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Any anti-Catalan Suggestion for OTB?

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Steven-ODonoghue
TheUltraTrap wrote:

Title. I really need one. Its the opening I hate facing the most. I appreciate if you can suggest me a line and its plans. Thanks.

It depends which other openings are already in your repertoire, but for me, playing against the Catalan is very enjoyable, since I can go with Nakamura's setup:

Naka has has this position over 200 times and scores almost 90% with black. GM Illingworth has said that this is probably the only line that exists where black can get realistic kingside attacking chances against the Catalan.

yetanotheraoc
FizzyBand wrote:

The Catalan is good and there really isn't anyway to avoid it without completely changing how you play. The KID, Dutch, Grunfeld, Benoni all dodge it (White can still fianchetto but it's different from the Catalan and not mainline except against the Dutch). If you still want the QGD or Nimzo/QID setups you pretty much just need to look at the various ways of meeting the Catalan, whether the 6...dxc4 line which is popular at the top level or a line where you insert an early check on b4.

The only problem with the 4...dxc4/6...dxc4 variations is they are wildly popular so your opponents will have a lot of good ideas there. Check Tiviakov's games for 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Nf3 c6, he covers this in his No Fear of 1.d4 (volume 1) ChessBase DVD. Also check Spassky's games for a closed system with ...Bf8-e7 instead of ...Bf8-b4-e7. One example is vs Petrosian, game 4 1966 https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1106696 . Anyway FizzyBand is correct, you need to look at the different options and pick one that suits you. Catalan is about the middlegame and is very deceptive. Sometimes the opening looks fine for black but suddenly it's not. First step is to learn a line that keeps white's advantage to a minimum. Second step is to learn how to play the arising middlegame. Third step is to come up with your own variation to best reach the middlegame you want. (For example, it can be hard to understand why ...Bf8-b4-e7 is played until you have gained some experience.)

B1ZMARK
chessknight222 wrote:
TheUltraTrap wrote:

Title. I really need one. Its the opening I hate facing the most. I appreciate if you can suggest me a line and its plans. Thanks.

yeah play the semi slav

personally I find the bogo indian and ...dxc4 lines the most annoying (because they are theoretical and i don't like theory, this may not be true for everyone).

However I would definitely not recommend the semi slav (normal slav setup is better imo) because white can get an advantage with ...Bd6 as follows:

Which is why black usually plays his bishop to e7 (so that when white recaptures on e4, it doesn't come with tempo)

I'm not saying the semi slav isn't a viable option, but white just plays natural moves and black needs to know some stuff to stay in the game, which isn't really ideal.

And even though you have a lot of time otb, if you don't know your stuff you'll burn through a lot of time. I had the second position against a 1700 in the k12 nationals in april - instead of 13...Qc8 he played ...Qc7, and quickly fell into a worse position that lasted the entire game. By move 13, he was also down about 40 minutes on time (time control 120 d/5), which is a lot to be down on when it's move 13.

chessknight222

I don't play Bd6 except in the Meran. I play Cambridge and I know my stuff very well

ConfusedGhoul

When I used to play the Catalan the Open Systems setups scared me the most, learn something with dxc4 and hanging to the pawn if you can or go to the famous endgame with c3 as in Radjabov-Nepo 2022, it's less drawish than it looks

TheUltraTrap
ConfusedGhoul wrote:

When I used to play the Catalan the Open Systems setups scared me the most, learn something with dxc4 and hanging to the pawn if you can or go to the famous endgame with c3 as in Radjabov-Nepo 2022, it's less drawish than it looks

I want a drawish thing...

ConfusedGhoul

then the Closed Catalan is hard but its the most drawish

ThrillerFan

The Catalan, like the Colle, is reliant on Black blocking his light squared bishop.  The Catalan is bad in lines where the Bishop has an open diagonal and it is outside the pawn chain and the Catalan is not even possible against Fianchetto Defenses like the Kings Indian (The Fianchetto King's Indian is NOT the Catalan).

 

So if you are looking to avoid the Catalan, you have a few options:

 

Avoid the Nimzo-Indian and QGD outright.  You can play the Kings Indian, Grunfeld, Dutch, or Slav.

 

Play the Nimzo-Indian, but after 3.g3, do not play 3...d5.  Instead, play 3...c5 and you will wind up either in a Fianchetto Benoni or an English Opening (Anti-Benoni via 4.Nf3)

 

You must avoid the QGD at all cost if you want to avoid the Catalan.  There is no out at that point.  There is no Semi-Slav there.  Lines with both c6 and e6 with the Bishop behind the pawn chain is the Closed Catalan in this case.

TheUltraTrap

I don't want to avoid the catalan, I just want to get some theory and play against it. It's fine for me to enter the QGD and the Catalan, I just need a weapon to play once I enter it. Also as a side note in Portugal most tournaments are Rapid (there are still some classical but there are much more rapid) so I wont have the time you might think I have...

pfren
Steven-ODonoghue wrote:

Naka has has this position over 200 times and scores almost 90% with black. GM Illingworth has said that this is probably the only line that exists where black can get realistic kingside attacking chances against the Catalan.

 

A small, insignificant detail: This is not a Catalan.  wink

 

Most of the games Naka played in this line are online bullet, which isn't really a reason good enough to recommend the line.

IronSteam1
TheUltraTrap wrote:

I don't want to avoid the catalan, I just want to get some theory and play against it. It's fine for me to enter the QGD and the Catalan, I just need a weapon to play once I enter it. Also as a side note in Portugal most tournaments are Rapid (there are still some classical but there are much more rapid) so I wont have the time you might think I have...

I play the Closed Catalan.

It's relatively simple (in its main idea). Though it all depends on what white tries.

The main idea is to aim for a c6-c5 pawn break (as long as it doesn't lead to a tactical blunder), to open the diagonal for the b7 bishop.

Black can also harass Bf4 with Nh5, which would either win the bishop (relieving the pressure on black's queenside), or chase the bishop away.

Looking at some master-level Closed Catalan games can give you a decent idea of how to handle it.

TheUltraTrap

Looks like a very good system for me. I'm going to take a look at it.