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i_play_slowly 39 ( +1 | -1 )
Calling all Scandi players! I am enticed by the opening move because Black immediately restricts White's options. However, according to the databases at Gameknot and ChessLab, Black's ultimate prospects are dismal, compared to other openings. My question: Why, given the stats, do you prefer this opening? I don't mean this to be a hostile question, because I really am considering this opening myself.
schnarre 61 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmnnnn..... Speaking for myself, I find Black's chances actually pretty good with the Scandinavian. It is instantly aggressive, & can allow Black a great deal of tactical play. It isn't for the faint-of-heart, however, as it can be unforgiving of mistakes. The book Scandinavian Defense: Anderssen Counterattack, by John Lutes is a good book to check out: it not only covers that variant, but is full of research material regarding the opening in general (& has an extensive bibliography).
After 2. exd5 Black can either recapture the pawn immediately with 2...Qxd5, or delay capture with 2...Nf6--most players prefer the latter.
i_play_slowly 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Stilll... do you dismiss the findings of the databases?
schnarre 17 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmmnnnn... I've simply relied more on personal use (I've had decent results with it so I have retained it). Have you checked the database for as well? It has a good selection of games.
velvetvelour 98 ( +1 | -1 )
I_play_slowly, with most openings that aren't outright unsound database statistics are made and polished with the players who know what they're doing and can refute an opponent's play. Openings outside of Sicilians, French, and Ruy Lopezes, Slavs, and Queen's Indians aren't often endorsed outside of top-flight play, and more to the point, arcane and oblique openings like the Scandinavian, Alekhine, Pirc, Robatsch, ...b6 vs. English, Dutch, Averbakh Indian, and so forth, are often employed by lower-ranked players who are often trounced by stronger masters. You should not let your heart be guided by a database. It's absolutely the wrong way to build an opening repetoire, the same way that's it's wrong to buy only what's advocated by Consumers First magazine. You should build an opening based on a pawn structure and thematic ideas you like/are comfortable with, and play over master games of the opening to instill in you the "sense" and strategy of the opening.
schnarre 5 ( +1 | -1 )
velvetvelour I think you hit the nail on the head just right!
nottop 101 ( +1 | -1 )
statistics Don't trust them.
Sometimes an opening has a problem and many losses. That gives bad statistics. However later an improvement is found. This causes statistical malfunction-

for example -

suppose in the Scanidivian a line for white had great success - and then the improvement is found for black that gives an equal game. Well natutally, the players of white, who are reasonably hoping for some kind of opening advantage, give up that line of approad and seek another option.
The line then is equal - but statisically it is still bad for black because nobody is ever playing it.

My old chess teacher told me - don't rely on statistics. Look for a line played by a grandmaster in an important event - against another grandmaster his equal. Then look to see if that line is repeated (after time for people to look and object) a few months later - in another important event.

And play out those lines and see what you think of them.

In other words - think quality - not quantity.
tag1153 66 ( +1 | -1 )
For what it's worth..... ....I play the Scandanavian almost exclusively. I hate locked pawn structures from the black side, and have learned to appreciate the potential pin with black's light squared bishop against white's Nf3 during the opening. I like the fact that 1...d5 is considered a shock move by a lot of 1.e4 players, and the ability to throw an opponent off his game right from the start is very enticing for me. Look me up i_play_slowly, I would love a few games with you to discuss the merits (and dangers) of this opening.

ccmcacollister 133 ( +1 | -1 )
In Postal Chess David C. Taylor won the U.S. Championship playing this defense, and later wrote a book upon the variation with ...Qxd5 and ...Bf5, along with co-author Alex Dunne. This was perhaps in early 90's, maybe later 80's. But I havent seen any "Refute the ...Bf5 Scandinavian(Center Counter) Opening" books come out since then :))
I played it a bit myself, using ...Nf6 but responding with ...Qxd5 instead of ...Nxd5 if WT answered with d4 instead of a K-Bishop check/move line. (As just personal preference. Not saying Nxd5 is not sound, just seemed less active, and some potential to end up a bit cramped perhaps. But I'm no expert on it)
It did pretty well when played, tho never actually used it in master/expert play simply from having better knowlege and performance rating in the French. But feel like it could have been played at the higher level as far as soundness and ability to not-lose. And often it can come to resemble or even transpose to the Caro-Kann. (EG Panov-Botvinnik Attack is a common result of a ...c6 gambit Scandi being declined. ) It is a fantastic blitz opening and becoming very common in that venue.
I think like any other opening, and Chess in general, it comes down to which player knows and understands it better; and executes that properly.
azaris 115 ( +1 | -1 )
Recent GM practice Dutch GM Sergei Tiviakov used the Scandinavian in this year's Dutch Championships. He played 2...Qxd5, 3...Qd6 and 4...Nf6. All three games were drawn, but for example in the game against GM Nijboer he got a passive position out of the opening and had to fight hard to equalize:

