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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #21 - 04/09/21 at 10:49:00
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If it helps, I got a good dog as a rescue!! She always sort of knew she had dodged a bullet.
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #20 - 04/09/21 at 10:42:06
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You could play the Semi-Slav like the Sam Shankland Repertoire where you avoid the sharp Bg5 stuff by going for the Cambridge Springs.
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #19 - 04/08/21 at 17:06:32
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katar wrote on 04/06/21 at 16:03:58:
ErictheRed wrote on 04/06/21 at 12:12:23:
Well I pretty much quit playing competitive, over-the-board chess around 2012 or 2013, so it's been a while!  *** If I ever return to competitive OTB chess (not likely with three kids aged 8, 5, and 1.5 years old!), these are the lines I'd probably choose.

Sounds like you have put winning at chess on pause in order to win at life.  Smiley


Today we're adopting a two year old dog as well.  I frankly don't know whether I'm winning or losing, but the position has surely changed rapidly!
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #18 - 04/06/21 at 16:03:58
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ErictheRed wrote on 04/06/21 at 12:12:23:
Well I pretty much quit playing competitive, over-the-board chess around 2012 or 2013, so it's been a while!  *** If I ever return to competitive OTB chess (not likely with three kids aged 8, 5, and 1.5 years old!), these are the lines I'd probably choose.

Sounds like you have put winning at chess on pause in order to win at life.  Smiley
  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #17 - 04/06/21 at 12:12:23
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Well I pretty much quit playing competitive, over-the-board chess around 2012 or 2013, so it's been a while!  I was still playing my random Sicilians mostly back then, with the occasional French or Caro-Kann.  Against 1.d4, I kept playing the Triangle and occasional Dutch, but also threw in some Tarrasch and Lasker QGD games, and a few Benko games.  Basically a bunch of random stuff in those last couple of years.

After quitting over-the-board chess, my current "repertoire" is different, but only applies to online play and is not that fleshed out.  I've been playing 1...e5 almost exclusively, and wish that I had taken it up years ago.  It was less work than I thought it would be, and I like the positions that I get.  I generally play the New Archangel (is that what it's called?) with 5...b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 against the Spanish.  Against 1.d4 I'm still a bit random, but mostly play the Ragozin.  I think that these lines suit me very well, as they put an emphasize classical principles like rapid development, space, and central control, but are unbalanced enough to play for a win.  If I ever return to competitive OTB chess (not likely with three kids aged 8, 5, and 1.5 years old!), these are the lines I'd probably choose.
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #16 - 04/06/21 at 09:58:28
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Hi Eric, do you fancy updating us on how this developed ?
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #15 - 10/23/10 at 00:37:16
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katar wrote on 10/22/10 at 22:05:08:
Finally, don't you think your "style" description sounds like it could pertain to Mickey Adams?  What does Mickey play???  Ruy Lopez, Nimzo, 3E342134275503.... 


I'm only mildly familiar with Mickey's games, so I'm not sure how similar our styles are.  I tried modelling my Black repertoire after Dreev briefly--since we seemed to have similar styles and even have very similar White repertoires--but it didn't work out too well.  He's quite happy in the Anti-Moscow and Meran Semi-Slav's, and I'm not.  The Caro may be a fit.

Also, I'm not sure that us "weekend warriors" are best served by copying the chess elite's openings.  They're playing against other elite players exclusively, and we have to do battle with people rated hundreds of points below us on a regular basis (at least I do now).

Quote:
Since it appears you have little experience in 1.e4 e5 with either color, don't you think playing 1...e5 would do loads of good for your chess education from a pedagogic point of view?  OK I've said enough and i'll step down now.  Where's Markovich?


Yes, where is Markovich?  I suspect you're right, which is why I did some work on 1.e4 e5 a couple of years ago.  As I said, I might be talked into playing it, but I want to play it for the right reasons.  I'm afraid that the many Open positions will not suit me that well (though they may be good for my education).
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #14 - 10/22/10 at 22:05:08
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ErictheRed wrote on 10/22/10 at 21:33:24:
It might actually be that 1...e5 is a good choice for me, but I would have a lot of work to do there, am a little put off by all the "romantic" attacking tries White has, and am discouraged about playing into lines that a lot of up-and-coming younger players have played since birth (more or less).

These so-called "romantic" attacking tries are even less threatening than the anti-Sicilians IMO.  What exactly are you afraid of?  King's gambit?  Goring gambit?  Evans gambit?  These are almost never played at a high level for a reason.  Think of them as the "Anti-Spanish" lines akin to the anti-Sicilians.  The Scotch is analogous to the c3-Sicilian in terms of being the most legitimate and most popular sideline.  The Ruy Lopez is your only serious worry, and it suits your description perfectly: a semi-closed, extremely rich strategic middlegame that allows a wide variety of central pawn structures.  Black has rich pawn play in the center and queenside, and Black dictates the play in the mainline RL (White needs to know all these lines and Black need only know one!).   

My opinion is that you greatly overestimate the non-Ruy Lopez tries.  This is to be expected if you have never played those 1.e4 sidelines as White (have you?).  If you've ever tried to build a 1.e4 repertoire, it's just depressing how 1...e5 equalizes in various ways against most of the sidelines.  (Except Ruy Lopez of course!)

