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Chess Strategies

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gibo 72 ( +1 | -1 )
What to play against the najdorf Previously against the najdorf I have employed 5.f4, as recommended in beating the sicilian. However this line is old and never played now days, so I have been looking for an alternative. I took a look at Be3 but am trying to find something a bit sharper and more direct. So far I like the look of fischers 6.Bc4, this seems like a good place for the bishop. The idea is to then put the bishop to b3 then play Bg5 f4 Qf3 0-0-0 and followed by a kingside attack. 5.Bg5 also looks interesting but the poisened pawn variation just looks to complicated, and in my opinion doesn't offer white to much. For those who don't know the sicilian najdorf starting position it is
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cd4 4.Nd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6, white has the most common options of 6.Be3/6.Be2/6.Bg5/6.Bc4/6.f3/6.f4 and this also also the occasionally seen 6.a4/6.Rg1.
baseline 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Want to avoid alot of theory? look at the Moscow variation, 1.e4 c4 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5 this is most likely the best of the anti-Sicilians. If you have your heart set on a Bc4 variation you might want to look at the move order 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 followed by Bc4 and d3.
gibo 11 ( +1 | -1 )
no i am aware of both those openings and i dont particularly like them. I am not afraid of the open sicilian.
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baseline 44 ( +1 | -1 )
the gk database would be a good place to look for ideas, that agree with your chess ascetics! I play several systems against the najdorf but very rarely the f4 line. When time permits i like to chose an opening that agrees with my strengths as a player and is disagreeable to my opponent, but as you get better and are able to play a more universal style you find that your opponents are doing the same.
wadvana 27 ( +1 | -1 )
6.f3 English Attack The english attack setup f3,g4,Be3,Qd2,0-0-0 is both solid and aggresive, generally allowing less counterplay from black. The move order with 6.f3 avoids the Ng4 Kasparov variation against 6.Be3.
Such a setup also fits in if you are to play against the Rauzer and Dragon.
cryptos 57 ( +1 | -1 )
Be3 lines I can't really see the point of Be3, Qd2 lines if your opponent isn't going to fianchetto his dark squared bishop. To be honest, black can even delay castling for quite a long time in the Najdorf, and it's probably good for white to delay it for a long time as well, given the importance of the initiative in the sicilian. I've seen a Jan Timman game where he didn't castle in the whole game. Kingside castling is generally better than queenside in my opinion. I'm playing a game as well where my opponent played a4!? to prevent b5 which seems a generally good idea.
superblunder 135 ( +1 | -1 )
beating the najdorf the 6.Be3 line is considered the Number one way of beating the sicilian najdorf and scores the best statistically. If you can't see the point of it, that is your own fault, not the opening's. The bishop on e3 is situated on a fantastic central square influencing diagonals that reach to critical squares on both black's king-side and queenside. The queen on d2 contacts alot of important central squares also and prepares for queenside castling and sending forth a kingside pawnstorm with f3, g4 and h4. If you have ever played the sicilian najdorf and seen white quickly mobilize into this ultra-aggressive set-up, you would be in error not to proceed with respect and caution, all it takes is a quick pawn-thrust such as g5 or h5 and white's pawns are driving away the kingside defenders rapidly and preparing to sacrifice and open up lines...if black doesn't castle white can use his centrally posted pieces and his central pawns (e & f pawns) to rip a whole in the center or put a nasty binding wedge into effect cramping black. Of course black has plenty of counterplay (if he didn't the whole line would be thrown out since white get's so much going for him) So this game of course leads to double-edged play and sharp tactics. But over-all white scores very well and this set-up remains the most popular and effective way of putting najdorf players to the test.
cryptos 52 ( +1 | -1 )
sorry superblunder, I still disagree. In my personal experience f4 is a lot better than f3, because a) it hinders e5, b) It gives the possibility of opening the f-file, which in my opinion is more of a problem for black than an attempt to open the h-file with h5. You can still get in g4 after f4. An attempt to attack the black pawn on e6 usually pays dividends. As I said before, black doesn't have to castle into trouble, and he can sometimes get h5 in himself as a defensive move. I agree that Be3 is a flexible move, but think Bg5 lines are usually better for white. Who considers Be3 to be best?
qistnix 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Najdorf I'm a Najdorf addict as black, and I don't like it when white goes for closed Sicilian or Alapin variations, because that doesn't give me the type of play I want. Also I think in Najdorf white should play early a2-a4 to disrupt black's queenside counterplay.
gibo 75 ( +1 | -1 )
Superblunder I agree and your opinion is justified in that the english attack (f3 Be3 Qd2 setup, followed by kingside expansion) is most popular at gm level. I also believe that this setup is better when the dark bishop goes to g7 such as in the dragon. I could look into the english attack, and I often find that it scares black out of castling. I often find when your pawns quickly get to g4 and h4 weak black players often are scared to castle into the attack, which is most beneficial for white. At the moment i am trying 5.Bc4 the fischer attack, later on I might look into the english attack. Also interesting is 5.Bg5, but the poisened pawn variation is immensly complicated and at the elite gm level is commonly drawn.
peppe_l 24 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree Poisoned Pawn variation is complicated (although I confess I know very little about Najdorf, IMO I am not strong enough to understand, let alone play it) but I have to ask...

