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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Should the opening sections be reorganised? (Read 625 times)
Jack Hughes
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #25 - Today at 08:41:34
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trw wrote Today at 05:16:27:
I went ahead and looked it up for my own amusement and to add a layer of discussion to the conversation. Combining all major correspondence games and filtering for 2300+,
There has been 25,238 Najdorfs vs 1,639 Dragons. It might be time to consider the Najdorf in its own section... BTW, white scores 70% so that may be a big reason why Dragon is almost never seen.

Oh absolutely, in terms of correspondence popularity absolutely the Najdorf is far, far more deserving of its own section than the Dragon/Accelerated Dragon complex. I'm curious about your statistics though, in the database I've compiled of ICCF games since 2017 white scores just under 60%, which is clearly inferior to the Najdorf and Sveshnikov, but not exactly a disaster either.
The reason I brought up ICCF games was solely to help Chris find theoretically relevant games. Even if this source isn't even nearly as fruitful as for the Najdorf,I think there should be more than enough to get 12 games a month there.
  
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trw
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #24 - Today at 05:16:27
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I went ahead and looked it up for my own amusement and to add a layer of discussion to the conversation. Combining all major correspondence games and filtering for 2300+,
There has been 25,238 Najdorfs vs 1,639 Dragons. It might be time to consider the Najdorf in its own section... BTW, white scores 70% so that may be a big reason why Dragon is almost never seen.
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #23 - Today at 03:59:30
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Stigma wrote Today at 02:26:46:
Jack Hughes wrote Today at 01:07:56:
Just looking at the ICCF archives from 2017 onwards, Michel Lecroq (~2600) has played the Dragon in seven games with black, while Stephen Ham (2583) and German Fabian Benz (2554) have both played it more than once. Of course it's not anywhere near as popular as the Berlin or the Najdorf, but it's still probably a bit more popular than OTB.

I know this has been discussed before, but (as of 2019) do you need to actually be an ICCF player to get access to regular updates of these archives?

I've never had much interest in playing CC, but following top CC games for theory would still be useful.


You do but its free to join and have an account... you don't have to play. Although they offer a free event every year (jubilee I think is the name). Also, at this point, there are so many people downloading the games and posting them elsewhere. I think Chessbase for example now includes ICCF games into Mega.
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #22 - Today at 03:10:08
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Jack Hughes wrote Today at 01:07:56:
Just looking at the ICCF archives from 2017 onwards, Michel Lecroq (~2600) has played the Dragon in seven games with black

Incidentally I recognize that surname in connection with the Dragon and CC ...but only because I have a recollection of a game Lecroq-Nesis from the early 1980s (in a then main line of the 9. Bc4 Yugoslav).
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #21 - Today at 02:26:46
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Jack Hughes wrote Today at 01:07:56:
Just looking at the ICCF archives from 2017 onwards, Michel Lecroq (~2600) has played the Dragon in seven games with black, while Stephen Ham (2583) and German Fabian Benz (2554) have both played it more than once. Of course it's not anywhere near as popular as the Berlin or the Najdorf, but it's still probably a bit more popular than OTB.

I know this has been discussed before, but (as of 2019) do you need to actually be an ICCF player to get access to regular updates of these archives?

I've never had much interest in playing CC, but following top CC games for theory would still be useful.
  

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trw
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #20 - Today at 01:37:44
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Jack Hughes wrote Today at 01:07:56:
trw wrote yesterday at 23:05:32:
Jack Hughes wrote yesterday at 22:22:09:
- I have always thought that the Dragon section owes its existence to the cult-like devotion of its followers at club level (whose numbers have traditionally been much greater than one would expect based its popularity amongst the elite). In the silicon age I feel that its harder in general to keep a cult following, and that correspondingly it doesn't have the legion of advocates that it used to. This is very much just a personal assessment of the 'vibe' however, so I'd be interested in hearing whether others share this impression. The closest I can think of to evidence I could provide here would be the existence of magazines specifically for the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit that Gambit has referred to in the BDG section, which I find rather difficult to imagine today.
- If authors are struggling to find games, then I would request that the author take a closer look at games on the ICCF.


I have never seen a dragon ICCF game at a high level. I will say however that if authors start to follow ICCF games... it will become much harder to annotate but probably also more valuable. That said, I think you would see the top 4-5 openings are 1. Najdorf 2. KID 3. French 4. Anti Moscow 5. Nimzo

Just looking at the ICCF archives from 2017 onwards, Michel Lecroq (~2600) has played the Dragon in seven games with black, while Stephen Ham (2583) and German Fabian Benz (2554) have both played it more than once. Of course it's not anywhere near as popular as the Berlin or the Najdorf, but it's still probably a bit more popular than OTB.
At any rate, the reason I brought up ICCF games was that they don't need to be played at the highest levels of correspondence chess, since the opening and subsequent play of even 2100 players will be based on serious engine analysis. With that in mind, I would have thought it would be possible to easily get 12 high quality games a month even for a section as niche as the Dragon using ICCF games alone.