Finally, don't you think your "style" description sounds like it could pertain to Mickey Adams?  What does Mickey play???  Ruy Lopez, Nimzo, QID....    Not a bad role model in your situation, i'd say.  Wink

EDIT after your edit:
Since it appears you have little experience in 1.e4 e5 with either color, don't you think playing 1...e5 would do loads of good for your chess education from a pedagogic point of view?  OK I've said enough and i'll step down now.  Where's Markovich?
  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #13 - 10/22/10 at 21:33:24
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Alright I'd better give some background on what I've played in the past and why I'm rethinking things.  First, I'll point out that I've always been a 1.d4 player, only playing 1.e4 in casual games.  Sometimes I think I should seriously try to play 1.e4, but that's another discussion...

vs. 1.e4
When I started playing chess I played the Sicilian Dragon because of the name, using Chris Ward's first book as a resource.  When I was a 1500 player I saw the book The Complete Dragon (by Gufeld?) and some 1900 player told me that Chris Ward's lines were refuted! 

I got depressed, didn't want to have to buy a huge book, and I took the advice of an older Master who hadn't played competitively for 20 years: I started playing the Taimanov/Paulsen Sicilian.  I also played the French for a while during this time.  I eventually gave up the French because of all the Exchange variations and just played the Taimanov/Paulsen/Kan systems ever since (with occasional Kalashnikovs, Scheveningens, etc).  My results are decent, but have never been great for my rating.  Most of my nice wins come from people playing inferior anti-Sicilian lines, which I score very well against (especially when I get a an improved French sort of position).  I also score well against tame Open Sicilian lines.  Although it doesn't happen often, I get in trouble when White plays like a man and aggressively goes down one of the more dangerous Open Sicilian lines--often Black's delay in development in these systems can be a little difficult to handle.  I can post some games later that make me think the Sicilian might not be best for me if people think that would be helpful.

About a year ago I started playing the Caro-Kann a little as well, and my results have been okay: a draw with a 2300 player, draw with a 2000 player, and 2.5/4 against 1900 players.  The positions weren't exactly thrilling, but I know I've only scratched the surface here.

Only for about 6 months, when I was already about 2000 strength, did I study 1.e4 e5 pretty seriously.  I played only one rated game like this, a Vienna against a young 1700 player, and lost (though the opening wasn't exactly to blame).  It might actually be that 1...e5 is a good choice for me, but I would have a lot of work to do there, am a little put off by all the "romantic" attacking tries White has, and am discouraged about playing into lines that a lot of up-and-coming younger players have played since birth (more or less).

I've been thinking seriously about moving the Sicilian to back-up status and using the Caro or French as my main defense.  I would possibly adopt 1...e5 if strong players convince me that would be best.

vs. 1.d4
My opponents play 1.d4 about 1/4-1/3 as often as 1.e4.  As a 1.d4 player myself, I've had more freedom to switch to various defenses (since I've studies them all from the White side).  I've played a lot of stuff over the years, but I'll stick with my main tries:

For a while I tried playing the Nimzo/Bogo, but gave it up because I hardly ever saw the positions I studied.  Probably half of 1.d4 class players play the Torre, London, or Colle, and I got sick of dealing with those.  Escpecially after being commited to 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6, I always felt that the London and Torre actually did give White a very small advantage.  I have John Cox's Deviations book and it doesn't really change my opinion.  Certainly those lines are not very exciting even if Black is objectively equal.  I had a hard time playing for a win there.  The few times I got to play a Nimzo were generally against White players that specialized in 1 particular line (4.f3, 4.Qc2, etc.), and I always felt I was fighting on White's territory.  Some lines seemed hard to play for a win, too, like 4.Qb3.

I played the Noteboom/Meran for a few years but didn't have that great of results, either.  Often, I would obtain the better position (sometimes with an extra pawn after something like 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.Nf3 dc 5.e4 b5) only to find White's extra space in the center difficult to handle in practice.  Some Noteboom positions can get very messy, also.  I eventually concluded that I play better with a pawn center and less complications, so I moved on.

I played the KID for a short time and had great results against weaker players and terrible results against stronger players.  As long as I could follow the standard plans/pawn breaks as I was fine, but when a stronger player insisted on the position becoming a mess (which can happen a lot on the KID), I didn't do too well.

For a while I played the QGD (mostly Lasker's), and again had decent results.  However, I found it very hard to play for a win against the Exchange QGD and 5.Bf4.  In most of those positions, I felt I'd rather be White.

I started playing the Classical Dutch about 4-5 years ago and have had good results, though they are somewhat skewed because I had a rating advantage in most games.  In general, I play it with 7...Ne4 or 7...a5, treating it kind of like a Queen's Indian and don't go all-out for a Kingside attack.  Also, I think the surprise factor played a big role: I got a lot of easy wins after moves like 1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.d5? Nxc3! 9.bc e5 or somethjing similar.  An IM crushed me after 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 d5 4.f3!? and I lost to a 2200 player after 1.d4 f5 2.Nc3 d5 3.Bf4.  I'm still playing the Classical Dutch, but I don't think it's a long-term fit.  White has many dangerous anti-Dutch lines, and once players near my strength actually start studying the main line theory I bet my results will go down. 

