Back to Mainlines
Given that I spend no time studying openings, while the general trend in tournament circles is studying more and more openings, I have a persistent question of what openings to play. Throughout my chess-playing career, I have greatly enjoyed complicated and dynamic games that come out of mainline openings. But these are precisely the openings that are most susceptible to computer analysis, and thus won't bear fruits against the majority of well-prepared players out there now.
Sometimes, I try to avoid the opponent's prep, in order to improve my statistical results. (I have looked at the data, my results are definitely now better outside of mainlines, where they used to be better in mainlines). Other times, I just try to play the most principled moves, as well as I can, which can lead to good games, but also frustrating experiences when the opponent bashes out one move after the next without a thought.
Of course, it would be best to be settling such questions of "what openings do I want to play?" *well* before arriving at an actual tournament. And let's mark that up right now as one of my goals for the L.A. Intl in 2 weeks.
Meanwhile, today, I decided to "go for it," and played a classic old-school mainline of the Winawer. I had not really studied it, but when I checked it out after the game with database and houdini, it seemed that I had found my way correctly.
Shanky played a fine game today with black against Grachev. It followed analysis of his into a marginally worse endgame, which he had evaluated as a fortress. However, during the game, he found he still had a couple problems to figure out, which he did successfully. With that draw, he has 3.5/5, and plays down tomorrow.
I will have black against GM Mazé, who plays a wide variety of openings, and does not appear to rely on opening theory much. So hopefully we get a pretty free-wheeling game.
Meanwhile, in the elite section, another win for Wang Hao built his lead a bit. It's great to see such a nice guy winning so much!