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  1. #1
    CC FIDE Master Southpaw Jim's Avatar
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    Help me choose..

    Ok,

    I started playing chess "seriously" about 6 months ago. I'm unrated, but I'm guessing I'm around about 1100-1200ish in strength (KB might shatter my illusions there ).

    I've been playing King's Indian type stuff almost exclusively, KID or Pirc as Black, and KIA as white.. or so I thought. I only realised recently that if Black plays 1...e5 then I am not strictly playing the KIA, but instead the Ponziani or King's Pawn game. Given it's lack of popularity (and therefore useful info for me to study), I'm beginning to think I'd be better off playing a more conventional opening as white.

    The eternal question is: the Ruy, or should I turn to the dark side and play...

    1.d4!?

    The volume of variations, and defences for either e4 or d4 is obviously not something I'm going to digest over the weekend. I read somewhere that QP openings are more subtle, but that KP openings tend to be more savage.

    Help me, people suggestions of lines/variations to avoid or aim for (in a general sense) would be mucho appreciated

  2. #2
    CC International Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurotrash
    Ok,

    I started playing chess "seriously" about 6 months ago. I'm unrated, but I'm guessing I'm around about 1100-1200ish in strength (KB might shatter my illusions there ).

    I've been playing King's Indian type stuff almost exclusively, KID or Pirc as Black, and KIA as white.. or so I thought. I only realised recently that if Black plays 1...e5 then I am not strictly playing the KIA, but instead the Ponziani or King's Pawn game. Given it's lack of popularity (and therefore useful info for me to study), I'm beginning to think I'd be better off playing a more conventional opening as white.

    The eternal question is: the Ruy, or should I turn to the dark side and play...

    1.d4!?

    The volume of variations, and defences for either e4 or d4 is obviously not something I'm going to digest over the weekend. I read somewhere that QP openings are more subtle, but that KP openings tend to be more savage.

    Help me, people suggestions of lines/variations to avoid or aim for (in a general sense) would be mucho appreciated

    I think that you should stick to e4. for quite some time. You will improve faster if you stick to a set of similar openings

    1. e4 e6 you play KIA

    1. e4 c5 you play KIA

    1. e4 c6 you play KIA

    1. e4 e5 I suggest that you play Kings gambit bishops gambit

    1.e4 e5 2. f4 exf 3. Bc4 It is perfectly sound and less well known than the knights gambit. You will win some lose some but you will learn more about chess than trying to play the Lopez until you improve.

  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    There are plenty of sound alternatives to the extensively analysed Ruy for White after 1.e4 e5. Scotch, 4 Knights, 3.Bc4 etc. It's true that at top level the Ruy Lopez is the most incisive but for average club players that's irrelevant.
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  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster Alan Shore's Avatar
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    Hi ET,

    If your strength is around 1100-1200 as you say I'd advise against playing those closed, positional openings like KIA, especially if you're white.

    Studying tactics will better help you improve and I'd recommend openings like the Scotch, Guicco (even Vienna is an option) and playing against mainline Sicilians.

    Once you're more comfortable, then I'd suggest if you wish, to move onto the more positional openings.

    For black you can continue KID for practice if you like it.
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  5. #5
    CC FIDE Master Southpaw Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belthasar
    For black you can continue KID for practice if you like it.
    Alternatives for black? I've been considering switching to the Sicilian, but the volume of theory is again a bit of an issue. I must say, whilst I appreciate the solidity of KID/Pirc, the cramped set up can be a bit difficult to handle at times.

    Just been reading an overview of the Scotch, interesting and as Fludey suggests, I can stil stick with KIA against Sicilian/French/etc players. My main concern was that the Ponziani wasn't the best option for me, and there was no way to play e4 without risking e5 - thus I figured I should have a better option. For some reason I'm not a fan of the Reti..

    Tactics and endgame are my primary focus atm, but I thought it was perhaps time for a change in the opening

  6. #6
    CC International Master Carl Gorka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eurotrash
    Alternatives for black? I've been considering switching to the Sicilian, but the volume of theory is again a bit of an issue. I must say, whilst I appreciate the solidity of KID/Pirc, the cramped set up can be a bit difficult to handle at times.

    Just been reading an overview of the Scotch, interesting and as Fludey suggests, I can stil stick with KIA against Sicilian/French/etc players. My main concern was that the Ponziani wasn't the best option for me, and there was no way to play e4 without risking e5 - thus I figured I should have a better option. For some reason I'm not a fan of the Reti..

    Tactics and endgame are my primary focus atm, but I thought it was perhaps time for a change in the opening
    Tactics and endgames should be your primary focus

    Play the openings you want and learn typical tactics/strategies that derive from those openings to make you stronger with them than if you're out of theory. Change your openings regularly (eg every year/6 months bring in something new) to relieve tedium and to see lots of new positions.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidflude
    I think that you should stick to e4. for quite some time. You will improve faster if you stick to a set of similar openings

    1. e4 e6 you play KIA

    1. e4 c5 you play KIA

    1. e4 c6 you play KIA

    1. e4 e5 I suggest that you play Kings gambit bishops gambit

    1.e4 e5 2. f4 exf 3. Bc4 It is perfectly sound and less well known than the knights gambit. You will win some lose some but you will learn more about chess than trying to play the Lopez until you improve.

    KIA and King's Gambit -what are strange combination

    KIA leads to closed position and King's gambit to open ones...

