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Pain in the Opening

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I have written that CC is very different to OTB Chess a lot of times. I have also written that in my opinion today there is no difference between playing Black or White. In this matter some players believe the White side enjoys some sort of advantage, while others see things much more levelled.  Many -very many- decades ago, one of the “foundling fathers” of the Hypermodern movement, Gyula Breyer, even stated that after 1. e4, White was in his last throes…  In my CC career, which started 27 years ago I have mainly played 1. e4 as White. My second option was 1. d4 and the third 1.c4.  Of late I have begun to realise that against 1.e4 Black has started to have nearly no problems except in some lines in the Sicilian. I am speaking of players of a same strength with similar tools. You may say, “yes, but I keep on seeing 1.e4-games with victories for White”. Well, first of all one may consider that in CC it is debatable whether “players of the same strength” are those players with “similar ratings“. You know what I mean. Another point to bear into consideration is the question: if we leave  big out mistakes, how are Chess games lost and won?. Accumulation of small advantages, sustained pressure which leads to a final and decisive weakening of the position, etc. This is what handbooks say. Abrahams wrote about this topic in his excellent book “The Chess Mind” Well, what I have noticed of late is how difficult is , “ceteris paribus” , to obtain clear advantages as White with 1. e4. Take nearly any line and you will see that the advance of Chess theory offers good prospects to Black perhaps not in all variations/subvariations, but in enough of them to challenge White attempts to get some sort of advantage in the opening. And I say even more: in many 1.e4 lines, if White wins is not because of the opening but in spite of it… (Please, bear in mind I am speaking of my own experience). In the past, you “knew” that against certain defences, White could get a comfortable game: with the Tarrasch against the French, against the Pirc, against the Caro-Kann, in a lot of Ruy Lopez variations, against different lines in the Sicilian, and so on. But those working for the “Black cause” were  very busy looking for lines to rehabilitate their favourite defences while those in the White side seemed much at ease believing nothing could change their standard of life… One may think White could do them… I do not know what is going to happen in the future, but so far whenever I have to start a CC event I carefully devote a lot of time to decide if I am going to play 1. e4 or not. (Please remember “the ceteris paribus condition” = “all things being equal,then…”).

It is easier to play Chess than to explain how Chess is played . I found it even more difficult to explain what is happening in many games, why this move is weaker than that one. Or trying t explain which is the idea under “neutral” exchange of pieces… This is another critical point. Sometimes everybody sees that a Bishop is stronger tan a Knight or a Knight stronger tan a Bishop. But on other occasions, the player has to restore to his intuition and trying to explain it with words is only possible once the game has ended, so, with the benefit of hindsight… It is very clear that in Chess, the sum of the parts is far greater than the whole itself. Learn to live with that.

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Written by QChess

March 16, 2013 at 9:46 am

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