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  Play ... Latest Forum Posts > Chess Forums > Chess - General discussion
  1...b5 or 1...a5?




ixtyl

Chess rating: 1982



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Tue Feb 13 2018 12:49AM | edited: 12:50:08 | MsgID: 19781461


Interesting discussion, thanks to both of you.

For what it's worth my first thought was b4 to stop the pawn advancing but can now see some of the problems with that move.







bwzins64

Chess rating: 2218





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Wed Jan 10 2018 5:23AM | MsgID: 19779905


These opening exercises are intended for intermediate players, but yeah, I don't think it's a good idea to get someone fairly new to the game to possibly believe that 1.b4 is an acceptable move. In his defense, (Please note the "correct" spelling of this word.) I think he might have wanted people to figure things out by themselves, rather than just quoting theory all the time.

I have to admit that part of me wants to be a "rebel" and try 1.b4 out too, along with a couple of other unique openings. But I think just taking the time to learn about it would probably satisfy my curiosity. There is a book about 1.b4 that came out not too long ago, that I was tempted to buy. And knowing myself, I probably will buy it someday, and add it the pile of chess books I have yet to read cover to cover.







Alkhemyst

Chess rating: 2606





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Tue Jan 9 2018 4:39AM | MsgID: 19779879


I really didn't give the answer away so much. I did give my choice. Who knows what Pandolfini would have said anyway. I did express that both choices were wrong. It's surprising that Pandolfini would give a choice between two not-so-good moves. You would have thought he would give a choice between a decent, better move and a lousy one.

I think I've had this opening played against me. And I have thought of using it, it's a novelty; but I'm not sure I would want to risk a serious game on playing 1.b4. It does run counter to my good sense about opening theory.







bwzins64

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Tue Jan 9 2018 4:14AM | edited: 4:18:31 | MsgID: 19779878


You're not supposed to post the theory of these moves, just give your personal opinion. Now EVERYBODY can see what the "correct" answer is.

Well, since it's pointless to not tell the answer, here's what Pandolfini said:

1...b5
Incorrect. This may seem to put Black in the same boat as White, but it's Black's side that will probably sink first. Symmetrical play, where Black copies White, is very dangerous, for there are no last licks in chess. If you're checkmated, you don't then get the opportunity to "tie the score" by checkmating your opponent. What's a better try for Black? Moving either center pawn two squares or developing the king-knight. All of these draw on sound principles and make sense.

1...a5
Correct. While not particularly a commendable thrust, a7-a5 threatens to take the b-pawn and prepares to open the a-file, clearing the file for the a8-rook. (You can open a file by exchanging pawns, and usually, in order to exchange a pawn, you must first advance it.) Still, a7-a5 here is superior to the static b7-b5, which merely apes White without particular benefit. If you must be active or passive, be active and make things happen. When you lose, at least you can say you did it your way.


I chose 1..b5, because it does more than just "ape" White's move. It prepares a fianchetto of Black's queen bishop, and helps control the center that way. It also stops White's b pawn dead in it's tracks. 1..a5 has no influence on the center at all, and just wastes time in my opinion. Plus, once moved to the a5 square it can't be moved back, obviously.

I'm not a Pandolfini fan either. I think his books are okay, but nothing special.







Alkhemyst

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Mon Jan 8 2018 6:05AM | MsgID: 19779840


Neither move -- I would have chosen a different move if possible. I would have thought that both are not great moves. Anyway, between the two, it would be 1...a5.

After doing research:

1...e5 and 1...d5 have the highest win percentage based on hundreds of master database games. Third is 1...Nf6.

1...a5 is about 6th, and 1...b5 is even further down.

I have an opening book on 1.b4. and I don't recall 1...a5 or 1...b4 being recommended. 1...b4 scores horribly.

I wouldn't trust Pandolfini. Personally, I never cared for his books that much.








bwzins64

Chess rating: 2218





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Mon Jan 8 2018 5:16AM | MsgID: 19779839


My internet was down for a couple days, so with the extra time I dusted off my old Chessmaster 9000 CD and did a couple of the tutorials. One of them is by Bruce Pandolfini. In it, you're shown an opening move(s), and then you're given two possible responses and must choose the better of the two. For example, after the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 you must choose between 2...Nc6 or 2...Bd6. Pretty easy, right? Well, in one of the exercises I was given, the opening move was 1.b4 and I had to choose between 1...b5 or 1...a5. Needless to say, I got it wrong and didn't agree with the answer. So I was wondering, without any research, which move would you choose 1...b5 or 1...a5, and why? I'll post the "correct" reply, but I want to see what other people have to say first.