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The more I play chess I am confronted with the idea that all of the best players play 1.d4 and this is the staple that gets them many of their wins.
I started playing 1.e4 almost exclusively, due to my experiences from my experiments and things I read that recommend beginners start with the King's Pawn Opening. I am not going to argue what is stronger. My opinion is that d4 is stronger than e4, though e4 in it's own way is quite formidable and shouldn't be scoffed at.
I think this because of, what I see when I look at stats from master's games in the game explorer. I also think this because, I get absolutely demolished by d4 players and can normally give an e4 player a decent game if they are rated within a few hundred points of me. I tend to only lose a few pawns for the difference in my e4 games and lose pieces and or pawns in my d4 games.
So my question is, how far can e4 carry you without learning d4 ? Or, how will you know when you have a good enough handle on 1. e4 to start learning 1.d4 ? It seems to me all of the top GM's play both and almost flawlessly well.
Bobby Fisher about 1: e4:
¨Best by test¨
1: e4 often gives a sharp game (if white and black wants they can get a quiet game, but often it's hardly without tactics.
1: d4 is generally less tactics, but again, Kings Indian and Grunfeld refutes this rule. Normally, after 1: .. d5, the best player simply outmanouvres his opponent in 80 moves.
Modern masters prefer the last one, since they want a small edge with white. An extremely sharp game is hardly the way to keep an edge (since a small inaccuary loose the game or the edge), and in d4 you can make a few mistakes and still be in the game.
Learning d4 is very important! even if your repertoire is exclusivly based on 1: e4!?. Bobby Fisher had the ability to play 1: d4 openings (he used c4 to transpose to d4 against Spassky in 1972). He used 1: e4 99% or something in his career, but he could crush his opponents with d4 too.
If you like tactics, e4 is best, d4 should be played (so you learn more positional chess)
If you like positional chess, d4 is best, but you should play 1: e4!!
e4 is sufficient to take you to, say, 27 or 2800. I know several world class grandmasters that have never played d4 as a serious part of their repertoire and still play e4 in almost any tournament game.
Though I do tend to have better positional strengths than tactical, when I find myself in some of the d4 lines, they become a bit disorienting to me. There seems to be so much more to keep track of. I think part of it is that you can make a few mistakes and can't necessarily see your demise coming as easily.
With e4, though it is sharper, it tends to be what you see is what you get and therefore somewhat easier to manage by default. I do enjoy positional play that arises from certain positions. I enjoy it with the initiative and not being on the defensive. That is probably why I like the Ruy Lopez so much. Though I think I should consider it with more scrutiny at some point, I still may never change. I find it easier to enjoy my comfort zone, than to take a step backwards.
Stay with 1.e4, and keep your openings as simple as possible.
An opening advantage at your level means absolutely nothing. It's your middlegame and endgame skills the factors that will bring victories to you.
Thanks, needed to hear this as, had started to let doubt creep into my heart recently.
Also as Black, keep your openings equally simple: 1.e4- answer with 1...e5, 1.d4 with 1...d5, and against the English/Reti apply again a simple QGD strategy (1...e6/1...d5 2.c4 e6).
Let the complex ones for the opening freaks- most of them are weak players, anyway.
@ pfren....where's your tip jar ?
Thanks a billion...I was hoping you'd stop by
On some level it is nice to see that I am not the only one to feel or think this...
It's occurred to me that many people recommend 1.e5 / 1.d5 because it's a good starter opening that forces the new player to learn chess fundamentals.
For me, I remember at 1000, the first time I got hit with King's Gambit Accepted, which was a painful learning experience in king safety, piece development, and haphazardly accepting "free" pawns. Playing e5 / d5 felt like I was diving into open positions and attacking lines head-first, without the experience to understand how to control the situation either tactically or positionally. Don't get me wrong, these were lessons well worth learning, but couldn't one learn these same ideas without the pain of open positions?
Open positions are fun for both sides. Black has to play reasonably and actively, and forget about pawngobbling and such.
Actually I find the King's gambit being more fun for black than white- the only problem is picking one out of one dozen equalizing lines, and nothing more than that.
Doesn't 2.f4 already at least equalize for black?
But 1.d4 games still have great tactical potential, just look at some of Alekhine's games. It's good to build a good positional foundation first and then go for tactics.
There are tactical openings that start 1.d4, it depends on the players involved. Something like the Botvinnik variation of the Semi-Slav and some lines of the exchange Gruenfeld are absolute minefields for unprepared players. 4.Nc3 in the QGA turns it into a sharp 'true' gambit variation and there are even pawn sacs for black in the 4.Qc2 line of the Nimzo-Indian that need to be taken into account. Not to mention the nerve jangling Fajarowitz variation in the Budapest defence!
All I'm saying is it isn't as simple as 1.e4 leads to sharp games and 1.d4 leads to positional struggles, just try and find something you like and understand, thats the most important thing.
I think if you seriously want to get really good at chess and well rounded, you only hurt yourself by not playing open positions and learning tactics early on. I tried and tried to play inferior lines and avoid sharp fights, as a way of coping with my tactical short comings, but I kept getting shredded to pieces.
Then I started playing more open games and being more forceful. I found that it forced my opponent to play better, or else and they were more likely to have problems. I found if you keep trying to fit 10lbs of crap in a 5lb box, eventually some blowouts will occur and they all won't be in your favor. I have found learning a balance is very important to the health of your chess game.
i'm an e4 player almost exclusively aswell unless i feel like do'n sumth'n different.
You are right, the Fajarowicz is not worth mentioning.
yet u BOTH mention it! lol
e4 is fine to play with. Bobby Fischer used it almost exclusively. I think top players just use d4 more because it is (generally) less imbalancing--and the better player should win in a balanced game. In sharp, crazy games, whichever player makes the first inaccuracy loses, and even GM's make inaccuracies.
That makes a lot of sense, it usually does seem hard to equalize against 1. d4 as compared to 1.e4