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spurtus 118 ( +1 | -1 )
I need a plan! Can anybody offer any good advice?

I am a defensive, closed game player...mostly.
I lose far too often due to my own kamikazee surprise attacks, mainly because I like the surprise and I feel I can defend well if it all goes wrong.
I pretty much never make a serious blunder, just sometimes lack tactical initiative, and miss seemingly minor positional things.
I lose sometimes because I'd rather ignore threats and counter attack ( my counter attack is usually good and surprising, BUT just short of the mark and the threat then is magnified! )
I lost last night because I gave my opponent a passed pawn in order to make a break, I thought I would be able to mop it up later, but never got the chance.

Right... I'm fed up with all this nonsense... my attitiude for improvement is ...

I WANT TO WIN THE GAME IN THE OPENING.

Can anybody suggest an opening system that has sharp attacking lines, multiple traps, decisive initiative?

What opening would you regard as the most aggressive but sound attack one can make - black or white?

What openings do you think lead to the most pitfalls for an opponent early on in the game?

sniff,
Spurtus
coyotefan 49 ( +1 | -1 )
spurtus Please do not take this the wrong way, but after 30 years of CC play, I have learned there is no such thing as the magic opening. Your question is very pertinant if you are playing OTB chess, but not CC. IN CC play you cannot "pitfall' an opponent, you need to create a very small advantage, and then exploit it. Virtually any sound opening that you have spent years studying and playing will do. Exchange Ruy Lopez as white is one I used for years. Exploit the doubled pawns.
spurtus 120 ( +1 | -1 )
'Please do not take this the wrong way' .. no worries I never do. I'd rather have an honest opinion anyday.. whatever...

My request for help is actually for OTB chess, I'm think quite happy with my CC playing style... but my OTB rating is some 500 points lower, perhaps an indicator of something, but not neccessarily. I ultimately see CC as a platform for trying new stuff out though before commiting it to OTB, my OTB rating is more precious to me, but I find it hardest to play.

Surely, there must be some openings out there that put more pressure on the unprepared opponent to think a little bit harder.. and where some moves that 'look good' are actually bad?

eg. I'm not sure about this but if somebody told me the virtues of say 1. e4...d5 (Scandinavian Defense) I might believe them... I'm looking into it because I 'think' it might be the sort of unusual but attacking opening I might need... If I where playing against it I'd try to refute the gambit by e5!... but I read this is not best. So here on move two I could as black have a decent game plan.

Hey it sounds like I'm answering my own request here, come on any suggestions?... do you understand where I'm coming from at all?... am I looking for something that really is not there?

Regards,
Spurtus.
anaxagoras 16 ( +1 | -1 )
All that I can gather from your request is that you want weak and stupid opponents so that you don't have to put too much effort into the game.
caldazar 137 ( +1 | -1 )
While anaxagoras' comment may be somewhat harsh, there does seem to be a bit of truth to what he's saying. You want to 'win the game in the opening'? Play opponents much weaker than yourself and wait for them to blunder.

There's no free lunch in chess. If you want early pressure, the ability to force your opponent into potentially unpleasant setups, and other such dynamic advantages from the start, you have to be willing to concede compensating advantages to your opponent. Usually this takes the form of static, positional concessions, an extra pawn, weak squares, better pawn structure, etc...

For instance, against 1. e4 d5, I sometimes play 2. d4. I've won some nice attacking games from this setup but at the same time, I can tell you that if Black defends successfully and dulls White's initiative, it can be extremely unpleasant having to defend late middlegames and endgames for long periods of time to try to secure a draw.

This really has nothing to do with the opening per se, but rather it's an issue of style and how you prefer to play. You've already outlined the advantages you wish to acquire in your games. I am a bit confused; it's clearly at odds with being a defensive, closed player; maybe you sit and play solidly until you get impatient? Just guessing. What types of advantages are you willing to concede to your opponent?
anaxagoras 68 ( +1 | -1 )
oh yes, that reminds me.

"I am a defensive, closed game player...mostly.
I lose far too often due to my own kamikazee surprise attacks, mainly because I like the surprise and I feel I can defend well if it all goes wrong."

