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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Main Lines of the Spanish (Read 21915 times)
TonyRo
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #42 - 03/16/10 at 19:52:53
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Sokolov's book has gotten pretty good reviews from quite a few people, so I'd go ahead and get it. I feel like a GM as strong as Sokolov could give you good stuff to chew on about nearly any topic in chess. Grin
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #41 - 03/16/10 at 19:19:48
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I'm really surprised by all the people saying that they never see the main line Ruy. I play the Chigorin as black, rated only 1700's USCF, and I get as far as 12+ moves of book theory against opponents rated below 2000 fairly often. That's pretty much the only opening where I ever stay in book more than 7 or 8 moves.

Of course, then we reach positions where neither of us have any clue how to play the position. I'm focused on tactics and endgames right now, so I don't really want to take the time to learn the positional play necessary for this right now, which is why I'm looking for a sideline to play against the Ruy instead.

Speaking of which, anyone have a response to my question in the thread about Sokolov's book? Would that be worth getting for me, just to learn something new to play based on reading one or two chapters, instead of having to study whole books on the main line?
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #40 - 01/27/10 at 20:25:46
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You could probably do a lot worse than to follow up the King book with the Ruy chapter of Vlastimil Jansa's "Dynamics of Chess Strategy."
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #39 - 01/27/10 at 19:55:48
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All those Mastering the ___ books are outstanding.  A real shame they're out of print.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #38 - 01/27/10 at 18:43:16
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Markovich,

Your post and some of the replies inspired me to give up my recent foray into the Scotch Game (having never played it in nearly 4 decades of playing the game and finding it a bit weird to play (see related post in this Forum) and to broadening my understanding of the closed Ruy.  To that end, I purchased from a used book seller Daniel King's Mastering the Spanish with the Read and Play Method (somewhat outdated, but the ideas aren't) in which he divides the Ruy up by pawn structure, rather than by variation.  I've read the first 40 or pages of the book and the ideas are clearly and thoroughly presented.  I also like the approach (a novel one, it seems).  I'll supplement it with the stuff available on ChessPub as well the ChessBase database. 
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #37 - 01/17/10 at 19:47:14
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BobbyDigital80 wrote on 01/17/10 at 02:08:31:
What's the status of this line? 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8.
c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nc6

I might like to play that for black. Does anyone here play it?

Van Delft (see above) recommends 14.Nb3 for White, intending to improve on a game he drew against Timoscenko, Vienna 2003: 25.Rxf6 iso 25.Bc5.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #36 - 01/17/10 at 16:56:05
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I prefer 13..Bd7 or 12..Bd7 13.Nf1 cxd4 14.cxd4  when play usually continues 14.. Rac8 15.Ne3 Nc6 16.d5 Nb4 17.Bb1 a5 18.a3 Na6 19.b4.  White may be slightly better here, but Black has a solid position with chances for active play. 

  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #35 - 01/17/10 at 09:58:19
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I saw a recent game Sutovsky v Hess at the World Team Tournament in this line.
Black is marginally worse but I think also Adams held against Kramnik a few years ago.
It's a bit passive for Black but perhaps not as combative as 13..bb7 or 13..rd8 and not as popular as 12...nc6 following Marin's excellent book.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #34 - 01/17/10 at 04:12:23
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BobbyDigital80 wrote on 01/17/10 at 02:08:31:
What's the status of this line? 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8.
c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nc6

I might like to play that for black. Does anyone here play it?


I would think that its status is probably about the same as it has "always" been (quite playable, probably "+=" with best play).  There was a pretty interesting-looking article on it in the Yearbook a few volumes ago.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #33 - 01/17/10 at 02:08:31
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What's the status of this line? 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8.
c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nc6

I might like to play that for black. Does anyone here play it?
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #32 - 01/09/10 at 01:14:00
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He made that announcement more than a year ago, so I am afraid nothing is coming from it. So if you have some detailed question, go ahead. I will look it up for you.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #31 - 01/08/10 at 22:29:46
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MNb wrote on 01/08/10 at 21:36:31:
Play the main lines of 1.e4 as White in 29 volumes of about 4, 5 pages. Though there are some weak spots it should anyone get started. If you want to ask himself:

witrepertoire@hotmail.com

though I am not sure if it is still valid.

