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  1. 28 Jul '08 18:52 / 1 edit
    Here is where analysis by strong players might help resolve a point.

    I'm currently playing a travel chess computer I bought, and during one recent game play began 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3; subsequently I looked up Vienna Game in an opening book and found that 3...Bc5 was marked ?! on account of 4.Qg4! which admittedly does look rather strong. (Also see interactive board below.)

    I then checked a couple online databases and the only chance I see for Black after 3...Bc5 4.Qg4 looks like 4...Nd4. Play typically continues 5.Qxg7 Qf6 6.Qxf6 Nxf6 followed by either 7.Bd3 or 7.Bb3, and despite being a pawn down Black's chances seem OK if the game results are any evidence; however, the very small number of games makes this a bit difficult to evaluate.

    I was a bit disappointed that even after more than 3 minutes the computer did not appear to even consider 4.Qg4, instead initially looking at 4.d3 but (this time) eventually settling on 4.Nge2.

    After manually changing the position to reflect 4.Qg4 and then playing 4...Nd4 the computer's immediately predicted line (also played) was indeed 5.Qxg7 Qf6 6.Qxf6 Nxf6, showing that it indeed "seemed to know something" about the line in question. For move 7 it initially considered 7.Bb3 but settled on 7.Bd3. (Note that "think time" is set for an *average* of 1 minute at this level, so not every move gets 3+ minutes). Then 7...Rg8 8.g3 c6

    My question is, does the computer's apparent refusal to consider (over a period of 3+ minutes) the move 4.Qg4 (instead of 4.d3 and 4.Nge2) indicate a lack of analysis strength on its part, or is it justified in rejecting this move? (Possibly with still more time it might select it after all, I don't know.) Or is the position difficult to evaluate so that the computer might or might not be correct and cannot be faulted here? Note that at its strongest settings it is supposed to be rated 2000.

  2. 29 Jul '08 00:32
    I put this line in fritz.It doesn't like 4.Qg4 either even though it's the 2nd best move in it's opening book(best is Nf3).Most likely the reason is because it gives this line as best play: 4.Qg4,Nd4 5.Qxg7,Qf6 6.Qxf6,Nxf6 7.Bd3,Rg8 8.g3,c6 and evaluates it as dead equal (0.00)
    while after 4.Nf3,a6 5.Nd5,Nf6 6.c3,0-0 7.0-0,Nxe4 8.d4,exd4 9.cxd4,Be7 it thinks it has a small plus (0.37).
  3. 29 Jul '08 07:02
    Funny story.I decided to check this line in my 'Vienna bible';
    The Vienna Game and Gambit 2nd revised edition,A.E.Santasiere & Ken Smith.
    On page 10 it says 1.e4,e5 2.Nc3,Nc6 3.Bc4,Nf6 (for 3...,Bc5 see section III).SO I turn to section III and read: 1.e4,e5 2.Nc3,Bc5 3.Bc4 and now black has 2 basic choices 3....,Nf6 and 3....,d6 (for 3....,Nc6 see previous sections).

    They forgot to include this line!!
    So I try the illustrative games.Out of 26 games only 2 with this line,one continued 4.d3 with the annotation (4.Qg4 is sharper) LOL! The other continued 4.Nc3.

    Now I know why this line didn't ring any bells.Damn rubbish openingbooks
  4. 30 Jul '08 02:36
    Originally posted by Katastroof
    I put this line in fritz.It doesn't like 4.Qg4 either even though it's the 2nd best move in it's opening book(best is Nf3).Most likely the reason is because it gives this line as best play: 4.Qg4,Nd4 5.Qxg7,Qf6 6.Qxf6,Nxf6 7.Bd3,Rg8 8.g3,c6 and evaluates it as dead equal (0.00)
    while after 4.Nf3,a6 5.Nd5,Nf6 6.c3,0-0 7.0-0,Nxe4 8.d4,exd4 9.cxd4,Be7 it thinks it has a small plus (0.37).
    Thanks for that Fritz analysis on 4.Qg4. Fritz is generally recognized as a strong engine, so mine at least doesn't seem to be fifth rate on that account.

