Opening Favorites and taboos in cc chess


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Hannes Rada    (2008-05-14)
Opening Favorites and taboos in cc chess

It's quite interesting to look at the top level cc - player's opening favorites. Against 1.e4: Almost everybody is playing Sicilian, Sveshnikov and Najdorf No more Dragon oder other Sicilian lines seems to be playable at top level. 1.... e6 (French) and 1....c6 Caro Kann are rarely played. A little bit more frequently is 1....e5. But I think that also the old Ruy Lopez is not really popular among the cc cracks. Against 1.d4: Here seems to be more diversity: But I think The Slav is definitely the most popular Black's defense, followed by Nimzo Indian, Kings Indian and Queens Gambit. Benoni and Wolga Gambit seems to be dead here. What do you think, is there no more space for French, Caro Kann and Aljechin Defense in todays cc practice ? Is Dutch and Modern Benoni no longer playable ? In the sixties Hans Berliner won the ICCF championship with Aljechin Defense

Andrew Stephenson    (2008-05-15 04:10:11)

Hi Hannes I think the Modern Benoni is playable but needs a lot of work. Hector Walsh 16th on the IECG list (2497) used it in the IECG Cup 2002 final (just ended!) with games that started in 2006. He played it 3 times including the critical line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 etc and got 3 draws against opposition of 2150, 2300 and 2400.

Garvin Gray    (2008-05-15 05:56:12)
Modern Benoni Taimonov variation

Hello Andrew, So Hector allowed white to play the Taimonov variation in all three of those games, is that correct?

Andrew Stephenson    (2008-05-15 10:11:02)

Hi Garvin No f4 occurred in just 1 game but Hector played the sequence Nf6 and e6. This year Topalov, Aronian Malakhov and Gashimov have all allowed f4 in the Benoni but it only happened in the Gashimov game. Top GM games seem to have a bias towards Sicilians Slavs and Semi slavs. Is it true that the Ruy Lopez is not so popular at top cc? It is extremely popular at GM level perhaps this reflects a bias at cc at the top level for Queenside openings. It certainly seems a lot easier to get a draw against e4 at cc.

Rodolfo d Ettorre    (2008-05-15 15:51:10)
Ruy Lopez!

I have just got nice drawns with black against a Ruy Lopez, Open Variation, game 20196.

Hannes Rada    (2008-05-15 23:06:25)

Hi Andrew, " It certainly seems a lot easier to get a draw against e4 at cc." I've the same feeling. But the top player vanOsteroom prefers definitely 1.e4 ! Does anybody know if 1.e4 or 1.d4 is played more often here at FICGS ? "He played it 3 times including the critical line 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 e4 g6 7 f4 etc and got 3 draws against opposition of 2150, 2300 and 2400." Can this be considered as a success ? 50 % against lower rated opponents ? Normally Benoni is played when you want or have to win with black ... However Hector Walsh seems to have some fighting spirit. Andrew do you know the IECG server ? From time to time I get invitations from the IECG guys for their tournamengs, but never played there.

Marc Lacrosse    (2008-05-15 23:29:59)
no taboos !

Hi Hannes

Although I am not a top level cc player, I still feel I do not too badly here (I will be over 2400 at next rating)...

... and I _never_ play main stream openings!

In fact I played quite a few disreputed lines here like these:
- 1.Nc3
- 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d3?! Nf6 4. Be2 ?! or 4.Bd3 !?
- 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4.Nxd4 Bc5 !?
- 1.d4 d5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bg5 Nbd7 4.Qd3 !?

My one and only loss in 43 games at FICGS was in a very doubtful but interesting gambit against one of the strongest players here.

So I cannot see why such evidently interesting openings like non-Najdorf-non-Sveshnikov sicilians should not be played at cc chess any more...

at least at my modest ~2400 Elo level ...


Andrew Stephenson    (2008-05-15 23:36:07)

Hi Hannes Your right Hectors Benoni didn't draw blood but I guess its playable. Actually I dont like to play against it as it provokes a crisis very early on and the hard work starts quickly! On FICGS I think queen side openings are preferred by the top players eg WCH knockout matches - the exception is Peter Schuster who seems to play e4 a lot and is successful with it. Thanks for telling me about Van Osteroom's e4 preference I am keen to see what he plays against c6! - I mean the classical variation. Sorry I dont know too much about the IECG server.

Thibault de Vassal    (2008-05-16 00:15:26)

Here are the current openings statistics (see /about.html) .. sorry, it is not Chessbase but I'll try to improve it with ie. a formula with ratings to see better what is played most at top level.

Chess openings :

Opening_name #games Line

Scandinavian 310 1.e4 d5
Modern 127 1.e4 g6
Pirc 260 1.e4 d6
Alekhine 208 1.e4 Nf6
French 674 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5
Caro-Kann 487 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5

Grand prix attack 91 1.e4 c5 2.f4
Morra gambit 173 1.e4 c5 2.d4
Alapin 196 1.e4 c5 2.c3
Closed sicilian 228 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3
Sicilian ...d6 1323 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6
Sicilian ...e6 243 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6
Sicilian ...Nc6 759 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6

Petroff 355 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6
Spanish 1038 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5
Italian 354 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4
Ponziani 18 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3
Scotch 224 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4
King's gambit 207 1.e4 e5 2.f4
Vienna game 89 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3
Other e4 ... 1524 1.e4 ...