Nice. Maybe Merijn is going to make a book from it.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #30 - 01/08/10 at 21:50:37
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I have posted a number of threads about mainline, closed Spanish variations (Breyer, Gajewski, and others), but they rarely receive much attention.  I think the explanation for that has been touched on by others.  Playing correspondence chess, though, I have had to face alternatives to the Ruy Lopez a mere handful of times.  The overwhelming majority of my games have followed the mainline repertoires...
  

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MNb
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #29 - 01/08/10 at 21:36:31
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Play the main lines of 1.e4 as White in 29 volumes of about 4, 5 pages. Though there are some weak spots it should anyone get started. If you want to ask himself:

witrepertoire@hotmail.com

though I am not sure if it is still valid.
  

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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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #28 - 01/08/10 at 21:27:31
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MNb wrote on 01/08/10 at 20:25:11:
Willempie wrote on 01/08/10 at 16:30:33:
Not to mention that when you reach move 9 of the closed the plan is far easier (and familiar) than at any point in the 4knights at move 9 [quote]
I would say that any chance for an advantage in the 4Knights is gone as early on move 3, but OK. White's plans in the 4Knights 4...Bb4 are so simple even I understand them (play through a couple of game by Spielmann...) which I can't say of every line of the Closed Ruy Lopez.
[quote]
Well if you are a little familiar with the closed it is also very easy to find a plan. The only difficulty there is is when you face a better opponent, who knows his counterplay. Then again that is true with any opening and I'd rather face him with the Ruy than with the 4knights for that reason (and that in the Ruy my position will be better than with the 4kn, but that is not in question).

More important, you conveniently neglect what I mentioned before - the Marshall Gambit. No matter if White accepts or avoids it, more accuratesse is demanded than in any line of the Ruy Lopez. One mistake and White gets mated (accepted) or Black takes over the initiative.

Personally I find the open harder to play, but then again I just avoid the Marshall with h3, following my reasoning given earlier.
Quote:
To keep things clear: I don't argue against playing 3.Bb5 - such a good move. I only think your logic is wrong and recommend looking at stuff like Van Delft's series in late Schaaknieuws.

Oh I didnt think you were arguing against it Wink
I am not familiar with it (not being a subscriber), is it some repertoire he writes about? Might be interesting as I am still looking for some reference book on 1. e4 ..not e5/c5/c5/e6.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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MNb
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #27 - 01/08/10 at 20:25:11
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Willempie wrote on 01/08/10 at 16:30:33:
Not to mention that when you reach move 9 of the closed the plan is far easier (and familiar) than at any point in the 4knights at move 9

I would say that any chance for an advantage in the 4Knights is gone as early on move 3, but OK. White's plans in the 4Knights 4...Bb4 are so simple even I understand them (play through a couple of game by Spielmann...) which I can't say of every line of the Closed Ruy Lopez. More important, you conveniently neglect what I mentioned before - the Marshall Gambit. No matter if White accepts or avoids it, more accuratesse is demanded than in any line of the Ruy Lopez. One mistake and White gets mated (accepted) or Black takes over the initiative.
To keep things clear: I don't argue against playing 3.Bb5 - such a good move. I only think your logic is wrong and recommend looking at stuff like Van Delft's series in late Schaaknieuws.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #26 - 01/08/10 at 16:30:33
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MNb wrote on 01/08/10 at 10:53:24:
How did you formulate it again? You arguments are correct on their own but together they are a load of crap or something.  Wink Anyhow a main line of the Ruy Lopez is strategically more difficult than say the Four Knights so the chance of making a bad move is considerably higher for the player with little theoretical knowledge.

No not really. The chance of making an inferior move is greater, but the move itself is usually not that bad. Ie in the Chigorin there are many points at which white has the option between one or two "best" moves, but also has 5 or 6 moves which aren't critical, but still keep the position decent (ie you can still play for an advantage). However play 1 such move in the 4knights and any chance for an advantage is directly gone.
Not to mention that when you reach move 9 of the closed the plan is far easier (and familiar) than at any point in the 4knights at move 9
Quote:
Willempie wrote on 01/08/10 at 10:16:40:
when my opponent plays specialistic openings (prolly to avoid theory).

