Gavin Strachan wrote:Books on the following should be banned:
Catalan (played by Kramnik and he helps me sleep at night)
I play the Alekhine's Defence; against 2. Nc3, I generally play 2... e5, very often resulting in a Four Knights. At my patzerish 183, my opponents are generally between 150 and 210. Against that standard, I wouldn't qualify the opening as dull at all. Very rarely an absolutely tedious sterile short draw indeed, usually a game with genuine content, usually manoeuvring, sometimes tactical, sometimes a positional grip for one side or the other. Indeed John Nunn played it from time to time and even wrote an interesting book about it; he was certainly not a "boring" player, so even at the highest levels, it has some interest.
To call the Catalan boring is completely ridiculous, it is a varied opening with all sorts of possibilities. I play it from time to time, and I can promise that it gives White good chances, often of a very tactical nature. Sometimes, if Black is well booked and wants to play safe, it does less to sterile equality, but at my level, I can promise, gripes are either parroting something someone read somewhere, or else a whinge about Black's prospects.
As for truly boring openings, I am surprised that Petroff's Defence with Qe2 didn't feature on your list, or the Exchange Slav. There are many other candidates. I think, though, that what is boring is, to some degree, dependent on playing level. GMs might think the Marshall Gambit to the Ruy Lopez, a boring drawing line, but, frankly, I would be terrified to have to play either side.
Matt Mackenzie wrote:John Upham wrote:I would also include the Sicilian Alapin in the banned list!
It was inevitable somebody would include it of course
I have, of course, played loads of interesting and at times exciting games in said opening - as have all the fellow devotees I know of. Seriously, I don't see how it can really be compared to dross like 1d4 d5 2e3 stodges or the Exchange Slav/Ruy/French/QGD (the last named being what Fischer famously once described as epitomising all he disliked about chess, IIRC) But as ever, each to their own
Agreed, Matt, it's a bit daft including Anti-Sicilians in the list as being boring. Well, perhaps some Moscow lines and some Alapin lines, but really! I think that Sicilian Defence players are boring, they sit there behind their dull books of forced lines that they have been studying and plotting since when they were pustulous teenaged oiks with chocolate besmeared limp handshakes (some still are...), and then complain when White players decide that they would rather not discover the latest innovation on move 35 in the Chinese Dragon. I found Sicilian players so boring that I actually gave up on 1. e4 and now just wheel it out from time to time for old time's sake.
As for the Exchange QGD, well it's a bit dull, but it can be very effective, even at World Championship level.
Agree about the Collie and other terrier openings, dull, dull, dull. Stonewall Attack, which is probably so called only by players of approximately 120 standard who probably have dozens of victims of similar grade who couldn't foresee a Greek Gift, even if the whole of the playing hall were simultaneously to bellow "Watch out on h7!"
Exchange Slav is very dull, but as Black I almost always draw against White players with much higher grades and win against players of lower grades, so I can't really complain.
One line that can be sterile is the Bxe4 sac main line in the Slav, but there are actually many more possibilities for both sides than the books give it credit for. Actually, with the exception of the really boring exchange lines, I find that if you play an opening with a forced drawing lines (e.g. the 5... Nd7 line in Alekhines Defence, allowing the Nf7 sac, which can be followed up by Qh5+, Qg4+, Qh5+, etc.), that the invitation is only very rarely taken up.