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tomrh 1 ( +1 | -1 )
owen's defence? 1. e4 b6
2. d4 Bb7

Any advice?
coyotefan 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Jump for joy as white Resign as black :)
coyotefan 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Seriously My database gives black under a 40% chance of victoruy, about 8% less than any solid opening. I would NEVER use this opening.
ccmcacollister 122 ( +1 | -1 )
I play Owen's in blitz online. And it does very well in games of 10 min or less. Cant say ive tried it in a longer one. Supposedly WT is supposed to have a very strong game in the "Three Pawn Attack" (e4/d4/c4). That is according to some very dated theory of the 80's however. Perhaps its changed?! From Chess Life I believe. I do not know of any books on it, but havent looked for one and would not surprise me if there was.
If I were going to play it seriously, I'd be sure to look as well at the theory of closely related positions from the French, plus the QI, and some b6 Nimzo-Indians such as where WT offers a pawn on c3 to get in e4 after.
[Fischer has offered opinion on that latter in "My 60 Memorable Games" & BL does very well there, as in my postal games vs APCT CCM Jim Warren and Jim Skeels a supposed 24or2500 player in ICCF :), where true to Fischers assessment, as BL I developed wins in the middlegame, with the former being delightfully combinative, after being hardpressed by WT. It was after this very interesting and enjoyable game that I decided to make it a specialty position of mine. The latter game was simply a free pawn.
I've heard a rumor that ICCF allows computers now.]
Good luck with it
ionadowman 26 ( +1 | -1 )
I've tried it... ...Once on GK. Not an especially joyful experience. Position got fairly difficult, but playable, then I went and blundered a key pawn (playing a move I had already determined was wrong). Assessment: inconclusive.
I've had it played against me once. White won that one as welll...
dysfl 54 ( +1 | -1 )
Try it, and enjoy it. As a newbie myself, Iíve seen it several times. I think I lost my rook once or twice against this.

Iím a patzer, so this is not even an opinion. Youíve warned ---- Why not? Play it sometimes and get the feel for fianchettoed Bishop. Try not to use it too early. Just keep it hidden and when your opponent forget about it, push a pawn or something and take the rook. There is a similar one, playing g6 followed by Bg7. It is called Modern Defense. I prefer g6. Anyway, both are not considered as a good opening for beginnersí long-term chess development.
ganstaman 136 ( +1 | -1 )
Modern vs. Owen I find 1...g6 much easier to play than 1...b6. With the Owens (which I've played a little), I find it much harder to find ways to generate counterplay and destroy white's massive center. With the Modern (which I've played a bit more), I find black's position more playable. I'm not exactly sure why I find this difference, and it may just be playing style, or that I was less experienced when I tried the Owens.

I agree with dysfl that you should try it out, but don't expect too much (maybe if you get used to it you will do better with it) since I think the general consensus of the chess world is that it's not so good.

coyotefan: I'm curious, what are the stats for 1.g4 in your database? On, it's an impressive 61.7% wins for white, and only 27.5% for black. Of course, this is due to the fact that 1.g4 is usually only used by a strong player with the white pieces beating up on a much weaker oponent (so any opening would have won). 1.g4 is incredibly weak.

So the Owens may be bad (I even admit that above), but I don't like using database stats to 'prove' this. It could be that most players that play the Owens aren't so great to begin with, so they'd lose with whatever they play. Most stronger players use other defenses (which may in itself be indicative of it's strength/weakness).
ccmcacollister 64 ( +1 | -1 )
Dreev - Speelman Here is an Owens by transposition, that ends in a draw. Speelman has played the Owens a number of times it appears. Besides Speelman, it has been played by GMs Nigel Short & Ivanchuk. In the game results that I reviewed for this 3-pawn variation, the most likely result for games with a player over 2500 involved was a DRAW ! That surprised me, I must say. And in the decisive games, it was WT most likely to win. But there were also some won by BL & the difference in win numbers was not terribly one-sided, as I had thought it might be.
ccmcacollister 67 ( +1 | -1 )
Kramnick vs Ivanchuk ...2 games I wanted to show the Owens between Ippolito and Speelman, since BL won that one, but it is not available at this d-base. So instead, here are two game of Kramnick vs Ivanchuk.

