Defences' Solidity/Agressiveness

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #1


    Just out of plain curiosity, how would you rank/organize the following random e4 and d4 defences from most solid to most aggressive?

    e4 defences - sicilian (S), e4-e5 openings (O), french (F), Caro-kann (CK), pirc (P), alekhine (A), scandinavian (Sc);

    d4 defences - nimzo-indian (NI), queen's indian (QI), King's Indian (KI), Grunfeld (G), Benoni (B), Slav (S), Semi-Slav.

    I know this is very subjective and that there are tons of variations involved, but I would like to know your general "feeling" on this...

    Thank you!

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #2


    Why can an aggressive opening not be solid?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #3


    Of all the defenses that you listed the most solid is the Caro-Kann.  Tournament players have been using it for years as a formidable drawing weapon.  When you need a draw against a much higher rated player and you want to stay among the leaders in the tournament after having won your first 2 rounds most players choose the Caro-Kann.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #4


    It depends on the variations you choose 100%. If you play the Semi-Slav, you can go for the crazy Botvinnik variation or the less-taxing Moscow line.

    In the ultra-sharp Najdorf Poisoned Pawn variation of the Sicilian defense, the moves 8. Nb3 and 8. Rb1 make for a much more positional game.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #6


    pfren wrote:
    ChessisGood wrote:

    In the ultra-sharp Najdorf Poisoned Pawn variation of the Sicilian defense, the moves 9. Nb3 and 9. Rb1 make for a much more positional game.

    Oh really? Which is the third "sharp" move then?

    9.resigns probably?

    Another slow idea for White is 8.a3 hoping for 8...Qxb2?? 9.Na4, but Black is fine after 8...Nc6

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #8


    After 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Nb3 is a more restrained continuation than 9.Rb1.  White makes it very hard for Black's Q to return to the center and plans to complete his development with an enduring initiative for the pawn.

    The really fascinating part of the Poisoned Pawn is the reams of analysis that is available all because White is trying to prove to Black the opening principle that you should not go pawn grabbing in the opening.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #10


    pfren wrote:

    But 9.Nb3 hardly constitutes a threat to Black's greediness (on large databases White scores a dissapointing 49.5%), while 9.Rb1 while irrational scores somewhat better (51.9%).

    In general the poisoned pawn variation, as well as other similar variations, like the Marshall, can hardly be described as "chess". They should be avoided at all costs, both colors, unless someone is a professional chessplayer.

    All very interesting, but what would your response to 9.Nb3 be if you were playing the Black pieces?

    Speaking of threats and what they mean to a chess player.  I read a very funny story about a game between Aaron Nimzowitch and Emmanuel Lasker.  It seems that Nimzowitch hated smoke and smokers so Lasker, who was a cigar smoker. agreed not to smoke during the game.  But, after a few moves Lasker pulled out a box of matches from his pocket and set them on the table where Nimzowitch could see the box.  Afew moves later Lasker pulled out a cigar and set it on the table.  Nimzowitch abruptly got up from the table and went to the Tournament Director to tell him that Mr. Lasker was smoking, and that he had agreed not to smoke during the game.  The TD went over to the table saw the box of matches and the cigar.  He then turned to Nimzowitch and said, "Mr. Lasker is not smoking".  To which, Nimzowitch replied in a very excited tone, "Yes, but he's threatening to smoke!!"  

    Are you now playing professionally or have you ever?  Are you still trying to get the 3 norms to get the GM title?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #12


    @pfren wrote:
    9...Qa3 of course, 9...Nc6 is known to be problematic since some 18 years ago.
    And after 10.Bxf6 gxf6 lat's say White plays 11.Be2.  It has been traditional to develop the Bishop on e2 in the 9.Nb3 variation, but there are many circumstances where Bd3 is more appropriate.  This line deserves more tests.  I have been looking at some recent correspondence games where 11.Bd3 has been played.  A more dated one is, Geenen-Delabie, 1992.
    I have only played in the contenintal US and won couple of otb tournamnets.  Never had enough money to go overseas or South America. 
  • 5 years ago · Quote · #14


    pfren wrote:

    11.Bd3 looks ridiculous here. White's big idea is gaining some control over d5 by pushing f5 at some point- so what the heck that bishop is doing on d3?

    On my database I have 895 games with 11.Be2 (highest white ELO 2706) and 13 with 11.Bd3 (highest ELO 2525, game is 35 years old). Nuff said.

    Well apparently Boris Spassky and his team of seconds didn't think it was ridiculous.  In the 7th game of the Spassky vs. Fischer 1972 World Championship Match Spassky played Bd3.  It was a draw but Spassky played 10.Bd3. 

    The score of the 1992 correspondence game I referred to is as follows:  11...Nd7 12.0-0 Nc5 13.Kh1 Bd7 14.f5 0-0-0 15.Rab1 Nxd3 16.cxd3 Be7 17.Ne2 d5 18.Na5 Bb5 19.Rb3 Qa4 20.exd5 Rxd5 21.Rf4 1-0 

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #15


    Thank you, AdvLegitimate.

    Sammy345, when I refer to solid I mean more positional/quiet, and when I say agressive I mean more tactical/wild. But I think you got my point...

    Transpo, ok but what if your opponent plays d4? Also, what if instead I need a win?

    ChessisGood, so you think playing for example the Benko Gambit is as dynamic as the Main Line Slav? I think everybody somehow understands what I'm asking and has, at least subconsciously, their own labels... I know it depends a lot on the variations both players choose but, come on, not 100%...

    Pfren, you have been very objective in your replies in this topic, but you haven't really answered my question...

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #16


    AdvLegitimate, why won't you do the e4 ones?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #18


    caro kann and slav set up are pretty solid. I play the semi slav, sicillian and caro kann. KID is pretty good if u are looking for some attack going on in the middle game.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #19


    Daniel Almaida wrote:

    Transpo, ok but what if your opponent plays d4? Also, what if instead I need a win?

    My repertoire consists of the following 6 openings:

    As White I play - Kings Indian Attack, The English Opening, The Reti

    As Black I play - Against 1.e4 the Sicilian Defense or the Caro-Kann, Against d4 the Kings Indian Defense or the Caro-Kann

    If your opponent plays 1.d4 play KID if you need a win and Caro-Kann if you need at least a draw 

    If you need a win as White play the KIA.  If you need a win as Black play KID. 

    I am pretty sure you know that as White many times you don't have a choice of what opening you get into because Black's defense dictates that.  However, if your knowledgable enough in the openings you can transpose the position into another opening where you know White has an advantage at the known junctures in the game.

    The Sicilian and the KID are agressive openings where you are telling White I don't care that you have the first move and the initiative I am not just going to try to equalize, I am going for the initiative myself. However, if during the game you find that your opponent knows the opening as well as or better than yourself then it is better to play solidly.

    The Sicilian, KIA, KID are all very aggressive openings and they can become very tactical.  The Caro-Kann, The Reti, And the English are more positional (solid) openings.  

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #20


    Do you really believe that, pfren?

    May I ask you on which criteria do you choose your opening repertoire? Just out of plain curiosity...

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