,
Zatara

I feel that it is a very difficult line to play well. If you like tactics, and are very good at it, I think this is one of the best lines available. However I feel that as black you take up too many disadvantages, in particular the pawn structure. On the other hand players like Euwe, Anand and Korchnoi played this line, who are not really known for their risky enterprises as black so I could well be wrong.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #10 - 07/04/09 at 03:29:07
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@Willempie: what about the Open Ruy???
Thanks,
Zatara
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #9 - 07/03/09 at 19:27:35
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The closed seems a good fit with the Nimzo (assuming you go for the more closed structures, generally with c5). Very often the structure becomes sortof fixed (not entirely) and if white plays slow with d3 you can imo already get the advantage with c5. In the closed I'd go for the Breyer or Chigorin. The Zaitsev and Smyslov vaiations are a bit provocative imo, which makes handling it more difficult.
For both I'd recommend openings according to anand 2. It is a "white" book but it is very deep on these lines.
I'd pass on the Marshall. Lots of theory and everyone avoids it anyway.
The delayed Cordel (aka the moller) and the Archangel variation are also very interesting and I would recommend it if you did play the Italian in stead of the TKD.
Whatever Radjabov may say, I still dont trust the Schlieman. Plus even in the places where it is established that white hasnt got enough to win, he is still the one that can play for two results.
If you pick a closed line be sure to have a look at the exchange and some lines with d3 as well. They're not a headache, but you will meet them a lot.

Out of the Breyer or Chigorin the choice is difficult. In the Chigorin the choice is basically to exchange on d4 or not (personally I prefer not to). The Breyer is a system very similar in feel to the Nimzo. It is not really popular at the moment, but you could do worse than play through some games of Spassky.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #8 - 07/03/09 at 13:04:26
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I agree that the Open would be a good choice for this 1800-level player.  Theoretically the lines of most concern to me would be 9.Nbd2 and 9.Be3, but I suppose that Black is doing well enough there.
  

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #7 - 07/03/09 at 00:30:46
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Quote:
I need help picking a Lopez defense to last me the rest of my chess days.  I am a 35 year old 1800 who has been playing about 5 years.  I have only an average memory, but some time for study and aspirations of making master one day.  I have some experience with the Schliemann and the fianchetto defenses.  Neither seem sound enough to last me a life time. 

I am comfortable with gambits, but am leaning away from the chaotic stuff.  I prefer stark imbalances (unclear) to drawish equality.  My current repertoire includes the two knights defense, but I decline the danish, goring and king's gambit with an early d5.  I also play the nimzo-indian, ragozin, and 4 knights english with e5.

Which of these repertoire books is likely the best fit with my other defenses?
"Play 1.e4 e5" - Chigorin, Keres variation (early Nd7).
"Fighting the Spanish" - Marshall gambit
"The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black" - Zaitsev Variation
"A Spanish Repertoire for Black" - Rubenstein or Petrosian system


My advice is the Open Spanish and the great old book (best) by Mikhail Krazenkov (Cadogan). If you like the Nimzo and leaning away from chaotic stuff or lots of moves to memorize, you can learn the Open Spanish ideas in Mastering the Spanish and Krazenkov book and have a solid defence against higher rated opponents and dynamic too.

Play 1.e4 e5" - Chigorin, Keres variation (early Nd7) - I only use half of the book for other systems outside Spanish.
Fighting the Spanish" - Marshall gambit - Interesting but lots of moves for the memory and maybe not your cup of tea.
The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black" - Zaitsev Variation - Outstanding book! Sharp stuff and lots of work. The same as the Marshall book above.
A Spanish Repertoire for Black" - Rubinstein or Petrosian system - Marin is a great author but I do not like these two systems.

  

It has been said that chess players are good at two things, Chess and Excuses.  It has also been said that Chess is where all excuses fail! In order to win you must dare to fail!
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #6 - 07/02/09 at 23:27:57
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It is actually quite hard to recommend an opening at times because you do really need to know what the persons specific personal chess philosophy is.
By this I mean what sort of position do you prefer and feel comfortable with ( and this is distinct from what is sound or even playable with). I myself mainly use two forms of the lopez as Black.
1st - The Open Defense. An old book if you can get it is 'Spanish: Open' by Kevin O"Connell, published by Batsford in 1978. An excellent tome and you can build up from them.
2nd - Alapin Defense 3...Bb4!? and I play this largely for a couple of reasons. One, is that most people (a good 90%) don't know the theory and try refute it by force. Two, it provides good endgame prospects and three, people think your mad for screwing your bishop to b4 so early....and before anyone dismisses this suggestion out of hand, read 'Die Aplain-Variante in der Spanischen Eroffnung by Ebhard Lach', published by Schaverlag Kania in 1995
Thanks
HTH
  

I'm reminded again of something Short wrote recently, approximately "The biggest fallacy in chess is the quasi-religious belief in the primacy of the opening."
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #5 - 07/02/09 at 13:46:35
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CraigEvans wrote on 07/02/09 at 12:57:20:
Someone should really tell Radjabov that the Schliemann doesn't seem sound enough... look like he's being plain silly.