[Event "Dutch Championships"]
[Site "Leeuwarden NED"]
[Date "2005.09.15"]
[EventDate "2005.09.06"]
[Round "8"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "F Nijboer"]
[Black "S Tiviakov"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "2529"]
[BlackElo "2678"]
[PlyCount "64"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qd6 4. d4 Nf6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nge2 Nb4 7. Bf4
Qd8 8. Be5 e6 9. a3 Nxd3+ 10. Qxd3 Nd7 11. Qg3 Nxe5 12. dxe5 Bd7 13. O-O-O
Qe7 14. Rd3 g6 15. Rhd1 Bh6+ 16. f4 Bc6 17. Nd4 Bd5 18. Nxd5 exd5 19. Rb3
c6 20. Kb1 Bg7 21. Nf5 gxf5 22. Qxg7 O-O-O 23. Qg3 Qe6 24. Qf2 Kb8 25. Rbd3
Rd7 26. c4 Rhd8 27. cxd5 Rxd5 28. Rxd5 Rxd5 29. Rxd5 Qxd5 30. Qc2 Qe6 31.
Qd3 Kc7 32. Kc2 1/2-1/2

Earlier at Biel, GM Bauer drew a nice game with the 3...Qa5 line, but was never really better:

[Event "38th Biel Chess Festival"]
[Site "Biel SUI"]
[Date "2005.07.17"]
[EventDate "2005.07.17"]
[Round "1"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "Volokitin, Andrei"]
[Black "Bauer, Christian"]
[ECO "B01"]
[WhiteElo "2671"]
[BlackElo "2641"]
[PlyCount "48"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bh5 7. g4 Bg6
8. Ne5 e6 9. Bg2 c6 10. h4 Nbd7 11. Nxd7 Kxd7 12. Bd2 h6 13. g5 hxg5 14.
hxg5 Rxh1+ 15. Bxh1 Ne8 16. d5 cxd5 17. Nxd5 Qa4 18. Bb4 Bd6 19. b3 Qa6 20.
Ne3 Bh5 21. Qd2 Qe2+ 22. Qxe2 Bxb4+ 23. Qd2+ Bxd2+ 24. Kxd2 Nd6 1/2-1/2
daverundle 53 ( +1 | -1 )
scandi i have just started using it more as a back up but MCO recommends it as a defence that white has to work hard at to get a big advantage.

It is at the moment still regarded as a shock opening i guess as more people use it more concrete and in depth analysis will become available. I have as yet only played 2 games with it won 1 and the other is still being played and i expect to get no worse than a draw from it so, so far so good!

