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At the Grand Master level, what are the most popular chess openings / defenses right now?
I think the Slav must be up there. The Sicilian by far against e4.
which flavors of the slav and sicilian? closed sicilian? dragon? najdorf? any of those more unpopular?
the most popular, etc, stats from this person's research are nearer the bottom of the page ... :)
Isn't the ruy lopez popular these days? The Sicilian is definetly not the most popular by far
italian, Scilian, Caro Kann defence, Slav defence
The higher you go ratingswise, the more Sicilians you see. Open Sicilians especially. The Ruy will always be around as long as you have open games with Nf3/Nc6. Even here on Chess.com I hardly see 1...e5 any more.
The statistical chart above is mainly oriented to the % win/lose/draw for various openings rather than how popular they are. The chessok.com database has a column for the number of games played that appear in the database, so you can see that the most popular answer to 1.e4 is c5. Of the 1,910,000 games that start with e4, c5 beats out e5 788,000 to 449,000...and the Ruy--by far the most popular move 3--comes in with 164,000, far above the Italian Bishop at only 74,900.
(figures are rounded)
I would guess:
Sicilian Najdorf, Berlin defence, French Winawer, Nizmo Indian, Open Catalan
I haven't had my coffee yet, but are you implying that I said the ruy lopez is by far the most popular? I did not(edit: had some coffee, my mistake :P). What timeframe is on that database? All the games in the database? Not something more recent, like last year, last 6 months or something else that could constitute today?What players does it include? Only GMs? Or also IMs FMs, and even unknowns?The question is what is the most popular opening today among GMs, not whats the most popular opening of all time among all players. I haven't seen 1.e4 2. c5 lately that much lately in GM games. Of course its possible that I'm just a fluke when it comes to it, but it's more likely that it is a trend. Example of what I've been seeing, in Bilbao IIRC 1... e5 has been played so far four-five times and 1...c5 1... nf3 1...e6 each one time.Databases (without filters) can not answer the OP's question.
Actually no, at absolute top level nowadays it seems everyone is playing the Berlin and Schliemann variations of the Ruy, I think there are a lot more of those than Sicilians right now. Against 1.d4, the QGD is in vogue since Elista.
Of course there is a large difference between normal GM level and world top (2750+) level.
Drink more coffee. In double king-pawn games at move 3 (after Nf3; Nc6) the Ruy is the most popular.
On the whole, to be right up to date, you'd need to look up tournament reports of high-level events and compile your own list. Right now, I'd say that (from looking at New In Chess & other game examples) that 1.d4 is a bit preferred at the highest levels. One big problem is transpositions in the early moves. The Nimzo-Indian would be a lot more often seen if it didn't veer toward QGD after Nf3. Then it can drift again into the Catalan.
In the Ruy, I get the impression that the Berlin Defense (3...Nf6) was more popular a few years back at the highest levels. I've noticed my favorite Breyer Variation popping up more recently--dang! I remember when people used to think you made a mistake by playing Nb8 instead of Na5!
Aside from going to some site like chessgames and calling up the top 10 players and looking through their games, there is no good way to answer the OP that I know of.
With the existence of computer technology to assist in opening evaluation, I believe that from now on there will be a tendency where more GM will choose opening that is theoretically strong, with secondary objective of having an asymmetrical position.
Based on the above, most GM will choose 1.d4 as the first move. Only a few will choose 1.e4, 1.c4 or 1.Nf3 (most will even transpose to 1.d4 mainline).
On the second move forward, Nimzo-QID complex will be most favoured, followed closely by QGD-Slav complex. Then will come the Sicilian that will dominate the Ruy Lopez and the French (and a few Caro-Kann) in 1.e4 line.
Next will be Gruendfeld-KID complex followed by English opening.
With so many GMs, IMs, FMs, NMs, and W*Ms on this site, I was figuring one or some of them would just say, "Currently..."
Did I say that ruy wasn't the most popular? It is the most popular after 1. e4 e5 but if you are talking about that then you are switching topics. Why should I drink more coffee?
If there is no other good way to answer then why did you use a database?
And what is your motive to ask such question? Do you want to play what the future GMs will play?
All the strongest GMs have played 1.e4. Do you want to play 1.d4 now and 1.e4 later, or do you want to play 1.e4 now and 1.d4 later? Or do you not want to play 1.e4 at all?
And what is your motive to ask such question? Do you want to play what the future GMs will play?...
Mere curiosity. I have no intention on switching my openings or defenses. Just curious what lines of the Sicilian, Ruy, Semi-Slav, etc., are hot right now.
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