Pardon me, I didn't mean it hasn't been played I meant it hasn't been played against me. I am a 2400 ICCF player. But that's totally off topic, I think if start to include ICCF, there is even less reason for Dragon to have its own section as its definitely in need to move Najdorf to its own.
  
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Jack Hughes
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #19 - Today at 01:07:56
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trw wrote yesterday at 23:05:32:
Jack Hughes wrote yesterday at 22:22:09:
- I have always thought that the Dragon section owes its existence to the cult-like devotion of its followers at club level (whose numbers have traditionally been much greater than one would expect based its popularity amongst the elite). In the silicon age I feel that its harder in general to keep a cult following, and that correspondingly it doesn't have the legion of advocates that it used to. This is very much just a personal assessment of the 'vibe' however, so I'd be interested in hearing whether others share this impression. The closest I can think of to evidence I could provide here would be the existence of magazines specifically for the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit that Gambit has referred to in the BDG section, which I find rather difficult to imagine today.
- If authors are struggling to find games, then I would request that the author take a closer look at games on the ICCF.


I have never seen a dragon ICCF game at a high level. I will say however that if authors start to follow ICCF games... it will become much harder to annotate but probably also more valuable. That said, I think you would see the top 4-5 openings are 1. Najdorf 2. KID 3. French 4. Anti Moscow 5. Nimzo

Just looking at the ICCF archives from 2017 onwards, Michel Lecroq (~2600) has played the Dragon in seven games with black, while Stephen Ham (2583) and German Fabian Benz (2554) have both played it more than once. Of course it's not anywhere near as popular as the Berlin or the Najdorf, but it's still probably a bit more popular than OTB.
At any rate, the reason I brought up ICCF games was that they don't need to be played at the highest levels of correspondence chess, since the opening and subsequent play of even 2100 players will be based on serious engine analysis. With that in mind, I would have thought it would be possible to easily get 12 high quality games a month even for a section as niche as the Dragon using ICCF games alone.
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #18 - yesterday at 23:05:32
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Jack Hughes wrote yesterday at 22:22:09:
- I have always thought that the Dragon section owes its existence to the cult-like devotion of its followers at club level (whose numbers have traditionally been much greater than one would expect based its popularity amongst the elite). In the silicon age I feel that its harder in general to keep a cult following, and that correspondingly it doesn't have the legion of advocates that it used to. This is very much just a personal assessment of the 'vibe' however, so I'd be interested in hearing whether others share this impression. The closest I can think of to evidence I could provide here would be the existence of magazines specifically for the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit that Gambit has referred to in the BDG section, which I find rather difficult to imagine today.
- If authors are struggling to find games, then I would request that the author take a closer look at games on the ICCF.


I have never seen a dragon ICCF game at a high level. I will say however that if authors start to follow ICCF games... it will become much harder to annotate but probably also more valuable. That said, I think you would see the top 4-5 openings are 1. Najdorf 2. KID 3. French 4. Anti Moscow 5. Nimzo
  