    As for the rest of the analysis, I can't find any database games at either chessbase.com or 365chess.com which continue 4.Nf3 a6 5.Nd5. At the moment I'm in absolutely no mental condition to look at it myself, so I'll leave it at that for the time being.

    But I'm not yet convinced that 4.Nf3 is the strongest move for White. Was this Fritz' evaluation, or the opening book you mentioned, from which you fed the move to Fritz for consideration? What does Fritz say after 4.Nf3 d6 for example ?
  5. 30 Jul '08 15:46
    Originally posted by Mark Adkins
    Thanks for that Fritz analysis on 4.Qg4. Fritz is generally recognized as a strong engine, so mine at least doesn't seem to be fifth rate on that account.

    As for the rest of the analysis, I can't find any database games at either chessbase.com or 365chess.com which continue 4.Nf3 a6 5.Nd5. At the moment I'm in absolutely no mental condition to look ...[text shortened]... fed the move to Fritz for consideration? What does Fritz say after 4.Nf3 d6 for example ?
    Can't find any 5.Nd5games either.I gave Fritz a longer think,then it gives 5.0-0 (0.31) and 5.Nd5 (0.31).Maybe this Nd5 is a computerthing that no human would play?

    4.Nf3 is both fritz' own top choice and the top move in it's opening book.

    4.Nf3,d6 5.Na4,Nf6 6.Nxc5,dxc5 7.d3,0-0 8.Be3,Qd6 9.h3,a6 =(0.19)

    Hope it helps any
  6. 30 Jul '08 21:13
    I wonder what is wrong with Bb3 over d3. Is it perhaps if a5 a4 Bb4 threatening the knight, doubling pawns and attacking the e4 pawn at the same time, while removing the knight would allow contorl of the d5 square that black so clearly wants.

    Immediately obviously ther d pawn looks restricted but i suppose whites plan is either

    A -

    pawn b3, Bb2 0-0-0 and then the d3 bishop is free to go off casuing mischief somewhere else to free up the d-pawn advance. Id say white stands solid and what with that plan white moving the bishop for the third time blacks advantage of development seems compensation for the pawn does it not?

    or B

    Simply Na4. I think this looks best in fatc this should be plan 'a' but i cant be bothered to copy and paste. This attacks the bishop and frees up the c pawn to dislodge the knight, and allows if need be Bc2. The knight needs to be careful though, a bishop retreat to e7 c3 Ne6 leaves b5 needing to be avoided, b3 maybe? would white look to then play b3 Bc2 d4 and then get the bishop out. Though this would encourage kingside castling and i cant help but feel white wants to queenside castle and play f4. Would this mean my c3 idea actually wants to be replaced by Ne2, either driving the knight away or getting taken, Bxe2 and the d pawn is released. im rambling i know it but im playing this through in my head and flicking back to the thread with the board to remind myself, so if im missing something stupid its not my fault its the beers i had with the curry.

    By the way i think Ne2 Nf3+ Kf1 isnt as bad for white as it may seem, white then shuffles king to g2. Anyway will someone who understands the position and is completely sober please put me right?
  7. 01 Aug '08 02:52
    I believe that instead of 4...Nd4, 4...Kf8 has been played before. It might not be the best move, but as long as you play "accurately", black is fine.
  8. 01 Aug '08 05:24
    Black has the center better development and a kingside attack, that is worth at least a pawn. But I would consider Kd1 instead of Bd3.
  9. 01 Aug '08 18:33 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by badivan1
    I believe that instead of 4...Nd4, 4...Kf8 has been played before. It might not be the best move, but as long as you play "accurately", black is fine.
    Apparently so! Checking chessbase.com for games beginning (or transposing to) 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Qg4 Kf8 and restricting the search to games where Black has an ELO of at least 2000, I find eight games, of which Black wins four, and four are drawn (no White wins at all). Amazing. By the way, of the four Black wins, two (Varavin vs. Letov, and Tirmarche vs. Bianchi) were played very recently (2007).

    Still, it doesn't look like the sort of opening to be played by patzers (like me).