why do most masters play be2 in this position?

Uhohspaghettio1
TrainerMeow wrote:

Forget about O-O-O. Dragon-style attacks won't fare well if Black hasn't weakened his kingside with ...g6.

Are you new to chess? The highest theory of chess is full of opposite side castling attacks against non-fianchettoed pawn formations. O-O-O is particularly advantageous against Philidor style openings because black has no semi-open c-file and if he moves his c-pawn his d-pawn can become very weak with no e-pawn. 

SNUDOO

Bf4 followed by queenside castle is fine for black, otherwise we’d see an over abundance of players playing this line.

TrainerMeow
Uhohspaghettio1 wrote:
TrainerMeow wrote:

Forget about O-O-O. Dragon-style attacks won't fare well if Black hasn't weakened his kingside with ...g6.

Are you new to chess? The highest theory of chess is full of opposite side castling attacks against non-fianchettoed pawn formations. O-O-O is particularly advantageous against Philidor style openings because black has no semi-open c-file and if he moves his c-pawn his d-pawn can become very weak with no e-pawn. 

Let's see how masters repel your "advantageous" opposite-side castle attack, often with a more ferocious one against the White king.

The Dragon-style attack, which focuses on pushing the g- and h-pawns, is a bit too slow for the ...exd4 Philidor, as it is in other openings where Black hasn't moved his kingside pawns. It is further proved by the fact that White scores only 49% in the critical line 6.Bf4 O-O 7.Qd2 c6 8.O-O-O b5, according to ChessBase LiveBook. Black does not need a semi-open c-file to conduct a successful attack, and he can afford to lose his d-pawn in most lines.

Such a risky idea would be "advantageous" only at your "new-to-chess" level, where players know little about how to counterattack.

pfren
SNUDOO έγραψε:

Bf4 followed by queenside castle is fine for black, otherwise we’d see an over abundance of players playing this line.

 

Pardon me?

Some 2,000 games played, and white is scoring quite above average.

Personally I prefer 6.g3, as the mainline after Bf4 is extremely sharp, and I don't want to memorize a ton about a variation I will not meet frequently.

pfren
TrainerMeow έγραψε:
Uhohspaghettio1 wrote:
TrainerMeow wrote:

Forget about O-O-O. Dragon-style attacks won't fare well if Black hasn't weakened his kingside with ...g6.

Are you new to chess? The highest theory of chess is full of opposite side castling attacks against non-fianchettoed pawn formations. O-O-O is particularly advantageous against Philidor style openings because black has no semi-open c-file and if he moves his c-pawn his d-pawn can become very weak with no e-pawn. 

Let's see how masters repel your "advantageous" opposite-side castle attack, often with a more ferocious one against the White king.

The Dragon-style attack, which focuses on pushing the g- and h-pawns, is a bit too slow for the ...exd4 Philidor, as it is in other openings where Black hasn't moved his kingside pawns. It is further proved by the fact that White scores only 49% in the critical line 6.Bf4 O-O 7.Qd2 c6 8.O-O-O b5, according to ChessBase LiveBook. Black does not need a semi-open c-file to conduct a successful attack, and he can afford to lose his d-pawn in most lines.

Such a risky idea would be "advantageous" only at your "new-to-chess" level, where players know little about how to counterattack.

 

This ...c6 and ...b5 line has been practically archived in correspondence games as bad.

After 9.f3 b4 10.Na4 the only move where Black has not lost all the games is 10...Bd7, which still is scoring a miserable 15% (mainly due to older games, in recent ones he is barely able to survive without devastating material losses). Most recent game, where a correspondence IM went down the drain against a player rated 400+ points lower:

 

In short, all your claims are quite unfounded.

Like it, or not, 6.Bf4 is white's most agrressive and dangerous line by a wide margin, but there are a couple of lines (not the one which you've suggested which is just bad, and white does not need to know more than leaving the a4 horsie unprotected) where he needs to memorize a lot.

SuperBigTom

OK

ThrillerFan

The reason for Be2 is simple.  You do not want to play f3 too soon.  Do it when provoked by ...Re8.  Otherwise, there could be Ne4 and Bh4 tricks looming (or Qh4 if the Bishop moves).  Not saying concrete threat here, but the concept makes an early f3 without the Bishops developed risky.

 

Therefore, where does White want his GOOD Bishop, assuming f3 will get played eventually?  Well, with f3, your good bishop is the dark squared one.  It wants to go to e3.

 

Without f3 played and without Be2 played, Be3 gets harassed by ...Ng4.

 

Therefore, White plays Be2 to stop Ng4, then Be3, Qd2, and O-O-O, pausing to play f3 when provoked and not until then.

 

 

As mentioned earlier though, Bf4 is the strongest.  The e3-response for the Bishop is on the basis that you are playing the slower strategy with Be2.

 

I have an ongoing correspondence game at ICCF with 6.Bf4.

 

We are 25 moves in and the position is fairly equal, maybe a tiny edge for me (white).

pfren

For the record, a very good presentation of the quiet 6.g3 line is at Khalifman's most recent repertoire book (Squeezing 1.e4 e5: a Solid Strategic Approach) which is built around the Spanish 4 Knights variation, and has quite a few very new and remarkable ideas for white.

Jackurokawa

Because it's what the engine they use says to do

TrainerMeow
pfren wrote:
TrainerMeow έγραψε:
Uhohspaghettio1 wrote:
TrainerMeow wrote:

Forget about O-O-O. Dragon-style attacks won't fare well if Black hasn't weakened his kingside with ...g6.

Are you new to chess? The highest theory of chess is full of opposite side castling attacks against non-fianchettoed pawn formations. O-O-O is particularly advantageous against Philidor style openings because black has no semi-open c-file and if he moves his c-pawn his d-pawn can become very weak with no e-pawn. 

