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King
 
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:20 pm
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Location: Eckental / Germany
 Post subject: Have you ever played the Clarendon Court?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:47 am 
I came across the name of this unusual opening in one of Paul Motwani's highly inspiring books. Supposedly Jonathan Levitt "invented" it around 1994 and gave it the name of his London address. It runs

1. d4 c5 2. d5 f5!?

But funnily enough I had to face it in a team match about 30 years earlier when I played at board 1 of our club. I had never seen this opening before and didn't have the slightest clue how you should react as the white player. So I soon drifted into an inferior position and was lucky to escape with a draw.

Obviously the opening has had a revival because it was analysed in volume 4 of SOS and in No. 25 of the German magazine "Kaissiber".

If you have ever played it or had to play against it, you should post a reply. I have never seen it since then. :)


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King
 
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:09 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Have you ever played the Clarendon Court?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 7:31 pm 
chessfips wrote:
I came across the name of this unusual opening in one of Paul Motwani's highly inspiring books. Supposedly Jonathan Levitt "invented" it around 1994 and gave it the name of his London address. It runs

1. d4 c5 2. d5 f5!?

But funnily enough I had to face it in a team match about 30 years earlier when I played at board 1 of our club. I had never seen this opening before and didn't have the slightest clue how you should react as the white player. So I soon drifted into an inferior position and was lucky to escape with a draw.

Obviously the opening has had a revival because it was analysed in volume 4 of SOS and in No. 25 of the German magazine "Kaissiber".

If you have ever played it or had to play against it, you should post a reply. I have never seen it since then. :)


I don't remember ever facing it, but IM Gary Lane analyzes this defense in his book "Ideas Behind the Modern Chess Openings."

In a later post I'll highlight his analysis.


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King
 
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:32 am
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:26 pm 
One of the games in my database went thus:

1. d4 c5 2. d5 f5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c4 O-O 8. Nc3 Na6 9. e4 fxe4 10. Ng5 Bg4 11.Qb3 Rb8 12. Bd2 Nc7 13. a4 e6 14. Ncxe4 exd5 15. cxd5 Nxe4 16. Nxe4 b5 17. Bc3 Bf5 18. Bxg7 Kxg7 {1/2-1/2}

Honestly speaking, the opening is a cross between the Benoni and the Dutch. It should be interesting to comment on this opening as not much has been written about it! :


1. d4 c5 2. d5 f5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Bg7 7. c4 O-O 8. Nc3 Nbd7 {In the game above Black played 8...Na6. But probably 8...Nbd7 is better here. The queen's knight can then head for b6, hitting at the White c4-pawn or look forward to occupy the central e5-square at the right moment.} 9. Qc2 {Indirectly defending the c4-pawn. Also, note that White seeks play on the Q-side while a K-side attack is more favourable for the Black player.} Nh5!? {An interesting move: Opens the long diagonal for the king's bishop.} 10. a3 {Prepares for an eventual b2-b4.} h6 {To support ...g6-g5.} 11. Bd2 g5 12. b4 g4 13. Nh4 Ne5 14. Na4! {An endeavour to stop Black's K-side launch, at least temporarily.} Bd7 15. bxc5 Rc8 16. Rab1 Qe8 17. Nb2 Rxc5 18. Be3 Rc7 19. Bxa7 b5 20. Bd4 Qf7 21. c5 {Clearly, White will play on the Q-side, while Black, depending on how White goes with his plan, will go either for the K-side (Black will try to play ... f4 and then ...Nf3+) or try to neutralise the pressure on the Q-side. Overall, I think White is slightly better.}


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King
 
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 Post subject: Re: Have you ever played the Clarendon Court?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:34 pm 
chuckychess wrote:
chessfips wrote:
I came across the name of this unusual opening in one of Paul Motwani's highly inspiring books. Supposedly Jonathan Levitt "invented" it around 1994 and gave it the name of his London address. It runs

1. d4 c5 2. d5 f5!?

But funnily enough I had to face it in a team match about 30 years earlier when I played at board 1 of our club. I had never seen this opening before and didn't have the slightest clue how you should react as the white player. So I soon drifted into an inferior position and was lucky to escape with a draw.

Obviously the opening has had a revival because it was analysed in volume 4 of SOS and in No. 25 of the German magazine "Kaissiber".