Can you please explain that a little more spurtus? Sorry if my words were harsh. If I can add a tiny remark to caldazar's advice: the plan you need is not a new opening, but a new attitude about the chess battle. Until you expect your opponent to make the best move all of the time, your own plans will be continually upset. You must have the concentration and patience to be very, very mean to your opponent by taking everything into consideration.
spurtus 204 ( +1 | -1 )
??? Instead of ... 'I WANT TO WIN THE GAME IN THE OPENING.'
Perhaps I should have said... 'I dont want to ignore the opening' or 'I dont want to lose in the opening'.

...myself as I said a mostly defensive player, I sit back somewhat and try to time my attack, usually its mid middle-game, I usually prefer and sometimes try to avoid tustles in the opening, but I prefer safer lines of defense but at the same time give my opponent a chance to make a mistake early on to exploit myself..(yup, I'm always looking and hoping for mistakes).. What I'm trying to get some advice on is how / which openings might I be able to use that require the utmost care... As a bonus I want an opening that has little gems hidden inside it that arent obvious if the opponent is untrained in it. This would be very different for me what with how I play usually, and thats why I thought somebody out there might be able to suggest some openings... that have these sort of qualities?

The Scandinavian Defense does interest me a lot so far, its quite simple in theory it seems for me to get my head around.... Just beat my computer on a 2000 ELO setting using it on my third attempt, which has surprised me! But it doesn't have enough subtlety for my liking.

I'm considering ditching the Kings Indian attack and defense... too slow, and not enough brute attacking power that I can muster from it anyway. Cant grasp or visualise the strange knight moves.

Sicilians are too complicated for me, seems like anything goes?!

Most queens pawn games seem too defensive, and just too closed when I play it.

Caldazar: As for concessions I'm usually always willing to give material for other advantages.

As for explaining my kamikazee sprees, it's a bit hard to explain why I make life so difficult for myself, best seen here... I've no idea if this is 100% watertight yet... but I played it nonetheless DO NOT COMMENT ON GAME AS IT IS IN PROGRESS.

board #1341226 ...I think maybe I'm just a wreckless player.
coyotefan 53 ( +1 | -1 )
I have suggested this on these forums many times LIMIT YOUR OPENINGS. Your best chance of winning (or not losing) a game is in the opening. Choose a few opening lines and play them consatntly. Diversity breeds losing.

It really does not make a lot of difference what opening you choose. Most any of the accepted openings (that do not include sacrafices) will do. If you become an expert you have the advantage. Take a look at my last 100 games and you will see I have won around 90 of them. Notice that they are limited to a very few openings. The proof is in the pudding.
caldazar 257 ( +1 | -1 )
You're basically asking for classical gambits; sacrifices that concede material to gain development leads, central control, and direct attacking chances. Open up any book from the romantic and early classical eras of chess; you'll find them all over the place. Looking at the games of Morphy is a good way to go.

Like coyotefan said, though, at the amateur level you can pretty much choose anything that's somewhat logical.

Maybe you are just an impatient player, and if that's the case, it's very important to correct this if you wish to improve. All the knowledge and skill in the world won't save you if you blindly and recklessly make "attacking" moves. The next time you play one of your wild attacks, ask yourself honestly:

1. Did I have an indentended continuation / idea to this move? Even if your seemingly aggressive move was made largely on intuitive grounds, you should at least be able to give the general motifs and piece maneuvers behind your moves. Concrete calculation is nicer.

2. Did I actively try to find a refutation to my move? i.e. Did you play both sides of the board? Even if you're making a move largely on an intuitive basis, you still need to check to make sure there's no obvious way for your opponent to easily stop your idea.

If the answer to either question is "no," you have a mental discipline problem, and no amount of opening study is going to help you until you correct the matter.

