♡ 49 ( +1 | -1 ) lesser linesI have a particular dislike for main lines and a particular interest in some of the 'lesser lines' one can play in chess, there are gems of interesting positions that are off the beaten track.
It seems there is a certain chess snobbery going on when we stick to refining the main lines. I was just wondering if there are any works or learning materials in which it focuses on the merits of 'steering' the game into challenging lesser lines for the unprepared opponent?
♡ 347 ( +1 | -1 ) spurtus...... I have a great deal of sympathy for your attitude. I found early on that I was "out-theoried" in openings that I liked, especially as Black, and cast about for something to play that wasn't so well known.
My approach was to use "systematic" openings, in which there wasn't a huge amount of theory, but it was pretty clear what I was supposed to be doing. Move order wasn't critical for the most part.
From 1971 through to 1986 when I played my last OTB tournament, I played the English Opening 80-90% of the time. I didn't much care whether my opponents "prepared" for it, as I made it pretty clear I didn't mind transpositions in the slightest (though King's Indians did present a slight problem only partially solved by my adoption of the Four Pawns Attack. A better choice would have been the Samisch).
For Black against 1.d4, I used to play the Nimzo-Indian -so-called - or the Queen's Indian, but never got the hang of it. I don't think those openings suited my style at all, but it took a while for me to realise this. So I switched to the King's Indian or the Modern Benoni. Now these are highly theoretical (though at the level I played at fairly forgiving), but you can limit this.
The fiirst is to play the Benko Gambit. Get hold of Benko's book if you can. Unusual in that it is a positional gambit, it is sound and "systematic". Black's early strategy is clear and to the point. POSSIBLY THIS IS A DRAWback as well, as White at least knows what he's up against. An alternative is the Albin Countergambit. I don't know a lot about it, but if you troll back through fairly recent threads you'll find some material on it. Looked bally good to me!
Against 1.e4 I dearly loved the Two Knights' Defence in all its forms: the Main Line, the Fritz, Ulvestad's Variation, the Wilkes-Barre - fascinating stuff. I got hold of Yakov Estrin's book on it, but a good deal of it will have dated in the 30 years since it was published. Of course, I ran into the near-refutation of the Two knights' - it's called the Ruy Lopez. What to do about that?
I gave up on the Sicilian - too much theory. Took up the French instead, playing the Winawer aganist 3.Nc3 and the Guimard against 3.Nd2. I didn't get to play the Winawer very often. So the French featured in a lot of my games. If I did play 1...e5, then it would be the Latvian Gambit or the Schliemann Defence against the Ruy Lopez (or, very rarely, the Marshall Attack - I had a fair bit of success with that).
Finally, it's not a bad idea sometimes to revivify old lines of play. When faced with a Sicilian (on the rare occasions I switched from the English), I used to play Keres's Attack: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd3!? The idea is to bring the Q over to the K-side (g3 usually) to reinforce a K-side attack.
Which reminds me that sometimes one's opponent has the same idea to spring a surprise. In a tournament in Auckland, 1979, my last round game began like this: White: Self Black: L.C. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 Bd2!? Seeing nothing untoward with this, I carried on: 7.Qd3!? Rc8 8.Be2 Qa5 9.f4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 ... And now Black revealed his hand: 10...Rxc3! 11.Qxc3 Qxc3 (what the...!!) 12.bxc3 Nxe4 13.Rb1 Nxg5 14.fxg5 Bc6 ... Look at it, will you? w White is R for B+P ahead, but how is he to play this game? What a shambles! As it turned out I won the thing, but only after several ups and downs, and then my opponent losing a piece trying to win, late in the game.
♡ 41 ( +1 | -1 ) thanks, I'll check out the Benko.
I can see now why you end up playing systemic openings, they are not main line but perfectly valid openings.
I was kind of hoping there might be some material out there that more or less talks you through the merits of playing some refuted lines, I'm not a GM so I don't expect to have to play cutting edge theory! I guess that is why I like the Blackmar Diemer Gambit.
♡ 64 ( +1 | -1 ) there is a guy in our chess club who stopped official competition as an A-class player but still plays a lot online. He uses the Blackmar Diemer Gambit too with pretty good success even against experts and I think occasionally a master or too.
There's all kinds of interesting ways to open and avoid mainlines. I like the Nimzo-Larsen Attack. One book that talks about building your repertoire to suite you properly and such is Andrew Soltis's "Grandmaster Secrets: Openings." He makes a lot of suggestions of different openings and gives examples and stuff. I liked it a lot (plus it is in a very readable format as well).