Typical Ideas Behind Chess Openings – The Catalan Opening with IM Valeri Lilov

Need to work on your chess openings? In Ideas Behind the Openings, instead of presenting a never-ending stream of computer-recommended variations, IM Valeri Lilov describes the strategic aims of each side. Get instant access with 35% off. ►

In this video, IM Valeri Lilov looks at the Catalan opening, and the strategic aims of each side. This includes things like where to place each piece, which side of the board to attack on and which exchanges benefit you.

Armed with this knowledge, you can be confident in finding strong moves and making progress. IM Lilov is ready to show you how to navigate the opening phase with the calm confidence that comes from knowing what you’re doing.

The Catalan opening is a sort of mix between the Queen’s Gambit and a Reti, and can arise from a number of move orders. White basically plays d4 and c4 and then fianchettoes the white bishop on g2. It’s considered to be a chess opening that is a safe way for White to get a small advantage.

The Catalan came to top level when Garry Kasparov and Viktor Korchnoi played it in their Candidates Semifinal match in London in 1983. More recently, Vladimir Kramnik has used the Catalan – he played the opening three times in the World Chess Championship match of 2006. Viswanathan Anand also rolled the opening out during the 2010 world title match, winning two games with it!

In the Catalan, White avoids several attacking ideas by Black and instead focuses on development. The bishop on g2 usually frustrates Black as it is a strong piece – so much so that it is often called the Catalan Bishop.

In particular, in this video, IM Lilov focusses on how to play the Catalan against e6 and c6 setups from Black.

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  1. Very good. Very excellent. I quite like this position. Very nice. Quite good. Yes. Mhmm. This is nice.

  2. 4…Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 destroys this opening due to the poorly placed bishop on d2 which causes problems later

  3. I really like that you discuss the main idea behind the opening. I am so detailed oriented that sometimes I loose sight of the big picture.

  4. Good information and explanation. I'm just learning the Catalan, Thanks.

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