I started mixing in some regular Slav games, but in 6 games against 5 different opponents I've had 5 exchanges!  Kind of depressing.  In the Exchange Slav I lost to an IM, lost to a 2250, blundered and lost from a winning position against the same 2250 player, beat a 2200, and drew with another 2200 player.  I also drew with a 1950 player after failing to find a nice tactic in the Euwe variation.  My results weren't terrible mathematically, but the fact that 5/6 of games were in the Exchange Slav really put me off the opening.

I've thought about moving to the Stonewall, Nimzo/QID, or trying the main Slav again.  I've recently wondered about the Chebanenko Slav; Black "surrenders" the center less often there and that might be a good choice for me.

As an aside, I don't personally feel like the Slav and Caro are that closely related--blasphemy, I know.  But whether White has an e-pawn or c-pawn makes a difference to me (though I'm not sure which one I prefer). 

Is anyone still reading this?  If so, thank you!
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #12 - 10/22/10 at 10:12:47
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ErictheRed wrote on 10/21/10 at 21:56:03:
The more I think about this, the more I think I prefer semi-closed or semi-blocked positions.  In general I like getting my pieces to ideal squares and then making a decisive central advance/breakthough (obviously this only happens in a fraction of games, but I'm talking stylistic preferences).  I don't mind positions that are quite blocked as long as I still have pawn breaks to create winning chances.  When the game opens up, I want to have the initiative already, not open it with the intention of engaging in an equal struggle for it like Bronstein or Tal.

I'm also very good at clarifying the center in a way that favors me.  In those positions where both sides have multiple captures or advances they could make (lots of KID positions, the old Rubinstein Nimzo where Black plays both ...d5 and ...c5, the Closed Catalan, etc.) I'm good at sensing the right moment to release the tension and generally understand what pawn formations will favor what piece placements, etc.


So you are good at selecting the right pawn breaks to complement your pieces, and time them well. This suggests that you should play defences where there are many pawn breaks available (even for both sides - since this is a strength of yours compared to your opponents) and more generally many different possible pawn structures. Meaning you should start with fluid pawn centres. One obvious example: Instead of a blocked d6/e5 Sicilian you play a fluid/early non-contact e6/d6 one, where ...e6-e5 may follow later and only if it's good, but White must also look out for ...d5 or, more rarely, ...f5.

The defences I've used most successfully to utilize my skills with fluid pawn centres, are the Pirc/Modern against 1.e4 and the Leningrad Dutch against 1.d4. But you're asking for sound main lines, and I won't bet that either of them are.

A more serious repertoire with fluid pawn centres could involve:

Against 1.e4: ...e6-based Sicilians
(Scheveningen, Najdorf-Scheveningen, Kan, Taimanov, Classical, Grivas)


There are several, and they're thematically similar enough that it's possible to have more than one available. I'm now working on the Kan which is great for creating winning chances against (positionally) weaker players. I intend to add the super-solid Scheveningen at some point; though unsure whether a 2...e6 or Najdorf move order is best to reach it, and whether or not I should allow the Keres attack. Perhaps the least theoretical one (though growing rapidly) is the Grivas Sicilian 2...Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6, as popularized by Grivas in a book and Chessbase articles.

Against 1.d4: The Nimzo-Indian + ??

In the Nimzo Black has several viable choices against each of White's main lines, and the centre doesn't have to get determined early, that's Nimzowitsch's whole point. The big question is which "partner" defence to choose. Both the Bogo-Indian and the Queen's Indian offer positions with fluid pawn centres and a variety of possible pawn structures. The Modern Benoni has a more blocked, semi-open centre, but still both White and black can play with pawns on either the kingside or the queenside, plus of course White can play in the centre. Of these three the Queen's Indian has the best theoretical status.

Alternatively, the King's Indian

...and choose as much as possible lines without an early ...e5. The main problem here stylistically would be the blocked "race" positions in the Classical main line, so there i would recommend looking into either 6/7...Na6 or 6/7...Nbd7. Though I'm not sure if either is theoretically good at the moment.

Edit: Furher points that occured to me when looking at your description of your style:

- Neither the e6 Sicilians nor the Nimzo-Indian normally lead to wild, tactical positions unless Black wants them to

- Both have been played by some of the strongest defenders ever, like (for e6 Sicilians) Botvinnik, Taimanov, Andersson, Adorjan, Anand; (for Nimzo/QID) Nimzowitsch, Karpov, Leko, Adams. Btw. early in his carreer, Karpov played the Kan when he needed to win against weaker opponents.

- The e6 Sicilians can eventually lead to a black space advantage in the centre, after White's initiative peters out.
« Last Edit: 10/22/10 at 11:25:43 by Stigma »  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #11 - 10/22/10 at 03:19:11
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ErictheRed wrote on 10/21/10 at 21:56:03:
It's very hard to define messy positions, but in the Anti-Moscow Black has made weakening pawn advances on both his Q-side and K-side, and his King doesn't have an obvious place to hide.  All for an extra pawn.  I realize this is a viable way to play for a win as Black (and other "positional" players like Dreev do so), but I would prefer White here.  He has a nice, mobile pawn center, his King knows where it's going, and he can work on getting at Black's weakened squares.  I personally wouldn't want to suffer White's initiative with a King in the center and potential weak squares on both flanks for the sake of a pawn.  It's just messy enough for me to screw something up after playing well for 20 moves.