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Jack Hughes
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #17 - yesterday at 22:22:09
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Hi all, hope you don't mind a non-subscriber on only his second post sharing his thoughts. I have, however, been a lurker on the forums and the site for over a year, and I would make the following arguments.
- The division of the King Pawn section into Spanish and Non-Spanish makes a great deal of sense. The Italian alone I think is popular enough at top level to justify this - the April update was titled "More popular than the Spanish?" after all. Combined with the Petroff, which is also very trendy, and the occasional outing for the Four Knights, Scotch etc. should be more than enough material.
- I also wouldn't mind splitting the Queen's Gambit section. My suggestion for doing this would to divide it into variations that usually arise from what Grischuk has called the 'normal position' after 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 (e.g. Bf4 QGD, Ragozin, Vienna, Semi-Tarrasch) and those that usually through another move order (e.g. QGD Exchange, Catalan, Slav, QGA). Based on a quick search in my database of 2019 games this would mean a little bit more work for the latter, but not too much, and definitely a better deal for them than whoever is doing the QG section currently has. It would also be possible to tinker this division a bit, for instance by making the 'normal position' be the one arising after 3.Nf3 d5 and thereby including the Catalan.
- If the Flank section is to be divided, I would suggest one section for The Reversed Sicilian and Symmetrical English and one section for the rest. The Reverse Sicilian and Symmetrical English can quite naturally go together in my view, since they are independent lines Flank lines that arise when black tries to stop white from playing d2-d4. By contrast, the other mainlines in the English/Reti complex by contrast arise when white deliberately omits d2-d4. This makes, in my view, for a natural division between the two. Again, a rudimentary database search suggests that this would be a reasonably even division.
- Fully support the mergers of the KID with the Benoni and the Caro-Kann with the French.
- I like the idea of a separate Grunfeld section, given its popularity in elite chess. Although I am aware by now that I have just advocated the creation of a third separate section.
- I have always thought that the Dragon section owes its existence to the cult-like devotion of its followers at club level (whose numbers have traditionally been much greater than one would expect based its popularity amongst the elite). In the silicon age I feel that its harder in general to keep a cult following, and that correspondingly it doesn't have the legion of advocates that it used to. This is very much just a personal assessment of the 'vibe' however, so I'd be interested in hearing whether others share this impression. The closest I can think of to evidence I could provide here would be the existence of magazines specifically for the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit that Gambit has referred to in the BDG section, which I find rather difficult to imagine today.
- If authors are struggling to find games, then I would request that the author take a closer look at games on the ICCF. That would give them a lot of high quality content to choose from. (It would also be of greater assistance to subscribers, since it's easier to keep up to date with elite level chess than correspondence chess, and if section authors could specialise in doing this then they would be offering some really high quality content).
- I absolutely love Jan's Opening Clinic, and really like the idea of a section that plays a similar role. I think the best format for this would be to have a section in the forums, or a thread in each section, where subscribers can post their questions, and free members can post analysis in relation to it. I think this could really help rejuvenate the forums, as the guarantee of getting feedback from an expert would really incentivise posters to put out their best analysis.
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #16 - yesterday at 18:28:12
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GMTonyKosten wrote yesterday at 16:27:37:
fling wrote yesterday at 08:58:16:
1. The subscribers' interests, which for sure differ somewhat
2. The change in popularity of different lines over time


Obviously the first is the most important as far as I am concerned, they pay for the material after all. Smiley
However, the 2nd is also important, for example, looking at this month's Anti-Sicilian update I wonder whether we should rename it the '3...Nd7 Moscow' section, instead!
Also, as David wrote to me (about the Dragon, but it could also be about the French, etc.) "it's hard to find that many relevant games in this opening... Many games are rehashes of 'White fell into this trap again'." Which is true, and while some sections can afford to mostly annotate games between really strong 2700+ players, others have to make do with games between much, much weaker opponents Sad!


I don't know if this is getting too far away from the goals of the site, but I would definitely welcome more of "reader's mailbag" / "ask the master" in the updates.  For instance, more like Jan's opening clinic on chess24.

I think the site should show the most important 2700+ games but I think a lot of us are reading the site for entertainment or offbeat surprise weapons (i.e. for instance to play Grischuk's new line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 h4 against our buddy at the club in blitz).

I'm sort of skeptical there are that many people, say subscribing to the site because they never want to miss a novelty in the line that they play in the Petroff.  For instance, let's say I subscribe to the site because the Petroff is my main weapon as Black, and I want to make sure I don't miss a move like Caruana's 13 a3 against Duda in Paris GCT.  If I'm relying on ChessPublishing.com to make sure I see this game and don't get "surprised by 13 a3", then:
a) I have to have confidence that it will be included in the update
b) almost all the rest of the material in 1 e4 e5 on Berlin, Italian, Archangel, Open Spanish, Breyer, Marshall, etc might be of limited value to me if I don't play these openings

From this perspective, I think Eric Prie's work for the site was really good, even if there weren't that many elite games -- he was giving a lot of fresh ideas that you might be able to get on the board.
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #15 - yesterday at 16:27:37
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fling wrote yesterday at 08:58:16:
1. The subscribers' interests, which for sure differ somewhat
2. The change in popularity of different lines over time


Obviously the first is the most important as far as I am concerned, they pay for the material after all. Smiley
However, the 2nd is also important, for example, looking at this month's Anti-Sicilian update I wonder whether we should rename it the '3...Nd7 Moscow' section, instead!
Also, as David wrote to me (about the Dragon, but it could also be about the French, etc.) "it's hard to find that many relevant games in this opening... Many games are rehashes of 'White fell into this trap again'." Which is true, and while some sections can afford to mostly annotate games between really strong 2700+ players, others have to make do with games between much, much weaker opponents Sad!
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #14 - yesterday at 08:58:16
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I agree with the points Trw give.

If there should be a split of the existing sections, I'd say split the Open Sicilian, not the Flank openings or 1. e4 e5.

