Looking for an Aggressive line against 1.d4

  • #1

    *EDIT*

    I feel that this question has been resolved. Thanks to all who helped. :)

     

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    As the title says, I’m looking for an aggressive line as Black against 1.d4. Now, I am a bit picky when it comes to the opening, so here goes:

     

    The opening in question needs to be:

    • reasonably sound – meaning that the entire line is at least playable and does not lead to instant death or is not dependent on the opponent falling for a single trap
    • aggressive and initiative-based – I am not at all opposed to gambits and do not mind playing the sort of gambit that gives up a pawn or two for the initiative, even if such a sacrifice is not generally regarded as “sound”. Example: I am fine with the Wing Gambit, except that it is not something I could play against 1.d4.
    • compact theory-wise – meaning that it is not a very popular line. Pretty much, I don’t want to play (at least not yet) the mainline Nimzo-Indian or Meran. It can, however, be a lesser-known sideline of these openings though.
    • probable – meaning that I can expect to get to a key position a good percentage of the time. I don’t want to have to bank on the opponent playing a certain set of moves for me to get the opening I want (think Frankenstein-Dracula Variation of the Vienna Game).

     

    I know that I’m a bit too picky, so don’t worry too much about the guidelines above. They’re just meant to give you an idea of what I’m looking for.

     

    For the record, I have tried:

    • the Dutch Defense
    • the Chigorin Defense
    • the Albin Counter Gambit

     

    And I am considering:

    • the Budapest Gambit
    • the Englund Gambit
    • the Benko Gambit

     

    For the three mentioned above, I am a little bit concerned about the first two openings because I am not yet convinced of those openings’ ability to seize the initiative. It seems that White can play solidly and avoid complications in those lines. As for the Benko Gambit, it is a bit too popular for my tastes, but I DO know that there are variations on it and other similar gambits related to it. I just don’t know if any of them are aggressive enough.

     

    Thanks for reading, and for any suggestions you may have! :)

  • #2

    I would suggest the Benoni for you.

    There is a direct way to get it.

  • #3

    I've been asking this question for years :)

    To your list, I'd add the Baltic Defense as it can be quite violent if White doesn't deal with it the right way.  Documented a game I played with it and it was fun.

    http://blog.chess.com/Shivsky/fun-with-the-baltic

    The best answer I've gotten (from multiple titled players and a few coaches) is to play a solid line with a lot of potential and know the nuances (dare I say theory) of these positions better than your opponent.   Also => this is the correct approach if you plan on fighting really strong players.  Offbeat openings only get you so far. 

    I'm currently exploring the Semi-Slav and in terms of aggression, I can see positions explode with tactics if White dawdles or plays in a dithering manner.

  • #4

    Thanks for the suggestions.

     

    @Vyomo: I don't really like the Benoni, other than perhaps, the Benko Gambit lines, and even those are a bit iffy. Somehow, that pawn on d5 really gives me a hard time.

     

    @Shivsky: I'll look into the Baltic Defense. I guess I sort of jumped to conclusions when I first saw it. I was like, "There is NO way I am going to play a Reversed London System." ;)

    And good advice on the side. I guess I could look into something a bit more main-line, but I'm one of those obsessionists. I can't sleep soundly at night if I know that I haven't covered all of the bases. 1.d4 always gives me nightmares because I never know what to do against 2.Nf3.

     

    @uhohspaghettio: Er...We're talking the 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 c5 line right? (Might have jumbled the moves up somewhere). To be honest, I've never really looked into it. Is there something in the line that leads to a sort of attacking game?

  • #5

    I just looked at the Baltic Defense, and I really don't like it, mainly because of this line that seems to give White a safe and simple advantage with few complications:

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5 3.cxd5 Bxb1 4.Qa4+ c6 5.Rxb1 etc.

    Maybe I missed something?

     

    I'm going to look into the Semi-Slav lines. If I can manage to navigate the waters of its theory and find some lines that I am comfortable with, it might not be as bad as I think. But it still leaves this question open: What to do against 2.Nf3?

  • #6

    Ah, I see. So the extra moves Nf3 and Nf6 lead to a different sort of game.

    I'm not particularly in love with IQP's, but I'm not opposed to them either. But the Tarrasch Defense is a rather common line, is it not? If that's the case, I think that the Semi-Slav holds more potential for tactical warfare and the like, even if it is even more popular than the Tarrasch.

  • #7

    Hmm, after a quick peek at the Wikipedia pages, I'm not so sure anymore. I think it's time for me to go back to my FCO and see what it has to say.

  • #8

    Kasparov played wonderfully with the Tarrasch (and maybe semi-Tarrasch too?) in the early 80s. He gave it up after it wasn't working so well against Karpov. So it's probably attacking enough for you.

    The Englund is terrible. I entered an Englund tournament here at chess.com, and here was my experience. Keeping in mind that you get to play as both white and black against all opponents, it was a bit like tennis where both players have great serves. You're desperately trying to get a draw as black while ensuring that you "hold serve" as white. I've never encountered a chess opening which gives such a lopsided playing field as the Englund. In retrospect, maybe the best line is to just give away the pawn for sure with something like ...f6, because trying to get it back is such a royal pain. And even if you do get it back your position usually sucks after that. And if it doesn't, the best case scenario is that you're equal. All in all, the Englund is terrible.

