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What type of style, positions, and endgames suit you? Finding a good repertoire you like isn't too hard but we can make better recomendations if you explain more about yourself.
Generally I would consider myself quite a slow positional player, I like to get my pieces developed and have a "stable" position before I launch any kind of attack. Ideally this would lead to an endgame with as few pieces left on the board as possible as I do best in simplified end games.
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Thanks; I'll add them to my list.
Some good advice in here.
You'd be hard pressed to find a repertoire that would allow you to focus on a handful of specific structures better than 1...e6 vs. everything, with a French and a Stonewall and transpositions between them.
My games all look pretty much the same in the middle game. Playing against a bunch of different Pirc players is much different than playing it yourself every game.
The semi-tarrasch Aboaisha just recommended is a garbage defense. Learn about the way computers evaluate positions before thinking you have instant equality playing that junk because your computer likes it on move 2. There is no need for 4. Nf3 or anything like that as neither retreat for the knight after 3. e4 is particularly good. Once you reach the level where your opponents know how to use the center it all but dissappears. I punched it into my database to see if I was missing something about Nf3 and sorted the games by black elo. The highest rated black player to play it was 2500 and lost to an expert.
I guess you mean 4.e4.
This is exactly what Black is hoping for, for the reasons already explained.
4.Nf3 first does the trick, though.
Oh, and this is NOT a semi-Tarrasch (which goes 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5 5.cd5 Nxd5).
You can tell how much respect I have for it that I don't even know enough theory to get the name right.
I just don't see black getting to play a quick e5 as a problem for white. After ...e5 Nf3 exd4 Nxd4 white has a center pawn, a slight development advantage, good centralization. It just looks like a good position. Granted I haven't looked that deeply so maybe I will start play Nf3 first.
Another option is that you can play a caro-slav structure against pretty much everything. With just a few exceptions the only real difference you'll ever see is whether you have to take on c4 before you can develop your light square bishop to f5. What's great is that once you leave theory the middle game plans are pretty similar (e5 or c5), too. In both cases the winning chances usually revolve around white needing to accept some structural weaknesses if he wants to attack, although once in a while you get lucky and take and keep a pawn on c4.
Your best bet would be to stop using words like "whilst" and "paradigms", but follow your heart.
I like the Rat for this. I have played it against e4,d4 and the English openings. I usually have options, a chance to fight for central control, and attacking chances in the end game, whether I chose to castle to either side.
As it happens I have actually decided to use the Taimanov variation of the Sicilian (for the moment anyway), although the move order varies greatly I find it does generate the same positions and I'm finding a lot of the positions have the same sort of ideas as my Queen's Gambit system.
Thanks a lot for the advice.
I use "1. ... e6 against everything" as my main black opening as I found that it gives me quite consistent positions. Usually 1. d4 players will not play 2. e4 to enter the French, but 2. c4 to enter the Queen's Gambit Declined which does not give as much active play as the French, but the positions and arising problems you have to deal with are somewhat similar, like the "bad bishop" on c8 and the general pawn structure.
A book recently came out that I did the cover for that is based on that concept. It's called "A Rock-Solid Opening Repertoire for Black". Here's the Gambit page on it:
It's called the Marshall Defense to the Queen's Gambit, first of all. And yes it is terrible.
4.Nf3 is better than an immediate 4.e4 because it prevents black from the counter-punch e5. To illustrate it with ridiculously hyperbolic metaphors, by playing the Marshall Defense Black kicked himself in the shin and is currently writhing in pain on the ground struggling to get up. With 4.e4 you reach out your hand for him to pull himself to his feet; he's still visibly in pain, but he sees some light on the horizon promising relief. With 4.Nf3 you start laughing at him and kick him some more instead.
Cozy an comfortable for black lol :D You find it let me know!!! :)
The Slav Proper (not Semi-Slav) and Caro-Kann
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5
White can try the gambits 5.e3 or 5.e4 too btw and you will see this kinda often.
As black I really think you have to improvise more based on the circumstances of the particular game and your opponent. For instance, certain lines are great for equalising and drawish positions, whilst certain lines give more chance of a win but are more dangerous. Up to a certain level of opponent d5 will more often than not give you an equal fighting chance against d4 and in quite steady positions. But with high rated players an indian defense may be more appropriate.
Against e4, I don't think I could recommend a steady way of playing, as all the best ways to respond are more dynamic and dangerous, in my opinion, these being e5, the sicilian and the french.
The Scheveningen Sicilian structure is a good one for getting your pieces into position, and there is really not much white can do thats any good to stop you in the first 10 moves or so.
You only have limited control over what type of endings you will see, and precisely half control over the middlegame pawn structures. Don't be so much concerned with playing similar games all the time.
It's great to learn more about common types of structures, but if you avoid other structures in the meantime you will always be at a disadvantage when you stumble or are forced into them.
Don't be afraid to try new things. Many players adopt a quieter positional style to compensate for tactical oversights. But as you get stronger, you will see more and more of the tactics, too.
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