Furthermore, I guess there are considerations that somewhat might go against each other when deciding the structure. Basically, I see these three:
1. The subscribers' interests, which for sure differ somewhat
2. The change in popularity of different lines over time
3. How easy it will be to find good contributors for each section

It seems that partly why this thread was created is because of 2 and 3. If these in practice dictate what the site practically can offer, I am fine with that, because I subscribe to all sections anyway Smiley However, of course a commercial site also needs to consider the subscribers' wishes. But if I have to choose between not getting updates at all (as was the case for 1. d4 d5) or having some updates with lines that are not directly what I want, I'd rather have updates. What matters the most to me is having good quality analysis in the updates.

As a side note, though, I would like to see a bit more interactivity between the updates and the forum. There are for sure updates which consider lines discussed in the forum, but I don't think it happens too frequently and not in all sections (correct me if I am wrong, I haven't done any analysis of this). In this way, point 1 is considered as well.
  
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trw
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #13 - yesterday at 03:55:18
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tipau wrote on 08/14/19 at 13:25:49:
11) English
12) Other Flank (Reti + KIA + irregular lines)


Massively against this suggestion. The Reti and other flank (b4, g4) do not warrant being broken out on their own. The English is the only real serious try seen in real play.

TopNotch wrote on 08/14/19 at 16:14:33:
What I really miss was the added value section like Paul Motwani's excellent 'Double Trouble' column that provided many spicy Opening ideas to spruce up your repertoire. This was terrific value for All Section subscribers and I wish something similar was brought back; Andrew Martin also had A 'Repertoire Guides' (Or something like that) column which was also interesting.

The Sections as they are know just analyse games randomly based on what's trendy, but the updates, even when taken together, tend to lack the cohesion necessary to build a durable and complete repertoire. This is a vacuum worth filling and an idea I may expand upon in future posts.

What say others.



I also really miss the other bonuses for all sections.

GMTonyKosten wrote on 08/16/19 at 08:12:02:
mn wrote on 08/15/19 at 23:27:44:
mn wrote on 08/14/19 at 23:47:39:
Can I suggest splitting the 1 e4 e5 section into Spanish and non-Spanish, as on the forum?



Are there enough sufficiently fashionable theoretical lines in the non-Spanish to justify an entire section? Whereas these lines are popular on the Forum, there doesn't seem to be too much going on in any of the lines at the higher levels (apart from the Italian), if Mikhalevski's updates are anything to go by.


No, there are not.

GMTonyKosten wrote on 08/14/19 at 10:17:35:
  1.     1.e4 e5
  2.     French & Caro (there are not many more French games than Caro)
  3.     1.e4 ...
  4.     Open Sicilians (could split into 2...d6 Sicilians, but hard to compress another section)
  5.     Anti-Sicilians
  6.     1.d4 d5 2.c4
  7.     d-Pawn Specials
  8.     King's Indian & Modern Benoni (more work for me! but often there are logical transpositions, especially in 4 Pawns and Samisch with ...c5)
  9.     Nimzo, Queen's Indian, Bogo
  10.     Grunfeld & Anti Grunfeld (many of these are E60, so they are easily missed. Grunfeld has a lot less games than KID overall, but it is so theoretical)
  11.     Daring Defences (all from ECO 'A': Dutch, Benko, Czech Benoni, Modern, Old Indian, etc)
  12.     Flank Openings


What do subscribers think?


I don't know that I have strong thoughts in general on Vigorito's suggestions... I do find that it makes sense to combine KID and Benoni since move order wise you sometimes are forced into the other one.

I never really understood the French being stand alone as it's one of the easier openings to learn... meanwhile something like Anti-Moscow is a minefield all to itself with correspondence changing the evaluation constantly. But what to do with the Sicilian is the real question? I have found that opening very hard to learn with it's transpositions... and often one line moves into some inferior version of a different Sicilian line. Perhaps that's the reason that the Dragon was on its own to begin with?
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #12 - 08/16/19 at 08:12:02
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mn wrote on 08/15/19 at 23:27:44:
mn wrote on 08/14/19 at 23:47:39:
Can I suggest splitting the 1 e4 e5 section into Spanish and non-Spanish, as on the forum?



Are there enough sufficiently fashionable theoretical lines in the non-Spanish to justify an entire section? Whereas these lines are popular on the Forum, there doesn't seem to be too much going on in any of the lines at the higher levels (apart from the Italian), if Mikhalevski's updates are anything to go by.
  
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Re: Should the opening sections be reorganised?
Reply #11 - 08/15/19 at 23:27:44
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mn wrote on 08/14/19 at 23:47:39:
Can I suggest splitting the 1 e4 e5 section into Spanish and non-Spanish, as on the forum?

  
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