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18 votes
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Is there value to learning openings as a new player?

The opening in those games depends on your opponent just as much as you, so with the sample size being so small, don't take the statistic too much into account. The analogy with poker doesn't really ...
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  • 13.2k
16 votes

Is there value to learning openings as a new player?

Is there any value to learning openings as a new player? Yes. The main reason is to get a feel for the kind of patterns of the way the pieces develop in different situations. There are also good ...
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  • 77.5k
14 votes

An aggressive opening for Black against 1. e4

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 ...
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  • 26.3k
14 votes

Why is the Advance Variation considered strong vs the Caro-Kann but not vs the Scandinavian?

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 ...
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  • 23.9k
14 votes
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What is the opening value of 1. e4 in 2020?

It's still one of the best moves White can play. There's no clear consensus on whether 1.e4 or 1.d4 is better, but it's played frequently at the top level. Due to advancements in theory, I'd say 1.e4 ...
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13 votes
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Ideas behind the 8.Bd3 line in the 4.Ng5 Two Knights Defense

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,...
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  • 5,131
12 votes

Is there value to learning openings as a new player?

This is a very difficult question, and there are several sides to it. 1: This is the most important advice you will ever hear: Chess is 99% tactics. It is all about tricks, forking and pinning your ...
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11 votes
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What's wrong with 4...e5 in the Open Sicilian?

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 ...
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  • 5,468
10 votes

I like to play 1. e4 but I dislike 1. ... c5. Can I continue with 2. c4?

You can, but if you like most openings with 1.e4, it's probably not the most adequate choice for your "style" (the resulting position will be "slow" rather than a fast exchange of tactical blows. 2.c4 ...
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  • 13.2k
10 votes
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The Vienna Game: Good, inferior or bad?

The International Master Gary Lane in his book about the Vienna game wrote in 2000 that this opening "has a long history and a bright future". He added "in these days of computer ...
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  • 3,465
10 votes

Why isn't 6.Bc4 considered by theory in the 5.Bxf7+ Traxler Counterattack?

Comparing 6.Bb3 and 6.Bc4, the drawbacks of the latter are obvious since the bishop is not protected and can become a target to attacks: either by a black piece: Ne5, Na5, Qc5, Qd4... or, more ...
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  • 12.9k
9 votes

Why aren't 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bh6, and 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Ba6 considered by theory?

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 ...
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  • 23.9k
9 votes

How to play vs. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6?

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 ...
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  • 23.9k
9 votes

How to play vs. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6?

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....
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  • 6,081
8 votes
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Best reply against the Italian Game after 3...h6 4. d4?

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 ...
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  • 344
8 votes

An aggressive opening for Black against 1. e4

Against a king pawn opening, one of the most straightforward and aggressive ways to defend is the Scandinavian. If you don't want much theory, I would suggest the Bronstein (also called Pytel-Wade) ...
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8 votes

Bishop's opening - what's the point of 4. Qe2?

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 ...
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  • 23.9k
8 votes

Is there value to learning openings as a new player?

You should focus on understanding the openings principles- center, development, king safety. If you understand those ideas you'll usually be able to find good moves even if you don't know the theory. ...
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  • 4,206
8 votes

After 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3, is 2...Nf6 safer and easier to learn than Nc6?

As an amateur player, you should know the connotation that 2...Nf6 (The Petrov defense) has a reputation of being more boring and more of a draw than 2...Nc6 (leading to the Ruy Lopez, Italian, and ...
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  • 5,080
7 votes

What is the current theoretical state for the Chinese Dragon?

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. ...
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  • 5,468
7 votes
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Are there any lines in the Lopez Opening / MacLeod Attack that are actually good for White?

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....
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  • 3,465
7 votes
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Sicilian Najdorf 6. Bg5 line

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. ...
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7 votes
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Why is 5.c3 the most common move in the Ruy Lopez, Berlin defence, Beverwijk variation?

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 ...
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  • 10.3k
7 votes

What is a sharp line against the Lion?

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 ...
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  • 3,266
7 votes

I like to play 1. e4 but I dislike 1. ... c5. Can I continue with 2. c4?

It is not the most ambitious choice, but should be playable. It has been played by 2500 rated players. Basically by playing c4 you weaken your dark squares and black could try to take advantage of it ...
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  • 20.4k
7 votes
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Vienna Gambit vs King' Gambit

The inclusion of 2. Nc3 ahead of f2-f4 is most significant. Consider 1. e4 e5 2. f4. Does 2. f4 aid White's development? Does 2. f4 make a threat? In both cases, no. 1. e4 e5 2. f4 isn't a threat ...
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6 votes

How to learn e4 e5 as black?

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 ...
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6 votes

What is the name of this variation: 1. e4 b6 2. e5?

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 ...
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  • 7,408
6 votes
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In sicilian defence, why would white always exchange the c5 pawn. What harm would it do otherwise?

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 ...
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