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Mike Blechar who was an expert on unorthodox oppenings especially the Sokolsky, but also the Grob, sold me a book or two when we were both members of the Fairfield (Ct) club in the early 80s.
I'm sure I would be trounced by a higher level player when trying those unorthodox openings; they have surprize value and as I play quite a bit of under 5 minute chess here, they work as long as the opponent is not booked up. Even the Calabrese is effective as a surprize (f5 against the Bishop's Opening). Those who try to refute an opening the hardest often lose. Look at the Fischer game against Pupols playing the Latvian Gambit. Fischer lost that game in 1955 when he was a master.
Every opening is just as valid & sound as the level of preparation of the player who uses it. You can choose a popular variation which is widely believed to be strong (e.g. Sicilian, KID etc.), but only after 4-5 moves you have no clue what to do with your position, this is worse than having an 'unsound' defence where you are well prepared until move 20, know all the tactical and positional ideas etc.
So whether an opening is playable or not depends to 99% on how well the player who uses it knows his stuff.
In our local team competition league I know an old 60+ player, rated at ~2000 fide, who has been using the Krazy Kat Defence (1.e4 Nh6!) for decades and scores just as well as other players of this rating who use more popular openings. He has so much experience with this Defence that it's actually very hard for unprepared White players (and on our amateurish level of play really no player is ever prepared to 1...Nh6) to come up with new ideas he has not yet seen or where he wouldn't know how to play against it.
There'S also another player, also ~2000 fide, who also uses a very unorthodox opening against 1.d4, it's the Medusa's Gambit (really, he seems to be the only guy on the planet who uses this):
This is only an example game of his, and if you think this opening is bad, well ... there are dozens, if not hundreds of d4-players here who, in the course of many years, perhaps decades, have tried their luck at refuting this opening OTB (of course none of them was ever prepared) against this player, and enough of them have lost their games.
So it seems that with either very good theoretical preparation or with having many years of experience with an unorthodox opening all of them are just as playable as the more popular openings. It all comes down to the level of preparation/experience, no matter whether it's a 'sound' Sicilian/QGD or an 'unsound' Krazy Kat/Medusa/Latvian. My opinion. Every opening can be sound if it's used by a guy who knows the opening very well. And every opening can be unsound, even a Sicilian main line, if the player begins to blunder nonstop as soon as his book knowledge ends.
Thanks for sharing!
It depends who is using the gambit tool, not the opening itself! Many masters on up have employed speculative gambits, but most prefer to get to a middle game where they can break new ground with sacrifices not get into known problem positions if your opponent knows the best line against the gambit.
missing the point entirely, Yes if a player has experience in chess in general they will win. Look at older games where players would give material odds. the position is better but mistakes happen. THe problem is this crap opening is just that crap. players that are 2000 use it to confuse players. They get this trick once then their opponent studies it and they start to lose, and lose an lose, maybe eek out a draw..
the point of unorthodox is to find stuff that qualifies as good but just not often played. I got exposed to one just the other day and its valid and unorthodox (not considered mainline)
FYI Pupols beat Fischer at a US amateur championship when Fischer was 1800ish.
His published rating was way behind his actual playing strength at that time.
What I don't get is that I don't see the same disdain for "unsound" gambits and openings in Russia or even England. There seems to be a really judgmental streak in U.S. chess against "garbage" or "unsound" openings.
If you look at master and above archives of various gambits, you would be quite surprised at who has played them.
At any rate, on the Latvian, one of my first correspondence games against it was against a high rated player; I played white and I opted for the Bronstein line, 6Be2, and won.
Gambits and unorthodox openings are effective tools in an opening arsenal; plus they are much more interesting games to watch.
With all the GM games featuring dull, staid, boring openings, it is frankly refreshing to see an Albin, a Grob, a St. George opening on the master and above level.
his published rating was his rating at that time . It was actually documented that it was roughly after this event/time period he made a rapid increase in strength over the summer. "I dont know I just got good" was his comment I believe in a chess review (now chess life) interview.
The discussion was about what is unorthodox, meaning just not popular, or unorthodox and unsound (leading to a bad position, wher ewhite would be playing for a draw or to not lose or just outright losing) Albin isnt that bad, and other openings st george etc are just dubious meaning there is something better to play...
Its not a US thing at all. GM John Nunn who also wrote about this openings like this in practical chess.
The latvain falls into the refuted cateorgy,... and is actually used as the example in Nunn's book. Black is playing it hoping for trick to win but actually is playing on the bad end of a possible draw and likely losing.
I am not surprised masters play these gambits at all,.. they prep for an opponent and at times throw out these if they feel there is a hole or weakness in an opponents repertiore. They will not play them regularly. That is probably the critical indication that something is bad...
I will say that you can learn a great deal about chess from studying these openings, and it does make your idea base larger for mainlines too.
There seems to be a really judgmental streak in U.S. chess against "garbage" or "unsound" openings.
I'm in the U.S., and I'm not against Garbage or Unsound openings, provided it's my opponent playing them. I have no interest. You play your trash, I avoid the "opening traps" that anybody who has bothered to spend even just a little time studying unorthodox openings would easily avoid, and I'll have fun attacking your weaknesses in the middlegame, whether it be a weak white pawn on g5, or controlling a major hole in e4.
You play the Main Lines, and I'm more likely to lose!
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