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Fromper's Opening Repertoire thread (2015 edition)

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  • Fromper's Opening Repertoire thread (2015 edition)

    Most of this first post is just a repost from my 2015 improvement thread, but since I'm talking openings, I figured I'd start a new thread in the opening section just for this.

    I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing with my opening repertoire.

    As white, I've been trying out the Colle-Zukertort, theoretically paired with the Barry Attack and 150 Attack (though those haven't actually come up yet) for the last couple of weeks. It's one of those things that sounds good in the books, but my actual Zuke games just haven't gone very well, OTB or in my internet blitz games. I won yesterday's Zuke game just because my opponent blundered and let me have a free rook. So far, I actually prefer playing the white side of the Bf5 anti-Colles, which generally transpose to a Baltic Defense or Slav, to the actual Colle-Zukertort. But I'm sure most of that is just that I just haven't really studied the opening enough to know how to play it properly.

    I had said I might want to switch to a main line 1. d4 repertoire at some point, but I'm not quite there yet. I'd probably want to buy a book on the QGD before trying that, and I'd also have to figure out what to play against the QGA and all the various Nf6 stuff. In my final game yesterday, I actually switched back to 1. e4, because someone told me that my opponent usually plays e5 against that, and I got a really nice Giuoco Piano game. That's my "old reliable" opening. If I could play the Giuoco Piano every time, I'd probably get bored of it pretty quick, but I'd win 90% of my games as white.

    So I haven't decided if I should study the Zuke and related stuff to get used to them, or stick to the 1. e4 stuff that I know, and just work on patching the holes in my 1. e4 repertoire. Or is it time to start looking at main line 1. d4 stuff with 2. c4?

    As for black, I'm still debating e5 vs e6 as my main response to 1. e4. I'm not entirely comfortable playing all lines in either, though I have decided to stick to the French against kids. They're usually more tactically inclined and hoping for open games, or at least more used to open games from seeing them so often against other kids, so they tend to be less prepared for the French. That idea worked today in my one game as black, playing the French against a kid who didn't handle it very well.

    And against 1. d4, I want to try out the QGD some, which is something I know I can try without that much preparation, since it's quiet and positional. But I've seen 1. Nf3 and 1. c4 a lot lately, to which I'm still responding with the old Classical Dutch that I've played for years. Since I haven't been playing that particularly well lately, I've been doing some study on the Dutch this week, to refresh my memory on details that I knew 4-5 years ago, but forgot during my absence from the game. So if I'm going to study it in this much detail, should I stick with it against 1. d4 also?

    My next big tournament will be the Chicago Open in 4 weeks. Actually, the main club I play at hasn't posted their May schedule yet, and I have a lot of family stuff coming up this month, so I may not have a chance to play any other tournaments before that. So I'm thinking that since I have 4 weeks, I think I want to focus on patching the holes in my existing opening repertoire, rather than learning any new material, so I'll have a relatively solid repertoire to bring with me to that big event.

    As white, this means going back to 1. e4 all the time. That will mean taking some time to figure out where the holes in that repertoire are, since I haven't really thought about it. It also means taking a little time to refresh my memory on some lines that I used to know, but just don't remember because they don't come up very often, like the queen side castling line that I supposedly play against the Petroff, but haven't actually used in years, so I don't remember how it goes. I also want to continue studying the Dutch, though I haven't decided if that's just for playing against 1. Nf3 and 1. c4, or also against 1. d4. And I'm thinking of doing some serious study on the French, since I have a ton of study material on the French, most of which I've just never gotten around to using in the past.

    The purpose of this thread is for me to post details, once I start to figure them out. ie Listing the specific lines I want in my repertoire, and making a checklist of the study materials I want to look over to prepare them, similar to what I did in my 2013 opening repertoire thread:
    http://www.chessforums.org/chess-ope...epertoire.html

    Also, even though I said I'm just going to stick to opening I know, part of the "patching the holes in my repertoire" process might involve picking up some new opening lines that I've never played before. For instance, in studying the French, I've played the mainline Steinitz or MacCutcheon against 3. Nc3 in the past. But I never played them often enough to get comfortable with them, and I have GM Simon Williams "Killer French" DVDs that I want to watch, in which he recommends the Winawer, so I'll have to decide if I want to consider making that switch. Either way, I'll have some study to do. Also, I need to settle on a line against the Caro Kann as white, and I want to switch away from the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and find real lines to play against the Scandinavian and Alekhine (I already know what chapter of which book I'll use for that).

