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Exciting Openings for Black

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  • Exciting Openings for Black

    I am yet to find a black opening against e4 which I play well with. Currently I play the French, but find that my pieces, especially my queen's bishop, get trapped easily and i lose any mobility that I have as white.

    Any suggestions to exciting openings for black that give me good attacking chances?

  • #2
    Answer e4 with e5! You'll lose some games early as your opponents try various gambits and stuff against you, but once you've seen them all once or twice, you'll know how to handle them. And you'll certainly have an easier time getting your pieces into the action.

    --Fromper

    "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
      I'd preferably like to play an unsual opening for black, one that isn't so 'stodgy'

      Comment


      • #4
        Alekhine maybe? Sicilian is probably as interesting as it gets, but there's a ton of theory to learn.
        USCF: 2248, High: 2295
        FIDE: 2193, High: 2229
        Games Left to Analyze: 9

        Comment


        • #5
          "Stodgy"??? 1. e4 e5?????

          Sounds like you've been stuck in too many Giuoco Pianissimo situations - 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 and white absolutely refuses to open up the center by ever playing d4. A decent player as white will play 4. c3 to support 5. d4, but most beginners don't know that, so center pawns never get traded, and it does turn boring pretty quick.

          Play 3. ... Nf6 against that instead of Bc5, and open up the center yourself. If white doesn't play the interesting lines (4. Ng5 or 4. d4), then he has to protect his e4 pawn. If he plays 4. d3 or 4. Qe2, then you can play 4. ... d5. If he plays 4. Nc3, try taking on e4 anyway! 4. ... Nxe4 5. Nxe4 5. d5, and you get your piece back. I'm not sure if that line's actually sound, since I haven't really looked at it, but it's certainly not stodgy.

          Believe me, if 1. e4 e5 seems stodgy to you, as black or white, then you're playing it wrong.

          --Fromper

          "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
            Couple of thoughts:

            First, I agree with Fromper. 1 ... e5 is only "stodgy" if you don't play it well, or if white's really really conservative. (But all openings can end up that way if white's really really conservative).

            I also have to wonder if you really understand how to play the french - it tends to be a very active opening, although it requires some specific knowledge to play.

            Comment


            • #7
              What you need to do is improve on your weakness not give up. Here's an interesting idea for you since you play the french: play for an early exchange of bishops. Most time the c8 bishop is trapped in the advanced variation, but this can be handled by getting your bishop to a6 via b6 (eg. 1.e4 e6, 2. d4 d5, 3. e5 b6 , 4. c3 Qd7! (to prevent Qa4+) 5.Nf3/Bd3/Be2, Ba6) or you can play your bishop to b5 early via Qb6, Bd7 , Bd5. This approach forces the exchange of white's strong bishop for your weaker one, and now can continue your assault on the dark squares. Hope this helps.
              "First I'll grab the queen, then I smack the royal bishop."

              Comment


              • #8
                I think he meant stodgy in response to the french....


                Personally I try to avoid e4 e5, because I hate when I have to face the Ruy Lopez. Two Knights defense is definitely a black player's dream come true!
                Last edited by arabianmate; 01-30-2009, 04:49 PM.
                "First I'll grab the queen, then I smack the royal bishop."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can't go wrong with 1. ... e5. But if white doesn't want to make it interesting, you can only do so much to make it interesting, it's like that in just about every opening.
                  For the average chess player, e4-e5 is the springboard for lively chess. The further you go up the ladder, the more the Sicilian will earn that role; but you can play double kingpawn games all your life and never be bored (unless you're doing something wrong).

                  As to the French, well, if you find it (too) stodgy, it's probably not for you; I know the French isn't for me! Defending the Ruy Lopez is a serious task, but it's not as hard as trying to figure out the white side of a d4-Nxd4 Sicilian. Frankly, it took me longer to get a grip on the KG than it did for the RL. In the King's Gambit, I fiddled around with the variations I remembered well from when I had the white pieces; for a long time I just couldn't settle on any (I tried the KGD with 2. ... Bc5, the Falkbeer, various KGA lines like the Becker with h6-g5, the Fischer and Modern), until I came at one in particular that used to annoy me with white (1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 c6).
                  With the Ruy Lopez, I immediately settled on the Modern Steinitz (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6). There are a number of different ways to play the thing, from classical development to a hypermodern structure with some options for interesting aggressive lines like the SiŽsta variation (which is more like a FiŽsta variation for black).
                  Last edited by Perseus; 01-30-2009, 05:09 PM.
                  Have you read the Forum rules?