I figure if players like Bronstein have used it it can't be all bad and what the hell it is only a game!!
wschmidt 249 ( +1 | -1 )
I-play-slowly I just read with interest the recent thread you started on the Scandinavian since I've just started studying the opening. I just went to the GK database to look up the stats that got you wondering about it. I'm not sure I would describe them as negatively as you do.
In the larger database, Black wins 45% when he plays e5, 32% when he plays c5 and 35% when he plays d5. When you couple wins and draws, it's 60% for e5, 51% for c5 and 57% for d5. In that league, the Scandinavian is outscoring the Sicilian and is certainly running a reasonable second to the e4-e5 games.
Things aren't as rosy in the 1900+ games, but I still wouldn't describe them as dismal. In that group, Black plays c5 most often and scores 25% wins. e5 scores 19% wins. d5 scores 17%. Non-losses, wins and draws together, is as follows: c5=42%, e5=43%, d5=37%.
I haven't compared these stats to those in the other databases, but if they're comparable, or even a little worse, it still doesn't seem statistically that significant to me, at least playing at our level. I think at least part of what is happening with the stats is that players try it out, lose a few games because they don't really understand the opening, blame it on the early Queen movement and abandon it for more traditional moves. The result is a set of statistics that is somewhat skewed.
My initial run through the Andrew Martin book has actually provided a rather unexpected insight - the opening is not nearly as swashbuckling as I had expected. Mistakes on either side can allow rapid attacks by an alert opponent, but accurate play on both sides seems to lead to moderately active, balanced positions, with more emphasis on pawn structure than I thought would be the case. In some cases, best play by White leads to some constriction in Black's position, but nothing that doesn't also show up in Caro-Kann or French positions.
I haven't seen anything that would lead me to say I couldn't defend this position against a player of equal strength. And, as I've mentioned to you before, it's my hope that if it becomes my main response to e4, my familiarity with the themes will actually give me an advantage against equal strength opponents - they spend most of their time dealing with e5 and c5 issues and their lines against the Scandinavian and the Alekhine are not nearly used as much.
I haven't started using it at GK yet; I'm going to finish all my rated games here before starting anything new and then only do one or two at a time for awhile. ws
i_play_slowly 107 ( +1 | -1 )
Fritz 8's view For the last 6 hours 20 minutes, Fritz 8 has been analyzing the position that arises after 1.e8. Here are the 'best candidates' for Black's response, as chosen by Fritz (Depth = 18/18):
1. = (0.19): 1...e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6
2. = (0.24): 1...e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Qe7 4.d4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nxe5 6.dxe5 Qxe5
3. = (0.24): 1...d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qe6+ 4.Be2 Qg6 5.Bf3 Nf6 6.d4 Na6
4. (0.32): 1...Nc6 2.d4 e5 3.d5 Nce7 4.Be3 Nf6 5.Qf3 Ng6 6.Nd2 c6
5. (0.35): 1...Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.Nf3 d6 5.exd6 exd6 6.d4 Bg4
6. (0.44): 1...d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.Qd2 Nc6
7. (0.44): 1...g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bf4 0-0 6.Qd2 Nc6
8. (0.45): 1...c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nh4 Bd7 5.d4 e6 6.Nf3 c5
9. (0.46): 1...a6 2.Nc3 e6 3.d4 d5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nb4 6.0-0 Nf6
10. (0.51): 1...c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Be3 Nf6
Only three openings lead to equal chances, one of them being the Scandinavian! The score for the Scandinavian is equal to the score for 1...e5. If we eliminate 1...e5 simply because of the endless amount of theory involved, the two best possible responses to 1.e4 would be the French and the Scandinavian.
According to S. Evan Kreider, the French is the best Black response to 1.e4 for positional players, while the Scandi is the best response for attacking players. See:
This analysis by Fritz 8 would seem to support his views. Hats off to the Scandinavian! Surprisingly low grade given to the Sicilian, what?
ccmcacollister 172 ( +1 | -1 )
The trouble being ... the first French line given by Fritz is considered refuted. Virtually a forced loss for WT since the 80's or earlier. Even at that time, no one would play it anymore.
Not to rain on the parade i_play_slowly . I love the stats you are doing etc. And have gotten into such things big myself in the past. Eg. 1975 and 1976 Chess Life Magazine games ... winningest openings are Lopez and QGD with 79 and 80% for WT of games given. Sicilian, CK, KI and NI were then best for BL. etc. Of course there is a factor that skewers the stats (as almost always) which was that no one could know how many boring draws were left out, so this is heavily biased toward decisive or interesting games.
I think there is some skewering of the GK base which I wont go into, and so if you get it figured right you will have something there! :)
Well, okay I will mention one factor. The difference in the under 1900. There would be a tendency to Favor Black as this is right in the time when players start to get serious and learn some opening real well. Buy some books on the fav. etc. So there can be a natural tendency for BL to Know the opening better and score accordingly. Thus even the most esoteric ... eg ... g5?! can rack up a score if WT doesnt know how to handle the unknown and BL the more familiar or simply plays better too. (I dont lose too many with e4 e5 2.d4 which few know).
Your over 1900 stats look more interesting to me. Tho even there it may be The Few who play an opening, rather that the stat makers who tell the tale. And even then, well they may hold a thing or two back .... :))
ccmcacollister 45 ( +1 | -1 )
Ooops Sorry Fritz I didnt read carefully enough. The first line Would be considered refuted had Wt gotten in d4 and Bc3 tho :)) . Forgive me omnipotent box, it was late and the cows had strayed ...
Anyway, sounds like I agree a lot with nottop on stats. But do find them useful guides, just not good ultimate determinants. As they say, the board never lies. (We just fail to see. Or perhaps to believe :)
naamloos 96 ( +1 | -1 )
Opening-statistics Maybe you already know this but with Fritz 8 you can examine a database using the tab "Openings book". You can also use this feature for your own games. I did this with my own games and discovered - to my horror - that I only had 30 % succesrate on the ruy lopez, my favourite opening which I have used since I started playing. Because of this I am now trying out other openings. To get the statistics on your own games, you will need a seperate database for your games with white and games with black.
In the tab "Openings book" the big database which goes with the software is used. These statistics are usefull, but you will need to remove it rightclicking somewhere in the field and selecting "Delete whole tree".
Then go in the menu to edit>openingsbook>import games and select your database (with for instance all your black games).
It's a bit of work - especially seperating your database in white and black, but I found it to be usefull.
daverundle 31 ( +1 | -1 )
scandi Just won my 2nd game with this defence 100% so far it was touch & go in places though! I like the defence because it is not over analysed & you are not playing against a lot of prepared lines so you have to rely more on thinking on your feet & your own analysis.

I am sure if it becomes 'fashionable' this will change!