Understood. Given this information it further solidifies the Slav (Chebanenko, or Sokolov), and NID/QID/QGD complexes.

The Dutch Stonewall is actually a real possibility versus 1. d4 given you get space at the cost of a mostly manageable weakness, understanding trumps theory, excellent defenders throughout history have made use of it (Botvinnik, Petrosian, Kramnik), and you can maneuver. Black also retains pawn breaks on the kingside (...g5) and queenside (...c5) depending on what happens.

Based on your description I would rule out the Classical Dutch, and Leningrad, though.

Semi-Slav would get bumped further down the list.

Quote:
The more I think about this, the more I think I prefer semi-closed or semi-blocked positions.  In general I like getting my pieces to ideal squares and then making a decisive central advance/breakthough (obviously this only happens in a fraction of games, but I'm talking stylistic preferences).  I don't mind positions that are quite blocked as long as I still have pawn breaks to create winning chances.  When the game opens up, I want to have the initiative already, not open it with the intention of engaging in an equal struggle for it like Bronstein or Tal.


Understood. That solidifies my mental picture of Slav, NID/QID/QGD, Stonewall Dutch recommendations. All of them fit that description in that pawn breaks are common.

Quote:
I'm also very good at clarifying the center in a way that favors me.  In those positions where both sides have multiple captures or advances they could make (lots of KID positions, the old Rubinstein Nimzo where Black plays both ...d5 and ...c5, the Closed Catalan, etc.) I'm good at sensing the right moment to release the tension and generally understand what pawn formations will favor what piece placements, etc.


Definitely have to simplify my recommendations from my previous post.

Versus 1. e4 - 1...e5, C-K, French.

Versus 1. d4 - Slav, NID/QID/QGD, Stonewall Dutch.

If one were to choose the Stonewall then it would go best with the French in order to use 1. d4 e6 and avoid various Dutch sidelines.

Following in Karpov's footsteps would be combining the C-K with the NID/QID/QGD complex for a highly positional repertoire with plenty of scope for outplaying opponents in addition to not creating any weaknesses. Not surprisingly there's even a transposition from the Caro-Kann to the Nimzo-Indian (1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 0-0 9. 0-0 b6).

Quote:
It was a low point for me as well--we should get back in touch through PMs, I'd like to know what you're doing these days, etc.


I had a feeling based on some of the conversations we had at the time.

I'm going to send you a PM, so be on the look out for it.
  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #10 - 10/21/10 at 22:12:36
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Thanks everyone for the responses so far, I mean it, and I'm thinking about what you've all said.  In a day or two I'll post my previous repertoires, what I liked and didn't like about them, etc.  Hopefully a few more players will chime in.

@MNb and Stigma:
I completely agree about the false dichotomy portrayed by chess authors about chess styles.  That's why I used quotation marks, and why I said that I realize these are generalizations.  For instance, Kramnik was an incredible attacking, tactical player earlier in his career (I think he said in an interview that he wasn't sure what happened to make him change styles, that it wasn't a conscious choice, etc).  I actually do feel a strong affinity for a lot of Karpov's earlier games, but there are times when he plays moves that would never have entered my head (likewise with Petrosian).  I feel a stronger affinity with Smyslov and Botvinnik than Tal or Bronstein, for instance, but I'm not sure how much you can read into that.

I don't try to play prophylactically, but I'm a big believer in "prophylactic thinking."  Though I don't always play prophylactic (like those Nimzovitchian Rook-to closed file) moves, I constantly try to understand what my opponent is trying to do and whether I should make things difficult for him or go on with my own plans.

I also think I calculate a lot, maybe a little too much, but I'm not really sure how much other people calculate.  In post mortems, I find that I've often seen more than my opponent, even when I lose (adjusted for rating, of course).  I have a strong intuitive positional sense and calculate a lot to overcome a weak intuitive tactical sense.  I guess...it's really hard to understand your own thought process.

As a humorous aside, there was a chapter in a Dvoretsky's Positional Play, written by Bareev, where Bareev is analyzing a game he played against Karpov.  Bareev gets into a position where he doesn't really know how he should proceed, when Karpov makes a move that Bareev doesn't understand at all!  So he tries to figure out what Karpov is taking prophylactic measures against, and in so doing figures out what his own plan should be.  Pretty funny (and maybe a little tongue-in-cheek)!
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #9 - 10/21/10 at 21:56:03
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BPaulsen wrote on 10/21/10 at 04:34:07:
Identifying what is/isn't a messy position to you. The Botvinnik Semi-Slav/Winawer Poison Pawn are complete chaos, but the question is how chaotic are certain positions like the Anti-Moscow?


