Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

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Kevin O'Rourke
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Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Kevin O'Rourke » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:28 pm

Most likely at master level this is not the best reply to a6 as centuries of games and computer analysis has shown, but at club level is this move perfectly sound and can White expect a good game? Everyone knows to take back with the d pawn and that 5. Nxe5 is bad due to 5… Qe7, Qd5 or (my favourite Qg5).

Interesting to hear from people who prefer to just whack of the knight and double the pawns rather than retreat the bishop.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:36 pm

Kevin O'Rourke wrote: Interesting to hear from people who prefer to just whack of the knight and double the pawns rather than retreat the bishop.
There are any number of players of this tiresome opening, including those who follow up with d4 and Qxd4.

There are various ways of avoiding it, 1. e4 c5 is drastic, but you can bore back with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 or 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 . The recently revived 3. .. Nge7 is also possible except the GMs seem to consider that .. a6 should be flicked in before playing .. Nge7.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:08 pm

Of course there is stuff like 3.....Bc5 and even 3......f5 for the adventurous.
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Nick Grey
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Nick Grey » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:36 pm

Roger's d4 and Qxd4 leads to positions where black tries to keep the bishop pair away from the knights and outposts.
The king and pawn ending is advantageous to white if you can get there.
It was mainline theory 100 years ago.

Brian Towers
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Brian Towers » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:16 pm

Nick Grey wrote:Roger's d4 and Qxd4 leads to positions where black tries to keep the bishop pair away from the knights and outposts.
The king and pawn ending is advantageous to white if you can get there.
It was mainline theory 100 years ago.
I used to play this many years ago, mainly against higher rated, highly tactical players, preferably with short attention spans. After the queens came off they often lost the will to live and a win, which had been very unlikely in the initial position, became a distinct possibility.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:22 pm

Chap called Fischer used to play it, so it's not rubbish.

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Joey Stewart » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:57 pm

I am an advocate of the exchange as white, but you do have to be prepared to sometimes draw or if you do win it will be in a relatively uninteresting endgame. Not that there are not hundreds of white openings which use the same method, but the exchange lopez seems to get especially picked on for some reason. Instead of cursing that all their hundreds of lines of pre learned theory have been wasted, black should instead relish the opportunity to attack with the two bishop, and take the position on with enthusiasm to win rather than attempting to duck the exchange entirely with annoying side lines.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:46 pm

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Bxc6 dxc6. 5 0-0 is probably better than 5 d4 as resolution of the tension is delayed. Also Black must do something about his e pawn. So 5...f6 6 d4 is commonly seen. Giving White some added initiative. But Black can reply 5...Bg4 6 h3 h5.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by LawrenceCooper » Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:57 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Bxc6 dxc6. 5 0-0 is probably better than 5 d4 as resolution of the tension is delayed. Also Black must do something about his e pawn. So 5...f6 6 d4 is commonly seen. Giving White some added initiative. But Black can reply 5...Bg4 6 h3 h5.
I think that 5 Nc3 is a better version of 5 d4 for the reason you give above if white wants to avoid the theory of 5 0-0.

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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:10 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote: So 5...f6 6 d4 is commonly seen.
There's a legion of alternatives.

In order of relative popularity
f6
Bg4
Qd6
Bd6
Ne7
Qf6
Be7
Nf6 (dubious maybe)
Qe7
Be6

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Joey Stewart » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:42 pm

In my experience, black invariably plays the 5... Bg4 6. h3 h5!? lines against 0-0 - you almost never see anything else.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by LawrenceCooper » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:55 pm

Joey Stewart wrote:In my experience, black invariably plays the 5... Bg4 6. h3 h5!? lines against 0-0 - you almost never see anything else.
I thought that line had died a death years ago because of the pleasant choice of lines white has to exchange queens early on. I thought that Bd6 was by far the most popular with f6 fairly common and then the others making rarer appearances.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:14 pm

Bologan's Ruy Lopez For Black invites us to choose between 5...Be7 and 5...Ne7.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:02 pm

JustinHorton wrote:Bologan's Ruy Lopez For Black invites us to choose between 5...Be7 and 5...Ne7.
Indeed it does. He would like to avoid playing the otherwise automatic .. f6 . The problem with all the lines that involve potentially sacrificing the e pawn is that you have to find or remember some complex or obscure tactical ideas. It's not a question of just knowing where you want the pawns and pieces at move 10 or later and just getting there without suffering move order tricks.

I've even tried .. Be6, in the British Championships for good measure, but never, or not yet .. Be7.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Does anyone play the Spanish opening exchange various 4. Bxc6?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:19 am

... Ne7 in action.

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1124570


Timman had also tried the Exchange in his previous game with the White pieces - gaining a rather crushing victory.


I can only remember one time ever facing 4 Bxc6 in well over a decade of playing 1 ... e5 exclusively. That seems reason enough to give it a punt as White. After all, it can’t be that bad - and surely no worse than many of the sidelines that club chessers favour.

Mednis had a chapter on it in From the Opening into the Endgame, of course.


I have vague memory of Adams losing against 4 Bxc6 when over pressing against a lower ranked opponent. Does anybody remember this game?



[EDIT] answering my own question - I mean this one I think http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1014766

Although I’m not sure 'over pressing' is the right description. About two thirds of the game seems to be modern theory.

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