If you have ever played it or had to play against it, you should post a reply. I have never seen it since then. :)


I don't remember ever facing it, but IM Gary Lane analyzes this defense in his book "Ideas Behind the Modern Chess Openings."

In a later post I'll highlight his analysis.


I'd love to keep my promise and provide Lane's analysis of the opening in question, but I recently sold the book. Sorry about that.


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Knight
 
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:38 am
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 Post subject: Clarendon courts
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:27 am 
Actually the opening was known in Russia before levitt played it, although not at such levels of play, which means Levitt can definitely call it his own novelty.

It was mentioned in one of the previous posts that it is a cross between the dutch and the Benoni. True, but to be more precise, it is a cross between the Leningrad dutch and the Benoni:

Black plays the Benoni structure on the queen side,
and the Leningrad dutch structure on the kingside.

That is why another name for this opening is (older than Levitts name...): the "Benongrad".

The big question is whether black gets the "best of both worlds" or the "worst of both worlds". Most grandmasters tend to believe it is the latter...

I believe GM Michael Rhode, when asked what he thought about this opening, said: "looks bad, white just plays e4 at the right moment, and black will just have a bad position". practical results says that this is indeed a common way to gain a big advantage against this opening.

What's more, GM Aaron Summerscale, who also plays this (and until recently, claimed a 4 out of 4 score with it as black!!!), thinks that white can just gain a nice advantage after the immediate 1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5 3.e4!? (Why wait at all?) fxe4 4.Nc3 and white will gain the pawn back, wahtever black does (even after Nf6, at his leasure, either Qe2, Bg5 (maybe after Bc4... the pawn drops, with a slight edge for white).

But you know something, I'm looking at the position after 1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5 3.e4!? fxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 NOW, and I find myself thinking that white may get an advantage even with the pawn sac 5.f3!? exf3 6.Nxf3.

I'll analyze this when I get the time and get back with my results.
The more I look at it, the more I like white's position.


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Knight
 
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 Post subject: Interesting e4 and f3 line in clarendon courts.
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:44 am 
Ok, after 1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5 3.e4!? fxe4 4.f3!? exf3 (can't see any better option for black... maybe d6, but I don't think that black will like white's open f file in the normal Benoni structure, if white has not sacrificed anything to get it).

5.Nxf3: Black's problem is very immediate: what's he going to play NOW? if 6... d6, 7. Ng5 and this knight:
1) can't be driven away: 7...h6? 8.Bb5+ Bd7 9.Ne6 and that knight will be a monster after 9...Qc8 10.Bxd7+, or lose a lot more than that after 9... Qa5 (Qb6 Na4 first, and the Nc7 threat is still in the air...) 10.Bd2, and again d5 is protected by the Nc7 trick. White probably has a won position already.

2)if black tries to both defend against the last line AND start his benoni queenside play with 7...a6, then 8.Bd3 and white's development advantage is enourmous, his rook enters the fight in one turn, as his queen's bishop, and his queen in addition to the two extra pieces he already has, with two lovely open files, one of which will be occupied by the rook very soon. I think white has a close to winning position now. I'll analyze this with a computer and see if my opinion stays the same.

If, instead of 6...d6, black tries 6...g6 (probably his best, in my opinion), just developing the bishop and castling ASAP, then 7.d6! and all hell breaks loose
(Actually I remember I looked at this option (briefly) a few years ago and dismissed the whole line because I missed this move...).

Black is going to suffer. If he doesn't take, I think the suffering is obvious enough. If he does: 7...exd6 Bc4

Anyone wants to take the black side here? :) after 0-0 next white's attack is already close to deadly. I'm pretty interested in this line and will continue analyzing it.

Wonder what your thoughts are.


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Knight
 
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 Post subject: Clarendon courts
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:51 am 
phew, three posts in a row... What's happening to me.

I'm happy to report that the above lines are now Rybka 2.3 tested...
Although Rybka did find a couple of other options to look at.

If black DOES go in for exd6 in the last line I gave, while Rybka does like my Bc4 the best, I'm beginning to like its second place move: Bg5.

