Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 06 Jul '08 15:31
    i originally posted this to greenpawn but i fear he is far too busy at present, so if i may burden you guys with one more query that has been perplexing me for ages, i understand theory, quite a bit, its not difficult, the moves are made and an explanation given as to the overall strategy etc etc. and it has been my general understanding that good players follow accepted theory, and this theory lies within established boundaries, you know, that in general, there may be no more than two or three continuations at any given point, until well into the middle game at least, however the problems arise, when at my level, the players deviate from established theory, normally quite early on, for example i was playing my friend and nemesis, 'dass', on this site, i chose the Ruy Lopez and he played the Berlin defense, then at about move five he deviates, he is a deviant anyhow, and all my theory is futile, nothing in any of my books, nothing in any data bases, absolutely nude! center of a doughnut etc etc.

    now the question is, how does one approach this, should it be viewed with skepticism, was his move inferior or perhaps has he mistakenly, or rather unknowingly stumbled upon a novelty, or are the moves that are to be made so diverse that it does not really matter so early, you're thoughts are most appreciated, as well as any experience you may have - regards Robert.
  2. 06 Jul '08 15:52
    Post the game and we can take a look. Then we can separate specific ideas from more general ones when we confront such problems.

    Certain openings will have lots of leeway for moves/move-orders within a given strategy, others will require very accurate play from early on with little room for deviation.

    Anyway, post the opening Robbie, please!
  3. 06 Jul '08 16:06 / 1 edit
    '...originally posted this to greenpawn....'

    Sorry Robbie - have been busy.

    Post the game, SF or KORCH will advise.
    The rest are waiting with engines at the ready.
    (they will access their databases to find odd move).
  4. 06 Jul '08 16:35
    sure guys, thanks for your continued support, i really do appreciate it, i am too embarrassed to post the whole game as once again i threw away what i thought was a winning position, anyhow the opening moves were as follows,

    1.e4 e5
    2.Nf3 Nc6
    3.Bb5 Nf6
    4.0-0 d6 (rather passive in my opinion)
    5.d4 exd4 (if hes gonna offer the center why not take it?)
    6.Nf3xd4 Bc8d7,. and here my theory and data bases end

    thanks guys see what you can advise

    kind regards to all - robert.
  5. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    06 Jul '08 16:47 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    i originally posted this to greenpawn but i fear he is far too busy at present, so if i may burden you guys with one more query that has been perplexing me for ages, i understand theory, quite a bit, its not difficult, the moves are made and an explanation given as to the overall strategy etc etc. and it has been my general understanding that good pl ou're thoughts are most appreciated, as well as any experience you may have - regards Robert.
    nope. it simply means you don't understand the theory. or to put it in another way: you don't understand the theory.

    memorizing is not understanding. understanding would require you to know what your side-lining opponent is doing wrong, what kind of concessions he's giving you, and ultimately how to punish him for the mistake.

    does it mean that your opponent is already losing? no. but it does mean he's not giving you the best he could.

    the chances that an amateur will stumble (deliberately) into an improvement over established theory are virtually nonexistent. you won't suddenly understand a line better than all the masters before you. it won't happen.

    however, the critical question relating to any position, is: do you understand the position better than your opponent? because if you do, you just might have the advantage.

    unless your opponent happens to figure out the reason why all the better players avoided that specific position.


    a simple example: defending against KNB mate. -it's a forced win for the attacker, in theory, but if he doesn't know the theory he won't figure it out by himself. I'm sure the KNB is drawn between amateurs quite often. (just recently I failed to mate with KNB in blitz even though I've done it probably hundreds of times.)
  6. 06 Jul '08 16:48 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    sure guys, thanks for your continued support, i really do appreciate it, i am too embarrassed to post the whole game as once again i threw away what i thought was a winning position, anyhow the opening moves were as follows,

    1.e4 e5
    2.Nf3 Nc6
    3.Bb5 Nf6
    4.0-0 d6 (rather passive in my opinion)
    5.d4 exd4 (if hes gonna offer the center why not t ...[text shortened]... heory and data bases end

    thanks guys see what you can advise

    kind regards to all - robert.
    Use a better database!
    Chesslive.de has 483 games at 6...Bd7, including:

  7. 06 Jul '08 16:51
    Ok, first things first, when you're looking up the databases (I'm using MegaBase 2008) try to work out if there is a transposition from another line. I this case I found 90 games from this position starting with the Steinitz move-order 3...d6. (trying to watch my brother's game from the scottish which is online at the moment and getting very hairy near the time-control, so I'll just post this one quick game I found and get back to you in a wee while!)

