Unexpected move in the QGD.

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:06 pm

Javier Gil wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:47 pm
I see that you avoid replying to the point about the positional fundamentals and the issue with results.
Having played for fifty years at around a 2000 standard, I'm now under-impressed with dogmatic thinking about supposed positional fundamentals. Engines have shown us that moves and plans considered "bad" can be quite playable. In the case of some gambits, the opposite of course.

Javier Gil
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Javier Gil » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:20 pm

Wow! Understanding sound positional fundamentals is the new dogmatism and doing the opposite of what perfectly sound positional fundamentals say and that even world champions follow is the way to go??
I think I have provided both sound arguments and evidence from real games by top GMs on the points discussed here.
The only "evidence" I've "seen" defending the opposing argument is some misterious master class which will throw new light into this matter and a book which is pretty hard to get by a GM who lost 2 games keeping his light sq bishop and swapping his good bishop and a game he drew when he did the opposite! I rest my case!
Just a piece of advice to those players interested in this variation: get rid of your ligth sq bishop in this variation and you'll be fine!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:28 pm

Javier Gil wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:20 pm
Just a piece of advice to those players interested in this variation: get rid of your ligth sq bishop in this variation and you'll be fine!

Whilst exploiting the good knight bad bishop ending is always a neat way of beating the French and the Kings Indian, there are other positions where the "bad" Bishop acts as a super pawn, holding an entire structure together.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:24 pm

Without wanting to go into a full explanation vis-à-vis the principles of when and when not to exchange light squared Bishops in the Carlsbad structure, essentially the exchange favours White if he/she has set out his stall to undertake a minority attack, but not if he wants to attack on the King-side( eg combined with f3 and e4).

If White has no prospects of playing b4 followed by a later b5 ( or of setting up the structure W pawns on a5, b4, d4,e3 vs B pawns on a6,b5, c6, d5) then he/she shouldn't be playing to exchange the W sq Bishops. Hoewever, In the end product of a minority attack, the White KB is useless, whereas the Black QB is valuable both in defence of the backward pawn on c6, and as part of a K-side attack.

In the structure I mentioned in the last paragraph ( W pawns on a5, b4, d4,e3 vs B pawns on a6,b5, c6, d5) the White KB is a particularly useless piece, whereas Black's would be wonderfully placed on c8. To understand this, imagine if both players have manouevred their knights to their ideal squares - c5 for White and c4 for Black. Without a Bishop to defend his a6 pawn, Black will have to tie up one of his major pieces; but what use is a White light squared Bishop here? Certainly not to capture Black's N on c4 and give him a defended passed pawn.

This stuff is understood by all of the World's top players, and in 'Chess for Life' Matthew and Natasha give a very good example of Carlsen's understanding of when to swap off his light squared Bishop with White in such positions.

However, as Roger I think rightly points out, chess engines have taught us that general principles get trumped by precise calculation. General principles are a crutch which we have come to rely on because we can't calculate millions of variations per second. Kramnik said this not in so many words in an interview recently.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:39 am

Keith, can I ask what your views are on the way programmes like AlphaZero played against Stockfish, with seemingly crazy moves eventually resulting in winning positions?

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6097 ... ity-of-ai/

Specifically:
“It doesn’t play like a human, and it doesn’t play like a program,” Hassabis said at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Long Beach. “It plays in a third, almost alien, way.”
What’s also remarkable, though, Hassabis explained, is that it sometimes makes seemingly crazy sacrifices, like offering up a bishop and queen to exploit a positional advantage that led to victory. Such sacrifices of high-value pieces are normally rare. In another case the program moved its queen to the corner of the board, a very bizarre trick with a surprising positional value. “It’s like chess from another dimension,” Hassabis said. Hassabis speculates that because Alpha Zero teaches itself, it benefits from not following the usual approach of assigning value to pieces and trying to minimize losses. “Maybe our conception of chess has been too limited”
The bishop and queen sacrifices are from AlphaZero-Stockfish 8 match, game 5:

https://en.chessbase.com/post/the-futur ... arns-chess
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1899418

Can anyone remember which game had the queen move into the corner?