    Much more to come. I'll probably go through and try to organize my repertoire later today, and post here with what I come up with.

    "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

  • #2
    So here's what I've got for the repertoire:

    White (1. e4):
    • e5
    o Giuoco Piano, Sveshnikov variation
    o Two Knights, transpose to Scotch Gambit (4. d4 exd4 5. e5)
    o Petroff, castle queen side
    • Sicilian – Smith-Morra Gambit
    • Modern/Pirc – 150 Attack
    • French – used to play Alapin Gambit or Nc3 (Steinitz with f4, Bd2 vs Winawer), not sure if I’ll stick to that
    • Alekhine, Scandinavian, Nimzovitch – Main lines from “Starting Out: 1 e4!”
    • Caro Kann – ???

    Black:
    • 1. e4 – French
    o Advance – Main line (need to study and/or change)
    o Exchange – I usually just improvise, but not very well. Need to study this
    o Tarrasch –??? Doesn’t come up much, so I’ve never really prepared for it properly
    o Nc3 – MacCutcheon or Steinitz
    • 1. d4, c4, or Nf3 – Classical Dutch
    • 1. f4 e5 – From's Gambit, Mestel variation
    • Other flank openings (1. b4, etc) – I usually just improvise in a Tarrasch Defense formation (e6, d5, c5)

    Did I miss anything, like responses to 1. e4 or something that I need to plan for?

    I still need to go through and organize my study material, so I'll know what I need to study over the next couple of weeks.

    "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

    Comment


    • #3
      So here's what I've got for study material.

      Reading Material:

      White:
      • 1. … e5
      o Giuoco Piano – “Italian Game and Evans Gambit” by Jan Pinski, ch 2
      o Two Knights – “Two Knights Defense” by Jan Pinski, ch 7, and/or “Evans Gambit and a System Versus Two Knights Defense” by Tim Harding, ch 3
      o Petroff and other misc open games – “Starting Out: 1 e4!” By Neil McDonald, ch 1
      o Review refutation to Damiano’s Defense (from my notes from the internet)
      • Smith-Morra Gambit – “Mayhem in the Morra” by Marc Esserman, “The Modern Morra Gambit” by Hannes Langrock – just review main lines, also online articles I have saved
      • 150 Attack – “Starting Out: d-pawn Attacks” by Richard Palliser, ch 7
      • Alekhine, Scandinavian, Nimzovitch – “Starting Out: 1 e4!”, ch 10
      • French
      o Winawer – “Play the French”, 2nd edition by John Watson, beginning of ch 8, also online article I have saved
      o Fort Knox – Need to look up the knight sac line from “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald
      o Steinitz – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 4
      • Caro Kann – ???

      Black:
      • French
      o MacCutcheon – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 5
      o Steinitz – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 4
      o Advance, Tarrasch, Exchange – Not sure which lines to play or which references to study from. Have several books and DVDs, so will look them over and make some decisions.
      • Dutch – I have 5 different books on this, so I may review main lines here and there, but I’ll mostly rely on the “Killer Dutch” DVD
      • From’s Gambit – Bird’s Opening by Timothy Taylor, ch 8

      Videos:

      White:
      • Foxy Openings 37 – Morra Gambit Declined – Andrew Martin
      • Foxy Openings 36 – Morra Gambit Accepted – Andrew Martin
      • Foxy Openings 11 – 150 Attack – Aaron Summerscale

      Black:
      • Killer Dutch – Simon Williams
      • Killer French 1 (Advance and Tarrash) – Simon Williams
      • Killer French 2 (Exchange, KIA, Winawer, misc) – Simon Williams
      • Foxy Openings 33 – MacCutcheon French – Andrew Martin
      • Master the French 1 (Advance, Exchange, KIA) – Susan Polgar

      Obviously, I won't get through all of this in 4 weeks, especially the bigger subjects where I have several whole books dedicated to an opening line (Smith-Morra Gambit, Classical Dutch, various French books). But I tend to do well watching videos, even when I'm too tired for serious study, so I should be able to get through most of the more important sections of the videos, along with reading individual chapters that cover specific lines here and there.