    Aagaard,Jacob (2464) - Kaserer,Hans Peter (1989) [C62]
    Arco op Arco (1), 21.10.2006

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.c4 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.b3 Ne8 11.Bb2 Qc8 12.f4 Qb7 13.Qd3 Bf6 14.Kh1 a5 15.e5 dxe5 16.fxe5 Bxe5 17.Nf3 Bxc3 18.Bxc3 Qc8 19.Ne5 Be6 20.Nxc6 Qa6 21.Qe4 a4 22.Qxe6 1-0
  8. 06 Jul '08 17:32
    Ok, so wormwood is quite right that 'theory' involves more than just knowing and playing moves - there are strategies which underpin positions, and theory is the evolution of the play in these positions - so you have to know the strategies involved and then you can spot if your opponent has deviated significantly from this. If so, you should be looking for ways to punish him...

    This is taken from my book, and isn't a simple plug, it's a necessary piece of knowledge if player's want to improve.

    "One of the most important facets of chess is being able to spot when our opponent has made a serious error, and then capitalising on it.
    Our intuition will develop through practical experience and the assimilation of more and more patterns over the course of time, but there are more obvious tell-tale signs we should constantly watch out for.
    The most easily recognisable of these occur in positions we know or understand quite well (our favourite openings or those we have most recently studied) whereupon our opponent uncorks a move which just doesn't ring true, doesn't follow the logic of the position as we know it.
    Although taken out of context, whenever my opponent plays such a move I am reminded of my friend and club-mate Tommy Thomson's classic rejoinder when faced with an illegal move in the National League some years ago.
    He jumped straight out of his chair and bellowed, "You can't f****** do that!" I think his opponent (and the rest of the hall) got the message!"

    However, In the Ruy Lopez opening you posted robbie, at move 6 you have to be thinking something like this: 'Never seen that before? Is it a mistake? Well, he hasn't done anything to break the normal rules of an opening, so it's unlikely I can punish him immediately...but it looks very passive, so I'll just develop as quickly as I can and try to use my space/development advantage to pressure him in the middlegame. He's given up the centre quite easily, so perhapsf4 intending e5 is aplan...where can i put my bishop from c1? I have a little extra time so b3 and Bb2 is a possibility..it supports the f4/e5 idea and doesn't get in the way of the other pieces there.

    These kind of thoughts contain a certain logic and constitute a decent plan...and after the game you can check the databases to see if stronger players agree with you or not!
  9. 06 Jul '08 17:41 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by wormwood
    nope. it simply means you don't understand the theory. or to put it in another way: you don't [b]understand the theory.

    memorizing is not understanding. understanding would require you to know what your side-lining opponent is doing wrong, what kind of concessions he's giving you, and ultimately how to punish him for the mistake. ailed to mate with KNB in blitz even though I've done it probably hundreds of times.)[/b]
    actually i had not memorized this at all, all i know is this line up until move three, yes thats right 3.Bb5, memory is memory and theory is theory, please no assumptions, your evaluation may be correct in essence, however when it is such a slight mistake, albeit, one may add almost negligible then it would take someone greater than you or i to nurse such a minuscule advantage to reach a clear advantage, would it not.
  10. 06 Jul '08 17:46
    Originally posted by streetfighter
    Ok, so wormwood is quite right that 'theory' involves more than just knowing and playing moves - there are strategies which underpin positions, and theory is the evolution of the play in these positions - so you have to know the strategies involved and then you can spot if your opponent has deviated significantly from this. If so, you should be looking ...[text shortened]... you can check the databases to see if stronger players agree with you or not!
    yes this is not only entertaining but very helpful, thanks !
  11. 06 Jul '08 17:50
    Originally posted by Squelchbelch
    Use a better database!
    Chesslive.de has 483 games at 6...Bd7, including:

    [pgn][Event "Paris m"]
    [Site "Paris"]
    [Date "1863.??.??"]
    [Round "0"]
    [White "Morphy,Paul"]
    [Black "De Riviere,Jules Arnous"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [Eco "C66"]
    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 d6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.Nc3 Be7
    9.h3 c5 10.Nde2 0-0 11.f4 Bc6 12.Ng ...[text shortened]... 9.Kg4 Qg1+ 60.Kf5 Qc5+ 61.Kf6 Qd4+ 62.Ke7 Qc5+ 63.Kd7 Qd4+ 64.Kc8
    1-0
    [/pgn]
    you know this is amazing, immediately after i exchanged knights i new it was a mistake, thanks so much - regards Robert.
  12. 06 Jul '08 21:15
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    '...originally posted this to greenpawn....'