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:03 pm

Hi Christopher, I think that this is another demonstration of precise calculation trumping the concepts we have formed to help us play chess in the absence of our ability to calculate millions of moves per second.

Ultimately calculation is everything, and each position is unique. We impose our generalisations on the game, and are then shocked when they don't hold up under the level of scrutiny which humans are incapable of.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:27 pm

Thanks, Keith. Much appreciated to get your thoughts on that.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:45 pm

Here’s me on the wrong side of a minority attack against Keith at Penarth a few years back. Exchanging light-squared bishops didn’t help me much. Mind you having 500 Elo points fewer probably didn’t help either.

This game can be found in the chapter of Chess for Life that Keith mentions. I might ha e made a better fist of defending this game if I’d had the opportunity to read that book beforehand

24 ... Qd7 wasn’t terminal in itself but the idea behind it was a blunder.

After 25 Qc2 I was distracted by the thought of swapping off into a 4v3 on the same side rook ending. Totally unnecessary - which is why I didn’t play it - but it would have been fun trying to defend it and I regret not getting giving 25 ... c5 a punt. I would have lost, of course, but then I would have lost anyway. Not that I needed to toss everything away by missing ... Rc8 wasn’t possible after 26 Na4.

I’ve cut the last few moves. Far too many, mostly because against GM Petrov the year before I’d resigned in a position that wasn’t actually lost. But that’s another story.



Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:35 pm

I don't know whether it would yet be classified as a main line, but there's an article in a recent NIC Yearbook about the sequence which runs

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 a6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. e3 Be6

The idea of 4. .. a6 or even 3. .. a6 goes back a century, but it's recently been played a bit more. One main idea is to play .. dxc4 followed by .. b5, so an exchange variation cuts across this. Not immediately playing .. c6 gives Black the possibility of playing .. c5 in one move or just not moving the c pawn and .. Be6 looks necessary if you don't want to meet Bxf6 with .. gxf6.

Later you could still play .. c6 and get the pawn structure mentioned by Keith earlier.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:57 am

Javier Gil might find the following You Tube video helpful. In it Akobian demonstrates Korchnoi's positional understanding in exchanging off the White square Bishops en route to defeating Karpov:

https://youtu.be/lZgqC9JxXfg

Ian Rogers
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Ian Rogers » Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:21 am

Watching this debate from afar, and having playing this line with both colours (including with Black against both Javier and Keith), I feel have to comment that Javier seems much closer to the truth than Keith - though obviously with both being very strong and experienced players and coaches they have good reasons for their opinions.
The importance of the exchange of light squared bishops is, as Javier has pointed out, that the c4 square (amongst others) becomes weaker. This means that a Black knight on d6 can hold up White's minority attack, since there is no bishop on d3 to support the pawn advance, and the knight can jump into c4 at an annoying moment. A model game for Black in these lines is Bobotsov-Petrosian, Lugano Olympiad 1968.
Keith's argument that a bishop on d7 helps to defend the c6 pawn as well as help with an attack has some validity but, should a kingside attack for Black not eventuate, then the passive d7 bishop can be just as big a hassle in the endgame as the c6 pawn.
I am not disregarding that there are some minority attack lines where the d7 bishop should usually be retained, notably when (after b4, ...a6, a4) Black answers b5 with ...a5. Then there is no White knight coming to c5 for quite a while and in some endgames the White a4 pawn can be weak.

Regardless of who is right and wrong, I must admit I found Keith's condescending tone to Javier in this debate grating, especially his throwaway offer to give lessons on the subject to an experienced and highly regarded trainer. I suspect if another IM trainer, say Dvoretsky or Hazai, had contributed to this argument, he would have been treated far more respectfully.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by LawrenceCooper » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:06 am

Ian Rogers wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:21 am
Regardless of who is right and wrong, I must admit I found Keith's condescending tone to Javier in this debate grating, especially his throwaway offer to give lessons on the subject to an experienced and highly regarded trainer. I suspect if another IM trainer, say Dvoretsky or Hazai, had contributed to this argument, he would have been treated far more respectfully.
Hi Ian, good to see you contributing to the forum and I'm sure that some of your thoughts on the line are helpful to those who play the opening.

