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youngglor 40 ( +1 | -1 )
Playing style of the GMs I was just wondering if anyone knew the playing styles of Anand or Kramnik. Do they play positional or tactical?
I would also like to ask if anyone plays the petroff's or the french and some insights on these openings. I would like to learn one out of the two to be able to play higher rated players than me and have a good chance for a draw rather than a win. Thanks in advance...
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caldazar 25 ( +1 | -1 )
To draw a higher-rated player, you have to play at roughly the same skill level (on average) as the higher-rated player. To win, you must play better (again, on average). What opening you play has nothing to do with matters.
youngglor 27 ( +1 | -1 )
Well...this is the case...isn't it? If my opponent has a higher rating than me, then on average, he should play better than me, so it would be worth more trying to play an opening that is very solid and turns it into anyones game. Is it the case?
caldazar 111 ( +1 | -1 )
No, because choosing to play something which is considered "a solid opening" doesn't mean that you will reach a solid, playable position. At the GM level, the choice of opening is significant because the magnitude of advantages and disadvantages are on the same order as other types of swings in advantage. GMs typically make what would be considered rather small mistakes by amateur standards. At our level, the advantages and disadvantages associated with various openings is small compared to the typical mistakes that occur. So choosing to play a supposedly solid opening is pointless if the goal is to try to reach a solid position because we'll make large mistakes (large by GM standards), rendering issues of opening repertoire meaningless. The Petroff may be a solid opening by GM standards, but its no longer solid if you drop a pawn right after you leave book at the amateur level.

And Kramnik draws with the Sveshnikov and Kasparov is dangerous with the Najdorf, showing that trying to play safe, solid, and relatively risk-free is not necessarily the best way to achieve a draw in the first place.
coyotefan 99 ( +1 | -1 )
caldazar makes great points When it comes to openings, I have recommended many times on these forums that you should keep your opening list VERY short, play many games, and study the results. I always open with 1.e4. as white. The reason for this is that I do not need to study any openings as white that does not start 1.e4 (obvious!). I would guess that 90% of my games as white are Ruy Lopez, or some version of the sicilian that starts 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6. This leads to familiar (and hopefully winning) positions for me. As black I always answer 1.e5 with c5. No need to study the Ruy as black. I always answer 1.d4 with f5. No need to study queens gambit or any Indian defenses, as I will never play 1.d4 as white, and not respond d5 or Nf6 as Black.

I am not recommending these openings for you, just trying to make a point that you will play better and winning chess if you lead your opponent, reguardless of rating into openings that you are familiar with.
anaxagoras 53 ( +1 | -1 )
"I would guess that 90% of my games as white are Ruy Lopez, or some version of the sicilian that starts 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6. This leads to familiar (and hopefully winning) positions for me."

Goooood.... Gooood.... That's why I play 1...c6 to 1 e4.

As for which opening to play for a draw against a higher rate opponent, I think that's a defeatist attitude. If you're not playing to win or playing to force your opponent to want a draw from you, then you're not going to have the right kind of attitude needed for great chess and improving your ability.
anaxagoras 33 ( +1 | -1 )
Oh yes, sorry, about 1 e4 e6 and 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6:

I think the French is an excellent choice. I don't quite trust Petroff's because an early Black counterattack does not seem like a rational strategy to me. Those are my opinions, I do not claim knowledge here, except that 1...c6 is a parallel choice to 1...e6 (because both bring about d5) and so is worthy of consideration.
coyotefan 27 ( +1 | -1 )
IMO Inexperianced players.... Get trounced playing the French Defense. It is very restricting and take precise play. They end up getting choked out as White takes more and more of the center. It is easy to just start shuffling pieces with no plan. At least that was my experiance.
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youngglor 120 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks for the input... Caldazar...I agree, maybe at amateur level the opening we choose isn't so much of a too grand factor, but since what I am going to study now and play with will be what I will maybe use for the rest of my life...it's a big deal!

The style of play sparked interest in my when I read an article about Kramnik saying that defence was the best way to go. (He meant accept whatever gambit and defending the lead in material) Also, Kasparov said you shouldn't force too hard as black...since the half-move disadvantage...

About the openings...im getting mixed up...someone says french is good for beginners whilst others pulled in the other direction. Also, when I thought The Petroff's was "symetrical" what is supposed to favour draws is now considered counter attack?!?!?

Anyways, I got 1 thing clear. I should play for the win, not for the draws...I don't know how many tactical and positionals blunders happen in our amateur games, and Ill just have my eye on that. I think I will test out some french defence. The Burn varitions seem logical to me but I don't really like the advance style ones...it will come by experience. Anyone have more imput? Thanks!
caldazar 177 ( +1 | -1 )
"Caldazar...I agree, maybe at amateur level the opening we choose isn't so much of a too grand factor, but since what I am going to study now and play with will be what I will maybe use for the rest of my life...it's a big deal!"