I had not given it any serious thought because of:
8.Bg5 h6 missing 9. Bd3 and if Qe7+ Kd2. looks very promising for white.

in the final position there are many other good options (Bf4 for instance), and black will most likely do better not taking on d6. Thus ends my first "published" analysis of this weird line. Again, I would like to hear your opinions of it.


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Pawn
 
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2003 9:57 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Clarendon courts
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:30 pm 
grolich wrote:
phew, three posts in a row... What's happening to me.

I'm happy to report that the above lines are now Rybka 2.3 tested...
Although Rybka did find a couple of other options to look at.

If black DOES go in for exd6 in the last line I gave, while Rybka does like my Bc4 the best, I'm beginning to like its second place move: Bg5.

I had not given it any serious thought because of:
8.Bg5 h6 missing 9. Bd3 and if Qe7+ Kd2. looks very promising for white.

in the final position there are many other good options (Bf4 for instance), and black will most likely do better not taking on d6. Thus ends my first "published" analysis of this weird line. Again, I would like to hear your opinions of it.


Interesting analysis there and even though I agree with it and would gladly be White in many of those variations, you really should consider how to continue after Nf6 declining to let white develop that easy as in exf3 ... It seems to me that White does have compensation of course, but not nearly as deadly as in the above cases . For instance:

4...Nf6 5.fxe4 (5.Nc3 Qa5!? with unclear play) Nxe4 6.Bd3 Nf6 followed again by g6 Bg7 and kingside castle and black looks OK. White of course has enough compensation for the sacrificed pawn and good chances for a kingside attack but all in all it looks like a matter of taste.

Cheers


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King
 
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:07 pm 
Trust me, it’s not a good idea! I have Jon Levitt's DVD on the opening, and have to say it’s full of gaping great holes – I’ve a whole load of games in my database to testify that :roll: :lol:

Whats wrong with a nice King's Indian, thats what I say :wink:


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King
 
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:59 am 
Nasgard wrote:
Trust me, it’s not a good idea! I have Jon Levitt's DVD on the opening, and have to say it’s full of gaping great holes – I’ve a whole load of games in my database to testify that :roll: :lol:

Whats wrong with a nice King's Indian, thats what I say :wink:


First, you should consider that your opponent, who is not a grandmaster, I suppose, will be surprised, whereas he is not when you play the King's Indian where he may have his favourite line.

Second, he will be afraid of falling into a trap and not play the best lines. Certainly not an early e4. When I faced the Clarendon Court the first time, I did not know any analysis of this opening and did not dare to play an early e4. I soon ended in a passive position and just managed to draw.

In his article on the Clarendon Court in SOS No. 4 Jaan Ehlvest, who calls it "The Dutch Benoni" and has had some success with it, writes: "After switching to solid openings, I realized , however, that sometimes you just need to take risks, such as when you are playing a less experienced opponent, or when you have to win with the black pieces. To that end, sometimes one can do some odd things very early in the game. [...]It has also been used by a few [...] strong GMs, mostly as a surprise weapon. [...] The bis plus of this continuation, however, is that it is rarely used and even very strong players can be outplayed, like in the game Lputian - Tukmakov."
Can you improve on the words of a strong grandmaster? :?:

I quite enjoyed Levitt's DVD. Fill the holes with your own analysis and you will be rewarded with a lot of wins! :!:


Last edited by chessfips on Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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King
 
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 Post subject: Re: Interesting e4 and f3 line in clarendon courts.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:07 am 
grolich wrote:
Ok, after 1.d4 c5 2.d5 f5 3.e4!? fxe4 4.f3!? exf3 (can't see any better option for black...


According to Jaan Ehlvest, who plays the Clarendon Court occasionally, and lost a game by playing 4.- g6, you should play

4.- e6 5. dxe6 (5. Bg5 h6) d5 here. :idea: :!:


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King
 
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:57 am
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 2:35 pm 
chessfips wrote:
In his article on the Clarendon Court in SOS No. 4 Jaan Ehlvest, who calls it "The Dutch Benoni" and has had some success with it, writes: "After switching to solid openings, I realized , however, that sometimes you just need to take risks, such as when you are playing a less experienced opponent, or when you have to win with the black pieces. To that end, sometimes one can do some odd things very early in the game. [...]It has also been used by a few [...] strong GMs, mostly as a surprise weapon. [...] The bis plus of this continuation, however, is that it is rarely used and even very strong players can be outplayed, like in the game Lputian - Tukmakov."
Can you improve on the words of a strong grandmaster? :?: :idea:


Bare in mind though, that is the opinion of only one GM - there are a ton of GM’s and IM’s who think the Clarendon Court is a great way to loose in 20 moves. I must say I was at one time attracted to the system myself, because 1.d4 is the hardest opening move to equalise against IMO - I thought it would be a nice surprise.