Here you are connecting two things which have nothing to do with each other. I used to play the highly specialistic 3...f5 against the Ruy Lopez in the 80's and invariably was better after the opening - not because I avoided theory but had delved into the theory of that specialistic line deeper. I gave it up because I lost my faith - ie found good lines for White - and did not want to see my opponents catch up. Occasionally I still try it, especially against opponents that are somewhat stronger but don't have too much theoretical knowledge, with fine results.
The simple truth is this. Even as White you have to know something of several off-beat lines to avoid drifting into an inferior position rather quickly. And in the Vienna there are less of those.

Well against the offbeat, but sound, lines I usually play a safe line. Ie against the Schlieman I am not even going to bother about theory and play 4.d3. In other words I am not trying to punish the line, just to get a decent position where I feel I am better.
Against offbeat, more "idiotic", lines (ie the weirder forms of the modern or a move like 3..Bb4 in the Ruy) I just follow common sense and try to put as much pressure as possible.
Basically I apply the following logic: If the line is weird, you can punish it (in more than one way). If the line is sound I dont bother and try to just play my normal game.
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #25 - 01/08/10 at 13:43:31
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You would think that since there are people who play the Spanish main lines, discussions of them would appear here more often.  In fact if the Spanish gets discussed at all, it's usually about some offbeat defense.  This puzzles me, since 1.e4 is such a popular move and 3.Bb5 is universally recognized as best.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #24 - 01/08/10 at 10:53:24
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How did you formulate it again? You arguments are correct on their own but together they are a load of crap or something.  Wink Anyhow a main line of the Ruy Lopez is strategically more difficult than say the Four Knights so the chance of making a bad move is considerably higher for the player with little theoretical knowledge.

Willempie wrote on 01/08/10 at 10:16:40:
when my opponent plays specialistic openings (prolly to avoid theory).

Here you are connecting two things which have nothing to do with each other. I used to play the highly specialistic 3...f5 against the Ruy Lopez in the 80's and invariably was better after the opening - not because I avoided theory but had delved into the theory of that specialistic line deeper. I gave it up because I lost my faith - ie found good lines for White - and did not want to see my opponents catch up. Occasionally I still try it, especially against opponents that are somewhat stronger but don't have too much theoretical knowledge, with fine results.
The simple truth is this. Even as White you have to know something of several off-beat lines to avoid drifting into an inferior position rather quickly. And in the Vienna there are less of those.
  

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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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #23 - 01/08/10 at 10:16:40
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Antillian wrote on 01/07/10 at 18:19:55:
As IM John Cox would surely say: " 3. Bb5 is a good move, Get it on board and be prepared to fight!"   Grin

(Okay ..you have to have read hit Starting out 1.d4 to get this). 

I played in my first OTB tournament in several years last year and I played all mainline openings with both colours on very limited theoretical knowledge with good results. My rated opponents ranged from 1900 to 2150. I was pleasantly surprised that in spite of my lack of theoretical knowledge, with White I got a significant opening advantage in every single game scoring 4.5/5.  Okay, I played 1.d4, not 1. e4  - but my point is still relevant.

With Black, I was not as impressive, but even then, I was able to hold two draws against higher rated opponents from inferior positions. My only loss was a one move blunder from a better position.

In my previous sporadic  OTB tournament appearances, I had been too theory-phobic and had tried to avoid theory as White, playing sidelines and I fared terribly getting inferior positions often.

I am more and more convinced that below 2200, fear of opponents' theoretical knowledge is a phantom fear. You play mainlines, you get better position and have a better chance of outplaying your opponent.

The main lines are main lines because the best players think those are the best lines. Whence if you play them you are playing the best moves. There can't be anything really wrong with playing the best moves. Even if you screw up later by playing worse moves (as in not the best ones) you will still have a good position. Simply put when you have little theoretical knowledge it is better to play the Ruy than it is to play the Vienna as a bad move will lead to a less bad position.
Personally my results are best when I know about the first 8 moves or so or when my opponent plays specialistic openings (prolly to avoid theory).
  

If nothing else works, a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #22 - 01/07/10 at 18:19:55
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As IM John Cox would surely say: " 3. Bb5 is a good move, Get it on board and be prepared to fight!"   Grin

(Okay ..you have to have read hit Starting out 1.d4 to get this). 

