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20

This question is a good first stop for students of the opening. Comparing the two: 1.e4 rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq e3 0 1 Less influence over the centre: 1.e4 doesn't stop the freeing pawn moves 1...c5 (Sicilian Defence), 1...d5 (except at top level, Scandinavian Defence), 1...e5 or 1...f5 (was Black going to weaken his king ...


14

First, I think this is an excellent question for this forum, so thanks for posting it. I'm going to use a mix of computer analysis with stockfish and crafty, and the chesstempo game database to respond. Your main question: Is Ulvestad playable for black? I think is a definite yes. There are many options unexplored still, but I think even in your specific ...


12

Against a white d4-e5 pawn formation, Black wants to play c5 (see e.g. the French opening). In the Caro-Kann, that will cost two moves (c7-c6-c5), while in the Scandinavian, it's only one move since the pawn is still on c7. That's one tempo, and as @Qudit notes in the comments, in the main line Scandinavian White usually wins a tempo by chasing the black ...


11

I think the main reason behind Bd3 is to provide a "safe" retreat for the knight and keeps to e-file open. Both Nf3 and Nh3 have liabilities. A retreat to e4 also allow a further lose of time from f5, but this may be offset by black's LSB having less mobility. The other option is Bf1, which while playable, also goes against basic opening principles. ...


10

They are indeed equally good. 1.e4 tends to lead to more open positions (the board is not cluttered up with pawns and pieces can move around freely) than 1.d4, which it is why it is recommended for less experienced players, since you have to learn how to use your pieces first to be good at playing more closed positions, where you constantly have to decide ...


9

The game will get the characteristics of the Philidor Defense rather than the Italian Game. Wikipedia calls it the Semi-Italian Opening. I. A. Horowitz called the defence "solid", also writing: "It does not seem quite sufficient for equality." The Wikipedia article notes several possible continuations for White, with 4. d4 probably the best bet for ...


9

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6: 365chess.com database shows: MOVE | games | year | White + Draw + Black -------+-------+------+--------+--------+------- 4. d4 | 491 | 2018 | 50.3 % | 24.4 % | 25.3 % 4. c3 | 359 | 2018 | 53.5 % | 20.6 % | 25.9 % 4. d3 | 357 | 2018 | 45.4 % | 22.7 % | 31.9 % 4. h3 | 323 | 2016 | 42.7 % | 25.7 % | 31.6 % 4. Nc3 | ...


9

It's not that unpopular amongst off-beat lines that can emerge from the Sicilian defense, on top which it has a natural tendency to transpose to Owen defense type of positions. As to why it's not as popular as Sicilian mainlines, much similar to 1.b3 or 1...b6 openings, 1...c5 2...b6 is not a sound starting setup strategically, for the following summarised ...


8

White is one move ahead, and attacking. You can't be aggressive yet, or you'll just lose! You have two choices: either you try to contain white, and when that is done and the position is equal, then you try to become active yourself. Or, you let him expand, but make sure you'll have your own trumps as well. The first way will lead to more or less symmetric ...


8

3...h6 is not a mistake, but it's certainly not the best move in the position. In the opening, one of your goals is to develop your pieces, and ...h6 doesn't do this. The only point of ...h6 seems to be to avoid the line 3...Nf6 4.Ng5, but this line is not dangerous to black at all. Play can continue 4...d5 5.exd5 Na5, and black will have good compensation ...


8

Black's main threat after 3... c6 is d5; it looks like Qe2 is an attempt to prevent that, by indirectly attacking pawn e5, even with check. However, I'm not so sure that it works as intended, because Black can play d5 anyway, e.g. [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Qe2 d5! 5. exd5 cxd5 6. Bb5+ Nc6 7. Qxe5+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. O-O Bd6 and ...


8

What you are describing is basically the difference between an opening and a system. A system is an opening plan that works similarly against most of your opponent's replies. Famous systems are the London system, the Colle system and the King Indian Attack. As you say, systems give the advantage that you don't need to memorize tons of variations, you just ...


8

White should trade bishops and use the unprotected knight to gain some extra tempo and gain a massive lead in development, e.g. [FEN ""] 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bh6 3. Bxh6 Nxh6 4. Qd2 Ng8 5. Nc3 4... Ng4 is best met by 5. h3 Nf6 (forced) 6. e5 Nd5 7. c4 Nb6 8. Qh6 and Black has problems completing his development, though there is no forced win at the moment. I ...


7

I don't think 1.d4 itself really makes the game slower; you can use 1.d4 to play aggressive chess. Kasparov and Alekhine did. Likewise, you can play positional chess with 1.e4, e.g. Ruy Lopez, (especially Karpov's handling of it). So if you want to practice positional chess you don't need to switch to 1.d4, and if you switch to 1.d4 without changing your ...


7

This line is not very popular because black can challenge the bishop with 7…h6. Now white is forced to exchange his bishop against the knight, either by taking right away 8.Bxf6 or after 8.Be3 Ng4. This is something you'd rather avoid, though its not immediately problematic for white. If you try to avoid this with 8.Bh4 you run into 8…Nxe4. I actually lost ...