      Many of these are opening lines I've played forever, bought the books for, and just never got around to reading entirely (or re-reading, in some cases where I read them initially before starting to play the line), so I'm really just shoring up my knowledge of stuff I already know. In other cases, I'm researching whole new lines to fill in gaps in my repertoire. ie Dumping the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit in favor of a real response to the Scandinavian, and using that same response for the Alekhine and Nimzovitch, by transposition. And some of them are minor lines that rarely come up (Fort Knox French, Damiano's Defense, Latvian Gambit), but I've learned lines against them in the past, and I'd feel like an idiot forgetting what those lines are if they came up again, so it's time for my "once every half decade" review of stuff I used to know.

      And then there's the Caro Kann, aka my kryptonite. I know I don't want to go into the Panov-Botvinnik Attack until I have time to study IQP positions in detail, despite having the most study material for that line. I'll probably just look up a simple line in the Exchange variation and hope it doesn't come up. I'm thinking after the Chicago Open, maybe I'll take up the Caro Kann as black, just to learn it well enough to know how to face it as white. That's how I handled the French, back when I used to hate playing against it as white, and I still play it over a decade later as black, and love facing it as white.
      Last edited by Fromper; 04-27-2015, 02:25 AM.

      "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

      Comment


      • #4
        So I started watching the Killer French DVD with GM Simon Williams. Having played the French on and off for 15 years, I kinda knew how to play the opening, but I've often had trouble figuring out what I should be doing in the middle game in some variations. I've also especially wondered when to play f6 in many variations. I figured I'd get some pointers from this DVD, but just watching the parts on the Advance variation and the start of the Tarrasch variation, he's suggesting whole ways of playing that I never considered.

        I actually really like that he recommends the true main line against the Advance. McDonald's book and Polgar's DVD both recommend sidelines to trade off the bad light squared bishop, rather than what the majority of grandmasters actually play. Williams goes straight for the mainest of main lines - pile on d4 with everything you've got. Then he shows what to do next if white defends it well enough that you can't win it, which answers my earlier question from this thread. Now that I've watched this stuff, I'll probably stick with Williams' recommendations, at least for a while. The early moves are pretty much what I've always played against the Advance, but now I know how to continue and play it better from watching this.

        As for the Tarrasch, he recommends the Nf6 line, which is pretty similar to the Steinitz variation that I usually end up in against Nc3. So I'm good with that. I may even consider this Tarrasch line as white, though I'll have to figure out how to play against c5 instead of Nf6 on move 3, since I know that's the other popular option.

        I do need to finish watching the whole video, and the parts of the next one that don't deal with the Winawer, which I'm guessing will be at least half of that second video. But so far, I'm really liking it.

        "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

        Comment


        • #5
          So a quick update on how far I got with my opening study since compiling the lists above:

          Stuff I'm finished with:

          Reading:
          • Giuoco Piano – “Italian Game and Evans Gambit” by Jan Pinski, ch 2
          • Two Knights – “Two Knights Defense” by Jan Pinski, ch 7
          • Fort Knox French – Need to look up the knight sac line from “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald

          Videos:
          • Foxy Openings 37 – Morra Gambit Declined – Andrew Martin
          • Killer French, part 1 - Simon Williams (Advance variation only - still need to watch the Tarrasch variation sections)

          The Pinski books are mostly useless. They give master level theory, but don't even consider plausible looking moves that class level players frequently play. I can understand pointing out that one particular move is the only good one worth considering for black, but shouldn't he at least give a sentence or two of "At lower levels, this worse move is popular, but it's easily dealt with like this" so someone like me will know how to handle the common bad moves? So I really didn't do much reading there. Harding's book on the Two Knights is much more thorough and realistic, and I kinda looked up the Giuoco Piano in a database and came to my own conclusions.

