Saturday, April 02, 2005



I have noticed that some people seem to shift to the Barcza or KIA (as well as KID) based on recommendations in Sierawan's opening book. I finally got the book (Thanks!) and am digging into that section to get a better handle on it.

It's understandable why he recommends the opening; it avoids plenty of opening stuff (as far as traps and gambits are concerned), it's economical with tempi and usually completes development in 12 moves or less, it comes equipped with some early ideas/plans that move you into a good middlegame, and ( he says ) it avoids theory. Oh, and on top of that it's less to memorize.

Two things stand out. One, I don't exactly understand why this opening is considered one where you quickly leave theory or avoid theory all together. There are plenty of GM games using this opening. I just don't know where the line of "theory" ends.

The second thing that stands out is Black gets advanced warning about what to expect and can muster up a well planned defense.


TCT Circle
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Result step 2: Average score 93 %
Not completed exercises: step 3 , lessons: [ 17. ]
Result step 3: Average score 93 %

STILL in circle 2 of problems 204-218

I don't think people really mean that there is less theory, although I agree that is what they say. Instead, I would say that the opening is less theory dependent -- in the sense that you are not likely to end up in a losing position by transposing move orders or missing a key move in a critical line. Just remember the key ideas and develop your pieces pretty much the same way regardless of what your opponent does.
I, myself, am not a fan of this approach to the opening, but it certainly works for many people. Other openings which fall into this category include the Colle and London System.
Oh man. Openings...they are so tantalizing, and yet so frustrating. There is always the promise of some new found knowledge, some decisive edge that you can achieve by studying a book on a particular opening. Then, you get into a game, and your opponent opens with some completely different idea, or strays from the book. I have decided to stop studying openings for a little while. Ideally, I shouldn't even be considering them until I'm way up there. But they are so damn fascinating that I tend to ignore the experts, including MDLM.
I don't know if you have read some of my older posts but I was one of those people you speak of. One thing that opening did teach me was how to be patient and think long term. Usually it's hard to get a good attack early on like in other openings that open up the center quicker. I played both the Barcza and the same systems for black for the first five months of my chess career. I finally found out that it is the wrong way to learn to play so I have switched to more conventional, albeit weak, openings. My current book of choice is Ruben Fine's book. Short and to the point. Points out the main ideas in opening play.

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