7

As you mentioned, 4.g4 is interesting and not as stupid as it may look. If you don't like the positional maneuvering game, I think 4.f4 could be try for you. There is one suicidal line that really isn't my taste, but for sure it is aggressive, at least till you get mated. It's [FEN ""] 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.Ng5 O-O 7.Bxf7+ ...


6

After 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb3 Nc6, the position is probably fine for black. However, after 4....e5, white seems to have a stronger reply: 5.Bb5+. According to the Game Database of ChessTempo, this is also the most popular move. Now, black has two options: 4....Bd7 or 4....Nd7. After both moves, white can put his knight on f5 and obtain a ...


6

White doesn't always play d4. Apart from the line you mention, there is also the King's Indian Attack and the Closed Sicilian, where white plays g3 and Bg2, the Grand Prix Attack, where white plays f4 and the Rossolimo, where white plays Bb5 (after Nc6 or d6). In all those lines d3 is usually played instead of d4. But 3.d4 is the most common line: It ...


6

When black plays the Dragon, recently, the top players tend to choose 9.0-0-0 and 9.g4, instead of 9.Bc4. For example, Topalov-Lu Shanglei, Wei Yi-Lu Shanglei, Caruana-Nakamura and Karjakin-Nakamura. According to the Game Database of ChessTempo, after 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0, 10....Rc8 is the most popular choice. A couple of months ago, two books about the ...


6

I don't see why you can't just ignore the Queen on a5 for now and play Nf3, followed by Bc4 and 0-0. Then, there is no pin on the c3 pawn anymore and he must take on c3, after which you retake with Nxc3 and you're back into a normal Morra gambit position with his queen oddly placed on a5. If he doesn't take on c3, then you just take back on d4 with a large ...


6

There are a lot of good resources on 1. e4 e5 lines. I would recommend you combine some study of an up-to-date theoretical work (Bologan's two books, Black Weapons, and Bologan's Ruy Lopez are very good, and all you would need for a long time) with going through some games. For example, if you want to get a good feel for where your pieces belong and ...


6

I don't think that this variation has a name. Variations that are infrequently played are less likely to be named. I don't have access to Megabase right now, but I can't even find a game starting with 1. e4 b6 2. e5 in online databases. You're already well away from main lines with 1... b6. 2. e5 seems weird (2. d4 would be my choice) and 2... Nc6 will ...


6

I'm not really familiar with this variation, but c3 is a typical move in the Ruy Lopez for a couple of reasons: one, which you already mentioned, is to support d4 (and in this variation, d4 has the added benefit of forcing the black bishop to retreat). The other is to open c2 as a retreat for the bishop, which has a tendency to get pushed back by pawns and ...


6

The line 8.Bb3 a5 9.0-0 d6 still occasionally occurs in games of IMs and GMs, and the results are actually quite ok for black. For example, Hou Yifan-Yu Yangyi, Kudrin-Diamant, Vishnu-Vazquez Igarza and Saric-Damaso. However, at the highest level, it indeed seems that black is looking for alternatives. At the latest FIDE Grand Prix, Palma de Mallorca 2017, ...


6

It basically just stalls for a move before 100% committing to the open Sicilian. For example, suppose you were playing White and hated facing this Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3.d4 cd 4.Nxd4 Nc6). You could use the move order you described and after 3.Nc3, only play 4.d4 if your opponent doesn't play 3...Nc6. If they do play 3...Nc6, then go for some Closed ...


5

If you have no real opening knowledge anyway, switching shouldn't be any special problem. Just start playing it, and afterwards you lookup what the pros do in the opening you played. You could also get a book. I think that until you're rated 1900 or so (and possibly until much higher), all you need is a book that explains the ideas behind all the openings. ...


5

Objectively speaking, you're probably right: 7.Qd2 seems fine and after 7....Ng4 white can still hope for an advantage after 8.Bg5 Nc6 9.Nb3. However, after 7.Qd2 Nc6, black does threaten Ng4. So, white should play 8.f3 anyway, also because it is part of his plan. As a result, we transposed to the main line of 7.f3. Therefore, white doesn't gain anything ...


5

The reason to play 1.e4 e5 2.c3 is probably to go for a slow manoeuvring/strategic game without much theory. After the natural 2...d5, white can go for 3.d3 and in case of 3... dxe4 4.dxe4 Qxd1 5.Kxd1. This transposes into a familiar position with one tempo up and reversed colors compared with 1.e4 d6 2.d4 d5 3.dxe5 dxe5 4.Qxd8 Kxd8. Note that in the line ...


5

The Bishop's Opening often transposes to the Italian, so black's response depends on which line he wants to play after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4: 3....Bc5 or 3....Nf6. The former allows the Evans Gambit (4.b4), while in case of the latter, black should be ready for 4.Ng5. According to the GameDatabase of ChessTempo, after 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4, the most popular ...


5

One reason is that it avoids a certain line that you would get after playing 7...Qb6, which is 8.Nb3 If Black plays 7...h6 first, 8.Bh4 Qb6 9.Nb3 is no longer possible because Black can play 9...Qe3+ winning the f4-pawn. This would not have been the case in the 7...Qb6 line since the bishop would have still been on g5, protecting the pawn. Another reason ...


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