Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanks for the advice, guys!

This weekend I processed an enormous amount of data. One the conclusions is is that 1.d4 is a slow opening. The only way to speed things up seems to be that black manages to play e5 and/or f5 at some time. So I decided to quit on the QID, Nimzo- and Bogo-Indian, the Benko, the Benoni and the 2.c5 idea's. Of all these idea's I have either trouble to motivate my opponents to play the bookline, or to punish white when he plays passive.

I found 4 openings that manage to flick in an early e5:
  • My beloved Fajarowitsch, which has two problems: it provides no answer for Nf3, and I can't imagine that I will still play it when I reach 2200. In contrast with more solid gambits like the KG.
  • The Albin Counter Gambit. I fired up 6 cc- games with it. The first results don't look promising. The gambit seems to do nothing else than to stir up things, but it has no solid positional basis, in my opinion. Confusion for the sake of confusion simply doesn't work by everybody.
  • The KID. You need to make a lot of difficult manoeuvres in very little space in order to be able to play e5 and f5. I found no new ideas beyond what I allready have tried in the past.
  • The Leningrad Dutch.
The latter looks the most promising. I found a lot of new knowledge on so I decided to give it a try. The opening is slow because of the amount of pawn moves, but since the manoeuvres in the KID take up a considerable amount of tempos too, that shouldn't be decisive.
It goes for the throat of the white king, and that is familiar territory. I fed Bookup with a database of the games of GM Danielsen with the Leningrad and I fired up another 6 cc-games with it. I hope the opening will meet my demands.


  1. Excerpt from Byron Jacob's Mastering the Opening


    The Leningrad is a dynamic modern opening and hard to destabilise. The other systems are considered a little too predictable and rather clumsy, but still work against the unprepared and inexperienced.
    There are some tactical lines, but the Dutch has definite strategic aims and the basic set-up is not hard to learn. The closed nature of the position means that move order is not really that important, a definite plus for club players.

  2. Wait: the Albin doesn't have a sound positional basis? Why? And the Leningrad does by comparison? The mangled K-side pawn structure, with weakened dark squares held together by that lonely Bishop.

    Both are playable, especially at club level so it will come down to which suite of positional strengths/weaknesses you are most comfortable with. Given that I am playing the Center Game and Smith-Morra (and really like them), perhaps that suggests why the Albin feels so comfortable: I like just playing my two central pawns in the opening unless it is a clear blunder. The Albin meshes with that strategy.

    You, on the other hand, are a KG player, and GPA player. You seem to be comfortable with the crazy sharpness and risk that comes with early Kingside pawn pushes, Kingside pawn structure fragmentation. I hate that kind of setup as it usually means you have tons of traps to fall into as well as set, so you have to book up more. I have tried, and eventually abandoned KG, GPA, and Leningrad, while you clearly seem comfy with such stuff. So maybe Lenigrad (or other Dutch defences) is best given everything else you tend to like.

    That said, Albin rules!!! :) One thing I like about it is that most of the books d4 players will have say the Albin is weak, give a desultory analysis in a game (maybe two if they are lucky), so they get cocky and overextend, ending up in one of the tricks.

    Ahem. I've played the Albin once so I'm just speculating now. :)

  3. Tcoem,
    sounds good.

    I consider the "Faj" to be the best variation of the Budapest.

  4. Blue,
    that is what I meant with "an opening should fit like a glove."

    Every opening we mentioned is playable below 2000-2200. The question is, can you make it into a weapon?

    That is an area where you need a coach. I have dabbled around for 3 years with the SM. But I couldn't turn it into a weapon. What is more: studying the theory of the SM didn't show me the way. That says nothing about the SM but everything about me.

    So I abandoned the SM without obtaining the knowledge and skills from it. That is a pity. The same is true for the QID, Nimzo and Bogo defenses.

    I don't consider the KG as sharp but as a solid positional gambit. If you look at my games, often the original booklines are long forgotten and I have developed my own lines. Again, that says nothing about the KG but everything about me. I understand the idea behind the gambit and I can work with it.

    It is a pity that such knowledge is so hard to obtain from books. Which says something about the books, not about me:)

    In the Leningrad I recognize a lot of the KG and the GPA. Both have an early push of the f-pawn too. Hopefully that is enough to help me to turn the Leningrad into a weapon.

    An important strategical asset of the Leningrad in comparison to the Albin is that you are a pawn up:)

  5. 1.d4 is actually ideal for those of use who relish or enjoy tying other players into knots, or getting them to step all over their own toes. positional manvouvering with tactics. nimzowitch and petrosian embody this, and delight this style.