I played in my first OTB tournament in several years last year and I played all mainline openings with both colours on very limited theoretical knowledge with good results. My rated opponents ranged from 1900 to 2150. I was pleasantly surprised that in spite of my lack of theoretical knowledge, with White I got a significant opening advantage in every single game scoring 4.5/5.  Okay, I played 1.d4, not 1. e4  - but my point is still relevant.

With Black, I was not as impressive, but even then, I was able to hold two draws against higher rated opponents from inferior positions. My only loss was a one move blunder from a better position.

In my previous sporadic  OTB tournament appearances, I had been too theory-phobic and had tried to avoid theory as White, playing sidelines and I fared terribly getting inferior positions often.

I am more and more convinced that below 2200, fear of opponents' theoretical knowledge is a phantom fear. You play mainlines, you get better position and have a better chance of outplaying your opponent.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #21 - 01/07/10 at 17:28:44
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Also half the time when I do get the closed Spanish, white has no idea what he should be doing besides a vague idea of Nbd2-f1-g3 and maybe throw a4 in sometime.

MNb wrote on 01/07/10 at 03:03:24:
Matemax wrote on 01/06/10 at 08:15:15:
Or people are pragmatic nowadays (and I dare to say "chess lazy").

If everybody is pragmatic/lazy it makes more sense to look at main lines - chancer are higher that the opponent will not know/understand them.
If I would meet the Ruy Lopez in less than 50% of my games I would meet 1.e4 with e5 all the time, that's for sure.


This is what I was thinking.  If they don't know main lines, play main lines as white and make them suffer.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #20 - 01/07/10 at 10:46:51
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Quote:
When I do meet a non-exchange variation Ruy Lopez as black, it is ussually some old geezer who probably started to play it in the age of the dinosaurs.

Did you play me?  Grin
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #19 - 01/07/10 at 07:55:11
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MNb wrote on 01/07/10 at 03:03:24:
Matemax wrote on 01/06/10 at 08:15:15:
Or people are pragmatic nowadays (and I dare to say "chess lazy").

If everybody is pragmatic/lazy it makes more sense to look at main lines - chancer are higher that the opponent will not know/understand them.
If I would meet the Ruy Lopez in less than 50% of my games I would meet 1.e4 with e5 all the time, that's for sure.


When I do meet a non-exchange variation Ruy Lopez as black, it is ussually some old geezer who probably started to play it in the age of the dinosaurs.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #18 - 01/07/10 at 03:03:24
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Matemax wrote on 01/06/10 at 08:15:15:
Or people are pragmatic nowadays (and I dare to say "chess lazy").

If everybody is pragmatic/lazy it makes more sense to look at main lines - chancer are higher that the opponent will not know/understand them.
If I would meet the Ruy Lopez in less than 50% of my games I would meet 1.e4 with e5 all the time, that's for sure.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #17 - 01/06/10 at 10:03:51
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Well what saddens me slightly is the way that lots of people seem to be irrationally scared of other peoples (broadly non existant) preperation.

Especially in stuff like Weekend Congresses/leagues where no one knows what colour or opponent they're going to be playing in advance, and so specific preperation really doesn't feature.

In that sort of situation you'd think the main line lopez was actually very suitable (for either side) - if you do happen to forget something you're still starting from a sound position with plenty of scope to play a sensible enough move.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #16 - 01/06/10 at 08:15:15
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Quote:
I think amateur chess is pretty much the same everywhere: only a minority (those who find opening study the most interesting part of the game) will seriously prepare main lines.

Perhaps it is simply the same mistake everywhere? Or people are pragmatic nowadays (and I dare to say "chess lazy"). Nothing come from nothing - any result needs work.

Get out of your comfort zones guys and start analyzing the Ruy Lopez! Grin
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #15 - 01/06/10 at 01:44:25
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MartinC wrote on 01/05/10 at 19:58:49:
Actually I'm not sure I've seen a game involving someone who has seemed to prepare any of the main line black things in any depth. I suppose that must partially be down to people playing side lines as white.

I suspect this reflects the situation in the (North at least) UK in general - main lines really aren't that common and don't tend to be backed up with all that much. Other rather important things like Be3 Nardojfs are also seriously rare sights.

In other countries it could be quite different.

I think amateur chess is pretty much the same everywhere: only a minority (those who find opening study the most interesting part of the game) will seriously prepare main lines.

