Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Niall Doran
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Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Niall Doran » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:55 pm

As a French player tired of exchanges, I'm looking for summat else. Is the Sicilian Kan similarish? (structurally speaking) whilst affording a bit of counterplay. Or are they not really related? Basically I'm looking for something where my French knowledge will still be useful, so as not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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Gareth Harley-Yeo
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Gareth Harley-Yeo » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:18 am

Niall Doran wrote:As a French player tired of exchanges, I'm looking for summat else. Is the Sicilian Kan similarish? (structurally speaking) whilst affording a bit of counterplay. Or are they not really related? Basically I'm looking for something where my French knowledge will still be useful, so as not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


how about a Caro-Kann? the advance variation would be a french with a good white bishop! :)

David Buckley
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby David Buckley » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:10 pm

Niall Doran wrote:As a French player tired of exchanges, I'm looking for summat else. Is the Sicilian Kan similarish? (structurally speaking) whilst affording a bit of counterplay. Or are they not really related? Basically I'm looking for something where my French knowledge will still be useful, so as not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


If white doesn't want to play an open sicilian playing ..e6 and ..d5 can sometimes lead to something similarish to a French but if white plays 2 Nf3 and 3 d4 you basically have a sicilian pawn structure. Black doesn't normally manage to play an early ...d5 in that line.

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Gavin Strachan
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Gavin Strachan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:02 pm

Niall Doran wrote:Is the Sicilian Kan similarish? (structurally speaking) whilst affording a bit of counterplay. Or are they not really related?


Not really as D6 is more likely than D5, though it is a good flexible opening which transposes v some D4/C4 openings if you like hedgehog positions. So the Kan is great to learn as it can be used in many different cases.

As others have stated, probably the Caro Kann is the next best thing. Advanced variations can be pretty similar. I have to say that the positions you get from the Winawer and McCutcheon are pretty unique and can be pretty crazy. The exchange variation is a bit of a wet fish, but I suppose you can always try to make a silk purse out of sows ear if you're looking for something fruity.

Dan O'Dowd
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Dan O'Dowd » Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:07 am

Hmmm. Something that affords counterplay with a similar structure to the French. Well, you could play aggressive Sicilian lines. The learning curve with horrible losses might be huge, but you'd be much stronger for learning any different opening in the end simply by structural assimilation.

If it's specifically the Ex French you're tired of, how about a Scandinavian? Black gets quite a solid position, but it's a degree more open than the French. There are chances to transpose into a Rubinstein French of some sort, or you can play a Queen takes and retreats line.

It seems a little ambitious to ask for counterplay while being as structurally solid as the French unless you can predict when people will play an Exchange, and play something different against them, because often White has options to simplify into a quieter position in many openings, even at the cost of fouling on his own minor evaluational advantage.

Have you any thoughts on something slow burning, like a Ruy Lopez? You'd have the option of a sharp Arkhangelsk, or a quiet Berlin Classical (...Nf6 then ...Bc5, which itself has wild or quiet sides).

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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby benedgell » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:43 am

Read a great 'How Good Is Your Chess?' article by Danny King in Chess magazine last night (it's the edition with the article about Aagaard winning the British, can't remember the exact date at this time of the morning.) about how to play with black against the exchange French. I think the exchange is written off far too easily as a dead- draw variation.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Jonathan Bryant » Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:49 am

Niall Doran wrote:As a French player tired of exchanges....


Tired of the French Exchange = tired of life.
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Paul Cooksey » Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:03 am

I don't think a sideline is a good reason to give up an opening. I have Dvorersky on my side, he tells a story about questioning playing the Sicilian because of bad results against the KIA. Naturally he buckled down, learnt a good line and improved his understanding of chess in the progress.

That said, there are good reasons for keeping ones repertoire fresh. The Sicilian Kan might work better for a French player than it seems at first sight. A French player could choose d5 vs c3, with an offer to transpose the French advance, or an IQP similar to some Tarrasch lines.

Below IM level in England, 2 c3 is more common than 2 Nf3. Also, if black plays 2...e6, a lot of the Bb5 players play 3 c3. So the French positions would come up regularly

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:26 am

Having said that, quite a few White 2c3 Sicilian players follow Sveshnikov's example and play the Advance French as well :)

Black also has to be prepared for Exchange French type positions after 2....e6 3 d4 d5 4 ed5.......
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John Upham
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Re: Secrets of Chess Transformations?

Postby John Upham » Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:30 am

Of course 2...e6 lines are probably the most effective way to go in dealing with the increasingly popular Grand Prix Attack whereas a GPA player will dine out on 2...d6
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