                  Queeg: Pawn to King Four. Holly: Horsie to King Bish Three.
                  Rimmer: It's called a "knight," actually, Holly...
                  Queeg: Knight to King Bishop three. Holly: Queen to Rook Eight. Checkmate.
                  Queeg: That's an illegal move. Holly: Oh, sorry. Queens don't move like that. I was thinking of poker.
                  Holly: Cleudo? You could be Colonel Mustard.
                  Cat: If it's any help, I've been studying his tactics and there's a pattern emerging: Every time you make a move, he makes one too. *Winks to Holly*
                  Holly: *Winks back* Thanks, Cat.
                  --Red Dwarf

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I love defending the Ruy Lopez as black. It's 3. Bc4 that I hate seeing from white. I gave up on 3. ... Bc5 because white can easily make it boring, but I haven't played the Two Knights enough to be good at it yet. Also, the Scotch Gambit is very popular around here these days, and I haven't gotten good at that yet, either.

                    But give me a good Ruy Lopez any day. That's the main reason I stick to e5 these days.

                    As for the King's Gambit, I also had a hard time coming up with a variation I feel comfortable with, so I actually ended up going stodgy and declining it with 2. ... Bc5. It might not be theoretically best, but it definitely takes white out of the type of game he's hoping to play.

                    --Fromper

                    "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


                    • #11
                      Yeah, I meant that the French became quite stodgy, not 1.e4 e5

                      Why I'd rather not play 1... e5 is because there seem to be endless possibilities for whites reply that rely a lot on in depth theory; theory that I do not currently know.

                      I like arabianmate's idea of developing the bishop at a6, but wouldn't that just result in a knight on a6 that can't move anywhere due to whites pawn chain?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by xarcul View Post
                        Yeah, I meant that the French became quite stodgy, not 1.e4 e5

                        Why I'd rather not play 1... e5 is because there seem to be endless possibilities for whites reply that rely a lot on in depth theory; theory that I do not currently know.

                        I like arabianmate's idea of developing the bishop at a6, but wouldn't that just result in a knight on a6 that can't move anywhere due to whites pawn chain?
                        Endless possibilities, hmm, maybe so, but only a few you need to worry about. The Ruy Lopez, the King's Gambit and 3. Bc4. The rest is much less challenging. I steered clear of 3. Bc4 Bc5 and I'll explain why. When I started out (meaning when I decided it was time to play decent moves instead of patzing pointlessly) I picked the KG and did well with it for years. At some point I decided to give other openings a try, see what I could make of them. In the open games, I still liked the KG but decided on the RL (no regrets there, though I sometimes wish there weren't so many Sicilians, that way I'd feel like varying with my old KG more ).
                        In the process of choosing, I had a pretty long testrun with 3. Bc4, whenever black went into a passive defense or 3. ... Bc5, I would do alright with classical play with either the GP (the GPP, not being for me) or the Evans Gambit; whenever black played the 2N I'd really really struggle..
                        Have you read the Forum rules?

                        Queeg: Pawn to King Four. Holly: Horsie to King Bish Three.
                        Rimmer: It's called a "knight," actually, Holly...
                        Queeg: Knight to King Bishop three. Holly: Queen to Rook Eight. Checkmate.
                        Queeg: That's an illegal move. Holly: Oh, sorry. Queens don't move like that. I was thinking of poker.
                        Holly: Cleudo? You could be Colonel Mustard.
                        Cat: If it's any help, I've been studying his tactics and there's a pattern emerging: Every time you make a move, he makes one too. *Winks to Holly*
                        Holly: *Winks back* Thanks, Cat.
                        --Red Dwarf

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Couple of thoughts to the thread:

                          First of all, white really doesn't have more good responses to 1. ... e5 than he does to anything else. You've got the Ruy, the Scotch, the Italian, the Vienna, and the KG. But really, how is that different from Open Sicilian, Closed, Grand Prix, Smith-Morra, c3, and Bb5(+) sicillians. Or Winawer, Tarrasch, Advance, Exchange, Two Knights, for the French (although black can cut across some of this variations with an early dxe4 - that's hardly the choice for someone who is worried about passive play). This is, quite frankly, one of the biggest misconceptions most players have about 1 ... e5; they somehow think that playing it "allows white to dictate which way the games goes" but this is simply not true, not any more so than any other mainstream opening.