The situation you describe could well be a healthy sign of people knowing their limitiations, since sidelines tend to be more forgiving of lapses in knowledge/memory than main lines. "Play something solid/low theory and at least survive to play the middlegame" is the maxim.

On the other hand I'm always appalled to see people wheel out something razor-sharp like the Najdorf without having a clue about the theory. Sure they're playing a main line but they're really asking to get killed quickly by those who bother with preparation.

Personally I like opening study but not to the exclusion of everything else in chess. I play critical main lines at least some of time because I think that's good for my development, but study them only deeply enough to be slightly better prepared than my opponents.
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #14 - 01/05/10 at 23:22:07
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Quote:
I suspect this reflects the situation in the (North at least) UK in general - main lines really aren't that common and don't tend to be backed up with all that much. Other rather important things like Be3 Nardojfs are also seriously rare sights.

Sounds more like birdwatching than chess  Grin
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #13 - 01/05/10 at 19:58:49
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Well a lot of petroffs for one thing. I suspect more than 2 .. Nc6. When it has got to 3 Bb5 its gone various ways.

What the strong e5/Nc6 players round here seem to do (there are a few of them) is to pick an earlyish side line and specalise in that rather than playing one of the classical main lines.

Actually I'm not sure I've seen a game involving someone who has seemed to prepare any of the main line black things in any depth. I suppose that must partially be down to people playing side lines as white.

I suspect this reflects the situation in the (North at least) UK in general - main lines really aren't that common and don't tend to be backed up with all that much. Other rather important things like Be3 Nardojfs are also seriously rare sights.

In other countries it could be quite different.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #12 - 01/05/10 at 11:26:07
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Noone ever knows how to play Bishops/Vienna properly as black. Cos they spend all their time remembering 20 moves of Chig/Zaitsev/Marshall/Arkh, but on their own after move 6/7 there.

Playing 1...e5 demands a lot of knowledge - starting from the Danish over the Kings Gambit to Bishops Opening, Vienna, Scotch and finally the Ruy.

I know that all 1.e4 openings demand respect and try to work out lines that are a good answer - and you easily find suggestions in "MCO" or "NCO" or on the lovely 1.e4e5 Chesspublishing site. Thats an advantage for Black  who can follow well known paths to equality (and then I accept that the better player will win - and if White is stronger then it's the way it is).

If White comes up with the Ruy things get more complicated - you cant learn all the variations by heart and you are not sure where equalitiy really is. And some point I feel you are left with your intution and positional understanding and your opponent will mostly feel the same (OK not if he is Leko). And at this very point I feel within the chess flow and simply enjoy making moves and seeing what happens.

Of course the Bishop Opening or the 4-Knights also may produce "look alike" Ruy positions - so Ruy Lopez Mainline studying is double worth its effort.

If you want to learn chess play the Open Games (Markovich - and I fully agree) - but dont exclude the wonderful labyrinth of the Ruy Lopez. Since I started playing it with White as my mainline (before I also tried the Ponz, Scotch) I really feel I have improved (well my OTB rating does not reflect that fully (only slightly improving) - but that may also be a problem of too less games (around 15 a year)) and that's what it's all about for an amateur: self-improvement (I hope this word exists in English  Shocked). What other goal could you have? You will never join the elite or even win a bigger tournament, but you notice that your known opponents seem to play weaker (Van Wely called this the proof that you improve!).
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #11 - 01/05/10 at 10:35:02
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Bibs wrote on 01/05/10 at 10:29:45:
Schaakhamster wrote on 01/05/10 at 10:04:29:
I won't dispute the educational value of the mainline Ruy Lopez but basicly Bibs is right. At my level (1700 elo) I see a lot of 2 knights, Italian with d3, king's gambits, some Vienna, some Scots, 4 knights... . If you get the Ruy Lopez, after a6 you'll get a lot exchange variations, a few Woralls and occasionally a proper closed Ruy Lopez where afterwards you have the impression that neither you nor your opponent had a clue... .

As white: same thing there: if your opponent plays the open games  he'll have some perfectly healthy sideline ready for you.



Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear. I play that as white, not black. Noone ever knows how to play Bishops/Vienna properly as black. Cos they spend all their time remembering 20 moves of Chig/Zaitsev/Marshall/Arkh, but on their own after move 6/7 there.
No piggybacking off the greats, just duffers on their own. Who go quickly astray.
Same reason I would never play down mainline Dragon as white.
For decent players, unlike me, with the same approach, see Tiviakov, I Rogers. Pragmatists.


Okay, my bad... .  Grin
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #10 - 01/05/10 at 10:29:45
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Schaakhamster wrote on 01/05/10 at 10:04:29:
I won't dispute the educational value of the mainline Ruy Lopez but basicly Bibs is right. At my level (1700 elo) I see a lot of 2 knights, Italian with d3, king's gambits, some Vienna, some Scots, 4 knights... . If you get the Ruy Lopez, after a6 you'll get a lot exchange variations, a few Woralls and occasionally a proper closed Ruy Lopez where afterwards you have the impression that neither you nor your opponent had a clue... .

As white: same thing there: if your opponent plays the open games  he'll have some perfectly healthy sideline ready for you.



Sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear. I play that as white, not black. Noone ever knows how to play Bishops/Vienna properly as black. Cos they spend all their time remembering 20 moves of Chig/Zaitsev/Marshall/Arkh, but on their own after move 6/7 there.
No piggybacking off the greats, just duffers on their own. Who go quickly astray.
Same reason I would never play down mainline Dragon as white.
For decent players, unlike me, with the same approach, see Tiviakov, I Rogers. Pragmatists.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #9 - 01/05/10 at 10:04:29
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I won't dispute the educational value of the mainline Ruy Lopez but basicly Bibs is right. At my level (1700 elo) I see a lot of 2 knights, Italian with d3, king's gambits, some Vienna, some Scots, 4 knights... . If you get the Ruy Lopez, after a6 you'll get a lot exchange variations, a few Woralls and occasionally a proper closed Ruy Lopez where afterwards you have the impression that neither you nor your opponent had a clue... .

As white: same thing there: if your opponent plays the open games  he'll have some perfectly healthy sideline ready for you.

  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #8 - 01/05/10 at 07:00:00
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And of course many players of the white side fear the Marshall Gambit. There has been some debate on this one in the past. It is my general impression that there is some consensus on it that Black can prove equality.

Most opening lines lead to positions with chances for both sides. Personally I don't like the Marshall Gambit because if White really knows what he is doing Black ends up in a pawn down ending with compensation due to his bishop pair. White also has some 8th move possibilities to avoid it alltogether and try to get back to positional waters - there was a recent Svidler game in Khansynsk I think where he showed how to play this "anti-Marschall" in a splendid way (if I am not wrong).

Quote:
For me - no time as an occasional amateur player (22-2300ish).
For me only Ruy Worrall, Glek, Bishops/Vienna depending.
That does me chopping up anyone below 2200.
If you have the time (child, unemployed, retired, unmarried, self-employed, chess pro) go for it. Sure will be interesting, but I question the dividends versus time invested.

The real question is personal improvement - thats why I still play chess after all those years: full time job, 3 kids, occassional amateur just the way you are (+ I started corr. chess 2,5 years ago to practise theoretical lines).
But working on the Ruy gives me a feeling that I learn something and get a deeper understanding of chess - and if only for 15 minutes a day  Smiley
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #7 - 01/05/10 at 03:04:19
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For me - no time as an occasional amateur player (22-2300ish).
For me only Ruy Worrall, Glek, Bishops/Vienna depending.
That does me chopping up anyone below 2200.
If you have the time (child, unemployed, retired, unmarried, self-employed, chess pro) go for it. Sure will be interesting, but I question the dividends versus time invested.

  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #6 - 01/05/10 at 01:48:07
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And of course many players of the white side fear the Marshall Gambit. There has been some debate on this one in the past. It is my general impression that there is some consensus on it that Black can prove equality.
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #5 - 01/04/10 at 18:53:05
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In "The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black" the authors write about the position after the 9th move from White:

* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * *
*

"Starting at move 9, the Closed Ruy Lopez is a dense forest of related and frequently transposing lines, mostly tested extensively at top GM level. This has to be reflected in any theoretical work - and the result will often look intimitading, with lines only starting to branch out around move 20."


What does this mean to this Forum?

