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Up Topic Correspondence Chess / Correspondence Chess / What are the best correspondence chess openings?
- - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-01 17:15
What are the best correspondence chess openings?

For example, if you are playing Black and want to maximize your chances of winning, what should you play and which openings should you avoid?

Similarly, if you are playing White and want to maximize your chances of winning, what should you play and which openings should you avoid?

Bob Durrett
Parent - - By Barnard (Bronze) Date 2012-10-01 18:07
the best openings are always the openings that you master,and know the ideas behind them

so,for every people,will be different openings
Parent - - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-01 18:33 Edited 2012-10-01 18:36

> the best openings are always the openings that you master,and know the ideas behind them


That seems reasonable but it presupposes that you have "mastered" an opening.

Sadly, I am not a chess master and have not "mastered" anything in chess.

What should you play if you have not yet achieved opening mastery?

What is the path to opening mastery?

It seems to me that selection of the right opening is terribly important in correspondence chess. Agree?

Bob Durrett
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2012-10-01 18:37
Then you should probably wait a little while before picking up correspondence chess.  Pick a few openings that you think you'll like, study them, study commentary from high-level players concerning some exemplary games, and then give it a try.  After all, you are going to be forced to pick an opening during the game anyway, so you might as well pick one that you already know.
Parent - By Christian Packi (****) [de] Date 2012-10-01 19:14
Try to go through games of the top GMs and guess their moves (from one side). Also set a time limit for yourself (30min). Then go over the games with an engine and note the differences in evaluation of the engines top move and your move choice. Make an excel sheet and add it all up. The openings where your moves differ least from the engines top choice will be the openings you understand best. I would concentrate on those.
Parent - - By Barnard (Bronze) Date 2012-10-01 19:29
turbo gave you a very good answer below

about how mastering an opening...well,you must study not only the moves,also the plans behind the moves

also,if you are an agressive atacking player you will feel more comfortable in certain openings,but if you are a solid player,you must focus on openings that fit your "spirit"
Parent - - By NATIONAL12 (Gold) [gb] Date 2012-10-01 23:48
You make an excellent point here Barnard it depends on your style of play.I myself am normally an attacking player,however as you well know i deceided to test Larry's book and got into many positions i did not understand.
Parent - - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-02 00:17
I have been playing chess for fifty eight years and still have not "mastered" a single opening. I also have not "mastered" anything else either, including non-chess things.

Maybe this is a matter of semantics.  How much "mastery" is really required?

> and got into many positions i did not understand.


Truly, I do not fully understand ANY opening position. I still play as best as i can, though.

Bob Durrett
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2012-10-02 00:20
For the purposes of correspondence play, you can probably start off comfortably simply by knowing the main ideas that tend to come into play in the openings that you prefer.
Parent - - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-02 00:36
That is quite a relief!  I thought everybody here was talking about MASTERY.

If we take a closer look at what it means to fully understand a position, let me suggest that one must be aware of the tree of lines that can come out of that position, including the plans and ideas involved in each line. Obviously, being aware of the entire tree may be impossible because the tree may be infinite in size or at least extremely large.

Maybe a probabilistic approach would make sense here. One could prune out all unlikely branches to make the tree more manageable.

Beginner books seek to impart a feeling of "understanding" by making generalizations about control of the centre, or something like that.

For the purpose of correspondence chess, just how severely pruned must the tree of moves, ideas and plans be?

Note that "understanding" is a feeling. If you feel comfortable in the position you may be happy until the opponent drops a bombshell into your plans.

Bob Durrett
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2012-10-02 10:07
The tree of lines is something to which you would need to have access, but that is something that happens anyway in correspondence play.
Parent - - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-02 16:03
Consider, as an example, the initial position of the game.

What would it mean to "understand" this position?

After playing many thousands of games, we learn the main openings that can come out of that position. I do not need to list them here.