But to be frank, assuming your opponent doesn’t panic and plays accurately, a lot of Levitt’s ideas go down the crapper fairly quickly :lol: I’ll get around to putting some of my games up later to show you what I mean.

Lets be honest though, your only endorsing the Opening because of it’s off-beat nature :wink:


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King
 
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:38 am 
Nasgard wrote:
chessfips wrote:

Bare in mind though, that is the opinion of only one GM - there are a ton of GM’s and IM’s who think the Clarendon Court is a great way to loose in 20 moves. I must say I was at one time attracted to the system myself, because 1.d4 is the hardest opening move to equalise against IMO - I thought it would be a nice surprise.

But to be frank, assuming your opponent doesn’t panic and plays accurately, a lot of Levitt’s ideas go down the crapper fairly quickly :lol: I’ll get around to putting some of my games up later to show you what I mean.

Lets be honest though, your only endorsing the Opening because of it’s off-beat nature :wink:


I must admit that I like off-beat openings as a surprise weapon. So do grandmasters like Jaan Ehlvest. But you should be aware of the fact that the opening is not just Levitt's idea.

Jaan Ehlvest says "At the beginning of the 1990's it [= the Dutch Benoni] was popularized by English GM Jonathan Levitt, who called it the Clarendon Court Defence and used it on a number of occasions against strong opposition. It has also been used by a few strong GM's , mostly as a surprise weapon." [bold figures by me]

So neither Levitt nor Ehlvest seem to stand alone! And if "strong GMs" can use it successfully ( Rowson, Tukmakov, Shabalov beside Ehlvest) against strong opposition, I can use it against all the opponents I will ever have.

Of course I would not be successful against players like Kramnik, Anand or Shirov, but if I happened to meet these over the board, I would be happy to use any "crab opening". :D :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Have you ever played the Clarendon Court?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:55 am 
Not sure how gaping it is. The hard part about the Clarendon Court for Black is to remember there are two distinct plans - one when White plays c4 and one when he doesn't. Obviously, playing for b5 absent White's c4 is rather futile and Black does better bringing his pieces to the Kingside and playing the freeing e5 or e6. I managed a draw with a GM (albeit in a simul) with him playing one of the critical non-3.e4 lines and also drew an untitled IM (he didn't want to pay FIDE's stupid tax) with it. If the Clarendon were to become topical, would it be refuted? I just don't know.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:59 am 
Nasgard wrote:
chessfips wrote:
In his article on the Clarendon Court in SOS No. 4 Jaan Ehlvest, who calls it "The Dutch Benoni" and has had some success with it, writes: "After switching to solid openings, I realized , however, that sometimes you just need to take risks, such as when you are playing a less experienced opponent, or when you have to win with the black pieces. To that end, sometimes one can do some odd things very early in the game. [...]It has also been used by a few [...] strong GMs, mostly as a surprise weapon. [...] The bis plus of this continuation, however, is that it is rarely used and even very strong players can be outplayed, like in the game Lputian - Tukmakov."
Can you improve on the words of a strong grandmaster? :?: :idea:


Bare in mind though, that is the opinion of only one GM - there are a ton of GM’s and IM’s who think the Clarendon Court is a great way to loose in 20 moves. I must say I was at one time attracted to the system myself, because 1.d4 is the hardest opening move to equalise against IMO - I thought it would be a nice surprise.

But to be frank, assuming your opponent doesn’t panic and plays accurately, a lot of Levitt’s ideas go down the crapper fairly quickly :lol: I’ll get around to putting some of my games up later to show you what I mean.

Lets be honest though, your only endorsing the Opening because of it’s off-beat nature :wink:


I'm not really endorsing it. There are plenty of other routes to go, I only suggest this as a viable alternative. A player of the Black pieces who simply understands the CCD and doesn't memorize the lines has a great advantage against most White players.


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