The first is an Owens. The second is actually classed there as a ..b6 Nimzovich Defense and is presented in order to illustrate the great similarity which can exist between the two systems. The first real difference of the Nimzo game being that WT played e3 instead of having an early e4 move in.



ccmcacollister 91 ( +1 | -1 )
Another d-base with Owens games

Here is another d-base which does have the Ippolito-Speelman game, of the Owens Defense. You can go there and just select the two player names. Or can put in the position you want. The one that I searched for was:
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.c4 e6
and it will also show that Ippolito game if you select for players of 2500 and over, among games of 1991 or newer. For that position there are at least 10 games among players of that rating and newness. But if you go to same particulars except "any" rating, there are over 30 games to see. And that is not even including ones before 1991. That should give ample material for a good overview of what its all about and how it has done.

PS// On the last post just above this one, I forgot to mention that those two Ivanchuk games Are Rapid Play however.
coyotefan 59 ( +1 | -1 )
Using my Chessbase Database Over 5,000,000 games with a rating restriction of both over 2200 rating I came up with approx 5,000 games. Blacks total winning percentage was 36%. For example either the Ruy Lopez or the basic Sicilian each are 48%. Even the Grob is 42%! Maybe others are good enough to overcome a 10% greater chance of losing. I am not.

Also, like any other unusual opening used in correspondence, there is no shock value. Certain openings may work better OTB or Rapid play because they catch their opponent offguard. Not in CC play. Bad openings are just that.
ganstaman 118 ( +1 | -1 )
Database stats "Blacks total winning percentage was 36%. For example either the Ruy Lopez or the basic Sicilian each are 48%. Even the Grob is 42%! Maybe others are good enough to overcome a 10% greater chance of losing. I am not."

So that means you didn't understand my point, right? The Grob definitiely gives black the advantage and I think very very few people out there dispute this. Black's winning percentage should be above 50%. That it is not indicates that you can't use naked stats to decide on how good an opening is. You need to understand the stats (like I said, the Grob looks good only because of who uses it against who -- or whom?).

Also, the level of the competition matters. I'd bet that the Smith-Morra Gambit works much better when played by weaker players than if GMs played it.

Playing style is another factor. If you play an opening that doesn't fit your style, the lack of harmony will kill you. Play something you enjoy and understand and you'll do fine, regardless of how others do with the same opening.

If you really think the Owen's is bad, why don't you explain to us why it is bad? That is much more useful and trustworthy than stats from a database.
ionadowman 219 ( +1 | -1 )
My own experience with Owen Defence You might want to compare with the master games...
White 'muhlert' Black 'ionadowman'
1.e4 e6 2.d4 b6 3.Bd3 Bb7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Qe2 c5 6.c3 Be7 (...d6 might be preferable here. Later, the backward d-pawn becomes a real problem child.) 7.e5 Nd5 8.O-O Nc6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 (and here, maybe bxc5 is preferable) 10.Rd1 f6 11.c4 Ndb4 12.Be4 f5 13.Bxc6 Nxc6 14.Nc3 a6 (You can already see the restraining effect on Black's d-pawn. Bad as this is, it's not necessarily fatal, if Black takes due care...) 15.Na4 Qc7 16.Nxc5 bxc5 17.Bf4 Ne7 18.Nh4 O-O 19.Qd3 Bc6 20.Qg3 Rab8 21.b3 a5 22.Be3 Qa7 23.f3 Ba8 24.Rd2 a4 25.Rad1 Rb7 26.Qf2 Rc7?? (...Rc8 had to be tried. Black hasn't been able to do much about White's buildup against the d-file and the c5 square. This looks OK at first sight, but I had forgotten there was a refutation... ) 27.b4! (+-)(Black is dead lost. The rest is his attempt to conjure up counterplay out of thin air.) Re8 28.Bxc5 Qb7 29.f4 Qc8 30. a3 Be4 31.Kh1 Qb7 32.Nf3 Bxf3 33.Qxf3 Qxf3 34.gxf3 Ng6 35.Rxd7 Rxd7 36.Rxd7 Nxf4 37.b5 Ng6 1-0