    Sorry Robbie - have been busy.

    Post the game, SF or KORCH will advise.
    The rest are waiting with engines at the ready.
    (they will access their databases to find odd move).
    Keep your engine accusations to yourself.

    Anyway, in the pertinent position I see this:

    1. Exchanging off the pieces leaves you with a better pawn structure and the ability to play for an e5 push opening up the board while the opponent hasn't castled. A sample sequence would be

    7. Bxc6 Bxc6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. Re1 at which point we should realize that Bg5 and e5 fast enough to really force a win right off the bat. For example
    9... Be7 10. e5 {bad} dxe5 and white can't even recapature due to back rank threats.

    2. Now lets look at exchanging only some of the pieces.
    a. 7. Nxc6 Bxc6 and we waste time retreating the bishop.
    b. 7. Bxc6 Bxc6 bxc6 {Bxc6 is covered above}

    3. Look at ignoring the pieces over there...
    Nc3 Bg5 seem decent enough but not ambitious moves. If black wants to he can play Ne5 and force the exchange of bishops (setting up 0-0-0) or you must retreat the bishop.

    In all three ideas white is ok and maintains a spatial plus. In some he simplifies and maintains a slight edge in development (possibly giving up the bishop pair). The question is do you think you are good enough to hone in on c6 and win the resulting endgame?
  13. 06 Jul '08 21:36
    Greenpawn quote:
    "The rest are waiting with engines at the ready. "

    Forgot to add one of these
  14. 06 Jul '08 21:53 / 1 edit
    I think the best way to respond to this kind of move that you don't expect is to:
    First, look at the idea it has;
    Then, evaluate whether it is decent or not;
    If so, try to look at your best continuations that might keep some sort of an advantage (e.g. in this case avoiding the retreat with Bd3);
    If not, figure out what it isn't doing and how to exploit that (e.g. not developing well, so develop your own pieces).

    As for the specific example you gave, here is my take:

    I think that the correct approach to this type of position is to be willing to give up the bishop pair in order to maintain the tension and potentially an active knight. So with this in mind, 7. Bxc6 is the key move (Nxc6 is viable, but after bxc6 Bd3 white has been forced to move back a bit).

    Thus if black replies bxc6, white doesn't lose a tempo and can continue with Re1 or Nc3. Personally I like the idea of c4 in order to try to keep a lock on d5, so here I'd play Re1. However, Nc3 is probably just as good. Anyway, white will probably have a setup with Re1, Qf3, and Nc3 (and possibly c4). The dark square bishop can go to g5 perhaps; other squares are also possible. Black may at one point want to push c6-c5; if so (or even without c5), White's knight on d4 has the possibility of relocating to f5, a good square. Black should play Be7 early, but beyond that Black's play is a bit more difficult to develop.

    If black takes back with the bishop, 8. f3 is an interesting possibility but probably not the most accurate. I think the simple 8. Nxc6 is better. After 8... bxc6, 9. Qf3 black's game is looking a little cramped.
    9... d5 right away doesn't work so well, I had a look over some specific lines and they look very good for white, e.g. 10. Nc3 d4 11. Rd1 Bd6 12. e5! Bxe5 13. Qxc6+ Nd7 14. f4 Bf6 15. Re1+ Kf8 16. Nd5 and black is in real trouble.
    If black plays with something like 9... Be7 (probably best), 10. e5 looks good. If 10... dxe5 11. Qxc6+ Kf8 12. Nc3 and white has a nice initiative.
  15. 06 Jul '08 22:52
    Looked at the position, read others comments.

    You have had some good advice. It looks like Bxc6 is the move.

    Overview:
    Sometimes your opponent will 'throw-you' with a non-book,
    or very rare move. It's their job.

    A rule of thumb in these cases which has always been kind to me.

    If in doubt, get a piece out.

    So that rule suggests Nc3 - which is perfectly playable and is
    what Capablanca played in that position.

    Bxc6 or Nc3 Horses for courses. Go with your instinct and play chess.
    There is a whole middle-game ahead of you. That's where games
    are won and lost.