repetoire advise


During the summer i want to build a new opening repetoire, and could use some advise and thoughts on the defenses/variations i picked. My Elo is around 1800.

With white i play e4:

-vs e5: The scotch gambit (transposing to gioco piano or two knights defense)

-vs c5: Open sicilian, aiming for the h3-najdorf (used to play the grand prix attack)

-vs e6: Exchange french (i dislike the winawer)

-vs c6: Exchange fisher variation

-vs pirc/modern: 150 attack


As black:

vs e4: Used to play the najdorf, then switched to the caro kann, but now i want to play either the Petroff or the Scandinavian with 2. Nf6. I have a book on the petrov, and a dvd on the Nf6 Scandinavian, which should i study?

vs d4: the Nimzo/Bogo indian combo. I've played this for a while, but need to learn some more variants.

vs c4: e5 aiming for a Sicilian grand prix attack reversed.

What do you think about this repetoire? Any advise


Looks like Dzindzi has had a big effect on your choices ?!


I used to play the scotch gambit but got bored with it quickly .

As a french player myself , i love seeing the's pretty harmless .Dzindzi does not recommend the french but in my opinion it's a good choice as 1.e4 players dislike facing it. They tend to underestimate the weakness of the d4 square .


After playing 1.e4 myself religiously for 6-7 years i decided to try 1.d4 a try and my results improved , I think the reason for this is because people tend to put more preperation into their response to 1.e4 .


give the torre attack or london system a wont hurt you to expand your horizons a bit  :)


and if you are really feeling adventurous have a look at the french as black...its more of a religion than a choice though !!  :)


You could do better then the exchange french imo.

Against e4 why not continue with najdorf/caro-kann both are excellent. Back when I was playing e4 neither petrov nor scandi impressed me much tbh.

Also, why not try the reversed dragon vs c4 since you like playing sicilians.


As Black one should always delve into the profound Pirc, IMO.


@captain_trips, Yes i quite like Dzindzi's style, even though many people seem to dislike it. And i actually played the torre attack for a while, and my rating went up when i started playing e4 about 2 years ago, i guess it's just good to change up every now and again.

@Atahant, i agree that the exchange french is anything but ambitious, but since i'm already learning quite a bit of new theory soon, i think i'm going to stick with it for a while and update it later. I stopped playing the najdorf for a bad reason, i had some unlucky losses vs higher opponents. I then learned the CK and i got alot of draws vs slightly higher opponents, but never wins. But i didn't like playing the CK. Now the Nf6 Scandinavian appeals to me, but perhaps i should try the najdorf again.


You should play 1. e4 e5 2. Ke2


Is there something wrong with the Caro exchange ?

Like you, I'm looking for start a new repertoire with 1.e4 as White and the caro leaves me a bit puzzled...


Lose the exchange french. It is not a good line for white. If you don't like the winawer, try the classical, tarrasch, or even the advance. Any of these is better than the exchange, which grants instant equality.


The exchange caro and french are pretty poor choices, although I actually like to play the panov attack (exchange caro followed by c4), you just have to be ok playing with an isolani


If you don't like the Winawer, you can always try the Advance French.

Are you a tactical player or a positional one? Do you have lots of time to study theory? Do you like Closed positions or Open ones? Are there any imbalances you find easier to utilize (space, bishop vs knight, etc.)? The answer to those questions would make it easier to make a decision in other areas of your repertoire.


Thanks for the new comments :)

I think there's little wrong with the exchange caro, also my results with it are ok. The point with the french is that i want to spend the time that i can study openings mostly on my other openings (mostly e5 and c5 for white, and my black openings). So once i get more comfortable playing these openings, i'll have time to pick up the tarrasch or something else.


@Flier: If what you say is true and you simply want to spend more time studying the other openings, there's nothing wrong with the Exchange Variations of the French or the Caro-Kann. You probably already know that both of them lead to relatively quiet positions and are considered somewhat drawish. As long as you keep that in mind, you should be fine. And Gambitking does have a point. Though I think the Latvian Gambit is difficult to play (that's a nice way of putting it), I do play the King's Gambit and I must say that it is quite fun to play and helps me develop my tactical and attacking skills. Give it a try if you have the time.


There's nothing particularly "wrong" with the exchange variations, there is just very little complications and it lets black equalize pretty quickly.  There are more challenging variations to gain an advantage with white.


What I dislike about your repertoire is you're choosing a couple systems that I wouldn't want to have to try and play for a win (Scandy, French ex, Bogo) and at 1800 you will still be facing a lot of must win 1600's.

Playing the French Ex to avoid more theory workload is not such a great idea. Far better to play the Tarrasch or Advance Variation and learn it over time. You might as well play 1. e4 e6 2. d4 draw offered. with the Exchange and save yourself a couple hours of your life.


@ Pika and dschaef: I'm quite aware of the things you both say. And in practise i do quite well with the caro exchange, and the french ex is pretty drawish (one game where black went for many complications i managed to win). And vs low opponents i occasionally play the winawer anyway to play for a win (i do know some theory on it)

@ Nimzo: i like the nimzo/bogo combo because it's active and solid, i don't have many troubles facing 1600's, because i'm good at being patient and if they don't make tactical mistakes i dont fear to play endgames. My repertoire must be mainly based at getting good positions to play vs equal or higher opponents (my new rating in the august list is 1865). Could you suggest anything more agressive vs the scandy?


I think the Scandinavian is pretty aggressive... The Petroff is actually more drawish but it's important to realize that drawish openings don't necessarily mean bad openings. The Bogo-Indian for example is a perfectly legitimate choice as long as you're willing to put in the time to study and practice it. I believe that in practice at the master level, it draws more than 35% of the time, but that means that it's decisive the other 65%. I think people need to keep some of this in perspective. It's not like people who like the Exchange Variations, Bogo-Indian, or Petroff are trying to avoid a fight or even trying to play for a draw. These openings are very winnable too.

Anyway, good luck on your opening studies and have fun! :)


The Bogo is ok, but I think the Queen's Indian is better as it is a bit more complicated and you don't punt the Bishop pair for little to no compensation.


The panov against the caro was always my weak point until I studied it properly - most caro players concentrate on mainline and advance variations. 2.c4 is also tricky but if you know book moves, harmless.


@Flier :"i like the nimzo/bogo combo because it's active and solid" -> then why not give a try to the French?

They also would fit nicely 1.d4 e6!?


@flier : the overall repertoire makes sense if you want to play rather technical chess, aim for the ending, and not get embroiled in complicated or theory-intensive variations.

Only the 2...Nf6 Scandi doesn't fit, as it's more of a counter-attacking gamble, but I always advocate going for lines you feel attracted to, so why not ? Smile