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kasparovfan 28 ( +1 | -1 )
h3 early in Spanish During my last compettion game I played with white in a Spanish opening. The game began 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bb5 d6. Then I played 4. h3. I think it looks lame; is it or is it a correct move? The reason I play it is that I think the pin of the knight on a f3 by the bishop coming to g4 is difficult to break. Anyone?
superblunder 35 ( +1 | -1 )
It is a little early... to be wasting a precious tempo with this 'preventative' pawn move... the Bg4 pin is really not all that menacing as it looks. In th Stenitz defense (3...d6) of the spanish I always play 4.d4! threatening both to win the black e-pawn, or to advance and win the pinned knight. If 4...Bg4 then 5.d5 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.dxc6 bxa4 and white has a slight advantage due to black's doubled, isolated rook pawns.
calmrolfe 36 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree Superblunder is correct to say that d4 is the strongest move. I feel that the Ruy Lopez (Spanish)opening should be played aggressively and d4 is the most aggresive move available.

h3 is a weak move and hands the initiative back to Black. I also think that Blacks third move, d6, was a bit insipid and wasn't the sharpest reply available.

Kind regards

More: Chess
soikins 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Bg4 pin I understand your willingness to avoid the pin, but you should remember that you are also pinning tho opponents knight and as it already was mentioned above, d4 threatens to win that knight, so black should answer with Bd7 and there is no point to play h3 to avoid the Bg4 move. Think about d4 as a more active and a deeper way to prevent Bg4.
kasparovfan 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Thanks for your suggestions.
neelix 70 ( +1 | -1 )
Necessary moves above optional I am not an expert in the Ruy Lopez (only in the Netherlands it's called Spanish opening, as far as I know), but let me give you a small general advice. In the opening it's always best to play the necessary moves first (development) and then the optional ones (h3). As said above, in this case the best move is d4. Maybe you don't want to prevent Bg4 at all. Let him play that move and only then h3 questioning your opponent what to do with your bishop. Exchanging against the Knight at f3 leaves you with the bishop pair (could be a small advantage) and the other option is to make another move with his bishop.
Conclusion: while h3 is not throwing away the game, it's better to develop your pieces.
bogg 29 ( +1 | -1 )
kasparovfan I think the point of h3 in the Spanish game is not so much to prevent the pin of the Nf3 as to prevent the consequences of that pin, the weakening of White's control of the d4 square. Until you have played d4 the move has no point, as others have pointed out responding to Bg4 with h3 questioning the Bishop causes Black to make concessions.
caldazar 87 ( +1 | -1 )
Bogg's analysis is spot on; the pin against the knight isn't the problem in itself. It's what the f3-knight attacks that's valuable.

In some lines, White will play h3 before playing d4 to ensure that he can maintain the pawn on d4 and hence retain flexibility in his position. If White plays d4 without h3, then Black's ...Bg4 forces him into:

1. Be3 to defend d4
2. h3 Bxf3/gxf3, fracturing his kingisde to maintain control over d4 with the queen
3. d5, reducing the flexibility of his position and weakening his center since after Black moves his knight, Black will attack the d5-pawn with ...c6.

All three options are playable, but some players prefer to retain flexibility by spending a move to prevent ...Bg4.

However, in the specific position at hand, Black's c6-knight is pinned, so d5 is an advantageous option. It therefore makes no sense for Black to try to force White to play it with ...Bg4.
kasparovfan 49 ( +1 | -1 )
Why d5? Thanks for all your valuable advice. I do have one question, though. Caldazar wrote: "However, in the specific position at hand, Black's c6-knight is pinned, so d5 is an advantageous option. It therefore makes no sense for Black to try to force White to play it with ...Bg4."

But what is the point of white playing 5. d5? Because isn't a possible continuation in that position 5... a6, 6. Ba4 b5, 7.Bb3 Na5? Or is that really weak? WhatI mean is that the attack of the knight can be met by an attack of the bishop. Or is that still to white's advantage?
superblunder 23 ( +1 | -1 )
kasparovfan... look at the line I give... with 5.d5 ends up with two very weak, isolated, doubled rook pawns..while white doesn't really have any weaknesses except the pawn on c6 which is not too bad.
atrifix 95 ( +1 | -1 )
Most of the comments given here are more or less correct, especially the point made by bogg and caldazar: the bishop pin is not so important, but rather the control of d4. So, I won't reiterate, but after:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 d6 4. d4 Bg4 5. d5 a6 6. Ba4 b5 7. dxc6 bxa4 8. c4

White has a very clear advantage. It's very difficult for Black to guard his a4 pawn, whereas White can guard the c6-pawn fairly easily (it's difficult for Black to attack this pawn, but it can usually be defended by Qa4 or possibly recapturing cxd5) and also can make use of the d5 square, for example with Nc3-d5. Black finds it very difficult to get a knight to d4, and the difference in activity between the c1 and f8 bishops is clear--the f8 bishop is blocked in by a pawn chain.

So, White will probably end up picking up the weak pawn on a4 and remain with a positional advantage, whereas Black finds it very difficult to attack the c6 pawn.
neelix 18 ( +1 | -1 )
Not only a pawn Please, take a look at the line Atrifix is giving. It's not only you are a pawn up, but you also have square d5 available for your pieces.
May be the advantage is already close to winning.
kasparovfan 83 ( +1 | -1 )
Re: Not only a pawn neelix writes: "Please, take a look at the line Atrifix is giving. It's not only you are a pawn up, but you also have square d5 available for your pieces.
May be the advantage is already close to winning."

I'll replay this on my chess board tonight. The last sentence of your comment fascinates me. Do you really think this is winning?

Today I was thinking about when a position is winning in general. I wonder if when, for instance, Kramnik plays something bad with white against Kasparov like 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. Ng1 (thus putting the knight back where it came from), this is winning for black.

It would seem to me that in order to exploit such a weakness you would need to take full advantage of it. I feel that my level isn't high enough to do that. What are your views?
neelix 66 ( +1 | -1 )
Winning position When you have a material advantage and your opponent doesn't have any compensation, I think you can call that a winning position, although it might need some technique to convert it into a point.
I don't believe it matters who is playing the position. Whether it's Kramnik-Kasparov or it's Neelix-Kasparovfan playing, the evaluation of the position remains the same. The only difference is that the world champions have the better technique to convert it into a point.
Finally, the position after 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.Ng1 I wouldn't define as winning for black, but only as better for him (or her). And yes, you need to take full advantage of it. For instance, when you play 2...Ng8, then you are not exploiting the position.