Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tick Tick Tick ... V

I guess time doesn't flow in order does it - A, B, C, D? It just sort of goes where it feels like going.*

Every beginner knows that rapid development is crucial at the start of a game of chess. The opening is all about time isn't it? White moves then Black moves then White then Black and so on and on and on with each side trying to get their pieces out ahead of the other. Whoever's in front in the race has the advantage.

Niggling away at the back of my mind, though, there's a vaguely remembered snippet of a conversation involving some Grand Master or other (Gurevich? Malaniuk?) who when asked something along the lines of,

If you like the Dutch Defence so much why don't you play 1. f4 as White?

responded,

That extra tempo is going to hurt me.







* Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Vintage Books 2003

17 comments:

Ian B Gibson said...

Could it be that the Dutch (just like Bird's Opening) is rather mediocre, but unlike with Bird's Opening, Dutch players can write off their poor results as due to having the black pieces?

Jonathan B said...

Believing in the interconnectedness of all things as I do [(c) Dirk Gently] I was very pleased to read a Derek Raymond short story this afternoon that contained the following passage ...

"'Sounds great,' said Gust, 'cheaper than going down to the gym for a work-out anyway.' He didn't move except to set down his glass; he always liked to see what other people did first in case what they did was a mistake."

Tom Chivers said...

Or replies other than 1..d5 to 1.f4 - ?

Jonathan B said...

You both could be right of course ... but it's the idea of the extra tempo being a disadvantage that interests me.

Anonymous said...

This is all very nice but you missed the real story of the day - the new corrected gradings. One junior has been corrected from 57 to 134!!! Yikes! This could run and run methinks.

PG

Tom Chivers said...

Is it that big a deal though? I ran a story about the corrected gradings a few months ago, and no-one seemed to mind. I got one detail wrong (I thought there was a blanket formula for changing them, but they're altered on an individual basis) but this detail seems like an improvement to me. The ECF forum is quiet about it too.

ejh said...

I guess time doesn't flow in order does it

Yes it does, although if we piss about with the blog settings we can make it look like it doesn't.

Morgan Daniels said...

This is an interesting post, Jonathan. I suspect you're describing the exact reason why Suttles never found anything as white that he was quite happy with -- being the Rat KIng he always wanted something to attack. 1...g6 is a counter-punching opening, as Harper and Seirawan put it -- but against what does 1.g3 counter-punch?

I have the same problem - plus it's so much more *fun* playing black.

Re new grades, I'm now, alarmingly, 150. Quite how that works with the formula ECF*0.79 +45, I don't know.

ejh said...

I've just lost a correspondence game very badly against 1.g3 - well, a transposition into 1.g3, if such a thing be possible. He counterpunched all right.

Anonymous said...

I think the simple answer is that 1.f4 (and 1.c4) do nothing to take advantage of the extra tempo - pawn moves by their nature are not a direct part of the "development race", they merely assist in getting pieces out.

1. f4 assists no development (aside from the King!). Both the Dutch (and Sicilian) are not openings designed to compete in the development race, but to ignore it and compete on other grounds (basically pawn structure).

Ergo it is not surprising that there is no "tempo gain" associated with the moves, and indeed a potential negative because they declare white's hand before black has committed himself.

Richard

darkhorse said...

Well, the much more respected c4 is not much better in terms of piece development...

ejh said...

Possibly that's why Richard mentioned it in his first paragraph above?

darkhorse said...

Right, but c4 is quite popular at the GM level, while f4 is not common at all. I'm just wondering why. Piece development is certainly not the reason, as c4 is definitely worse than e4 and d4 in this regard.

Anonymous said...

Difference between 1.c4 and 1.f4 is roughly equivalent to the difference between the Sicilian and the Dutch. The Dutch is cr*p.

Anonymous said...

Although the point wasn't that 1.f4 (or 1.c4) are unplayable. The point is that the "tempo" advantage provides no tangible advantage compared to their Black equivalents. The Sicilian scores reasonably well at every level, the Dutch does not. Ergo, 1.f4, whilst "playable", certainly can not be looked upon as a serious attempt to exploit the advantage of the first move.

Furthermore, 1.c4 tends to be least effective in "reversed open sicilian" scenarios. What the extra tempo does is allow white to generally avoid these scenarios. Since Closed Sicilian systems are rarely scary when playing black, it is not surprising that "non-theoreticians" see playing them with an extra tempo as a reasonable option.

Richard

Tom Chivers said...

The practical solution to the problem of why 1.c4 is worse than 1...c5 is obvious. As black play 1...c5 against everything, as white play 1.c3 and 2.c4 against everything.

ejh said...

1...b5