It's very hard to define messy positions, but in the Anti-Moscow Black has made weakening pawn advances on both his Q-side and K-side, and his King doesn't have an obvious place to hide.  All for an extra pawn.  I realize this is a viable way to play for a win as Black (and other "positional" players like Dreev do so), but I would prefer White here.  He has a nice, mobile pawn center, his King knows where it's going, and he can work on getting at Black's weakened squares.  I personally wouldn't want to suffer White's initiative with a King in the center and potential weak squares on both flanks for the sake of a pawn.  It's just messy enough for me to screw something up after playing well for 20 moves.

Quote:
Clarifying what you meant about the center earlier - ie: are blocked centers okay, or do you prefer an open file?


The more I think about this, the more I think I prefer semi-closed or semi-blocked positions.  In general I like getting my pieces to ideal squares and then making a decisive central advance/breakthough (obviously this only happens in a fraction of games, but I'm talking stylistic preferences).  I don't mind positions that are quite blocked as long as I still have pawn breaks to create winning chances.  When the game opens up, I want to have the initiative already, not open it with the intention of engaging in an equal struggle for it like Bronstein or Tal.

I'm also very good at clarifying the center in a way that favors me.  In those positions where both sides have multiple captures or advances they could make (lots of KID positions, the old Rubinstein Nimzo where Black plays both ...d5 and ...c5, the Closed Catalan, etc.) I'm good at sensing the right moment to release the tension and generally understand what pawn formations will favor what piece placements, etc.

Quote:
I'd like to think we've both come a long way not ust as chessplayers, but in life. That was a real low point for me aside from the chess, it didn't seem much better for you either.


It was a low point for me as well--we should get back in touch through PMs, I'd like to know what you're doing these days, etc.
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #8 - 10/21/10 at 20:30:28
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A tangent on players' styles (linked to repertoire choices here):

I realized only when I started studying GM games on my own how hugely exaggerated the claims for different styles among top players are. I understand chess writers do this to invoke drama and "intellectual" conflict, but it's just not fair to those honestly trying to improve their own play to suggest that you can be only an attacker, or only a defensive, prophylactic player, or only an endgame expert, and succeed. Yet this is the take-home message many amateurs get from instructional writers and general game collections.

Alekhine was a great prophylactic player and Karpov a gifted attacker. Sometimes I find it hard to tell their games apart stylistically (apart from 50 years' worth of opening theory of course). Smyslov (a not-so-prophylactic  positional player?!) played some of the greatest prophylactic masterpieces ever, against Reshevsky (Moscow 1948) and Denker, for example.

With this need many people have to put top players neatly into boxes, you get amateur self-declared attackers criticizing great all-around players (as all world-class GMs are) like Leko and Petrosian for not being aggressive enough, when in reality both those great players could totally annihilate said amateurs from any reasonable attacking position. It's sickening, really.

Just had to get that off my chest. Now go back to your repertoire suggestions!  Smiley
« Last Edit: 10/22/10 at 09:39:26 by Stigma »  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #7 - 10/21/10 at 16:48:55
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Against 1.e4:
I would suggest 1...e5 since your biggest priority is to secure space in the center.  Specifically, I would point you to Mihail Marin's 2 repertoire books on 1...e5.  He avoids sharp "theory contests" out of the opening-- for example by preferring the Giuoco over the Two Knights and opting for the KG Declined.  Marin's Ruy Lopez defense is the Closed Chigorin line 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 and now either 12...Nc6 (the Rubinstein Variation) or 12...Bd7 (the Petrosian System).  As an alternative, you might also investigate 11...Nfd7 (the Keres variation), where one idea is pawn play with the f-pawn (which should appeal to your preference for pawn play in the center).  Nigel Davies covers the Nfd7 line in his "Play 1...e5" and i believe Shereshevsky suggested this same variation in the Soviet Chess COnveyor.

Against 1.d4:
This is a harder question.  1...d5 claims space but the pawn structures tend to resolve quickly into something set in stone rather than fluid in the middlegame (e.g., Carlsbad, IQP, etc)-- in other words, my impression is that neither side is particularly flexible with their pawn play, but the middlegame instead revolves around well-known positional themes (eg, minority attack).  Therefore I'd suggest Nimzo-Indian and Bogo-Indian due to their greater flexibility with the central pawns.  There is nothing wrong with QID of course, but my impression (as one who doesnt play any of these openings for either color) is that Bogo secures Black more central space with pawns than the QID.  Black is not getting overrun by white's center pawns, White can't force tactical chaos without Black's permission, and Black has huge flexibility with his own fluid pawn center.  Don't laugh, but as a starting point i'd even mention the Dzindzi/Alburt/Perelshteyn book. 
  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #6 - 10/21/10 at 10:34:39
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You definitely should play some mainstream stuff, but still modestly ambitious ones. So the Tartakower comes to my mind, combined with ...c5 against 5.Bf4.

3.Both players always keep at least one centre pawn eacht.
4.Black's play is based on sound positional principles.
5.Pawn moves are directed at gaining space.
6.Manoeuvring skills are a pre in these openings.
7.Black tries to get the initiative and evt. initiates an attack against White's King if the necessary positional conditions are fullfilled. Eg there are some lines the Tartakower in which Black opens the position with d5-d4 against a king on e1.
8.See 7.
9.Defending usually revolves around subtle positional points.
10.Most positions are quite standard, still require imagination to get out the most of it.

