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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) Ruy Lopez at the club level (Read 6656 times)
IsaVulpes
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #7 - 10/27/18 at 11:08:27
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Horatio wrote on 10/26/18 at 15:55:33:
I think this is the issue with the mid-range players. But why?

From my experience, it goes more or less like this:

0-1500: Beginners, who play 1.d4 d5 and 1.e4 e5, because they're told to / those are the most normal looking moves

Then around 1500, people want to stop being beginners, so they put some work in. They learn some tactics, they do some endgames, ..
.. aaaaaaand they of course want to learn some openings, as they almost always believe that's the real crux of their game. Now there's a branching spot between 2 different types of players:
1) At the amateur level, there is a very prominent opinion that 1. ..e5 is playing for a draw ("The GMs make all these draws!"), and wow a 1600 might sometimes play against a 1300, who then of course is unbeatable with 1. ..e5, so instead they have to pick up the Sicilian, because that's the "play for a win asymmetrical yada yada" option.
2) They google "aggressive opening for black, with low theory that gets my opponent out of book, so I can play attacking chess and avoid theory monsters", followed by buying the first book that promises 'inspiring play in the Qd6 Scandinavian' or 'allowing you to put your personality on the board with 1. ..b6' or 'go 1. ..d6 against everything! Wow you only have to learn one first move!' or any number of these things.

Almost none of the beginner-turned-intermediate players goes "So far I've played 1. ..e5, let me learn a bit about that". Almost everyone goes "1. ..e5 is the move for beginners who don't know better, and for superGMs that learn 10 books worth of theory in the Ruy Lopez; let me instead play [the solid caro kann, because the chesscom personality test said I'm a solid player]"

This means in the rating range of 1500-2000, everyone plays either the Sicilian (as the #1 asymmetrical opening, to get away from the boring 1. ..e5), or their own slightly offbeat system that they found in some pamphlet / internet article / anywhere, which promised all of aggressive play, low theory, high practical value, and of course that learning plans is everything you need.. be that the Scandi, some g6 Stuff, 1. ..b6, or something entirely else.

2000+: Now, why does it change at this level? Two possibilities, which it's probably a mix of:
1) 2000s are better, so they understand more things, amongst which is that playing 1. ..e5 is not the worst idea
2) The people around ~1800 level, who figure out that 1. ..e5 is a good move and learn it, quickly raise their rating to above 2000; while the people trying to win with 1. ..b6 are more likely to get stuck at that level

Personally I am part of the latter group - when I was 1300/1400, I read some advice to play "1. ..g6 against everything", and went ahead with that cause wow cool, then at 1600(?) I tried to switch to the Kan & Benko from Pirc+KID, and with Lokander's Open Games with Black I went back to 1. ..e5.
My rise from 1300-1700 with the g6+Kan/Benko complexes took me 12? years despite being a youngster; now in the past 2-3 years I've climbed to 2000 with 1. ..e5.

Regarding the Ruy Lopez itself, there it's strangely a bit different with people being very content of playing their junior opening all their life, but in the end "reputation" is still the main factor;
Even if we ignore the people who switch to c4/d4/Others, we end up with smth like 60% Italian, 20% Scotch, 10% Derivatives (Scotch 4N etc), 5% Kings Gambit, and then equal parts Ruy & "Bollocks" (Reverse Philidor, etc); again people think the Ruy is just something for SuperGMs who know endless amounts of theory, and that it's entirely unplayable if you haven't learned every single moveorder nuance by heart.
Of course a big role here will also play that almost noone goes 1. ..e5, so almost noone really bothers working on their 1.e4 e5 repertoire - you get much better payoff by looking up some Sicilian variations, or even if you study the Alekhine.

E: The same or at least similar also applies to the QGD: Start out playing it, then want to 'emancipate' yourself from it so you either switch to the Slav (if "solid"), the King's Indian (if "attacking"), or the Dutch/various (if "want to avoid theory and surprise my opponent with a system that I know the plans of, while they will have never seen it and will just stumble around!")
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #6 - 10/27/18 at 10:15:41
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When I used to play 1.e4 (in England), far and away the most popular reply was the French - a lot of club players seem to regard this as some sort of black version of the London system, where you get a solid central structure and play the same moves every game.

