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Help, repeatedly killed by this opening

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  • Help, repeatedly killed by this opening

    I've been playing a very nice fellow from Greece, who always opens as follows:

    1.e3 c5
    2.g3 d6
    3.Bg2 Nf6
    4.Ne2 Nc6

    Or as Black:

    1.Nc3 e6
    2.e4 g6
    3.b3 Bg7
    4.Rb1 Ne7
    5.Bb2 O-O

    Either way, whatever I do I always end up getting destroyed.

    That bishop seemed to always cause me problems so I became obsessed with neutralizing it:

    1.Nc3 e6
    2.e4 g6
    3.d4 Bg7
    4.Bf4 Ne7
    5.Nf3 O-O
    6.Be5 d6

    So far so good, right? Wrong.

    StuntP0pe vs djtough - Online Chess -

    (well the blunders didn't help)

    The other thing I tried is pushing my pawns into the middle and cutting down the diagonal:

    1.Nc3 e6
    2.e4 g6
    3.d4 Bg7

    But various attempts at that haven't seemed to work.

    What's this opening called? How does one best counter it?
    ChessForums proprietor and webmeister
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  • #2
    There was nothing terribly wrong about how you opened or menacing about your opponent's opening. Leaving your knight to be taken for free and overlooking mate in 1 is the problem, not the opening. It might help you to think before every move "what are my opponent's threats?" Like on the last move I'm sure you were rightly worried about night fork on c2, and it would have been a good move to pin it if not for the back rank mating threat. You must identify the strongest threats before making your move.


    • #3
      You have strategic problems.

      First, recall the principles of the opening. Principle #1: Control the centre.

      1.e3? d5! immediately prevents White from playing e4. Alternately, if you want to play more solidly (which is harder), 1...Nf6 is also an option.

      You should not play 1.e3? c5? because White can play 2.d4 anyway. The strategy in the Sicilian is to take the d-pawn, intentionally opening up the d-file for White, but in exchange gets to have two centre pawns allowing better centre control as well as being able to play against the hanging pawn on e4. 1.e3 c5 does not give you ANY of that, except for the two centre pawns, if he wants to give it to you.

      Your opponent wants to play safe and solid. In doing so he limits his piece activity, but he also prevents you from attacking him easily. This is a meta-strategy that people use against club players.

      If he always plays the same opening, when you have the Black pieces, I recommend 1.e3 d5 2.g3 c6 followed by natural development moves like Nf6, Bf5, e5/e6, Bd6. The purpose of c6 is to blunt the Bishop on g2, a well-known strategy. (Note that I like this setup because I play the Caro-Kann.)

      Alternatively, you can play 1.e3 d5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 Nf6, intending to play e5 later, but beware, after you play e5, things can get tactical.

      Fianchettoing your own Bishop to neutralise his is not necessarily bad. I don't like the way you did it though, for two reasons. #1, you choose to neutralise his Bishop instead of building a strong centre, and #2, you moved your Rook when there are other less active pieces around.

      If you truly want to take him out of his "book", play 1.b3 against him. This is Larsen's Opening. GM Igor Smirnov has some youtube videos on it, I believe. This will prevent the whole Ne7-Bg7 setup.

      Regarding the game, I do not like 1.Nc3!?. Why? Again, for the same reason: it does not control the centre enough. 1.Nc3!? d5!

      I'm not saying it's a blunder. It is playable. It's just that it is inferior.

      However, you corrected the problem of 1.Nc3 by playing 2.e4 and furthermore, you tried to control the centre even more by playing 3.d4. That was good strategy.

      But 4.Bf4 reveals a questionable thought process. You should develop the less active piece first, in this case the Knight deserves to be developed on move 4 before the Bishop.

      6.Be5 You are so afraid of that Bishop that you anxiously try to eliminate it as soon as possible. In doing so you ended up moving your Bishop three times, and then you played 8.Ng5, moving the Knight twice. Black took advantage of your lack in development.

      So, you need to remind yourself of the second principle of the opening. Principle #2: Develop your pieces, do not move the same piece twice unless you lose material or the game otherwise.

      The tactical mistakes in the game tell me you need to work on your tactics as well. Many people like ChessTempo, but there are other alternatives, you just have to look for them. Learn the basic tactical patterns, and practice around 20 puzzles a day, and in a month you'll make significantly less tactical mistakes.

      Tactical mistakes:

      a) 8...Nec6 {Black created a discovered attack on your hanging Knight} 9.Qf3?? Qxg5. Instead of 9.Qf3??, 9.h4 is likely better, protecting the Knight and also dreaming of attacking the kingside.
      b) 9.Qf3?? {this leaves the d4 pawn hanging, and is the first reason why you got mated}
      c) 10.Nb1?? This is a terrible, terrible move. It deactivates the Knight (a positional error) and it does not protect d4!! (the tactical mistake). This was the second and main reason you lost the game. Instead, 10.Rd1 keeps the pawn and your king protected. 10.Rd1 Nb4 11.Qe2 and everything is safe.

      649 words.

      "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
      "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY


      • #4
        Thanks for the responses, especially such a detailed analysis Rimuel V2, very much appreciated.
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        • #5
          Well you know, after this thread I took the advice and just went back to basics. Development, the center, tempo, etc - and have won both games against this guy since.

          I even went back to the plain vanilla Ruy Lopez opening because it's true, I'm not at the point yet where "studying openings" will make a difference, yet.
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          • #6
            Good to know!

            "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
            "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY


            • #7
              Indeed studying openings may not be the best investment for an intermediate player. Probably better is to focus on tactics. There are a lot of free tactic puzzles on many websites actually.

              About your moves:
              1.Nc3 e6
              2.e4 g6
              3.b3 Bg7
              4.Rb1 Ne7
              5.Bb2 O-O

              I don't know, they just seem a bit far-fetched to me. Why play such a bizarre thing as b3-Rb1 (why this ?) - Bb2, instead of logical simple moves such as d4, Nf3 , Bc4 (or elsewhere).

              Playing as he did (e6, g6, Bg7, Ne7...) is not very challenging, so you can just focus on building a "dream position" with e4-d4, Knights on c3 and f3, Bishops out, then castle, etc.
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