Later edit:

ErictheRed wrote on 10/21/10 at 00:31:33:
I think I'm more of a "positional" player than a "tactical" player.  I'm a very good "builder" and can maneuver well.  However, I consider myself not a prophylaxis-first player like Karpov.

You should reconsider this. When he was WCh Karpov in fact was one of the most dangerous attacking players around; not the messy type, but always based on solid positional ground. His wins with the Keres Attack made the Scheveningen look like refuted. Don't forget either that he is about the only player who defeated Kasparov as Black by playing a gambit (Kasparov declined and still got creamed).
He turned to a prophylactic style after he had lost the title, could not beat Kasparov against the Najdorf and grew older.
In fact Karpov from 1970-1985 very much fits your description of your own style.
« Last Edit: 10/21/10 at 15:14:00 by MNb »  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #5 - 10/21/10 at 06:49:39
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It sound like you definitely should have the Caro-Kann in your repertoire, either as a main defence or backup. True, you have less space, but it's easy to learn, very solid and gives black a fundamentally sound position. If you're a good defender and positional player then you'll be extremely hard to beat and outplay a lot of players who're either weaker or overextend their positions.
It's not the sharpest weapon available but if that's OK for you then the Caro sounds like an excellent choice.
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #4 - 10/21/10 at 04:34:07
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ErictheRed wrote on 10/21/10 at 03:53:33:
By the way, what other information would you think helpful in making a recommendation for me?  I tried to give an honest assessment of my play, likes and dislikes, etc.


Identifying what is/isn't a messy position to you. The Botvinnik Semi-Slav/Winawer Poison Pawn are complete chaos, but the question is how chaotic are certain positions like the Anti-Moscow?

Clarifying what you meant about the center earlier - ie: are blocked centers okay, or do you prefer an open file?

Quote:
  It might help you to know that we knew eachother pretty well at one point (basically lived together in Arizona one summer), but I think we've both come a long way since then. 


Ah, I had no idea that was you since the screen name didn't match your real name.

I'd like to think we've both come a long way not just as chessplayers, but in life. That was a real low point for me aside from the chess, it didn't seem much better for you either.
  

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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #3 - 10/21/10 at 03:53:33
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Thank you very much for the post, Bryan!   I had a feeling you'd be the first to respond.  I'll think on what you've said, but I don't want to comment much until I've given it some thought and allowed some other people to respond (I don't want to influence their recommendations by talking about which openings I've already tried, etc).

By the way, what other information would you think helpful in making a recommendation for me?  I tried to give an honest assessment of my play, likes and dislikes, etc.  It might help you to know that we knew eachother pretty well at one point (basically lived together in Arizona one summer), but I think we've both come a long way since then. 
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #2 - 10/21/10 at 03:51:45
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Hi Ericthered,
NO I am not a master.  But you helped me so I might give you some things to think about though Bpaulsen did well.  First I would say play 2 defences as Black and maybe add a positional 1.e4 rep or try NF3 or c4 as white. 
But you asked about Black:
I think the 2 best defences for you are the slav and Nimzo/ragozin  and vs 1.e4 play Caro Kahn and Berlin vs Ruy Lopez defence! 
slav buy Vigus's book and Nimzo buy Dearing's book and Ragozin just study recent GM games!  The Caro buy the recent book by Quality chess books!  and Berlin buy Cox's book.  These books are extremely well written which is another reason I recommend these repertoire suggestions!!

Now I go through your criteria as best I can for the openings I recommend above!
1. You like main lines hence the Berlin Ruy caro, slav and Nimzo  That was easy
2. Good memory: this will allow you to play 2 defences vs 1.e4 and 1.d4! 
3. pawn centers: the Nimzo/Ragozin are good for pawn centers and slav similar this fits best with the Berlin caro not a much but as with the slav you get good levers
4. Position not a mess: Berlin makes real sence.  Caro sometimes the advance lines like shirov's line can be messy, but at least it is not the Winawer!!!  slav and Nimzo/ragozin fit pretty well maybe Ragozin too messy then play QID!
5. space: Berlin and Slav and Nimzo are good here
6. Positional: Berlin is great then maybe SLav more positional then Nimzo maybe!
7. initiative all are pretty active Berlin less so, but you can't have everything!
8. you say you are not materialistic: none of these are gambit lines, you can add gambits vs weaker players especially in the Nimzo with b5 moves
9. You defend well, Caro is good and berlin good too and you will use your defence with the Ragozin as it gives somewhat an airy king sometimes
10 you are a Capablanca or Botvinik: I think they will be smiling from heaven about the caro/Berlin and slav/Nimzo!

If I were to choose 2 they would be the Berlin!  and SLav!
hope this helps!,
Zatara
  
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Re: Recommend Black repertoire for my style
Reply #1 - 10/21/10 at 01:26:43
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Your post is a tall order, you put all this emphasis on space, when the reality is black isn't going to get a space advantage of any sort the vast majority of the time. The key difference is black's responses need to off-set white's space due to requiring white weaknesses, etc.

I'll list candidates based on your statements, then a summary at the end.