          On the Advance French, I actually watched that section of the Killer French DVD twice, and got into an in depth discussion of the lines on another forum. So I'm totally prepared for the Advance. Of course, I've started playing the French again in practice games, and I've faced the Exchange and Tarrasch variations instead, with not a single Advance, despite it usually being the most popular line.

          I also started bits and pieces of other stuff. I've read over half of the chapter on the Scandinavian and Nimzo Defenses in the "Starting Out: 1 e4!" book. That's not very thorough, but I also don't see these openings very often, so it's not worth spending a ton of time on. And I watched a significant portion of the "Killer Dutch" DVD, maybe close to half. I'm trying not to jump around too much, but not succeeding. Looking stuff up as it comes up in my online games doesn't help in that regard, but it's still useful study, if disorganized.

          And there are a few things I'm pretty sure I'll skip, despite having them on the list. For instance, for the MacCutcheon French, the chapter in McDonald's book is very thorough, covering even the patzer level moves that I'll see regularly. But if I remember correctly, Martin's Foxy Openings DVD is kinda like Pinski's book in only covering what masters play, so studying the chapter in the book should be enough, and I'll probably skip the DVD, until I reach higher level and start frequently facing opponents who know what they're doing.

          "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

          Comment


          • #6
            Very interesting read. I'll point out a few things, as I'm also solidifying my opening repertoire (which currently consists of just over 800 lines, and still no where close to being finished).

            How deep are you intending to go into each category of your opening repertoire? Just a few mainlines, all mainlines and sidelines? Just a general understanding of how to play? etc.

            For example, I've been playing the transposition of the scotch gambit from the two knights for about a month and I think this consists of something like 25 lines, and I haven't done the indepth study yet.

            How are you recording your opening repertoire? Chessbase files? Other software? Excel? Notebook? How often are you practicing recollection of your repertoire?

            I've been using a combination of Excel (for additional lines/footnotes of the resource used to collect), Chessbase (To print out the repertoire files and to have them on my laptop for quick review if I'm travelling) and Chess Position Trainer (for recollection training and review).

            Some possible holes in your repertoire...

            For black, you do not mention the King's Indian Attack as a possibility for white. This is a decently important one to know.

            For black, Nf3 f5 e4 was giving black major problems in recent GM games I believe... it's supposed to be quite good for white, might want to be ready for that.

            For white, remember the smith-morra can be forced into transposition of the alapin via Nf6.

            For white e4 e5, latvian is possible (f5), phillidor defense is possible (d6).

            For white you missed the owen's, but it might not be a major problem for you.

            For white, watch out for transpositions from the pirc/modern into a sicilian such as the dragon.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the detailed response.

              Hmm... lots of questions. I should probably quote the entire post and answer each one at a time.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              Very interesting read. I'll point out a few things, as I'm also solidifying my opening repertoire (which currently consists of just over 800 lines, and still no where close to being finished).

              How deep are you intending to go into each category of your opening repertoire? Just a few mainlines, all mainlines and sidelines? Just a general understanding of how to play? etc.
              Mostly, I'm focused on general understanding. I'm looking for ideas of how the resulting middle games should be played more than anything else.

              I'm preparing for the U1700 section of the Chicago Open, where many of my opponents will get out of book early, so memorizing specific variations too deeply would be a waste of time at this level. But I do routinely play 1700-2000 level opponents, too, so I do need to be ready for a little more theory. But the main idea right now is just to solidify the base of knowledge, so I'll have a starting point for future more detailed opening study.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              For example, I've been playing the transposition of the scotch gambit from the two knights for about a month and I think this consists of something like 25 lines, and I haven't done the indepth study yet.
              That's actually the same line I've played as white against the Two Knights for years, and I have no idea what 25 lines you're talking about.

