In The Comeback Trail, Part 9, I discussed how it can be a good idea to create databases for prospective rivals. Let’s now look at this in another way, what if they create a database on you?
This thought should be enough to discourage us from playing dubious gambits, especially if we play our chess in a relatively confined environment. It also suggests that we might want to have a certain variety in the openings we play in order to avoid the brunt of an opponent’s preparation.
How can you incorporate some variety but without massively increasing our preparation workload? This is a difficult issue, and something that chess organizations may want to consider before putting everyone’s games online! I think a good approach is to play openings which are very sound and where any sharpness tends to be deferred until later in the game.
At this stage you’ll start to realize why the Berlin Defence to the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4) and Queen’s Gambit Declined have become so popular, they fit this bill perfectly. But meanwhile there are plenty of other openings which are good for this, for example 3…g6 against the Ruy Lopez is also solid and leads to complex middle games. If I were to play 1…e5 on a regular basis, this would certainly be a candidate line for me.
Are there particular players who have mastered this approach? Well an obvious one is a young Norwegian chappy by the name of Carlsen…