"and at the elite gm level is commonly drawn."

Is it commonly drawn at our level, too?
premium_steve 4 ( +1 | -1 )
i'd have no idea.... i always play 2.c3 :)
gibo 48 ( +1 | -1 )
interesting question peppe_l I am not entirely sure of the success of the poisoned pawn variation at our level, but I have seen some games with it, and I dont believe white has enough of an initative to compensate for the pawn. Many top players play the poisoned pawn variation as black kasparov and fischer are most notable.
To learn its theory would take someone truly dedicated, I may look into it late, but in a lot of poisoned pawn variations i would rather be behind the black pieces.
peppe_l 55 ( +1 | -1 )
Lets see Statistics of Najdorf Poisoned Pawn, say, from <1700 level. Somehow I have a feeling results will be quite different from top level ("commonly drawn")...

P.S I have to confess I still cannot understand why any non-master wants to play such a complicated & theory-heavy opening (except because Kasparov & Fischer played it :-))) You need to study it to play it well (?), BUT since other stuff like tactics is way more important, you are not supposed to spend lots of time for openings. Sort of Catch-22, isnt it?
gibo 22 ( +1 | -1 )
someone with a sound knowledge of the poisoned pawn variation could certainly win a lot of points because of his/her theroetical knowledge, also it is white who has the intiative in this variation which may be attractive to many players
umpito 43 ( +1 | -1 )
The chessgames.com database (mostly games between titled players I'm assuming) after the moves 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 has white winning 31.4% of the games, black winning 30.3%, and 38.2% draws. The gameknot.com database, taken from games between players rated 1500+, has white winning 20%, black winning 45%, and 33% draws. Switch it to 1900+ and white scores 14%, black scores 33%, and there are 52% draws. Draw your own conclusions . . .

Dan
peppe_l 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks But I cannot draw any conclusions because these stats cannot be compared to each other (www.chessgames.com = OTB / www.gameknot.com = corr).
gibo 12 ( +1 | -1 )
gameknot database? I didn't know gameknot had a database, is it only accessible to paying subscribers? Where can I find the gameknot database?
cryptos 20 ( +1 | -1 )
gameknot database... It's under 'more options' and 'help'. It's only got gameknot games though, though it does tell you the percentage wins (white/black) for each move, which is quite handy...
paulberg 119 ( +1 | -1 )
The most effective system Statistically, the English Attack is by far the best defense against the Najdorf. When I first started playing chess, I looked at what statistically was the best defenses against common openings. The Sicilian, especially against <1700 players is a great defense. Most players don't really understand the Sicilian and are more familiar with Italian Openings and thus commonly play 2 Bc4. The English Attack is not too hard to learn.

My thinking is, pick the best defenses statistically, then learn and play them only. Why would anyone decide to learn a system that is statistically not as effective. Choose an effective system and learn it! If you feel that another system works better for you, then it isn't that that system is better, but rather you just know and understand it better. Likewise, if you decide to start playing the English Attack and don't do well with it, it's not the system but rather your own weekness in understanding it completely to be effective.