White: 'ionadowman' Black: 'pelvitski'
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Nbd2 c5 6.c3 Qc7 7.O-O Be7 8.Re1 O-O 9.Nf1 Nc6 10.Bg5 h6 11.e5!? Nd5!? 12.Bxe7 Ndxe7 13.Ng3 cxd4 14.cxd4 d5 15.Rc1 Qd7 16.Bb1 f5?! (Up to here, Black seems fine, but I have my doubts about this attempt to block the White bishop's diagonal) 17.exf6e.p. Rxf6 18.Qd3 Kf7? (An oversight that loses the Exchange) 19.Nh5 Rf5 20.g4 Rxh5 21.gxh5 Nf5? (the b1-h7 diagonal has not been lucky for Black!) 22.Rxc6 Bxc6 23.Ne5+ 1-0

An OTB game from the South Island Champs 1986...
White: T. van B. Black: I.A.D.
1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 b7 3.d3 Bb7 (White's approach is more restrained than usual) 4.Nf3 d6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.O-O Ngf6 7.Bg5 Be7 (There's nothing wrong with White's play so far, restrained though it is. He's not overcommitting himself...) 8.Qd2 h6 9.Bh4 Rc8 (Setting a wee 'trap' based on the relative positions of the White Q and the pieces along the h4-d8 diagonal. But the c-file seems to have a future of its own...) 10.a3?? (A really useless move. 10.Bg3 is indicated. White's position is OK, but what to do with it?) 10...Nxe4 (A standard combination given the constellation of pieces already mentioned) 11.Bxe7 Nxd2 12.Bxd8 Nxf3+?! (Content with the extra pawn, but the Exchange [...Nxf1!] ought not to have been ignored in such cavalier fashion) 13.Bxf3 Bxf3 14.gxf3?! (14.Bh4 would have preserved the K-side pawn formation intact, leaving Black just a bare extra pawn) 14...Kxd8
1-0 (43 moves)
I hope these games, from a much lower level gives some sort of insight into what you can expect...
drdesoto 108 ( +1 | -1 )
playable ... as nearly every opening in CC.
Owen defence and e.g. the hedgehog -> do have quite a bit in common and could be transformed easily.
So i personally think its not a bad opening.
I also disagree with coyotefan, that there is not shock value of uncommon openings in CC. Of course this openings shouldn't ignore to many basic principles of openings, but an on "the edge opening" mayby bad maybe o.k mayby good, could set your opponent under calculating pressure much more than playing a good but over-analysed line of the Sicilian. What do you think of this (board #779905) good or bad opening?? Personal percentage for this opening in CC is 75% wins (for GK 2 wins, 2 losses, should have been 3 wins ;-)).

coyotefan 36 ( +1 | -1 )
ganstaman Sorry for any miscommunication. I enjoy the Grob as well. I have even started thematics with this opening.

THat being said, we both agree that Black has a big advantage, so used that as an example of the Owens being an opening that gives white an even larger advantage than black has with the Grob.
ccmcacollister 10 ( +1 | -1 )
And they said there's nothing new! But here we have Drdesotos Opening swatting near masters like flies on molasses :)
drdesoto 28 ( +1 | -1 )
;-) hehehehehehe - that would be really nice - unfortunately you can still lose! But it's still an example for the thesis: opening isn't that "important" in CC, you can survive even unsound opening moves.