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gestalt 37 ( +1 | -1 )
playing the percentages This may be a stupid question but - If a hypothetical study of all Grandmaster games ever played was carried out to identify which openings or defences have historically produced the most (1) wins for white and (2) wins for black - which openings would come at the top of the list?

And (heres the stupid bit!) would it not be logical for players to employ these openings most if not all of the time?
More: Chess
myway316 33 ( +1 | -1 )
My guess would be... ...for White the Ruy Lopez,for Black the Sicilian.As to the rest,the results are entirely dependent on the skills of the player. Too many players play what's "in style",blindly following the latest GM analysis,without doing their homework.They also play openings that are totally unsuited for their style of play.
getoutofhere 18 ( +1 | -1 )
problem The problem is that if someone comes up with an idea that refutes a particular line, then that line is dead no matter how good its win percentage was before.
getoutofhere 30 ( +1 | -1 )
but In general your idea is right. Commonly played openings like the Ruy Lopez and the Queens Gambit have excellent winning percentages for white. For lowly players like myself the differences between openings are more a matter of personal preference than theoretical soundness.
duffer 17 ( +1 | -1 )
Gestalt, if you go to and bring up some of the openings, you will see win and loss percentages for white and black. But as myway said, its really how well you can play a given opening.
soikins 87 ( +1 | -1 )
e4 move Some say that e4 is the best first move, but that doesn't mean that everyone has to play it. Some players (like me) just don't feel comfortable in open games. So everyone should choose the opening that he likes best (and knows best), it doesn't matter what stats say.
Another thing: GM Shipov once wrote about statistical position evaluations. Sometimes you can see that after an opening black is a little bit better, but statistics shows that white wins more often. Why is that? Because people are not machines the don't play positions they don't like so good as positions they like, therefore it sometimes is better to choose an "inferior" opening, but the one you like, than "the best" opening that you just don't enjoy. You will score more points in the "inferior" opening.

peppe_l 8 ( +1 | -1 )
Actually I recall reading 1.d4 is statistically best move (not that it proves anything).

atrifix 130 ( +1 | -1 )
Statistics First, such studies are not hypothetical; chess statisticians devote a fairly good amount of time to figuring out the W/D/L percentages.

But in practice these statistics mean very little. First of all, you have to make sure you get a good sample--games lost by blunders or played by weaker opponents will skew your sample. Secondly, this fails to take into account your own strength, for example, Kasparov, an expert on the Scotch Game, will post a far higher winning percentage with this opening than other GMs. Thirdly, opening evaluations tend to change with time--for example, less than 100 years ago, the Sicilian was considered among the top GMs to be theoretically unsound in comparison to 1... e5. Today even club players know this is nonsensical.

So, while the idea is good in theory, trying to incorporate high GM winning percentage openings into your own repertoire is usually met with extremely mixed success. A better way to win games is to play what you feel comfortable with. And if you really want a good statistical sample, look at your own games and figure out which openings give you the best winning percentages personally--then see if you handle certain openings well or mishandle others.
triangulator 49 ( +1 | -1 )
I think the ruy lopez for white, an the sicilian as black. as said before no matter how good an opening is if just 1 line refutes it, it is dead. It is just a matter of taste: e4 leads to wild positions as in the siclian or, quite positions such as the petroff. d4 in my opinion leads to fun positions that are all simalar in some way in terms of plans for both sides and the positions- though this is not always true

best wishes
nottop 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Nice post, Atrifix Said it right.
nottop 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Nice post, Atrifix Said it right.
druleeparsec 55 ( +1 | -1 )
In Fritz there is an opening book tab. On that tab as you make a move it will show the top 2 to 10 moves from it's opening book database. But here's the cool part: It also shows how many games are in it's database that use that move and what was the win percentage for the person who made the move.

So somebody has done the work you asked about.

BTW, Fritz 7 is now on sale at chessbase USA cheap. I won't quote prices here but you may want to go check it out. [disclaimer: I'm not afilliated with Fritz or Chessbase, I'm just a satified customer etc yada yada yada]