And the recent book that's just been written on the Schliemann... I bet the author would feel really stupid if he'd realised the opening was unsound.  Wink

If you find the positions in the Schliemann to your taste, stick with it. Not to crush your aspirations but the likelihood is that 2200 will be your ceiling, and I've never met a 2200 or below who can refute an opening that the super-GMs can't. The schliemann will do you just fine in the amateur levels.


I once was sure that the Schliemann was unsound, but with Radjabov's ...bxc6 idea after 5...Nf6, I am much less certain.  So I agree that, especially for an 1800 player, the Schliemann looks like a good choice.  It has the excellent practical advantage that Black forces the play already on move three.  You could specialize in the Marshall and never get to play it.  Not so the Schliemann.

I do have a sneaking suspicion, however, that someone will eventually refute Radjabov's line.
  

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #4 - 07/02/09 at 12:57:20
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Someone should really tell Radjabov that the Schliemann doesn't seem sound enough... look like he's being plain silly.

And the recent book that's just been written on the Schliemann... I bet the author would feel really stupid if he'd realised the opening was unsound.  Wink

If you find the positions in the Schliemann to your taste, stick with it. Not to crush your aspirations but the likelihood is that 2200 will be your ceiling, and I've never met a 2200 or below who can refute an opening that the super-GMs can't. The schliemann will do you just fine in the amateur levels.
  

"Give a man a pawn, and he'll smell a rat. Give a man a piece, and he'll smell a patzer." - Me.

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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #3 - 07/02/09 at 08:20:17
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Quote:
I prefer stark imbalances (unclear) to drawish equality.


The Old Steinitz Defense can be your never ending weapon. Try it!!

  

"Ladran, luego cabalgamos", NN
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #2 - 07/02/09 at 07:22:58
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"Play 1.e4 e5" - Chigorin, Keres variation (early Nd7).

- Davies doesn't advocate the classical Keres approach but the interpretation with exd4 which GM Graf used to champion. There were some hig-profile games with it but shortly after "Play 1. e4 e5" theory moved away from it. I have been told by stronger and wiser players that this approach is a bit un-Ruy Lopezish when compared to more classical lines. Added bonus: he also covers all other e4 e5 lines with a lot of sensible repertoire choices.

"Fighting the Spanish" - Marshall gambit

Well the Marshall is the Marshall: there is a fair amount of theory, unwary white players can be caught out and on the highest level it seems to be primarly used as drawing weapon. You should also be prepared for the anti-Marshalls.  Only book of the 3 I don't own or did owned so no idea how good the book is.

"The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black" - Zaitsev Variation

Good book, sharp variation. Very ambitious but not without dangers for black. You'll need to learn the theory and keep up with it. They also offer a backup-variation with Qd7 which is a side-line. Lost it when I moved which is a pity.

"A Spanish Repertoire for Black" - Rubenstein or Petrosian system

I'm looking at this book for the moment. Very well written and a top class author. Within the Chigorin variation the cxd4 variations are more popular but the explanation is very good. As most Chigorin variations are closely linked I think a lot of the material will also help you with other systems.

You might want to take a look a the older RL books by Flear for more diversity (ah the times when an author could attempt to cover all closed variations in one book  of a mere 175 pages).
  
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Re: Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
Reply #1 - 07/02/09 at 04:40:27
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Hi electico,
what about the Open Variation of the Ruy Lopez??!!!  If the open is too tactical then the Chigorin would fit.  The Marsahall and the Zaitsev have a lot of theory even if you have a good memory. 
Good luck,
Zatara
  
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Joined: 04/10/08
Best Lopez Defense for an 1800 adult?
07/02/09 at 04:25:43
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I need help picking a Lopez defense to last me the rest of my chess days.  I am a 35 year old 1800 who has been playing about 5 years.  I have only an average memory, but some time for study and aspirations of making master one day.  I have some experience with the Schliemann and the fianchetto defenses.  Neither seem sound enough to last me a life time.  

I am comfortable with gambits, but am leaning away from the chaotic stuff.  I prefer stark imbalances (unclear) to drawish equality.  My current repertoire includes the two knights defense, but I decline the danish, goring and king's gambit with an early d5.  I also play the nimzo-indian, ragozin, and 4 knights english with e5.

Which of these repertoire books is likely the best fit with my other defenses?
"Play 1.e4 e5" - Chigorin, Keres variation (early Nd7).
"Fighting the Spanish" - Marshall gambit
"The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black" - Zaitsev Variation
"A Spanish Repertoire for Black" - Rubenstein or Petrosian system
  
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