  • #9

    my vote is benoni/benko gambit. very fun to play.

  • #10

    How about the Two Knights Tango?

    1.d4 Nf6

    2.c4 Nc6 // let's tango!

    3.Nf3 e6 // Note in case of 3.Nc3 black plays ...e5

    4.a3 g6 // If white does not play 4.a3 then black plays ...Bb4, trades the bishop, plays ...d6 and ...e5 with a great structure.

  • #11

    At the heart of it, everyone has this "pirate" phase of their chess growth  where they seem to be competent enough in their tactics (relative to the peers they compete with) to crave/drool at sharp opening lines and relish the opportunity to play fun tactical shots and use their initiative like a samurai sword.

    I anchored myself for years with the Nf6 Scandinavian, Danish Gambit and every other violent system I could get my hands on. Good times ... but as my own rating grew, I realized that any further growth necessitated scalping 1800+ OTB players in tourneys. My existing opening repertoire was not "sound" enough to go up against them with consistent success.... hence the shift to more clean + solid lines of chess openings.

    My advice to the OP:  Play what's fun for you but keep in mind how far you want your chess to grow ... it will  be easier to add "related" branches to systems you're already been playing for years as opposed to planting and replanting an entire repertoire tree each time you advance through the rating classes.

  • #12

    I agree with benoni and variationes of the Benko gambit.

  • #13

    The opening in question needs to be:

    • reasonably sound – meaning that the entire line is at least playable and does not lead to instant death or is not dependent on the opponent falling for a single trap There aren't any openings like that... But I guess that means no gambits.
    • aggressive and initiative-based – I am not at all opposed to gambits and do not mind playing the sort of gambit that gives up a pawn or two for the initiative, even if such a sacrifice is not generally regarded as “sound”. Example: I am fine with the Wing Gambit, except that it is not something I could play against 1.d4. Aggressive and initiative based = theory. There's no way around that because attacking moves are easier to calculate out than positional ones. Just look at any opening with a "poisoned pawn." Even the French has one lol.
    • compact theory-wise – meaning that it is not a very popular line. Pretty much, I don’t want to play (at least not yet) the mainline Nimzo-Indian or Meran. It can, however, be a lesser-known sideline of these openings though. Compact theory can't be based on attacking the crap out of the king very often.
    • probable – meaning that I can expect to get to a key position a good percentage of the time. I don’t want to have to bank on the opponent playing a certain set of moves for me to get the opening I want (think Frankenstein-Dracula Variation of the Vienna Game). 

    So in a nutshell you want something aggressive and easy to play that your opponent can't avoid. The Tarrasch is the only thing I know that White can't avoid no matter what he does. You play d5, e6 and c5 pretty much regardless of what White does and you get something against the English and those other flank openings.

  • #14

    Albin was probably the best bet, considering your exigences Tongue out Why didn't you keep it in your repertoire ?

    The obscure Shara Von Henning gambit might have some appeal too...

    Budapest with 3...Ne4 (Fajarowicz) might also be a good choice if you accept some risks. The main line 3...Ng4 doesn't give initiative to Black...

  • #15

    Tarrasch defence Innocent

    Silman has recommended the Dutch and Two Knights' Tango. The Tchigorin looks fun also. You might get on well with the Benoni. Ultimately, play the opening that suits you!

  • #16

    Which lines of the Dutch did you try out?  The Classical Dutch sounds like it would be right up your alley.

  • #17

    @AnthonyCG: I’m sorry if I did not phrase my considerations very well. Maybe I should have just called them “preferences”. As for your comment regarding gambits and soundness, I think that we might just have differing opinions on what defines “soundness”. To illustrate, I consider the King’s Gambit to be “sound”. It is not based on Black making some silly mistake, nor is White seeing a -3 evaluation from an engine. I’ve seen -0.8 and stuff like that, but I’m fine with that. At my level, a pawn isn’t usually a deciding factor. I might blunder one here and there, so I figure that if I can get something out of it, why not gambit a pawn away?

     

    Indeed, I am in that “pirate” phase that Shivsky mentioned.

     

    I’d like to thank everyone again for their suggestions and other advice. After looking through my FCO and taking some of the suggestions into consideration, I think that I’m going to look into the Hennig-Schara Gambit (Is that how you spell it?) and the Abrahams (or Noteboom) Variation, as well as some of the Meran lines, since White can transpose the latter. That should keep me busy for a while. :)

  • #18
    ajedrecito wrote:

    The Budapest Fajarowicz is flat-out unsound, and definitely not theory-light.

     

    What are some key lines that you can share?

  • #19

    @ajedrecito: Thanks for the two sidelines there. I think I'll try out the Semi-Slav when I get the chance then. What's your opinion on the Hennig-Schara Gambit?

     

    @MountainGorilla: Funny thing. I tried the Classical, Stonewall, and Leningrad. The Stonewall was definitely not for me, and the Classical was all right, but I never got the sort of initiative I was looking for. If there's a Dutch line I didn't give a fair chance, it'd probably be the Leningrad, but more than anything else, I was just sick of the Staunton Gambits and other wacky stuff. I mean, that's the sort of stuff *I* would want to play, not the sort of stuff I want to play against, if you know what I mean.

  • #20

    How about the Dutch Leningrad with ...7.c6

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