1. Based on your desire to play main line openings that keep winning chances versus lower rateds, and rich play versus higher rateds the candidates are:

1. e4 - 1...e5, Sicilian, French, Caro-Kann.

1. d4 - Nimzo-Indian paired with either the Queen's Indian with 4...Ba6 or the Ragozin/Vienna QGD along with some sort of Catalan response, King's Indian Defense, Grunfeld Defense, Semi-Slav, Dutch Defense.

2. Every opening listed above is heavily theoretical.

3. As black I would say the emphasis is less on pawn center than having a central majority with the potential to become a pawn center. Also, you're not clear by what you mean pawn play in the center - fluidity of structure, or blocked center? Anyway, the closest I can identify to this is:

1. e4 - e5 (black tends to stake out an e5/c5 pawn front in a lot of Ruy Lopez defenses), Sicilian Defense (black obtains a central majority in the main lines)

1. d4 - Semi-Slav stands out as black erecting a firm pawn structure in the center, and defining the nature of the play. The hypermodern defenses (NID/QID, Grunfeld, KID) tend to cede space for counterplay other benefits.

4. Your idea of a mess is pretty vague - the Botvinnik Semi-Slav is a mess, but is the Anti-Moscow Gambit?

It's hard to make a recommendation.

Anyway, I'd say that retains 1...e5 versus 1. e4.

If the Anti-Moscow doesn't scare you it'd keep the Semi-Slav as a possibility. Aside from that, the NID/QID (or QGD) complex are notorious for giving white little to chew on positionally.

Same for the Slav.

5. You're not going to get a space advantage as black most of the time as said previously. All you can do is play openings where there's a chance the middlegame sees black take over the space advantage.

6. If this indicates a liking for blocked positions than suddenly the Caro-Kann, and French Defense become very real options. There is a lot of maneuvering and positional feel necessary to play those openings well.

As someone able to maneuver the NID/QID complex springs to mind as being positional without incurring too much of a space deficit.

The Chebanenko Slav is another candidate, or just the main line Slav.

In the Dutch black seeks out his own space.

7. That doesn't do a whole lot for me any player has to be able to do that regardless of opening.

8. That doesn't do a whole lot for me any player has to be able to do that regardless of opening.

9. That does give certain openings some unique leverage - it means that so long as your opening choices incur as few weaknesses as possible in your position that you can go toe-to-toe with anyone.

Against 1. e4 - that'd be 1...e5 and 1...c6. Both go over great with natural defenders.

Against 1. d4 - that'd be the NID/QID, the QGD (alone or in tandem with the NID), Slav, Semi-Slav.

10. That cuts out much of the Sicilian against 1. e4, and the Grunfeld/KID versus 1. d4. It's tenuous in regards to the Semi-Slav.

In summary:

Versus 1. e4

1...e5 stands out perhaps the most as fulfilling the criteria that you like space, pawn centers, aren't afraid of theory, the idea that you're a good defender, and that it offer good chances regardless of opponent. In the case of the Ruy Lopez (perhaps the main line to 1...e5) your maneuvering skill comes in handy as well.

I mentioned the Sicilian a few times previously in some of the criteria you mentioned, but unfortunately your weakness with messy positions stands out too strongly to really recommend it. It also cedes space in the hopes that eventually black can use his pawn center, so I can't recommend it.

The French Defense really only fulfills your requirements that it provide winning chances, it provides for maneuvering, and defenders can do well with it. In comparison, black is ceding a space advantage (something you've put a high premium on) from the get-go. It is a possibility, but not as strong a one as 1...e5.

The Caro-Kann heavily plays to your strengths as good at maneuvering, it has central play, winning chances versus everyone, is great for defenders, and theoretical knowledge is a must. The downside is black tends to operate from less space than 1...e5.

So in order of possibilities of recommendations versus 1. e4:

#1) 1...e5
#2) Caro-Kann
#3) French Defense
#4) Sicilian Defense

Versus 1. d4

The NID/QID (or QGD) complex is theoretical, offers winning chances, sees black assume assume his share of the center (or obtain central majority), is good for maneuvering, and great for defenders. The downside is this requires you have a defense to the Catalan.

The Semi-Slav complex is theoretical, offers winning chances, great for defenders (particularly if going the Cambridge Springs route). The downside is that some of the positions are messy - ie: Anti-Moscow Gambit.

Your emphasis on space rules out the KID/Grunfeld, the most glaring examples of black ignoring space for other benefits.

The Slav provides winning chances versus all, is theoretical, favors maneuvering, and favors defenders.

The Dutch seeks out space, provides winning chances, black absolutely has to know theory, however in some ways 1...f5 is just as much a curse as a blessing.

So in order of possibilities for 1. d4 (in parenthesis the openings that are universal to 1. d4/1. c4/1. Nf3 in that the set-up works in a satisfactory manner theoretically)

#1) Slav with 4...a6, or Main Line (Universal if paired with Caro-Kann due to 1. c4 c6 2. e4)
#2) NID/QID (or QGD)/Catalan complex (Universal if played with QGD)
#3) Semi-Slav (Universal if paired with Caro-Kann due to 1. c4 c6 2. e4)
#4) Dutch Defense
#5) King's Indian Defense (Universal)
#6) Grunfeld Indian Defense

Going with the top choices that'd leave you as a 1. e4 e5, and Slav player. If aiming to be completely covered everywhere you might go Caro-Kann and Slav/Semi-Slav.

