I am rated 1450 and I am have been analyzing GM level games since I began playing chess. I noticed that most GMs consistently play balanced almost boring openings against each other and that only a handful of top level GMs consistently play double edged/ aggressive openings.

For example MVL is one of the few top players that plays the Sicilian as black exclusively. Finally I want to make it clear that I understand that while most openings aren't as crazy as as the Sicilian (at GM level) I know that they are complicated and challenging in their own right.

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    No offense, but, as a side note, dividing openings into "boring" and "exciting" is a rather notorious habit which is very likely not doing your chess skills any favors. There are quite a few amateurs I know whose chess progress is strongly hindered by this notion (and intention to avoid "boring" openings and endgames). I even used to be one of those people myself.
    – sleepy
    May 14, 2021 at 14:32
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    Also worth considering that times are always a-changing. At top-flight levels in Blitz or Rapid time controls, you do see quite a bit of fireworks on the board and the bongcloud itself has made its entry on chess databases thanks to Carlsen, Nakamura etc. Very recently, Adhiban's Nimzo-Larsen game where he forced resignation from a fellow GM in 9 moves (youtube.com/watch?v=9J6Ka4Yr1io for agadmator's review) tells you that things are far from boring!
    – shivsky
    May 14, 2021 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


Aggressive openings often rely too much on preparation and most top players would rather play something "quieter", trying to outplay their opponent later on, rather than exposing themselves to being surprised by a novelty thier opponent spent hours or even days analyzing at home.

Also note that the theory of some of those "sharper" openings is so deep these days that sometimes they're just "known to be a draw". Take the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Najdorf Sicilian for instance.

That being said, it's worth noting that lots of interesting and even "chaotic" ideas are appearing all the time in openings that used to be considered "quiet".

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