In light of your comments about Keith I find it necessary to mention the earlier comments in the thread from Javier to Jack which turned a friendly thread and pleasant exchange of ideas into quite an unpleasant one. In fact, your advice to Keith might be more appropriate to your fellow Aussie.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:09 am

Thanks, Ian, for responding to my post. Before getting into the chess itself, I must say that I find it hard to believe that, even 'watching from afar', you are oblivious of the constantly sarcastic tone of Mr.Gil. Why does he feel the need to lay into Matthew Sadler, a far superior player to himself, in an irritatingly disrespectful tone:

'More facts: GM Mathew Sadler. Found 3 of his games in the 2018 Mega Database playing Black in the D36 variation.
What's odd about these 3 games is that:
a) The only game he drew is actually the one where he traded his "good bishop" with ...g6+...Bf5.
b) The other 2 games, he decided to keep his "good bishop", he was totally outplayed in both.
Here they are.... '

And: 'The only "evidence" I've "seen" defending the opposing argument is some misterious master class which will throw new light into this matter and a book which is pretty hard to get by a GM who lost 2 games keeping his light sq bishop and swapping his good bishop and a game he drew when he did the opposite!'

Meanwhile I get the same treatment from the guy, despite that Matthew clearly feels that my understanding of the structures warrants a chapter in his and Natasha Regan's highly respected book 'Chess for Life'.

'And what exactly are his arguments which contradict the accumulated knowledge that we have on this line since the times of Capablanca?'

'And as for the argument that why would all those GM invest so many tempi trading their "good bishop" for White's "bad" bishop, I guess we have to be open minded and accept the possibility that they didn't have a clue about what they were doing.
Yeah, times are definitely changing! Earth could be flat too...'

The sarcasm just keeps drip-drip-dripping from his posts:

'By the way, here's one of Keith's rare victories (if we are to judge from Mega Database 2018, the only one!) in the D36 variation. It seems that he too is now (2017) wasting time getting rid of his "good" bishop! '

By contrast, most of my posts are simply informative. And I believe I would indeed be able to teach Mr.Gil about these positions over a couple of lessons.Even though it is not my normal way, I am happy responding to him 'condescendingly'. Given the dismissive and sarcastic manner in which he rejects the ideas of myself and Matthew Sadler, what obligation do I have to respond differently?

Incidentally, Mr Gil seems to have the view that once we form an opinion about a position, then it is set in stone. Well, with chess we know it doesn't work like that. What we thought we understood in 1940, the top players will often see differently today. I had a conversation with Bronstein,on a flight from Reykjacic, in 1990, in which he made that same observation.

Your comment about Dvoretsky is a non sequitur, Ian. Firstly, I believe that he would have shared my understanding of the Carlsbad structures, and secondly, even had he not, he wouldn't have voiced his disagreement in such disrespectfully sarcastic tones.

Notwithstanding my respect for your strength as a player, Ian, we will have to agree to differ on our thoughts about the Carlsbad structure. Or, perhaps, if we actually sat down to discuss the relevant positions in detail, we may find that the areas of disagreement vanish - who knows. There is no idea which I have voiced which has not been used successfully many times by super GMs, and which is not approved of by Matthew Sadler in his book and in our pre-book conversations.
Last edited by Keith Arkell on Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Keith Arkell
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Keith Arkell » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:10 am

Hi Loz, and thanks - you just beat me to it :-)

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Jon Tait
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Re: Unexpected move in the QGD.

Post by Jon Tait » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:49 am

Keith Arkell wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:24 pm
Without wanting to go into a full explanation vis-à-vis the principles of when and when not to exchange light squared Bishops in the Carlsbad structure, essentially the exchange favours White if he/she has set out his stall to undertake a minority attack, but not if he wants to attack on the King-side( eg combined with f3 and e4).
Ah, I feel your pain in this post, trying to make your comment gender inclusive (he/she), only to tire of doing so very quickly (his, he). In order to save you future heartache, may I recommend using a gender neutral singular "they" instead. Thus:

"the exchange favours White if they have set out their stall to undertake a minority attack, but not if they want to attack on the King-side" etc

I'll take your thanks as given :mrgreen:
blog inspired by Bronstein's book, but using my own games: http://200opengames.blogspot.co.uk/

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