Some openings and their respective variations are not as effective as others. Simply put, learn the most effective systems and learn them well. Don't waste your time with less effective systems
jstack 127 ( +1 | -1 )
The most effective system A grandmaster once said" there are no bad openings, only bad chess players" In my opinion(especially for players <2200), there is nothing wrong with learning an unpopular opening. The important things is to find an opening system that fits your style well snd learn it well. It doesn't matter if the system is not completely sound at the GM level and consequently unpopular with class players. It seems to me if you know and understand the positions well, you will win a lot of games.
I have been playing the french defence for a long time, but lately I have been feeling like the sicilian fits my style better. The problem is there are way too many ways for white to play the sicilian. I also prefer a system where creativity is possible. I don't want to play a system where the theory goes 20 moves deep without having any reasonable alternative moves(like the marshal gambit in the spanish). Does anyone know a silcilian that I can get into as black regardless of what white does? It would be better if there is not a lot of theory. I am fine playing against closed systems...I play those as white. But if white plays an open sicilian is there something that is easy to get into?

peppe_l 53 ( +1 | -1 )
paulberg "My thinking is, pick the best defenses statistically, then learn and play them only. Why would anyone decide to learn a system that is statistically not as effective."

Ask GMs who keep winning games with "statistically ineffective" systems :-)



According to GK database, 3 most statistically effective opening moves are 1.Na3, 2.h3, 3.Nc3

The best response to Sicilian defense is (1.e4 c5) 2.h3, followed by 2.e5

2.c3 is more effective than 2.d4 (same winning percentage, less losses)

The best MAIN LINE defense vs 1.e4 is 1...Nf6



I guess I have to change my repertoire :-)))
peppe_l 91 ( +1 | -1 )
"Some openings and their respective variations are not as effective as others."

That is true. At our level lots of "statistically inferior" openings are MORE effective than "statistically effective" main lines. Of course you can argue if you become 2600+ GM you will hape to dump some unsound lines, but if you spend lots of time with openings or statistics, you will never become GM anyway :-)

My opinion,

Play openings you can understand! Do not choose your lines based on statistics. GMs never choose openings based on statistics. Or IMs. Or FMs. Or masters. Only class players (usually B or C) choose openings based on statistics (!). And if class players have better approach than GMs, IMs, FMs and masters, why are we class players? :-) And most last but not least - openings are _not_ so important. Memorizing openings is not chess.

Just my two cents.



P.S

"There are no bad openings. Only bad chess players."

Brilliant quote! :-)
peppe_l 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Sorry about Spelling & typing errors BTW :-)
cryptos 15 ( +1 | -1 )
tack - choice of sicilian. Tack, black has the choice of whichever open sicilian to go into. Eg 2...d6 4...Nf6 5....a6 is the Najdorf, 2...Nc6 4...e5 is the kalashnikov, 2...e6 4...a6 is the Kan. Pick one you like and play it. White can't do anything about it. ;)
paulberg 183 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l You commented, "Play openings you can understand!"

I agree with this statement. I also feel that since we are not all GMs, FMs, AMs, AM/FM, AC/DCs or whatever, most players on this site are beginners at the game. Grand Masters of chess are considerably better players and have a more complete knowledge base of most openings.. regardless of their inherent flaws. Likewise, many younger players usually seek out publications to help them learn the game, ie., Opening Repertoires. I personally feel that learning a few openings when you're first starting out or when you feel you need some opening help is a good idea. Consequently, if you're going to choose some openings to memorize and learn it would also be a good idea to pick ones that seem to have better luck. For example, the openings books I've looked at give you an idea after the first 10 moves or so as to how even the odds are for white or black.. whether you're even, or have a slight or distinct advantage. I've noticed that there are quite a number of openings that don't give you much of an advantage at all - in fact even to a slight disadvantage is the conclusion after 10 moves.

So, my recommendation is that if you're going to spend the time learning and memorizing an opening, you might choose ones that would appear to give you some advantage or at least a solid even. And, yes.. openings that you like and understand. I studied alot of openings when I first started playing chess. Particularly the more common openings so I would know how to respond. However, after learning some 20 or more openings I've narrowed my likings to the Italian Openings and the Sicilian as my favorites.

I hope this more clearly defines my opinion on the matter. God bless, and have a great day playing chess.

pauL
peppe_l 66 ( +1 | -1 )
paulberg Than you for your response!

It indeed clarified your opinions. But It left me wondering. Why? Well, let me explain - you wrote it is better to choose openings that "appear" to give you some advantage or at least equality. Now advantage as WHITE and equality as BLACK sounds fine, I agree. But there are no openings that _guarantee_ advantage or equality.