But, 1...e5 was clear second, followed by the Sicilian, then the Scandinavian and Modern.  I think a lot of players who don't study openings at all just play 1...e5 because that's usually the first move you learn to play against 1.e4 and they've never felt the need to change. 

The major opening that always seemed under-represented to me, was the Caro-Kann.  I suspect this is because most club players who want to play the classical Caro-Kann structure prefer to get it via the Scandinavian instead, because then there's no Advance or Panov-Botvinnik to prepare for.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #5 - 10/27/18 at 09:32:46
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I am not surprised since most white repertour books dont enter Ruy Lopez with white and at clublevel most players prefere either low theory openings or various sicilians.
In ny exoerience at local club the Rut Lopez with Black playetd often plays Jänisch or other offbet lines.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #4 - 10/26/18 at 17:23:16
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Horatio wrote on 10/26/18 at 15:55:33:
[quote author=536542010 link=1540566823/2#2 date=1540568662][quote author=4D6A7764667C3734050 link=1540566823/0#0 date=1540566823]

As said I limited my analysis to ELO range of (very roughly) 1500-2000. Adding 2000+ players makes 1...e5 and Ruy Lopez much more popular and more similar to stats we get e.g. on ChessBase.


Perhaps it's saying that you don't get a respectable rating until you play respectable openings. Playing 1. .. e5 against 1. e4 is a little specialist because you have to know some theory against all the off beat tries as well as some lines of the Spanish.
  
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Horatio
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #3 - 10/26/18 at 15:55:33
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RdC wrote on 10/26/18 at 15:44:22:
[quote author=4D6A7764667C3734050 link=1540566823/0#0 date=1540566823]

Perhaps it depends what games and players you were looking at and over what time period. I have a similar collection which I've been downloading since around 2000 and have over 150,000.



Very likely. As said I limited my analysis to ELO range of (very roughly) 1500-2000. Adding 2000+ players makes 1...e5 and Ruy Lopez much more popular and more similar to stats we get e.g. on ChessBase.

I think this is the issue with the mid-range players. But why? There are plenty of Sicilians (although again not the variations the elite plays - e.g. Najdorf is quite rare), Pirc, French, Caro-Kann, even Alekhine and 1...b6 are quite popular.
  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #2 - 10/26/18 at 15:44:22
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Horatio wrote on 10/26/18 at 15:13:43:
I have recently analysed 20 000 + games played in England at 4NCL, major and minor sections of congresses etc. What surprised me was that:
1...e5 is not even in top 5 replies to 1. e4
2. Ruy Lopez occurs very rarely


Perhaps it depends what games and players you were looking at and over what time period. I have a similar collection which I've been downloading since around 2000 and have over 150,000.

Analysis of these gives 1. .. e5 as second most popular against 1. e4 with the Spanish as the most popular move after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 with the mainstream 3. .. a6 much more popular than the Berlin.

  
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Re: Ruy Lopez at the club level
Reply #1 - 10/26/18 at 15:34:23
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Horatio wrote on 10/26/18 at 15:13:43:
1...e5 is not even in top 5 replies to 1. e4

That's very surprising. I once ran a TWIC database search on a likely rating range for challenging opponents (2000 - 2400 if I recall correctly), and there 1...e5 was a clear 2nd with around 20% of 1.e4 games (behind the Sicilian with around 45% - I don't remember the exact percentages).

So on this question there's something about England, apparently. Is it the weather? Or something in the food?

I remember reading somewhere that 1...e5 is the most popular reply to 1.e4 on beginner level and GM level, but not in-between! Maybe that's what yoy're seeing if you're focusing on club level games?
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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Ruy Lopez at the club level
10/26/18 at 15:13:43
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Hi.

I have recently analysed 20 000 + games played in England at 4NCL, major and minor sections of congresses etc. What surprised me was that:
1...e5 is not even in top 5 replies to 1. e4
2. Ruy Lopez occurs very rarely

I was stunned. I had always thought that Ruy Lopez is one of the most common openings at any level. I suspected that Berlin might be not so common at the club level compared to the elite chess, but other variations of the Ruy should be very common. But this is not the case...

I am curious - why? Do you have any opinions on that? Thanks.
  
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