This is asking for way too much, in my opinion. I don't know of anyone who studies a set of openings and then sticks with them forever. Rather, people tend to play into positions that make sense to them, that highlight tactical and strategic concepts with which they are familiar. As their knowledge expands, they become more willing to play into a wider variety of positions. It makes no sense to study the French if you don't understand some fundamentals of good/bad minor pieces and pawn chain play, nor does it make sense to study the Petroff if you don't have some initial understanding of the strengths and pitfalls of symmetrical positions. Of course you can use opening study to try to learn such concepts, but you really need to be studying whole games to see the full effects of such concepts, not just openings.

Don't be fooled for a moment that the Petroff (or any other opening) is "drawish". Remember that there is an opponent sitting across from you and just because you want to play into a supposedly drawish line doesn't mean your opponent will let you. For instance, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nxf7, while perhaps not entirely sound, is certainly a far cry from drawish. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 is also quite a challenge and some of the variations there are highly tactical, sometimes extending dozens of moves deep. And anyway, as I said before, just because GMs regularly play certain lines to a draw doesn't mean an amateur will be able to successfully do the same.
peppe_l 133 ( +1 | -1 )
Coyotefan "When it comes to openings, I have recommended many times on these forums that you should keep your opening list VERY short, play many games, and study the results. I always open with 1.e4. as white. The reason for this is that I do not need to study any openings as white that does not start 1.e4 (obvious!). I would guess that 90% of my games as white are Ruy Lopez, or some version of the sicilian that starts 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6. This leads to familiar (and hopefully winning) positions for me. As black I always answer 1.e5 with c5. No need to study the Ruy as black. I always answer 1.d4 with f5. No need to study queens gambit or any Indian defenses, as I will never play 1.d4 as white, and not respond d5 or Nf6 as Black."

Then again playing lots of different openings leads to better chess understanding and may well be better long-range plan than always playing the same lines. However, I do agree having a "narrow" opening repertoire is propably good for games you really want to win.

And of course it is a question of playing level, for a GM it may be good to keep playing same openings over and over again (because he is already familiar with different types of positions), but for casual player it is most likely counter-productive. IMO, that is.



peppe_l 133 ( +1 | -1 )
Youngglor "Caldazar...I agree, maybe at amateur level the opening we choose isn't so much of a too grand factor, but since what I am going to study now and play with will be what I will maybe use for the rest of my life...it's a big deal!"

But if you study thematic plans and play over annotated GM games, the plans and concepts you learn will be beneficial even if you change your opening repertoire later. This may not apply to lines you have memorized but at our level that is pretty much waste of time anyway. It is not like we choose an opening and play it forever. To give you an example my favourite player Anatoly Karpov used to play 1.e4 e5 as Black, heading to Ruy Lopez. Then he began to play 1...c5, but still kept 1...e5 in his repertoire. At this point he actually hated 1...c6, a move that became his trademark later on! Eventually he got back to 1...e5, but this time heading to Petroff. If you ask Karpov I am 100% sure he is not sorry of "wasting time" for Ruy Lopez, Caro-Kann and Sicilian, but quote contrary happy that he not only learned openings, but learned CHESS as well. And remember, at the point where my "story" started, Karpov was already a top GM and certainly spent 1000 more times for studying the openings he dumped later than we - casual players - need to spend for the openings we may or may not use for the rest of our lives.


kai_sim 74 ( +1 | -1 )
i've recieved this email wreimann is experiencing difficulties with his comp right now and i would like to post this for him:
Subject: Playing style of the GMs from: Youngglor
Youngglor, to come back to your first question,
Anand is a player who approaches positions intuitively, he plays in the style of the great Cuban Capablanca. Both of them never consumed a lot of time for their games and are players of great positional foresight.
Kramnik is a player who nearly never concedes any weaknesses but is deadly in attack. He brought a new meaning to the word "active". Look at his games, he is finally not as surprising in attack as Kasparov, and not as 100 % perfect in defence as Karpov (or Petrosjan and Fischer, whoever you like to compare), but he unites the style of both schools in an unseen, unique way.
kinghenry 88 ( +1 | -1 )
wreinann's message thanks kai sim....wreimann's message was back to the point.
Anand's style is very hard to imitate unless you have a good deal of intuition, and most people don't have the patience to imitate kramnik.

youngglor.....the advice so far is all true to a certain point. but sooner or later beginning players get tired of getting wiped off the board by stronger players and want to learn more solid openings. the caro-kann is made for this and then many players progress to the french because it gives more chance of counter attack.

playing any new opening will result in a few losses at first, but your game will improve as you learn the patterns and ideas. you will become a much tougher opponent and you will begin to learn endgames simply because you are reaching them. i have some experience in this if you need help.
calmrolfe 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Petroff rules O.K. In my own experience of playing against much higher rated players the Petroff has proved a rock solid defence for me. In match play I normally play for the win with White using 1.e4 (intending the Ruy Lopez) and rely on the Petroff to hold the draw as Black.
baseline 14 ( +1 | -1 )
youngglor If you want to do better against stronger players, play the openings you know best and study tactics, mating attacks, and tactics.