Let's see how masters repel your "advantageous" opposite-side castle attack, often with a more ferocious one against the White king.

The Dragon-style attack, which focuses on pushing the g- and h-pawns, is a bit too slow for the ...exd4 Philidor, as it is in other openings where Black hasn't moved his kingside pawns. It is further proved by the fact that White scores only 49% in the critical line 6.Bf4 O-O 7.Qd2 c6 8.O-O-O b5, according to ChessBase LiveBook. Black does not need a semi-open c-file to conduct a successful attack, and he can afford to lose his d-pawn in most lines.

Such a risky idea would be "advantageous" only at your "new-to-chess" level, where players know little about how to counterattack.

 

This ...c6 and ...b5 line has been practically archived in correspondence games as bad.

After 9.f3 b4 10.Na4 the only move where Black has not lost all the games is 10...Bd7, which still is scoring a miserable 15% (mainly due to older games, in recent ones he is barely able to survive without devastating material losses). Most recent game, where a correspondence IM went down the drain against a player rated 400+ points lower:

 

In short, all your claims are quite unfounded.

Like it, or not, 6.Bf4 is white's most agrressive and dangerous line by a wide margin, but there are a couple of lines (not the one which you've suggested which is just bad, and white does not need to know more than leaving the a4 horsie unprotected) where he needs to memorize a lot.

Thanks for the info. I looked at 12.Nf5 with an engine and had to agree with you that Black is not OK there. My knowledge about the ...exd4 Philidor, most of which came from a 2009 repertoire book for Black, appears to be outdated.

Curiously, I couldn't find any game in my Mega Database 2019 with 11.g4 and 12.Nf5. The correspondence game you posted is time-stamped 2018. Is it a recent discovery?

pfren
TrainerMeow έγραψε:
pfren wrote:
TrainerMeow έγραψε:
Uhohspaghettio1 wrote:
TrainerMeow wrote:

Forget about O-O-O. Dragon-style attacks won't fare well if Black hasn't weakened his kingside with ...g6.

Are you new to chess? The highest theory of chess is full of opposite side castling attacks against non-fianchettoed pawn formations. O-O-O is particularly advantageous against Philidor style openings because black has no semi-open c-file and if he moves his c-pawn his d-pawn can become very weak with no e-pawn. 

Let's see how masters repel your "advantageous" opposite-side castle attack, often with a more ferocious one against the White king.

The Dragon-style attack, which focuses on pushing the g- and h-pawns, is a bit too slow for the ...exd4 Philidor, as it is in other openings where Black hasn't moved his kingside pawns. It is further proved by the fact that White scores only 49% in the critical line 6.Bf4 O-O 7.Qd2 c6 8.O-O-O b5, according to ChessBase LiveBook. Black does not need a semi-open c-file to conduct a successful attack, and he can afford to lose his d-pawn in most lines.

Such a risky idea would be "advantageous" only at your "new-to-chess" level, where players know little about how to counterattack.

 

This ...c6 and ...b5 line has been practically archived in correspondence games as bad.

After 9.f3 b4 10.Na4 the only move where Black has not lost all the games is 10...Bd7, which still is scoring a miserable 15% (mainly due to older games, in recent ones he is barely able to survive without devastating material losses). Most recent game, where a correspondence IM went down the drain against a player rated 400+ points lower:

 

In short, all your claims are quite unfounded.

Like it, or not, 6.Bf4 is white's most agrressive and dangerous line by a wide margin, but there are a couple of lines (not the one which you've suggested which is just bad, and white does not need to know more than leaving the a4 horsie unprotected) where he needs to memorize a lot.

Thanks for the info. I looked at 12.Nf5 with an engine and had to agree with you that Black is not OK there. My knowledge about the ...exd4 Philidor, most of which came from a 2009 repertoire book for Black, appears to be outdated.

Curiously, I couldn't find any game in my Mega Database 2019 with 11.g4 and 12.Nf5. The correspondence game you posted is time-stamped 2018. Is it a recent discovery?

 

The first instance of the knight sacrifice idea dates back to 2007, and all games from that point (around 15 from CC and just one OTB where Black won due to some bad mistakes by white) indicate that Black is not well, and probably not alive, either. I consider these games enough proof that the ...c6 and ...b5 plan does not stand up to serious scrutiny. Look at the following game: White did not even bother picking the exchange at f8, and smashed Black my the usual kingside pawn roller.

 

llama

A lot of high level answers, which is nice, but maybe I can add something simple, because I know as a beginner I was confused about why a strong player would play a "passive" move like Be2 (or Be7).

Bb5 is obviously not very good because c6 not only chases the bishop away, but will help black play d5.

Bc4 is often good in openings where your opponent has played e5 at some point (loosening the a2-g8 diagonal) but again it might get chased away with c6+d5 or c6+d5.

Bd3 blocks the half open d file. White's e pawn doesn't need extra defense, and white wants to keep influence on the d5 and d6 squares.

Be2 blocks the e file, which is why it's common enough for white to play 0-0 followed by Re1 and Bf1... but blocking the e file in the short term is not a problem.

Bg2 (after g3) requires an extra tempo to develop the bishop and castle, so although it's a very good move I can understand why players 50 or 100 years ago were not so interested in playing it.

---

The differences between these moves is basically nothing at a beginner level, but making the most out of a single tempo is something masters do all the time. Asking things like how quickly can I castle, and which pieces or files am I obstructing when I put a piece somewhere is something strong players do automatically. Also asking how might my move help (or hurt) my opponent's plan (Bb5 helps black play d5) is automatic.