                          Secondly, as per Fromper's comment about the Ruy. In my experience, most players of around his stength are much better off playing 3.Bc4 rather than 3.Bb5. The advantage of 3.Bb5 is based on position considerations which are above and beyond that skill of many class players. 3.Bc4 can set black much more challenging problems right away by being based upon the skills a mid-ranged player is likely to have (attacking the king, direct tactics, etc).

                          Perseus, one thing I recommend against the Two Knights in the Italian is the modern variation: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4! ed 5.e5.

                          It's not really a gambit. You'll get your pawn back. On the other hand, it doesn't allow black to play a fun gambit (the main line 2N) and has a lot less theory than 5.0-0. Explore some lines. White's play is based on his kingside space advantage and some thematic weak squares in the black camp. Its theoretically as sound as anything else in the Italian complex, but very easy for white to play compared to the main line 2N.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1 e4:
                            Latvian Gambit (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 f5)
                            Alekhine's Defense (1 e4 Nf6)
                            Sicilian Dragon (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6)

                            1 d4:
                            Dutch (1 d4 f5)
                            Benoni (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5)
                            KID (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6)
                            Budapest Gambit: Fajarowicz (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e5 3 dxe5 Ne4)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
                              Couple of thoughts to the thread:

                              First of all, white really doesn't have more good responses to 1. ... e5 than he does to anything else. You've got the Ruy, the Scotch, the Italian, the Vienna, and the KG. But really, how is that different from Open Sicilian, Closed, Grand Prix, Smith-Morra, c3, and Bb5(+) sicillians. Or Winawer, Tarrasch, Advance, Exchange, Two Knights, for the French (although black can cut across some of this variations with an early dxe4 - that's hardly the choice for someone who is worried about passive play). This is, quite frankly, one of the biggest misconceptions most players have about 1 ... e5; they somehow think that playing it "allows white to dictate which way the games goes" but this is simply not true, not any more so than any other mainstream opening.
                              I'll disagree a little here. While the Sicilian gives white (and black) just as many choices as 1. e4 e5, I'd say that the French is far more limiting. There really are only 4 options that you usually see - 3. e5, 3. exd5, 3. Nc3, or 3. Nd2. And at lower levels, white players ALWAYS go for the Advance or Exchange. I used to play the French, and I doubt if I saw anything other than those two variations more than twice in 40-50 games. So there's less for black to learn in the French, but I also think it's somewhat limiting to always play it, for exactly the same reason.

                              Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
                              Secondly, as per Fromper's comment about the Ruy. In my experience, most players of around his stength are much better off playing 3.Bc4 rather than 3.Bb5. The advantage of 3.Bb5 is based on position considerations which are above and beyond that skill of many class players. 3.Bc4 can set black much more challenging problems right away by being based upon the skills a mid-ranged player is likely to have (attacking the king, direct tactics, etc).
                              Just to clarify, when I said that I like the RL, I meant as black. I've actually tried it a little as white and decided to go back to 3. Bc4. As white, I just understand the concept of what to do with that bishop in the middle game more if it's attacking f7 than if it's on b5 or a4, assuming I don't go for the exchange, which I've tried unsuccessfully.

                              But the black side of the Ruy Lopez is the only opening where I actually have a winning record in my last 35 tournament games, and I'm pretty sure that trend extends further back. I wish I understood why I do so well with it. That knowledge might make me a better player.

                              Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
                              Perseus, one thing I recommend against the Two Knights in the Italian is the modern variation: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4! ed 5.e5.

                              It's not really a gambit. You'll get your pawn back. On the other hand, it doesn't allow black to play a fun gambit (the main line 2N) and has a lot less theory than 5.0-0. Explore some lines. White's play is based on his kingside space advantage and some thematic weak squares in the black camp. Its theoretically as sound as anything else in the Italian complex, but very easy for white to play compared to the main line 2N.
                              That's actually how I play against the 2N as white, and I use the similar line against 3. ... Bc5 - 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. e5. But these openings don't come up very often, as most of my opponents these days don't answer 1. e4 with e5, and those that do usually go for the Hungarian (3. ... Be7) instead of the GP or 2N.

                              --Fromper

                              "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

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