And it's also important to realize that quick, direct, active, ultra-aggressive play is not necessarily the best path to victory. If you can set up a complex attack, confuse your opponent in a myriad of complicated attacking and counterattacking variations, and then mate him, good for you. But in general you should be looking for the safest path to victory, not the quickest or the trickiest. "The greatest skill in chess lies in not allowing your opponent to show you what he can do" according to Kasparov. Sometime this means taking the slow path to a win. Recently down at my club, in a superior position, I had the opportunity to keep playing in an exciting middlegame or play a sham queen sacrifice to liquidate to a trivially won endgame. I chose the endgame. Turns out the endgame took me 30 more moves to actually win, but I was able to play those moves with very little thought or risk ("does this move drop material?" "does this move stalemate the opponent?" "does this move cost me my passed pawn?" If no to all three, play the move).

Tal was a tactical magician, but he was a strong strategic and endgame player as well.
coyotefan 79 ( +1 | -1 )
Blunder checking "does this move drop material?" "does this move stalemate the opponent?" "does this move cost me my passed pawn?" If no to all three, play the move.

Add to that "does this move hurt me positionally" and you have what I (and many others) call blunder checking.

You should do this every move before you make it. Not just the opening. Take at least 30 seconds after you have decided what you plan to move and run it through your mental blunder check. Always assume your opponent will play the BEST possible move, not HOPE they play a bad move. On GK I will make the move on the board, NOT his the submit button and run through every piece to see what can hurt me the most.
peppe_l 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Spurtus You pointed out your OTB rating is your GK rating - 500 points. Are you sure spending time for opening repertoire is the best way to improve your chances to win quickly? Why not study tactics and perhaps Tal or Morphy game collection? There are several players who find brilliant mating attacks from "harmless" openings. You know - "ahh he plays London system, slow and not dangerous...I have easy equality because ECO says so...whoops, I got mated in 25 moves!" :-)

coyotefan 68 ( +1 | -1 )
The biggest question is Do you use the same tactics and tools OTB and GK. If you use a database and books for your GK games, chances are you come out of the openings with a decent position. Do you not play as soundly OTB? Many players have a tendency to play more aggressive OTB looking for the KO (opponent blunder), while the play CC more postionally sound and safer. If you have a choice of going for a potential KO but are not planning for your opponent to make the BEST moves every move, you are doomed to lose. Play over your OTB games and honestly assess if you made the best move, or made the move planning on your opponent to blunder. If you own it, run your games through a chess engine like FRITZ or Chessmaster.
anaxagoras 7 ( +1 | -1 )
My suggestion for improving otb winning % is to study rook and pawn endgames.
coyotefan 94 ( +1 | -1 )
anaxagoras For advance players I would agree. For the majority of players, openings is where the concentration is needed. If you get youself in a bad position in the opening, you will not get to endgames.

After finding and getting comfortable with openings, then middlegame tactics.
Sadly this is where most players fail the worst. Think about your OTB opponents rated under 1700. They lose most of their games right after their memorized opening line is over. They have all their pieces where 'the book' says tehy should be. ECO says they have a superior position, but they have no clue what to do with it. Again, if you do not have a solid plan and style for the middlegames, you will not get to an endgame.

After you are comfortable with both opening and middlgame, then study endgames. you finally may actually have a chance to get to one with the game still on the line.
peppe_l 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Question "They lose most of their games right after their memorized opening line is over."

And the other guy wins because...?

coyotefan 78 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l And the other guy wins because...?

He is better prepared, understands what he is doing, not just making moves because ECO says so. He understands chess tactics/stratagies, not just a book. He has the ability to look at the whole board every move as if he is seeign it for the first time, but still can plan many moves ahead.

An example (true one). My brother has a photographic memory. I am talking to the point that he can tell you what the 4th word on page 73 is. Unfortunately, he does not have ther ability to tell you what page 73 means. When we play he usually has a very strong postiion coming out of the opening. From there he cannot play a lick. No understanding of the tactics. Cannot take it to an endgame where memorized moves would work again.
spurtus 30 ( +1 | -1 )
cheers This is very informative. esp. coyotefan... I still hoping somebody might be able to suggest some openings for my style I have, but its increasingly looking like I will have to experiment greatly to find what I'm looking for. ( no harm in that I suppose )

Thanks again,
Spurtus