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  1. 12 Jan '08 19:02 / 2 edits
    cms has been pimping this 3rd move for white as a finesse to avoid certain black lines. Personally I think it worthless and when my opp in this game played 3. a3?! I thought briefly how to "refute it" before deciding on the Benoni, where the move a3 doesn't make much sense. Note that this was a 5 5 blitz game and that I don't often play the Benoni, so the game is less than stellar, but it illustrates the uselessness (IMHO) of 3. a3:

    [Event "FICS rated blitz game"]
    [Site "FICS, San Jose, California USA"]
    [Date "2008.01.12"]
    [Time "10:44:03"]
    [Round "-"]
    [White "McCammont"]
    [Black "scandium"]
    [TimeControl "300+5"]
    [Mode "ICS"]
    [Result "0-1"]

    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. a3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 g6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Bg5 Qe7 8. Qd2
    Nbd7 9. Nf3 Bg7 10. e3 a6 11. Bd3 b5 12. Ne4 Bb7 13. Nxf6+ Nxf6 14. Bxf6
    Bxf6 15. Rb1 O-O 16. e4 Bxd5 17. O-O Bb7 18. Rfe1 c4 19. Bc2 Bg7 20. b3
    c3 21. Qd3 Qc7 22. Rbd1 Rad8 23. b4 Rfe8 24. Qf1 a5 25. Rd3 Bxe4 26. Rde3
    d5 27. Bxe4 dxe4 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. Rxe4 c2 30. Re1 Qf4 31. Rc1 Qxc1
    {White resigns} 0-1
  2. 12 Jan '08 19:23
    Originally posted by scandium
    cms has been pimping this 3rd move for white as a finesse to avoid certain black lines. Personally I think it worthless and when my opp in this game played 3. a3?! I thought briefly how to "refute it" before deciding on the Benoni, where the move a3 doesn't make much sense. Note that this was a 5 5 blitz game and that I don't often play the Benoni, so the g ...[text shortened]... 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. Rxe4 c2 30. Re1 Qf4 31. Rc1 Qxc1
    {White resigns} 0-1
    does your rating happen to be quite higher than your opponents in this game?
  3. 12 Jan '08 19:40
    I haven't seen cms "pimping this move", but if he says what you've said about it, then I think the goal is achieved. It does avoid certain black lines, so if that's the plan then I think he's accurate.

    That said, I'm not sure how this particular game demonstrates any uselessness of 3. a3 since 16. e4, 25. Rd3 and 27. Bxe4 were the primary blunders that really cost the game.

    Anyway, I've encountered a lot of the anti-Nimzo, especially in Blitz.
  4. 12 Jan '08 19:46 / 2 edits
    Rating difference was less than 100 points (in my favour).

    Edit: Blunders aside, I posted this more to illustrate that 3. a3 just isn't good. In certain lines, like the Benoni, it just wastes time and accomplishes nothing.

    Edit #2: to underscore again that the proof isn't in the game and its later inaccuracies, or the outcome, but it does show that at no time in the 30+ moves of the game did the pawn on a3 ever accomplish anything at all. And it didn't even "force" me to abandon my preferred opening, since even though I prefer the Nimzo-Indian, the much more active 3. Nf3 avoids that line and its a more useful move; and therefore like all Nimzo-Indian players I have fallback openings, one played here (my other is the Bogo), but I'd have had had to have played one of them on 3. Nf3 anyway.

    So 3. a3 does squat so early in the game. Completely useless move.
  5. 12 Jan '08 21:23
    3 a3 looks pretty innocuous. I went over to http://www.chesslab.com (which has a free 2-million+ games database) and searched the positon after 3 a3 for games involving any players with a rating of 2500+.

    There were only ten such games, and only one of those had the 2500-player as White (he drew a fellow 2500-player).

    In the ten games, White was +3 =3 -4. But given that the average White player was rated about 2350 and that the average Black player was rated 2510, White actually exceded his win expectancy by a pretty large margin. Of course, it is a tiny sample size and doesn't really suggest anything, let alone prove anything.

    All in all, I don't see any good reason to NOT play 3 a3 if you know your opponent loves the Nimzo-Indian Defense. Even though the position is probably "objectively" equal, White may enjoy the position more than Black in some cases.
  6. 12 Jan '08 21:50
    Originally posted by gaychessplayer
    3 a3 looks pretty innocuous. I went over to http://www.chesslab.com (which has a free 2-million+ games database) and searched the positon after 3 a3 for games involving any players with a rating of 2500+.

    There were only ten such games, and only one of those had the 2500-player as White (he drew a fellow 2500-player).

    In the ten games, White wa ...[text shortened]... is probably "objectively" equal, White may enjoy the position more than Black in some cases.
    Probably my opinion on it is heavily influenced by the writings of the old school chess writers, who relentlessly preached active development moves. Of course these meta-rules have their exceptions, but I remain skeptical of the virtue of 3. a3. As you say, it may throw black off his preferred opening; however Nimzo-Indian player has to have a 2nd opening against 1. d4 for when white plays 3. Nf3. And these days most 1.d4 players do, making black's "backup" opening more and more his primary opening and the one he thus is more experienced with.

