24 January, 2015

T63 Opening Summary

T63 is still running, but for playoff qualifiers only : the main show is over, but the encores are about to start, so to speak.

Since both teams I am involved with didn't make the playoffs, ( though in both cases only just falling short ! ) here's the breakdown of the season in openings so far in TL chess.

It is hard to put things any differently than previous posts, since  both the Sicilian and French Defences remain top choices for Black against the main White start of 1.e4.  ( In fact, 485 games start with e4 vs 308 with d4 ).

The remaining openings jostle for position in the runners-up enclosure, but are usually in the same proportions, except that this time, the Spanish (Ruy Lopez) has stormed into 3rd place.

Makes one wonder what happened in the last few months. New book or DVD on the Spanish ? Major victory by a super GM ?  Time warp back to 1914 ?

Regardless, a classic opening is back for a while !

Other openings just after the top 10, and in double figures for games played, are the Dutch, Centre Counter, Slav, Nimzo-Indian, Pirc, Grünfeld, Philidor, Italian, Benko Gambit and Guicco Piano.

You could probably say that second slice of openings is a 50/50 split of e4 vs the rest, so e4 is definitely taking the lion's share of the attention.

Technically, there are 104 games that have a single occurrence of an opening, from A01 ( Nimzo-Larsen Attack with 1.b3 ) to E97 ( KId, Mar del Plata variation ), via C34 ( King's Knight's Gambit ) , C36 ( King's Gambit, Modern Variation and C39 ( King's Gambit,  Kieseritsky Variation ) 

Leading nicely to another old opening, the Falkbeer Counter Gambit, which also shows up twice, and one of them, not surprisingly, given the age of the opening, reaches a position from 1857, Schulten vs Morphy, showcasing the only win by Schulten in the match, although most suggest that Morphy lost this game for reasons other than chess !

Still, nice to see some history repeating itself 158 years later in amateur chess :)

The intriguing and simplifying Bogo-Indian has only two outings, despite the apparent recent interest in it via the latest book from Antic and Maksimovic, "The Modern Bogo".

A very quick comparison to the current super-tournament in Wijk-aan-Zee highlights the similarity and difference between professional and amateur.

Top opening there is still the Sicilian, with the other e4-openings represented by the Spanish, French and Caro-Kann. 

On the Queen's pawn side, it is noticeable that we see more of the Grunfeld, Nimzo-Indian, English and Queen's Indian as well as the standard Queen's Gambit Declined battleground.

Intriguingly, one Larsen/Bird turned up ( A02, 1.b3 ) from GM David Klein in the Challengers group. Have to say, it looks like a strange pawn structure and game, but it has been a long while since I played the Bird, although usually via an initial f4 !

But back to TL...

Shortest win ?  7 moves, after a blunder loses a Queen, so a diagram instead for a neat mate in 9 moves.

9...Ba6 Mate

Longest ?  102 was close, but 112 moves is the winner !

Here, at move 94, Rooks are exchanged to make it B + 2P vs N +1P 


Finally at move 112 , White resigns, after a hard fought game.

Below, the simple facts...

Top 4 are e4 openings, next 6 are not.

                           T63 Top 10 Played Openings

B20-B99Sicilian 148 (16.32%)
C00-C19French Defence 83 (9.05%) 
C60-C99Spanish Game (Ruy Lopez) 60 (6.62%)
B10-B19Caro-Kann  57 (6.3%)
D30-D69 Queen's Gambit Declined  53 (5.83%)
D00-D05Queen's Pawn ( General)52 (5.73 % )
A45-A50Indian & Torre Attack45 (4.96 % )
E60-E99King's Indian Defence42 (4.63 %)
A10-A39English37 (4.08 %) 
A04-A09Reti  31 ( 4.2 % )

Updated 28 May 2015 : corrected Caro-Kann  

For those interested, all games were re-indexed byECO code using Chess Assistant 11,. 

The Opening classification ranges ( ie grouping ECO codes), I borrowed from Chessville (many thanks, although it seems to have disappeared :(

See also T56 Summary,  T55 SummaryT51 Summary,  T50 Summary and T47 SummaryT57-59 Summary , T61 Summary and T62 Summary