And before microschopical advantage starts to count, you have to _fully_ understand WHY you have advantage and how to _use_ it. It is not enough to know "ECO says +/=" or "stats say +50 =45 -40" - because if you cannot _fully_ understand how and WHY you have advantage, you WILL screw up and lose it. And then you will lose the game.



Yours sincerely,

Peppe
paulberg 184 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l Agreed! When I started out in chess, I think I probably spent way more time than I should have on openings instead of basic principles. So, with that said.. I studied alot of openings and alot of different openings books. If you look carefully at all the different openings and their respective advantages and disadvantages you'll notice that there are many variations of each opening and the advantage or disadvantage depends sometimes on whites choice of moves and sometimes on blacks choice of moves. Example: The Sicilian Najdorf / English Attack after 6 Be3 black can play either 6...e5 or 6...Ng4 (two different lines, but black makes the choice). 6...e5 gives white an advantage as 6...Ng4 keeps things pretty even. My point: If I am going to spend time learning a system as black against the English Attack then I will play 6...e5 and over time will figure out why exactly it is to my advantage as I become more familiar with that line. On the flip side.. after 6...e5 white has a choice of either 7 Nb3 or it's original position of 7 Nf3. Nick de Firmian (International Grand Master) seems to think that 7 Nb3 gives white an advantage over 7 Nf3. So, my point again.. as white if I have a choice over 7 Nb3 or 7 Nf3 than I will always choose 7 Nb3 and learn that line. I'm certain I didn't know at all why that line was more effective, but as I became more familiar with that system I understand the theory behind it and am very effective with that line. If I could go 10 moves and have a slight advantage as opposed to 10 moves and just be even, what's the point. Yes, my skills may drop off after a memorized opening, but at least I started my decline with an advantage. Hopefully I am improving monthly as I play that line consistantly.

A round of chess for everyone!
pauL
ccmcacollister 180 ( +1 | -1 )
English Attack? Everybody's Right ! From what I've heard to date, every comment I've read here about the English Attack vs the Sicilian has also been given by one or more Grandmaster(s) as well !
I can personally attest from my own Najdorf studies, that in the time of Fischer/Tal/Browne et al, as top Sicilian theory makers; Be3 WAS considered a bit tame (tho I may have seen Tal play it...not certain on that) and Be3 WITH f3 was considered downright "passive", "inferior" etc. But I learned from Atrifix here at GK, that indeed now the English Attack (It did not even HAVE a name in the 70's, people avoided it so much!) has become a primary & fearsome weapon of the top GM's today. On which I took his word as Golden. Tho my modern GM studies are not caught up, everything I've heard this century, bears that out. Seems to me sometimes amazing, but wonderful part of Chess that such can happen & keeps breathing life into the game.

If one were willing to study a variation so extensive as Poisoned Pawn theory vs Bg5, my recomendation would be study the Polugaevsky Najdorf instead because it is just as complex or moreso, but less well known. It will definately bring in points for he who knows the lines better,IMO. It is the form of Najdorf where BL plays ...b5 ASAP. First ...d6,....a6,....Nf6, .....e6, then usually b5 before Be7 (but always before Nbd7.) Often WT sacs a center pawn, giving BL a pawn plus. Even a corr player unfamiliar might not have time to view the ton of theory from the barrel full of variations, faced with it anew. Let alone the poor otb player, if he has not made a study of it already. For it usually does even better vs a white playing typical moves, rather than the sharpest recommended lines. Not knowing the English Attack theory well now, but don't see any reason the early ....b5 would not be usable there?
paulberg 79 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess is a beautiful thing. This is what I love about chess. If everyone agreed on the same openings, theory, principles or systems then we would all be about even with everyone.. maybe.. of course that brings up a lot of pondering as well. The fact that every player feels differently about every move makes chess very exciting and fun. I play the systems I play for reasons 2 fold; 1. I feel that in some way they are more effective, and 2. I enjoy and somewhat understand them.

I love hearing everyone elses ideas and thoughts on different chess play. I sometimes even adopt others views as my own, and sometimes completely disagree. Don't you just love this game?

Thank you for your comments peppe_l and others.
pauL
gibo 6 ( +1 | -1 )
im gona give the english attack ago in some of my games now, and see how ill go.