              After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 exd4 5. e5, Pinski's book only covers 5. ... d5 and the results of that, which is why I don't like his book. I face 5. ... Ng4 and 5. ... Ne4 almost as much as d5. Ng4 is is just bad for black, but white does need to know what he's doing. The immediate Ne4 may not be quite as theoretically accurate as d5, but it's playable, even at GM level. In fact, GM Nigel Davies recommends that move in his black repertoire book "Play 1. e4 e5!". Harding's book covers all of these possibilities, and I've been meaning to study this stuff for years, but I've mostly just been improvising in the past.

              After the main 5. ... d5, I know 6. Bb5 Ne4 7. Nxd4 is all standard, and there are a couple of possibilities from there. The main line seems to be 7. ... Bd7, and I think it goes 8. Nxc6 bxc6, and the white bishop retreats, but I don't remember the rest, or truly understand what either side is shooting for in the resulting middle game, despite having played both sides of this line dozens of times. Again, that's why I'm studying it.

              The main sideline I know of is the tricky 7. ... Bc5, shooting for a massive attack on white's king, if white doesn't stop the whole mess before it starts with 8. Be3.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              How are you recording your opening repertoire? Chessbase files? Other software? Excel? Notebook? How often are you practicing recollection of your repertoire?

              I've been using a combination of Excel (for additional lines/footnotes of the resource used to collect), Chessbase (To print out the repertoire files and to have them on my laptop for quick review if I'm travelling) and Chess Position Trainer (for recollection training and review).
              This is another area I need to work on. I actually started to use Chess Position Trainer a little in the past, but I never got very far with it.

              Depending on the opening, I have material all over the place. Sometimes, it's just book marks and highlighted moves in the book I studied from. Sometimes, it's an MS Word doc listing some of the main lines, with notes or whatever about ideas. Sometimes, it's in CPT. And for some, I don't have anything, just the need to re-review whatever book or video I learned the material from in the first place.

              This is part of the reason I had such a hard time remembering my opening repertoire this year, when returning after a roughly 3.5 year break from playing. I didn't have it saved in a single, coherent place, where it's easy to review and study.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              Some possible holes in your repertoire...

              For black, you do not mention the King's Indian Attack as a possibility for white. This is a decently important one to know.
              You know, when I lived in Florida, I never even heard of the KIA. I played the French on and off for years, and never faced it once, and I didn't know anyone who played it against anything. Now that I'm in the Chicago area, the KIA is all the rage. I know a ton of people who play it, and I faced it against my French in a tourney for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

              It's covered in some of my French Defense study material. It's mentioned above in my video study material for the French, though it's lumped in with the Exchange variation in my "I don't know which reference source to learn it from or what method I want to use against it" stuff.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              For black, Nf3 f5 e4 was giving black major problems in recent GM games I believe... it's supposed to be quite good for white, might want to be ready for that.
              I've heard of this, but never faced it. Against 1. d4, I actually play e6 before f5 just to avoid some of the Anti-Dutch lines. It risks transposing to the French, but I'm good with that, and besides, it never actually happens. 1. d4 players don't want to transpose to a 1. e4 opening.

              Against 1. c4, I do play f5 on the first move, and usually get to play e5 in a single move, saving a tempo over the e6, d6, then try to get in e5 later method that's normal in the Classical Dutch.

              I really haven't decided with 1. Nf3. I lean towards f5 first, but if I ever face this variation, I'll probably regret it, since I'm totally unprepared for it.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              For white, remember the smith-morra can be forced into transposition of the alapin via Nf6.
              As I said, I studied the Foxy Openings DVD on the Morra Declined. The 3. ... Nf6 line takes up probably 35-40% of that DVD. Declining with d5 is also common, but not worrying. The most dangerous decline, which I really needed to prep for, because I didn't remember how to handle it, is actually 3. ... g6. I lost to that one after handling it badly in a game a few weeks ago. Martin does a pretty good job explaining it on that DVD, and I made some notes to make sure I'd remember the details.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              For white e4 e5, latvian is possible (f5), phillidor defense is possible (d6).
              Those are grouped in with the "Petroff and other misc open games" that I said I'll be studying in chapter 1 of Neil McDonald's "Starting Out: 1 e4!", along with the Elephant Gambit. I don't remember what else is in that chapter, besides the Scotch Game, which I'll skip, since I don't play that. But I've actually played the Philidor, Elephant Gambit, and Latvian Gambit enough in the past that I kinda know how to deal with them. A quick refresher will be good, especially on the Latvian, since it's so sharp, and it's the one I know the least.