The recommendations might be different if there were more information. If you felt I weighted something too heavily, the second, or even third choices could be chosen instead.
  

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Recommend Black repertoire for my style
10/21/10 at 00:31:33
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I'm re-evaluating my Black repertoire and I'm turning to the experts on ChessPub for advice.  Please read this post carefully and make a recommendation for my Black repertoire (vs. 1.e4 and 1.d4) that you think would best suit my strengths.  I'm not interested in having you post your favorite lines as recommendations--if you can't show how the lines you recommend meet my play style (listed below), don't respond.

First off, I'm 32 and currently rated about 2130 USCF but have been higher in the past (I took almost 2 years off from playing, and I'm a little rusty).  I'm trying to get my rating above 2200 and keep it there (I was 2203 after one
tournament)!

As White, I play 1.d4 and I'm fairly happy with the positions I get.  My repertoire consists of the Catalan, Saemisch vs. the KID, Modern Exchange with 8.Rb1 against the Grunfeld (though I'm not super comfortable here), main lines with 2.g3 against the Dutch, both 3.Nc3 and 3.Nf3 against the Slav (with main lines to follow), and usually 3.e4 against the QGA.  Here's a breakdown of my style:

1.  I want to play main line, sound openings, that offer good winning chances against weaker players and rich play against stronger ones.  Sometimes I wish there were a little more winning chances as White in the Closed Catalan, but you can't have everything!

2.  I have a good memory and am not afraid of learning some theory.

3.  I like pawn centers.  I generally don't like wide-open positions with no pawn play in the center. 

4.  I like having a "position" and not a mess.  I read somewhere that back in the 70s, someone was watching some young masters analyze a position in the Sveshnikov Sicilian, and they exclaimed: "Black doesn't have a position, just a collection of weaknesses!"  That's not what I'm after.  The Botvinnik Semi-Slav and Poisoned Pawn Winawer are out.

5.  I like space and play very well with a space advantage (though it's rare for Black to get a space advantage in the opening).  After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5, for instance, I have a tremendous score.   

6.  I think I'm more of a "positional" player than a "tactical" player.  I'm a very good "builder" and can maneuver well.  However, I consider myself more of a Smyslov type positional player, not a prophylaxis-first
player like Petrosian or Karpov (I realize this is a generalization).

7.  Though I'm a "positional" player, I like the initiative and am a pretty dangerous attacker when I have it.  Here's a game excerpt (G/45) I played against a 2350 player to show you what I mean:

[White "ErictheRed"]
[Black "2350 Player"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O dxc4 7. Na3 Bxa3 8.
bxa3 b5 9. a4 a6 10. Ba3 Re8 11. Ne5 Nd5 12. e4 Nb6 13. Qh5 Qf6 14. a5 Na4 15.
Nc6 (15. Nxc4 $1) 15... Nxc6 16. e5 Qd8 17. Bxc6 Bd7 18. Be4 $1 g6 19. Qh6 Nc3
20. Bf3 $1 c6 21. Rfe1 and I went on to win.  However, I sometimes conduct a nice attack but fail to find the knock-out punch at the critical moment.

8.  I'm not materialistic: I like making positional sacrifices of a pawn or the Exchange, etc., for long-term compensation.  However, I generally want clear positional plusses that I can work with.  I don't like complications just for the sake of complications.  Here's an example of an intuitive sacrifice to change the course of a game that had gone my opponent's way (G/60):

[Date "2010.06.30"]
[White "ErictheRed"]
[Black "2203 Player"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 Bd6 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 Re8 8. Nf3
Bc7 9. O-O d6 10. Re1 a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. h3 Rb8 13. Bf4 Nf8 14. Qc2 Ng6 15. Bg5
h6 16. Bd2 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. e4 Bd7 19. b3 Bb6 20. Rab1 Qc7 (Black basically has everything he wants, so I sac the exchange!) 21. Nd1 Ra8 22. Bc3 Ba5 23. Bxf6! Bxe1 24. Nxe1 gxf6 25. Ne3 Re7 26. Kh2 Rae8 27. Rc1 Qa5 28. Nd3 Rc8 29. Qb2 Kg7 30.h4 Ne5 31. Nf4 Ree8 and I unfortunately missed the knockout 32. Nh5+ and went on to only draw.

9.  I was told by an IM where I used to live that I am a very good/tenacious defender, and that the local Masters had a very hard time beating me.  Perhaps that makes me similar to Lasker or Korchnoi?

10.  I think the weakest part of my game is my intuitive feel for messy, complicated, tactically charged, non-standard positions.  I admire Tal, Bronstein, Kasparov, Alekhine, etc., but I'm more of a Smyslov, Capablanca,
or Botvinnik.

Please recommend a Black opening repertoire for me, and if possible justify it by how closely it matches my chess playing charecteristics listed above.  I would especially like to hear from people who are stronger players than me.  Thanks in advance; I hope to get a lot of food for thought as I try to make Master for good this time!
  
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