I was looking for some input with regards to the O'Kelly variation in the sicilian. It generally is dismissed because of c3 or c4, with the idea that black loses a temp with a6:
I don't understand why this tempo is a big deal because of the possibilities of transposition:
Wouldn't this throw off the person playing white without getting into objectively bad positions? I have been playing this in OTB tournaments for a while and have been getting decent results.
Many. But as someone once said - I can't go into all the details, because I won't live that long.
But you're basically playing a mainline french where Black has taken the liberty of ...a6 instead of something normal such as Nc6.
Alapin defence with a wasted move by Black also comes to mind ...
Yes, I noticed this and looked into it a bit. I don't think that the a6 Bd7 line is that bad when compared to the mainlines.
Some food for thought:
I know that stats can't win a game, but it's something to think about. This was the line I was investigating previously.
Exchanging the bad bishop definetely has at least some appeal.
Black doesn't need to allow the alapin if he just transposes into a french with 3... e6.
Oh and forgot to mention, thanks for the input.
I don't think it's a question of allowing it or not; it's already happened with c3! The opening transposes to French advanced quite often anyway. But:
The first aim of the French Advanced for Black is a massive attack on White's d4 pawn. Since White wastes a tempo moving e5, Black has the initiative in attacking d4. The move ...h3 does nothing at all for this attack; indeed, it defuses the double attack (on d4 and b2) of the usual and strong ...Qb6. b2 will no longer be threatened, which frees White's DSB and gives White the tempo back. So it still seems dubious to me!
Wouldnt exd5 exd5 just lead to an exchange french? I doubt that a6 hurts black; it might not be the most constructive move, but the exchange french isn't the most challenging opening.
Of course I could be wrong because I don't have too much experience with it, but that was my take.
I don't think that Nc3 is really a problem, because black avoids the more critical 5. Bd3 lines in the kan. Anyways, this doesn't really show that the O'Kelly is bad because black is known to be totally fine in normal sicilian positions.
Interestingly I found that 3... b5 has a very good score against 3. Nc3, although honestly I have no idea why.
Thanks for the input.
Sorry for the doublepost, didn't see your post.
I might be completely wrong because honestly I don't have that much experience with the french, but why does black need to hurry in attacking the d4 pawn? The d4 pawn will stay on d4, there's not much that white can do to liquidate it. After white's dark square bishop is exchanged, I believe that white's initiative is slowed.
Also, how does a6 weaken Qb6? As I have mentioned, I'm not a French guru.
As always, thanks for the input.
Edited for grammar/spelling.
Ah I see, that makes sense now.
Taking on d5 is nothing to worry about for Black and in the line above, 6...c4 is beyond insane to put it mildly.
I do find it hard to see how White would be thrown off into getting objectively bad positions (to quote the original text), even with sensible moves. Another possible annoyance is 7.Bc2, intending to evict the Bb5 at a convenient moment.
All in all my cursory glance would say yes it's playable but probably no more than as good as (and probably worse than) the main lines against the Advance French. And then you still have 3.c4 to deal with :)
Yeah, you're probably right with regards to this sideline being worse than the mainline Advance French.
I had a look at 7.Bc2 earlier and this was my take on it:
With regards to 3. c4, I actually play the O'Kelly hoping for white to play c4 because I enjoy playing the hedgehog against the maroczy bind. Of course, this assumes that white doesn't play for a formation with the d pawn on d3.
Just as a note. I made a small wording error in my original post. I meant that black can avoid bad positions and throw off white at the same time, not that black could throw off white into bad positions.
How about if white plays 3.d4 instead of 3.c3? 3.d4 is an inferior move but has more games played in this line over the c3 line suggesting that many people are caught out by this and are not familar with the O'Kelly. For example chessbase scores give:
3.d4, 6474 games, 42%.
3.c3, 4338 games, 59%.
I'm not suggesting you should play a line in the hope that your opponent doesn't know the mainline moves, just if you were happy with playing the French with a6, by transposition then you will also get some bonus games where white plays 3.d4 fairly often, certanily below 2000 level.