26 December, 2011

T51 Summary and Openings

Team League T51 has reached the playoff stage, but Magnum Ignotum are not there, having ended in third place in their section  (congratulations to Scotch Yeti, whose team makes it again ! ).

Personally, my record this time is +3=0-5, that's 37%.  Not the best, and less than my overall TL record of 50%.  

Teacher's Report ? Could do better !

As White, I stayed with 1.e4, and ended up facing:

The Sicilian twice, one of them heavily questioned by an attack against my Queenside castling that just ran out of steam, collapsing to the counter-attack, and the other almost lost in the opening, but due to Blacks' passive play I managed to fight back to equality finally losing to a missed game-winning check-fork !

The French twice, both wins, one decided in the middle-game with Black over-looking a White capture that gives check and loses him a piece, the other an endgame grind, and most enjoyable, even including the psychological time tactics of my opponent. In both cases, I avoided mainline French lines with the fun-filled Réti Gambit.  I really don't like the French !

A Caro-Kann completed the roster, where my timidity proved my undoing, missing a neat pin in a counter attack, and putting me on the back foot unnecessarily. I missed the correct response, going on to lose.

As Black, twice I had long games in the Spanish losing one in a Rook and pawns ending, and in the other, again a timid plan lost me the initiative and the game.

Lastly, a Centre Game as Black was lost after I was surprised by an attack and just did not stay calm enough to give a good defence. I really should have done better here, and of all my losses, this one bugs me.

Conclusions for next season are evident.

How does my openings experience compare to Team League overall ?

This time, surprisingly close, as the "Top Ten"  remained  much the same, namely Sicilian, Caro-Kann and French leading the pack, and keeping 1.e4 as top dog.

1.d4 still grabs a large slice of the pie, with the complexity of the King's Indian attempting to drown it in cream, along with the usual Queen's Gambits, speckling the crust with cherries.

Individually, the Scandinavian is still up there as a major player, but in the 'unusual responses' column, this time around there is no Wing Gambit to praise, although the Falkbeer Counter Gambit has at least two games, with honours shared overall : one win and one loss.

Statistically, the best starting move for White in T51  was 1. b4, but that's only based on 1 game !

A better choice is Bird's Opening, as 1.f4 scores a healthy 60% in 15 games, but who plays chess by percentages ?

Below is the current state of opening play in T51.

I doubt if the playoffs will alter it much, but who knows, maybe that ultra-rare 1.h4 (last played 6 years ago in T24 !) is waiting to be played !

T51 Openings Summary

B20-B59 Sicilian (Taimanov/Kan/Classical/Closed/Alapin/Wing Gambit) 157 (12%)
B10-B19 Caro-Kann 106 (8%)
C00-C19 French Defence 100 (7.5 %)
D00-D05 Queen's Pawn ( General ) 79 (6 %)
D30-D69 Queen's Gambit Declined 78 (6 %)
A10-A39 English 74 (5,5 %)
E60-E99 King's Indian Defence 56 (4 %)
C60-C99 Spanish Game 54 (4%)
D10-D19 Slav Defence 53 (4%)
B01 Scandinavian (Centre Counter) 40 (3%)

For those interested, all games were re-indexed in Chess Assistant,. The Opening classification ranges ( ie to group ECO codes), I borrowed from Chessville (many thanks :)

See also T50 Summary and T47 Summary.


ChessAdmin said...

Any interest in sharing your "off-season" training plans? It sounds like you've identified some key areas to work on that are common to a lot of us Class players.

Assuming that the opening stats are broadly reflective of what Class players are currently using in tournament practice, I was a little surprised to see the Caro-Kann up so high, although perhaps if all the 1. e4 e5 games were aggregated that would be a greater percentage.

It seems you should like playing against the French more, considering your results!

Signalman said...

Not sure how to react on the good showing of the Caro-Kann, but here's a few more raw stats from TL51...If you go move by move only.

1.e4 is still the most popular move, and the most popular response is c5, followed by e5 e6 then c6, although e6/c6 are practically equal.

Of course once you start adding in various move orders/transpositions, and assess opening by position ( which I guess is how most database software does it ) you start getting slightly different answers.

From practical experience though, I know I meet the Sicilian, Caro Kann and French quite often. If not, then it's usually e4/e5 and a Spanish, occasionally a Scotch or its derivatives. More rarely, an Italian Game.

So far never a Petroff nor a Scandinavian , nor even a King's Gambit.

As Black, it is 20 games since I had anything other than 1.e4 played against me, and then it was a d4 and Nf3 in two consecutive games. The Nf3 transposed to a Philidor (in all but name ), and the d4 was a real d4 opening that became something weird.

As to training plans...I am 50% through Khmelmitsky's Chess Exam, and intend to finish that and go from his pointers.
Its likely that blunder-removal is high on the list, which therefore needs a more regular thought process.
Tactics always useful, but for me identifying when to make/change a plan seems far more important. I have lost two recent games by failing in this department.
Finally, a better view of King & Pawn endgames.

I wouldn't say I like playing against the French, but I certainly do like beating it !