Most experienced chess players have some knowledge of the plans and ideas inherent in those openings. They also surely must know the main lines, at least six or eight moves deep. Some people who like to learn names of openings may even be able to name the main lines, such as "Exchange Variation of the French Defense."

It seems safe to say that most experienced chess players have some "understanding" of that position.

But, could you say that they have MASTERED the openings arising out of that position?  Maybe the higher rated GMs can say yes to that question. But what about the lowly 2200 player?

Here is something which was posted on the chessbase website by Steve Lopez for me:

GM Grading System: 
A:  2700+
B:  2600 - 2700
C:  2500 - 2600
D:  2400 - 2500
E:  2300 - 2400
F:  2200 - 2300

As you know, an "A" is a good grade and an "F" is a dismal failure, outrageously bad.

Bob Durrett
Parent - - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2012-10-02 18:40
I am sure that any player rated 2200 or higher has enough of an understanding of a large enough number of openings to be able to competently play correspondence chess quite well.
Parent - - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-02 19:36

> I am sure that any player rated 2200 or higher has enough of an understanding of a large enough number of openings to be able to competently play correspondence chess quite well.


I would like to cite a specific case:

My only server correspondence chess game (computer use allowed) which was drawn was the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez. As Black, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6, 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O, I played 5...Qf6 but could have played 5...f6 or 5...Bg4. [In the past, 5...Bd6 did not work well for me in OTB chess, whereas 5...Qf6 did.]

If I continue playing the Black side of the Ruy Lopez, which is likely, I will try 5...f6 and 5...Bg4 and will try mightily to get a win as Black.

In this way, I will take a few baby steps toward learning the Black side of the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation.  It may take dozens of attempts before I hit upon the best plan for Black.

It seems to me that the best way to MASTER an opening is this way; actually playing the opening in serious games.  I could be wrong about that.

Incidentally, my highest ever OTB rating was 1960 USCF, many decades ago. Surely it is not necessary for me to hold off on playing correspondence chess until my OTB FIDE rating is 2200.  (???)  My last rated OTB game was played in the mid-1990s.

Bob Durrett
Parent - By turbojuice1122 (Gold) [us] Date 2012-10-02 20:45
Yes, I agree that you are ready at the point where you are now.  I simply responded to the 2200 example that you mentioned by saying that such a person is obviously ready.  Many people rated noticeably lower certainly are, too, if they feel comfortable enough with a few openings and in using the available hardware and software.
Parent - - By Moz (****) Date 2012-10-03 16:53
In my opinion, 5...Bg4 is by far the best way to fight for the full point in the Spanish Exchange. The positions are quite complicated and if white over relies on his engine, he can get into trouble really quickly as black lays siege to the kingside fortress.
Parent - - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-03 17:20
Thank you very much for this idea.  :-)   :-)   :-)

The next time I get into that opening as Black, I will try your idea.

There is one concern, however: The way I am utilizing my chess engine makes it very difficult for someone to win against me with tactics alone.

Laying seige to the White kingside fortress could take the form of piece play or a pawn storm or some combination of the two. Which applies in this case?

The engine may not see a long-range attack since the critical position(s) may be beyond the horizon of the engine. There is more than one way to deal with horizon effects. My approach has been to analyze the line out five or ten moves at least before committing to a line.

Bob Durrett
Parent - - By Moz (****) Date 2012-10-04 05:40

> Laying seige to the White kingside fortress could take the form of piece play or a pawn storm or some combination of the two. Which applies in this case?


Primarily through piece play and slowly ratcheting up the pressure by overloading the kingside. Try to maintain the tension by avoiding the Bxf3 trade, and in the back of your mind always keep an eye out for ways to break the position open with explosives (e.g Bxh3).

