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Bobby Fischer wrote that 1.e4 was "Best by Test".
Why is 1.d4 now the more popular choice in world chess championships? I don't know. Thoughts?
There are certain openings after 1.e4 where White is struggling to prove any meaningful advantage. Mainly Ruy Lopez Berlin, Petroff, Caro Kann, and the "quiet" Najdorfs. Gelfand is an expert in both the Najdorf and the Petroff, while as white he has almost never played 1.e4, so...
I am guessing that 1.e4 has been around longer, or explored longer than 1.d4 in world chess championships, thus perhaps discovering more ways to increase chances of scoring a draw with the black pieces. Is there a drawish defense for Black after 1.d4 that is coming close to what the Petroff is to 1.e4, as an example?
Gelfand has been able to score a draw with the black pieces twice already, using the Grunfeld defense. The middle game reached in the third game of the match, where Gelfand again played the Grunfeld, was described by the english commentators as dynamic, sharp, tricky, and dangerous.
The four draws with 1.d4 are showing semi-slav and Grunfeld as quite reliable though. So think a large part of this is just fashion.
My understanding is that if you remove the Sicilian, 1e4 is statistically the better opening. If the Sicilian is included in the sample, 1d4 gets better results.
If Anand needs to win, don't think the sharp play that can be produced in sicilian would be much problem. The average player on chess com, who beleives so much in the db stats would be wiped out by the dangerous white attacks in an otb open sicilian game.
there are very few grandmasters, if any, that consistently play e4 nowadays. I can't think of any GMs in the US except for GM Hess who consistently plays e4.
surely not, look at the recent aronian-kramnik match it was mostly e4.
If you go to chessgames and the players profile their most played openings always seem to be e4, gelfand being an exception.
It has certainly declined, but to say hardly any has to be an exaggeration.
I believe you misunderstand my topic, or perhaps I could have been more clear. Regarding 1.d4, it is in reference to only recent world championship matches, not regular tournament play between the best GM's.
Example, in the last world championship match between Anand and Topalov, the opening move was 1.d4.
I find it interesting that 1.e4 is not used in this format currently, and that we may not see 1.e4 in world championship matches in the future, unless somebody finds a way, for example, to get a useful edge with White against the Petroff Defense.
Kramnik beat Kasparov in the 2000 FIDE WCC, in part due to Kasparov's inability with 1.e4 to knock down that Berlin Defense. Of the 15 games played, 13 were drawn, and Kramnik won two, playing 1.d4 against Kasparov's Grunfeld and Nimzo-Indian.
For whatever reason, Kasparov got nothing out of the Ruy Lopez but a draw, 5 times in 15 games! Perhaps that got more top players to think about giving up on 1.e4 in world chess championships. Maybe.
Kramnik saved his world title in last game against Leko using 1.e4.
Anand has put his faith on a semi-slav sideline. It will become more popular after this match.
Gelfand isn't pushing Anand much and they keep finding some fairly dry technical positions. Hopefully soon we will get to see Gelfand try another line against the semi-slav and Anand can show us something good.
Queen's Gambit Accepted seems like an opening Black can use to equalize quickly. Maybe even drawish?
I used to play 1.d4, and it was my understanding that the Queen's Gambit Accepted made White's task easier, i.e., 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4, and White has a nice pawn center and easy development.Maybe there is a line in the QGA that makes it easy for Black to play for a draw? I don't know. The QGA has an open feel, much like a 1.e4 opening, and full of tactics. Black usually plays the Queen's Gambit Declined.
The Queens Indian Defense is pretty drawish.
Less forcing variations?
d4 is richer in positional ideas, which gives place for creative play even now.
e4 is worn out by extensive analysis and contains far less positional ideas
In his book, Kramnik: My Life and Games, Kramnik mentions that the Queen's Gambit Accepted had become for Anand much like the Petroff had been for himself. Kramnik says that the goal was simply to reach a playable position without too many imbalances. Openings with those goals in mind give the impression that they are drawish.
Playing with the draw in hand is very much the style of the top players at the moment. Kotronias in his book "GM battle manual" as a chapter on trying to break down the wall structures, which black can play against either e4 or d4. Against 1e4 these are well known Berlin, Petroff , Sveshnikov etc, whilst against 1.d4 semi-slav, slav's etc. Think people in dream land if they think there is something magical about 1.d4 which gives more winning chances. It is more to do with attuide of players. World championship matches often have phases were players are more concerned with not losing rather than trying to win.
Thank you for clearing that up, AdvLegitimate.
Now, we will see Anand deciding to take on the sveshnikov wall today. At least the center hasn't completely liquidated like the d4 games. Have been experimenting myself with 11c4 and g3 line. It is typical for Anand this match rather 2nd rate but rare. Think white has a small advantage, whether it amounts to anything is another matter.
This was easily the most boring of all five games so far. Maybe 1.e4 is an inferior move...
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