1) Understanding and analysing the Closed Ruy Lopez is hard work - there is no "tic tac toe" chess, well thought evaluations are needed

2) Modern times tell people to look for simple solutions - make deviations and try to get the most of it (which means they play the Exchange or the Worrall with White or take an aggressive system (like the Open Ruy Lopez or the Arkhangelsk) as Black to escape.

3) Anyone working on the Closed Ruy Lopez has to invest a lot of time to find subtelities - just think that the Main Line Chigorin is mostly about an offside black knight (temporal advantage for White)

For myself I play the "Zaitsev" (9...Bb7) and the "Chigorin" (9...Na5) with Black at the moment, but as my white repertoire is also based on the Ruy I need to work on all lines. Consequently one can play this opening with both colours based on better understanding than the oppopent (or not of course - some painful losses have shown me).

The position after 9.h3 is complex and deep - one cannot learn every line by heart - a good mixture of understanding and knowing is the way to success (this is what Shirov tells on one of his DVDs about the Ruy Lopez).

So I really wonder how many serious Forum members are really willing to invest their time into the Ruy?
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #4 - 01/04/10 at 18:47:30
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MartinC wrote on 01/04/10 at 18:39:21:
No idea in general. For a while I did avoid it (with the Vienna) due to range of replies to it, but then realised that that was lame.
I've since been playing the Lopez without very much theoretical backup and doing very nicely overall really.

iirc I've since not seen a single main line open, and only one thing approaching a main line closed (where black got his set up rather confused).

I don't think thats just down to luck - they somehow seem genuinely rare in the North of the UK. I can hardly remember seeing any in congresses/matches and stuff that I've been too.

I suppose this is likely to require active cooperation from both white and black players. A little bit odd/sad I suppose.


So how do your opponents choose to defend 3.Bb5?
  

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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #3 - 01/04/10 at 18:39:21
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No idea in general. For a while I did avoid it (with the Vienna) due to range of replies to it, but then realised that that was lame.
I've since been playing the Lopez without very much theoretical backup and doing very nicely overall really.

iirc I've since not seen a single main line open, and only one thing approaching a main line closed (where black got his set up rather confused).

I don't think thats just down to luck - they somehow seem genuinely rare in the North of the UK. I can hardly remember seeing any in congresses/matches and stuff that I've been too.

I suppose this is likely to require active cooperation from both white and black players. A little bit odd/sad I suppose.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #2 - 01/04/10 at 18:20:19
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I've played e5 for about 2 years against mainly 1800-2400 opposition and have gotten to play only 3 Open Ruy Lopez and only one mainline closed.  In fact, the closed was against an expert who followed theory for a while in the Chigorin and made me suffer.
  
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Re: Main Lines of the Spanish
Reply #1 - 01/04/10 at 14:50:37
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Interesting question. I think it just reflects the reality for most players under master strength where sidelines are not the exceptions but the rule. Thus it makes sense to put some effort into them, also because in some of these lines there aren't an abundance of master games, so there's less "authoritative" opinios and more freedom (and need!) to explore.
There's another reason I believe and that's the insight that almost any opening can be played without much more risk than established main lines. Books like the SOS series or Watsons SoMCS are having quite a lot of impact in this respect.
Therefore it's nowadays quite fruitful to depend on lesser known concepts, even if they're not objectively best. Far more people are interested in winning than the "truth".

(Btw, there's one little anectote I would like to share. While preparing for the last round in a tournament I notives that my opponent did not know much theory at all and always opened 1.d4 I prepared all sidelines of the Dutch. Needless to say, what I got was the Qe8-mainline of the Leningrad, for the first time in around 7 years! He "found" all the moves over the board.)
  
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Main Lines of the Spanish
01/04/10 at 14:02:52
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It says something about this board that these don't get discussed here very much.  The board fills up with threads about the Latvian, Ponziani, the Schliemann, and all sorts of other minor systems, but very rarely the critical variations that determine the viability of 1...e5.

In the Open, discussions here rarely progress beyond the 9th move.  And discussions of the Closed are quite infrequent.  Are there really so few Whites that employ the indisputably best system after 1...e5?  Or is it only that they are so well booked up that they have no questions about it?  Or perhaps it is that only strong players play the Spanish, and strong players prefer to share nothing here?

There's a similar effect in the other sections of this forum (except maybe the Dragon), but it seems much more pronounced here.
  

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