Dutch 181 1.d4 f5
Slav 353 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6
Queen's gambit acc. 181 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4
Queen's gambit dec. 353 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6
Albins counter gambit 18 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5
King's indian 203 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7
Grünfeld 104 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5
Catalan 36 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3
Nimzo-indian 302 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4
Benoni defense 136 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5
Budapest gambit 22 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5
King's knight opening 601 1.d4 Nf6 (... d5) 2.Nf3
Other d4 ... 1442 1.d4 ...

Reti opening 691 1.Nf3
Sleipner 136 1.Nc3
English 858 1.c4
Bird 177 1.f4
King's indian attack 84 1.g3
Orang Utan 143 1.b4
Grob's attack 12 1.g4
French attack 21 1.e3
Mieses opening 10 1.d3
Anderssen 21 1.a3

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-06 03:35:52)
re-opening topic: to Rada

"In the sixties Hans Berliner won the ICCF championship with Aljechin Defense" - well I was - I still am - a Berliner fan [I like his harmless eccentricities also], but there were no *engines* then to speak of!

Rodolfo d Ettorre    (2008-11-06 13:11:01)

JFK also was a fan of Berliner, he said:

Ich bin ein Berliner

Which means:
<>br> I like Berliner!

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-06 15:51:34)
:) [to rodolfo]

It means 'I like Berlin' - but nice joke :)

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-06 15:56:23)
literally - it means 'I am a Berliner':)

But Kennedy was not a Berliner, in both senses :) [the other sense being that his surname was Kennedy, not Berliner:)] - so he meant "I like Berlin". That's why I translated it like that in my previous post. :)

Don Groves    (2008-11-07 01:58:00)
Kennedy's famous (mis)quote

What Kennedy was trying to say was "I am a Berliner" (in the sense of being a resident of Berlin in spirit).

What he actually said was "I am a piece of pastry" (a "Berliner" was a popular snack of the time).

What he should have said was "Ich bin Berliner!" (no "ein", which means, "I am a resident of Berlin"

Rodolfo d Ettorre    (2008-11-07 02:18:43)
Re Kennedy's famous (mis)quote

I see, so in Paris he would have said:

je suis un croissant

Don Groves    (2008-11-07 08:02:45)

Something like that, Rudolfo. Maybe Thibault will tell us the French equivalent.

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-07 09:27:35)
:0 - and Don Groves - thanks for ..

.. the German lesson! :) I stand corrected...

to Rodolfo : je suis'un croissant - :O :)

thibault, shouldn't they be liaisoned, suis and un to get suis'un - or is <<je suis'un croissant>> wrong?

Thibault de Vassal    (2008-11-07 10:27:47)

Wrong, "je suis un croissant" is correct, the "liaison" is oral only :)

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-07 15:21:21)
my french and german both improved..

:) thanks, don groves and thibault!

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-07 15:59:12)
written liasion is only when ...

written liaison is only when one or more letters are dropped e.g. in L'etat or c'est, right? :)

Don Groves    (2008-11-07 21:37:45)
You're welcome...

... Normajean. One thing about recalling history, it really helps when you were actually alive at the time of the event ;-)

Thibault de Vassal    (2008-11-07 21:48:39)

Normanjean, I think that's right (to avoid the iatus !?)

Don Groves    (2008-11-07 21:55:07)

Salut, Thib! I thought liaison also applied to words like "comment allez vous." The "t" is pronounced and runs into "allez" so it sounds like one word when spoken.

Is this also considered to be liaison?

Thibault de Vassal    (2008-11-09 00:00:59)

Salut Don... Well, I don't know the right terms, but some liaisons are written, some others are spoken... The aim of "apostrophe" symbol ' is (according to me) to make a written liaison while breaking a word in the case of two words that are hard to pronounce. Spoken liaisons happen more often (ie. "comment allez-vous ?") but are often not written. Hope I'm clear :)

Normajean Yates    (2008-11-09 04:18:14)
thibault, I think written liaison <->..

missing letters. This happens when one word ends in a vowel, the other starts with a vowel, and ending-vowel of the first word gets removed because of oral liaison. Then, and only then, I think the is the *written* liaison - and that is why the apostrophe :)

Je + adoube = J'adoube :)

['<->' was 'if and only if' - 'if and only if' would not fit in the title, and 'iff' or 'fif' would not be understood by some readers so I would have to explain anyway :)]

In wikipedia aricles I did not find separate discussion of *written* liaison :(

[the hiatus avoidance that thibault earlier mentioned applies of course to *all* liaison..., in *all* languages which try to avoid hiatus :)] [If it doesnt, then people will at least in informal conversation evolve a colloquial hiatus-avoiding version ;)]

The rules for general liaison are complicated (only for people not fluent in french! they are very easy for every french child!):

Thibault de Vassal    (2008-11-09 15:24:21)

Thanks for the precisions :)