5

In Wojo's Weapons: Winning With White (Volume 1) by Jonathan Hilton and Dean Ippolito, it is written:

Wojo's move order to reach any opening position almost always started with 1. Nf3 and then either c2-c4 or d2-d4. When asked why he didn't play 1. d4 as his first move instead, he was occasionally known to say, "I'm too lazy!"

I don't really understand why he says that.

If I am not wrong, if you want to play c4, d4, Nf3, g3, (not against everything, but against most defenses), then the difference between starting with 1. Nf3 and starting with 1. d4, is that starting with 1. Nf3 avoids all of these openings:

  • The Budapest Gambit
  • The Albin Countergambit
  • The Benko Gambit
  • The main lines of the Grunfeld (I think)
  • The Benoni
  • The Nimzovich Variation (Exaggerated Fianchetto) of the QID

At the price of allowing Black to play the English.

Technically starting with 1. d4 also allows White to play these three variations:

  • The Samisch against the KID
  • The 4-Pawns Attack against the KID
  • The Exchange Variation against the QGD

But since White is going to also play Nf3 anyway (on move 3), he is not going to play any of those variations.

So if we intend to play c4, Nf3, d4, g3, I would believe that choosing to start with 1. Nf3 is the most intelligent choice since it avoids so much openings at the (small) price of allowing Black to play the English.

But this isn't laziness. It's just cleverness, it's the wise choice to make. So I still don't understand Wojo's quote.

So what did I miss? Does starting with 1. d4 avoids other openings that 1. Nf3 allows? Are there other advantages of starting with 1. d4 ?

  • 1
    There may be some irony here. Larry Wall of PERL fame famously wrote "The three virtues of programming are laziness, impatience and hubris." – aschultz Jun 29 '17 at 9:13
3

If I am not wrong, if you want to play c4, d4, Nf3, g3, (not against everything, but against most defenses), then the difference between starting with 1. Nf3 and starting with 1. d4, is that starting with 1. Nf3 avoids all of these openings:

That is exactly the reason why I always open with 1.Nf3 :)

You should have seen the look on some faces after they realize they can't play their gambit openings and must agree to play "dull" game. I really don't care, since I will always be rock-solid and safe, and since I am White I can usually open the center if I want "trouble".

At the price of allowing Black to play the English.

Yeah... But it's not so bad, since English is so rich in ideas that it rarely ends in a draw if at least one side fights really hard for a win. This can be useful against lower rated opponents because they can't spring some dull opening line and draw by "suffering" all game. Theory is less important, than knowledge of plans which is also great, since lower rated opponent can't draw because he just bashed out 20+ moves of forced line.

As for equally rated opponents, this is great opening as it allows you to overpower the opponent with your intelligence and creativity, which should suit your style, based on your earlier posts.

Technically starting with 1. d4 also allows White to play these three variations: But since White is going to also play Nf3 anyway (on move 3), he is not going to play any of those variations.

Which is the reason you will not see 1.Nf3 at the top so often -> the flaw of this move is that it avoids the best lines for White in many openings. Black can reach full equality rather easy ( like in QGD Exchange line... ), but still, positions are enough unbalanced for you to win. With 1.Nf3 you sacrifice objectively the most dangerous lines for Black, for safety and flexibility. It all depends of person's style. I like solidity, and have no problem with playing equal positions. Just because the position is equal desn't mean it is a dead draw. If you are creative, you can sharpen it and play for a win...

So if we intend to play c4, Nf3, d4, g3, I would believe that choosing to start with 1. Nf3 is the most intelligent choice since it avoids so much openings at the (small) price of allowing Black to play the English.

Indeed. Just remember that this move order offers you no advantage. You will always play equal positions, but you will be rock-solid and flexible. Consider the option of playing King's Indian Attack, instead of playing d4 for example... This is a good option for White too, you do not need to limit yourself with d4+c4 pawn formation.

So what did I miss? Does starting with 1. d4 avoids other openings that 1. Nf3 allows? Are there other advantages of starting with 1. d4 ?

1.Nf3 cuts down on the amount of theory you need to learn, but you will never play the most critical lines for Black. With 1.d4 this is not the case, but you will have to learn much more, since you can't bypass some heavily theoretical openings... It's up to you to make the choice.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.