    Overall, I agree with one of the previous posters (I think it was Kevin) that while you are still a beginner, you can learn more by playing open positions

  8. #8
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    my views are well known

    I know that I am in the minority . But I see absolutely nothing wrong with a 1000 to 1200 rated player playing closed positions. In the Vic Open I hung around the lower boards a lot [lol] and saw quite a few closed openings played such as modern benoni, English etc. The KIA is VERY easy to play in its thematic ideas: just set up your KIA fortress and hit back at white's centre with a later e4 or c4. There are some sophisticated ideas such as throwing in a4 to secure the b5 square so that black can't play ...b5, hence white can post a knight on a square near there . [I am an ideas man not a blindfold merchant] Also if white can get in an e5 then often there is a h pawn romp down the kingside with a mate But there is no need to know the KIA to that degree to play it. IMO the King Indian attack's ideas are much more straightforward than say, the King's Gambit, but I guess that everyone is different.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a 1000 to 1200 player playing closed/positional openings oten after 1.d4. He or she will still learn about positional play and tactics by playing this way.

  9. #9
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    I know that I am in the minority . But I see absolutely nothing wrong with a 1000 to 1200 rated player playing closed positions.
    I also think this is OK depending on player style. A real beginner, or anyone with a rating well below 1000, badly needs the basic tactical experience that develops quickly as a survival skill in the open games, and should therefore play open games regularly with at least one colour, as I indeed said before. But once you get to the stage where you are no longer routinely chucking pieces to one and two move threats it becomes more an issue of what suits you.

    IMO the King Indian attack's ideas are much more straightforward than say, the King's Gambit, but I guess that everyone is different.
    I agree with this and an added advantage is that they are very solid - even without perfect book knowledge the relative novice to tournament play should not perish in the opening with a KIA setup.

    My suggestion to anyone tossing up between two different opening strategies is to do a little research on each, then play them both on and off for a while, and see which seems to be yielding the most satisfying games and/or the best results.
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  10. #10
    Account Permanently Banned Arrogant-One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireeater
    Tactics and endgames should be your primary focus

    Play the openings you want and learn typical tactics/strategies that derive from those openings to make you stronger with them than if you're out of theory. Change your openings regularly (eg every year/6 months bring in something new) to relieve tedium and to see lots of new positions.
    Wrong, wrong, and more wrong!

    As the saying goes get em while they're young and the possibilities are endless!

    Euro - this is what you should do:

    Play nothing except gambits. When you get used to playing down material, it will allow you to get a feel for initiative and play-making. This will improve your chess heaps more than studying some boring KID or like natured opening.

  11. #11
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    also ..

    Ultimately, you have to come to a decision about what you feel comfortable with in openings. Everyone is different. I have a rating of about 1200 and am comfortable in closed/positional games like the KIA, queen's pawn games French defence etc. Put me in a sicillian nadjorf or a King's gambit [white or black] and I am gone for all money; I can't play turbo charged chess. That's just the way I am. I have tried to read some books on the King's gambit and I understand the basic idea. But when I play it I am a fish out of water. On the other hand I was showing one of my positional openings in the French defence to a very tactical, open player. He just blinked and said the position was double dutch to him; yet to me it was straightforward. Everyone is different. In the Vic open I probably played 1.e4 for the last time. I played against a Sicillian and it was a disaster. I understood to some degree the Sicillian line [Pelikan?] that I was against but I tried to play something bold to force the issue. But my pawn sac just backfired and I lost.

    I am reluctant to advise anyone to change their openings every six months. Chess is such a rich game that you could spend many years coming to terms with any single opening

  12. #12
    CC FIDE Master Southpaw Jim's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the thoughts and suggestions

    I'm thinking I'll start looking at the Scotch and Italian (Guioco and Max Lange) as my responses to 1..e5. I'll stick with KIA against French and Sicilian, if only for the fact that I'd have NFI what to do against these openings otherwise

    In six months I might start looking (tentatively) at QGD.

    On the subject of black against 1.e4, is there something that has a similar "solidity but not so much theory" - Sicilian and French both look about as 'lite' as the Ruy to me

  13. #13
    CC International Master ElevatorEscapee's Avatar
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    Hi Euro, try a book specializing in specific openings for a player of your style.

    I heartily recommend "Opening Repertoire for the Attacking Player" by Keene & Leevy.

    Cheers,

    EE :-)
    "On my chess set, all the pawns are Hamburglers" ~ Homer Simpson.

  14. #14
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    Everyone is different. In the Vic open I probably played 1.e4 for the last time. I played against a Sicillian and it was a disaster. I understood to some degree the Sicillian line [Pelikan?] that I was against but I tried to play something bold to force the issue. But my pawn sac just backfired and I lost.
    I also disliked the open tactical firefights that could arise in the Open Sicilian so I took up playing the Moscow (2...d6 3.Bb5+) and Rossolimo (2...Nc6 3.Bb5) Sicilians which have a very different character and are "safer" for white.
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  15. #15
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I also disliked the open tactical firefights that could arise in the Open Sicilian so I took up playing the Moscow (2...d6 3.Bb5+) and Rossolimo (2...Nc6 3.Bb5) Sicilians which have a very different character and are "safer" for white.
    I open 1.Nf3 and often get into Sicilians but usually only after I have played c4. This closes black's options down the c-file somewhat and helps keep a lid on d5.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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