              Actually, since I play the Italian complex, the one variation I might want to consider finding an additional resource to study is the Hungarian Defense (3. ... Be7). But a friend of mine at the club where I used to play in Florida played this against me regularly, so I have a general idea of how it goes. I think Harding's book covers it, so I may just skim his lines real quick, if I have time. It's low priority, though.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              For white you missed the owen's, but it might not be a major problem for you.
              I've heard of it, but it doesn't come up enough to even think about. I'm sure I'd just improvise a classical center and go from there.

              Originally posted by DevastatioN View Post
              For white, watch out for transpositions from the pirc/modern into a sicilian such as the dragon.
              Since I play the 150 Attack, it ends up being pretty close to a Yugoslav Attack intentionally. I believe the main line actually has black playing c6 to support b5, then b4 to push white's pieces around on the queen side. But because we didn't trade his c pawn for my d pawn, there's no open c file for black to attack on, so no possibility of the Rxc3 exchange sac and stuff like that.

              "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

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              • #8
                Updated repertoire and study material:

                Repertoire:

                White (1. e4):
                • e5
                o Giuoco Piano, Sveshnikov variation
                o Two Knights, transpose to Scotch Gambit (4. d4 exd4 5. e5)
                o Petroff, castle queen side
                • Sicilian – Smith-Morra Gambit
                • Modern/Pirc – 150 Attack
                • French – Nc3 (Steinitz with f4, Bd2 vs Winawer), or maybe Alapin Gambit
                • Scandinavian, Nimzovitch – Main lines from “Starting Out: 1 e4!”
                • Alekhine – 2. Nc3 and probably transpose to Scandinavian
                • Caro Kann – Exchange with Bd3 (probably)

                Black:
                • 1. e4 – French
                o Advance – Main line with 5. … Bd7
                o Exchange – I usually just improvise, but not very well. Need to study this
                o Tarrasch – 3. … Nf6
                o Nc3 Nf6 5. Bg5 – MacCutcheon
                o Nc3 Nf6 5. e5 – Steinitz
                • 1. d4, c4, or Nf3 – Classical Dutch
                • 1. d4 – Maybe try Queen’s Gambit Declined with absolutely no study, since it’s quiet enough to get away with that, and I won that way the last time I tried it.
                • 1. f4 e5 – From's Gambit, Mestel variation
                • Other flank openings (1. b4, etc) – French Defense formation (e6, d5, c5) and improvise

                Reading Material:

                White:
                • 1. … e5
                o Giuoco Piano – Need to find useful reference for Sveshnikov variation
                o Two Knights – “Evans Gambit and a System Versus Two Knights Defense” by Tim Harding, ch 3
                o Petroff and other misc open games – “Starting Out: 1 e4!” By Neil McDonald, ch 1
                o Review refutation to Damiano’s Defense (from my notes from the internet)
                • Smith-Morra Gambit – online articles and books to look up specific lines, but mostly DVDs below
                • 150 Attack – “Starting Out: d-pawn Attacks” by Richard Palliser, ch 7
                • French
                o Winawer – “Play the French”, 2nd ed by John Watson, start of ch 8, also online article I saved
                o Steinitz – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 4
                • Caro Kann – ???

