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Openings for Tactical Players: Colle System

  • GM Gserper
  • | Mar 21, 2010
  • | 32933 views
  • | 56 comments

In my old article "Hard Candy" which was published here exactly one year ago (http://www.chess.com/article/view/to-be-named) I wrote that  "some openings are very venomous despite their innocent appearance."  The Colle System is definitely one of them. This variation was championed by Belgian master Edgard Colle.  Due to his health problems and untimely death at the early age of 34 he couldn't demonstrate his full potential. That's why today most chess-players remember him only for his opening even though he was a strong player and had many outstanding results.

These days the Colle System is very popular in scholastic tournaments.  It is understandable that it is so easy for most coaches to show their young students the opening moves (1. d4, 2.Nf3, 3. e3, 4. Bd3) which you can play practically against any Black set up.  The problem is that many chess-players don't really understand the key ideas of the opening. So instead of trying to seize the initiative and start an attack at the first possible moment, they just enjoy their solid position and play natural moves. It is probably the main reason why the majority of chess-players consider it a safe but somewhat passive opening. But if it is such a passive opening, how could Edgard Colle beat the best Grandmasters of his time using this system? This is the list of outstanding players who were beaten by Edgard Colle in the Colle system: World Champion Max Euwe,World Title contender Efim Bogoljubov, the famous theoreticians and authors of their own openings Ernst Gruenfeld ( The Grunfeld Defense) and Vasja Pirc (The Pirc Defense), as well as famous GMs Akiba Rubinstein and Rudolf Spielmann. What was Colle's secret for turning a passive looking opening into a very dangerous weapon?  I noticed that in most of his games he was not afraid to take risks and start his attack whenever he had a chance. One of his favorite moves was Ng5 which he played whenever possible.  It is a well known saying about Tal's games: "If Tal has an open file, there will be a checkmate!"  I think we can say the same thing about Edgard Colle and the Ng5 move :)

When a chess-player wants to learn a new opening he usually buys opening monographs, Encyclopedias or chess videos about the subject of his interest. Let me suggest a different way.  If you want to learn the Colle System, just get the games played by the Master himself.  You'll understand the spirit of the opening and learn the main ideas much better.  Besides it is much more interesting than just read those opening books. Here I want to give you some tactical puzzles taken from the games played with the Colle System by Edgard Colle!

 

 

If you never played the Colle System before, do yourself a favor and try it at least once just out of respect for a great master of attack, Edgard Colle. I am telling you, you may love it!
Good luck!

Comments


  • 18 months ago

    ortodata

    Indian Defense / Torre Attack / Rubinstein-Yusupov System or Colle System?

     
  • 20 months ago

    Bazooka9

    This is what I learned:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And soon after Ne5, and Rg3, and bring the queen out to place a heavy attack on the kingside of Black.

  • 23 months ago

    Divepeace

    Yep, sure makes me want to try The Colle out.  I'm going to try to find as many of Edgar as I can.  Thanks a ton!

  • 2 years ago

    revkenr

    Does 3 Bg4 make the collie system irrelavent, or should I continue with 4 Nbd2?

  • 3 years ago

    pawnstalkerz

    cool cool

  • 3 years ago

    KahunaNui

    Thanks to this article, I was able to produce this miniature (I know black helped).
  • 4 years ago

    dessiej

    problem number one is incorect..After 14.h4 if black playes f4 he equalizes

  • 4 years ago

    rosscopekotrain

    btw, thanks go to Gserper. Very nice article

  • 4 years ago

    rosscopekotrain

    I have tried the Colle but often have trouble pushing my e-pawn to open up the King-side. Suggestions?

  • 4 years ago

    ishamael13

    I was afraid to use Colle. I couldn't find books about it and Eric Schiller mentioned it in his analysis as overly passive. I usually get bored with passive openings however solid. But now I am more curious about it because of those tactical puzzles and will give it a try.

  • 5 years ago

    ericycsong

    good

  • 5 years ago

    BORIKAN

    like this opening, will try to use it thanx

  • 5 years ago

    warzon4sia

    hmmm i'm gonna try and use this opening in my next game... just to try it out. it looks very useful

  • 5 years ago

    massiveattakk

    In the first game can anyone please explain to me why 17. RxB and not 17. Nf7+?

    Does black refuse 17. ... QxR because he needs the rook on R8 to help protect his king?

  • 5 years ago

    niklai

    Nice, thank you!

  • 5 years ago

    karim7856

    I"ve been playting the Stonewall for some time and gained victories from time to time esp. with relatively weak opponents.I saw that the Stonewall have almost the same key ideas with the Colle System.I think I'll try this system since there are almost identical in the pawn structure and attack. Thank you for sharing the System.

  • 5 years ago

    KARAPIPERIS

    I THINK COLLE-ZUKERTORT SYSTEM (b3,Bb2 without c3) IS MORE AGGRESIVE THAN COLLE-KOLTANOWSKY (c3)

  • 5 years ago

    rockettorque

    I love the Zukertort-Colle system. I'm going to have to brush off the Colle system and use it again.

  • 5 years ago

    magic-yak

    a friend of mine told me about this opening and he said that the main objective i should have is trying to get the e4 squaire but one problem i am having is that black often gets a long pawn chain by playing pawn c4 atacking my bish. what should i do about this problem? is it something i need to wory about? i am only rated 1200 (about 1090 for turniments) so don't give me complex grand master-y advice pls

    thanks Magic

  • 5 years ago

    ejgeiger

    @ kingslayer nxe6 is not check

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