Engines don't play this variation well and they certainly don't play it to win. Use your intuition and instinct to attack to guide the engine and explore the types of moves you would be too scared to play over the board due to complications and uncertainty. I really can't stress how important it is to maintain the tension; it's the key to success.
Parent - By Bob Durrett (***) Date 2012-10-04 13:09
Thanks again. I look forward to the time when the opportunity comes up.

Bob Durrett
Parent - By Barnard (Bronze) Date 2012-10-03 18:19
hi my friend

well,even if you went into positions that you doesnt understand as good as the others,i think that will be a valuable work for you,because it will improve your opening skills,that from what i know,are very good :smile:
- - By Gizchehs Defender (***) [nl] Date 2012-12-25 18:29 Edited 2012-12-25 18:33
Did anybody even gave an Objective answer to Sir?
I didn't read the all the Replies and Posts, but I don't think so.

Objectively seen, the best Openings are:

- The sharpest ones.

- With Sacrifices.

- Wild, Dynamical play.

- Straightforward; Tactics.

- Fighting for the Initiative.

- Etcetera Etcetera, basically every move that does something ' directly ' and ' immediately '; no Preparation* moves, no Strategical* moves, and every good move that opens the Position. The Modenese/Italian way of play ( but without the Primitve thoughts they had heheh ofcourse :razz:

* unless, when in Perfect play Situations, otherwise needed.

Ok... Now why is this the best? Because there is a lot of Chance to make a Mistake [ as a subjective ] (!), and the Positions are very Crucial (!), and there is so less chance for a Draw (!)

And so, things are double edged; You have best Winning Chances, but your Opponent has them as well.
Also, since I am a Strategist and a Positional player, I am doomed to fail in these Positions, therefore:

- Do not play these Openings that create these elements when you 're better at Prophylaxis and the Defence

- Do not play these openings when a weakness of you is making Blunders ( which happened/happens to me often, with my planning mind-set )

- Do not play these openings if you are A Strategist, Planner, and Positional Player.

- Do not play these Openings against Chess Engines ( you will simply be Crushed if you aren't a Master Tactician as well )

The above described elements { about the best openings } are faster than Strategy and such, that's also why they are the best; again, they are very Crucial Positions.

As a Subjective { or even Objective }, we can also say: Openings that is played by most (Grand)Masters.

So now, I will google for you and look to the things

Ok, first I see for White: The four Pawns attack { And a Remember, do not Close the Position! }

First one for Black : Benko Gambit ( since Black is a Pawn down, Black must attack, attack and attack! )

Second one for Black : sicilian najdorf, poisoned pawn variation.

Third one for Black: Sicilian Defense, Dragon Variation and the Yugoslav Attack [ It says here: http://chess.about.com/od/openings/ss/Sicilian_7.htm ]

Well, if you need more, than please, ask.

* Mikhail Tall's Proud.

* Avoid Silent Openings ( the opposite of what you should not avoid )
Parent - By gsgs (**) [de] Date 2016-04-24 06:08 Edited 2016-04-24 06:21
the problem with current computers and high level correspondence chess is the high draw rate.
It's also a problem with "normal" high level chess, but to a lower degree.
74 out of 78 games in the last correspondence chess world championship
among the top 13 players were a draw. Those other 4 players presumably got bad positions
early, lost some interest and don't continue with full effort and full computer support.

In general, if you want to win a tournament, you should play risky, avoid draws.
If your opponent wants to win the tournament too, he should have the same desire.
A good strategy then would be to agree to flip a coin, who wins or such.
I assume this is somehow taboo, I never heard about it, and you'd have to build some
trust that players stay to their promise to lose.

Now, you could also "agree" to play some risky opening, one that even top computers can't manage
and don't understand well. One with a roughly 50% chance for either site to win.
Well, more realistically 40-30-30 or such.

Has the database of high-level (computer-) chess been searched for that purpose ?
What are the openings (or just positions that you could suggest in CC)
with the smallest draw rate ?
Up Topic Correspondence Chess / Correspondence Chess / What are the best correspondence chess openings?

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