Ish's Opening Stats


This season, I have decided to take Webb's advice from Chess for Tigers and do a statistical analysis of my openings. I have arranged them by opening, written the opening outcome (advantage to white, black or equal), and outcome of the game. I have included some tips for preparing to play me. Unfortunately, I'll be in china next year, so you won't have the chance to use this stuff to thrash me just yet!

White Pieces

The Slav and Semi-Slav

I've just been looking again at the Slav/Semi-Slav as a way to defend 1.d4 -- much against my better judgment, as I prefer to avoid fashionable openings, but presumably they're fashionable for a good reason. If you'd like a bird's eye view of the complex with some example games, read on here.


SuperMac! The French MacCutcheon

This line gets its name from a simul. game that the American amateur MacCutcheon played against Steinitz in 1885.  After some initial explorations by Tarrasch and Co., it was relatively neglected, but opening theory is never still... Chistiakov played it for decades, as has Volkov, and recently it has appeared again in Korchnoi's games.  It has also been favoured by Ivanchuk and especially Morozevich who has found new resources in many lines.

Big Mac

I've been woken from my dogmatic slumbers by some recent games, and have reviewed what little I know about the French Defence, MacCutcheon Variation. The curious may investigate further, the faint of heart and weak of stomach should look away now.

Classical rocks

I was wondering about 1. e4 e5 and 1.d4 d5 openings - would you recommend exploring some of these? I'm not enjoying being squashed as black any more and thought I'd make a longer term plan to learn a (very) few classical openings instead. I wondered about French (winawer?) but thought I try a complete new tack (why swap an early d6 for an early e6 ?!!)

My first thought was, I don't know how long you've been getting back into the game, but I'd leave the job of taking on two or three whole

Defending against 1.e4

I had a call about a player who "doesn't like playing the Two Knights', so what else is there?".  This is a longer version of what I said on the 'phone...[br /]

Playing Black after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3

Classical repertoire

Defending the Italian Game with the Two Knights' Defence and the Ruy Lopez with the Classical or other variation has always seemed to me to be [a href=""]good advice[/url] (even if it isn't advice I've ever been very good at

Bird lives!

Ah, not Charlie "(Yard)Bird" Parker, whose untimely departure in 1955 prompted jazz fans to write this graffito all over New York, but Henry Bird, who left us two sprightly variations: the Bird Defence to the Ruy Lopez, and his very own opening, 1.f2-f4.  2008 is the 150th year since Bird died, and at this year's Paignton Chess Congress, there was a special prize for the best game played with his opening.  This resulted in a bigger crop of Birds than usual, as you might expect, and the prize winner was the following game (courtesy of Bill Frost at

Openings Workshop 2008

Interesting... much more general questions than previous years. There may be a theme of these questions, about the tension between seeking opportunity and accepting risk. So here goes...

How should you play against 1...Nf6 when you want a Stonewall Attack?

The Stonewall Attack is 1.d4 d5 with 2.e3/3.Bd3/4.f4, intending to clamp down on the centre then attack on the King's-side with moves like Nf3/O-O/Ne5/Qf3/Qh5/Bxh7+...

Learning Opening Lines

Lots of things to say about this...  Here's half-a-dozen or so little nuggets to ponder, and a bit more practical advice.

"Of my fifty-seven years I have applied at least thirty to forgetting most of what I have learned or read.  Since then, I have acquired a certain ease and cheer which I should never again like to be without.  (...)  I have stored little in my memory, but I can apply that little, and it is of use in many and varied emergencies.  I keep it in order, but resist every attempt to


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