    In any case, my 1. d4 experiment has come to an end so as white this is a non-starter for me, while with black I should welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that white has simply wasted his 3rd move for naught.
  7. 12 Jan '08 23:01
    Originally posted by scandium
    I remain skeptical of the virtue of 3. a3. As you say, it may throw black off his preferred opening; however Nimzo-Indian player has to have a 2nd opening against 1. d4 for when white plays 3. Nf3. And these days most 1.d4 players do, making black's "backup" opening more and more his primary opening and the one he thus is more experienced with... with black ...[text shortened]... welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that white has simply wasted his 3rd move for naught.
    I agree. 3 a3 does absolutely nothing to improve White's position.
  8. 12 Jan '08 23:16
    Originally posted by scandium
    cms has been pimping this 3rd move for white as a finesse to avoid certain black lines. Personally I think it worthless and when my opp in this game played 3. a3?! I thought briefly how to "refute it" before deciding on the Benoni, where the move a3 doesn't make much sense. Note that this was a 5 5 blitz game and that I don't often play the Benoni, so the g ...[text shortened]... 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. Rxe4 c2 30. Re1 Qf4 31. Rc1 Qxc1
    {White resigns} 0-1
    I don't want to be too assertive here, since I really don't know much about this opening, but all the databases I've consulted (that have enough games to make stats meaningful) suggest that with 3...d5 Black has equalized and with 3...c5 Black has at least done so and may have secured an advantage. The verdict on 3...b6 isn't quite so clear. (www.365chess.com has more than 700 games beginning with this line through 3.a3)

    So, yes, it seems that White has tossed away the noble advantage possessed by virtue of his color, on the third move, merely from the sort of wimpy pin-phobia which Chernev used to pillory in Logical Chess.

    Who or what is cms?
  9. 12 Jan '08 23:49 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    I don't want to be too assertive here, since I really don't know much about this opening, but all the databases I've consulted (that have enough games to make stats meaningful) suggest that with 3...d5 Black has equalized and with 3...c5 Black has at least done so and may have secured an advantage. The verdict on 3...b6 isn't quite so clear. (www.365ch ...[text shortened]... t of wimpy pin-phobia which Chernev used to pillory in Logical Chess.

    Who or what is cms?
    I think he goes by cmsmaster... he's tossed this 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. a3 line out a couple times now.

    Edit: Okay after digging around I found the thread where he first mentioned it: http://www.timeforchess.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=83633

    As strictly an "anti-Nimzo" I suppose its plausible, but 3. Nf3 accomplishes the same thing. While either way, as mentioned earlier, any Nimzo player has to have a backup to play against 3. Nf3 and, among other openings, both the QID and the Benoni are fine against 3. Nf3 or 3. a3. And I'd bet most Nimzo players also play either or both.
  10. 13 Jan '08 05:33 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by scandium
    cms has been pimping this 3rd move for white as a finesse to avoid certain black lines. Personally I think it worthless and when my opp in this game played 3. a3?! I thought briefly how to "refute it" before deciding on the Benoni, where the move a3 doesn't make much sense. Note that this was a 5 5 blitz game and that I don't often play the Benoni, so the g 28. Rxe4 Rxe4 29. Rxe4 c2 30. Re1 Qf4 31. Rc1 Qxc1
    {White resigns} 0-1
    I'll check the game out in a second, but I'd like to say that I haven't really been pimping it too hard - I was curious about what people thought. There wasn't very positive feedback, so I've been playing the Catalan recently - and I enjoy it, that's what I'm gonna pimp now!

    Also, in my original notes on 3.a3 (which I handwrote) I considered the idea of the move 3...c5 - and also thought that it would be black's best try, and concluded that white couldn't play in typical Benoni style because the lost tempo and move 3.a3 helps black. I still think that white may be able to find ways to deal with that move though.

    Ok, I just looked at the game - and like I commented, white can just play in typical Benoni style - it's not advantageous. Instead, white could look at a move like 4.Nf3 looking for something like:

    4...cxd4 5.Nxd4 Be7 6.Nc3 - which looks equal.
  11. 13 Jan '08 05:38
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    Who or what is cms?
    Only the coolest mother f'er alive...
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Gonzalo de Córdoba
    13 Jan '08 07:49
    Originally posted by cmsMaster
    Only the coolest mother f'er alive...
    That doesn't make sense.

    Maybe Coolest Man Suc...

    I mean...uhh...
  13. 13 Jan '08 07:53
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    That doesn't make sense.

    Maybe Coolest Man Suc...

    I mean...uhh...
  14. 13 Jan '08 23:27
    Originally posted by cmsMaster
    Only the coolest mother f'er alive...
    I only asked because if one does a find-player search for "cms" half a dozen player handles are returned by the search, including one called (exactly) "cms".
  15. Standard member JonathanB of London
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    13 Jan '08 23:55 / 3 edits
    Also, in my original notes on 3.a3 (which I handwrote) I considered the idea of the move 3...c5 - and also thought that it would be black's best try, ....[/b]
    Really?

    Why then, in the original post, did you say of 3. ... d5 "certainly seems to be the critical defense"

    Total lack of modesty prevents me from pointing out that I suggested ... c5 in the original thread (based on the idea that a3 is of no use in a Benoni)


    Edit... and now I look, I see I even suggested 3. g3 as a more sensible alternative to 3. a3 if the goal is avoiding a Nimzo. I obviously had my crystal ball working well that day.

    Edit2 ... I still doubt 3. a3 hands the advantage to Black. = for sure but not =+