                Black:
                • French
                o MacCutcheon – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 5
                o Steinitz – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 4
                o Exchange – “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald, ch 2
                o Advance, Tarrasch, KIA – various books to look up lines, but mostly learn from DVDs, below
                • Dutch – various books to look up lines, but mostly learn from “Killer Dutch” DVD
                • From’s Gambit – Bird’s Opening by Timothy Taylor, ch 8

                Videos:

                White:
                • Foxy Openings 36 – Morra Gambit Accepted – Andrew Martin
                • Foxy Openings 11 – 150 Attack – Aaron Summerscale

                Black:
                • Killer Dutch – Simon Williams
                • Killer French 2 (Exchange, KIA, misc) – Simon Williams
                • Master the French 1 (Exchange, KIA) – Susan Polgar

                Stuff already studied (Need to review stuff in parentheses again):

                Reading:
                • Giuoco Piano – “Italian Game and Evans Gambit” by Jan Pinski, ch 2
                • Two Knights – “Two Knights Defense” by Jan Pinski, ch 7
                • Alekhine, Scandinavian, Nimzovitch – “Starting Out: 1 e4!”, ch 10
                • Fort Knox French – Need to look up the knight sac line from “How to Play Against 1 e4” by Neil McDonald

                Videos:
                • Foxy Openings 37 – Morra Gambit Declined – Andrew Martin (g3 line)
                • Killer French 1 – Simon Williams (Advance and Tarrasch, which is pretty much the whole DVD)

                "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sounds like you have a lot of your bases covered in terms of my comments on things you might be missing.

                  Perhaps you might want to play e6 against Nf3?

                  Nf3 e6 e4 d5 would be the same as the French e4 e6 Nf3 d5.
                  Nf3 e6 d4 f5 looks fine, I'm assuming d4 e6 Nf3 you'd play f5.
                  Nf3 e6 c4 f5 seems fine too.

                  It also keeps your options open to changing your repertoire a bit at some point by playing d5 instead of f5, throwing some opponents off.

                  Maybe we use the word "line" differently. I consider a line any unique set of moves, so sidelines, refutations etc. are all a separate line as they branch off from the main. I have the same main moves as you, Ng4, Ne4 and d5, but with numerous sub-branches, especially in the d5 line.

                  Opening documentation is important as you see... I've had the same problem as you after breaks. I struggled to find an ideal system. Let me describe my system for you, it might be useful.

                  I've just recently switched to decompartmentalizing more... the brain can easily remember 10-12 lines under a descriptive heading rather than 40-45 lines under a major heading.

                  For example in my repertoire I used to just have "Najdorf Be2" which encompassed all the lines of the Be2 Najdorf. I found myself forgetting a few of the sidelines or specific ideas. So I broke up Najdorf Be2 into four smaller categories. Najdorf Be2 Karpov Lines, Najdorf Be2 Early Bg5 Ideas, Najdorf Be2 f4 ideas and Najdorf Be2 Kh1 Lines.

                  Little memory games like this make a repertoire much easier to recall.

                  I start out with an Excel file (generally one file per major opening group, such as Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, etc. with each tab being a category such as Najdorf Be2 Classical). I then check all of my resources and write down the lines, left/right much like the repertoire file in Chessbase. Mark the resources. My order of resources is generally Starting Out Series, Play the something series, MCO, online opening database, then some computer analysis on moves that look natural but aren't in the lines.

                  Looking at the Excel file I try to find logical groupings of lines, the smaller the groups I can create the better. Then convert them into chessbase and CPT.

                  Chessbase to do engine analysis and CPT for memory recollection.

                  Overall this is just the basic learning/memorization of the lines, still should continually read the material, understand all the moves, etc. But this is the foundation of your lines that can built up afterwards. If you play a game that went outside of the lines, that's a new subline to study and understand.

                  If you keep up the memory work you'll never forget the lines, and over the years you'll slow add more and more to your lines as people deviate from the lines, maybe new GM games are played etc.

                  Hopefully some of this is useful for you, I've spent a lot of time figuring out how I should catalogue my repertoire as I've had problems with it being in various places in the past or in a sub-optimal format. I really enjoy the latest version of CPT, as it's easier to test myself than going over every single line/subline on a board.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you are looking for material on the Steinitz-Sveshnikov variation I recommend Michael Goeller's three articles here, here, and here. I think the best book source is The Italian Gambit System by Jude Acers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by plavitch View Post
                      If you are looking for material on the Steinitz-Sveshnikov variation I recommend Michael Goeller's three articles here, here, and here. I think the best book source is The Italian Gambit System by Jude Acers.
                      Thanks for the links. This will be a good start for me in studying that line.

                      "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

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