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"Learning" openings by playing blitz?

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  • "Learning" openings by playing blitz?

    I have never understood the advice of "learning" openings by playing lot of blitz games, and then analyse the games afterwards. I can't imagine you actually learn much or anything from this. Apart from learning moves by heart

    If you blitz moves, you haven't time for a extensive analyse. You are lucky if the move is good.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself

  • #2
    I don't understand that either. I learn openings better by playing correspondence chess.

    Comment


    • #3
      The point is that when you study the game afterwards, you make a point of looking up the opening to see where you or your opponent deviated from "book". That way, you learn the book moves of your opening. Do this enough times with lots of short games, and you'll eventually see the main lines enough to remember them, and to know what the common deviations are from how your opponents play.

      "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

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      • #4
        I think it's exactly the other way around. If you have loads of time (CC or 'standard' chess) you take your time and see for yourself why the move is good/bad. At least that's the case with me.

        I think in blitz I wouldn't achieve even 1000 ELO
        Skype chess coaching? Send a message!
        Ever heard of The Hook and Ladder trick? Please refer to the famous game by Andriej Hook and James Ladder.
        Play as if you didn't understand chess. People always fear what they don't understand.

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        • #5
          In blitz you'll get a lot of "first instinct" replies though. I've always found that useful. People come up with good moves and ideas in 10-20 seconds too, it's just that they don't play their best for most of the game. It helps to get a feeling for positions arising from an opening at any rate.
          Have you read the Forum rules?

          Queeg: Pawn to King Four. Holly: Horsie to King Bish Three.
          Rimmer: It's called a "knight," actually, Holly...
          Queeg: Knight to King Bishop three. Holly: Queen to Rook Eight. Checkmate.
          Queeg: That's an illegal move. Holly: Oh, sorry. Queens don't move like that. I was thinking of poker.
          Holly: Cleudo? You could be Colonel Mustard.
          Cat: If it's any help, I've been studying his tactics and there's a pattern emerging: Every time you make a move, he makes one too. *Winks to Holly*
          Holly: *Winks back* Thanks, Cat.
          --Red Dwarf

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Perseus View Post
            People come up with good moves and ideas in 10-20 seconds too, it's just that they don't play their best for most of the game. It helps to get a feeling for positions arising from an opening at any rate.
            Maybe this is true on higher level (B+)

            But I don't agree on my level (C) people play all sort sorts of junk moves, but because my knowledge of opening play is limited, I often don't know how to use this to my advantage.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself

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            • #7
              Originally posted by markkus View Post
              Maybe this is true on higher level (B+)

              But I don't agree on my level (C) people play all sort sorts of junk moves, but because my knowledge of opening play is limited, I often don't know how to use this to my advantage.
              That's why you look it up afterwards in a database to see what the masters play in the same/similar positions. You and your opponent will both play junk during the game, but you'll learn from it and play better next time.

              "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Fromper View Post
                The point is that when you study the game afterwards, you make a point of looking up the opening to see where you or your opponent deviated from "book". That way, you learn the book moves of your opening. Do this enough times with lots of short games, and you'll eventually see the main lines enough to remember them, and to know what the common deviations are from how your opponents play.
                Exactly why I think this is a bad method.

                People learn book moves by heart, without understanding the moves.
                And think they will win the games by this.

                ------------------
                Same problem as with beginners reading opening manuals which they don't understand (even if they think the understand).

                I assume we all have been there.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself

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                • #9
                  But you're not just learning the book moves. If you go to a database like Chess Games Database Online - 365Chess.com and put in the starting moves of your game, you'll see how others have dealt with the deviations from book that occurred in your own game. Besides learning the book moves, you'll also learn to deal with the deviations that way, which will teach you why the book moves are better, and what to do when they're not played.

                  Just as a practical example, I've played the Italian complex of openings as white in the past (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4), and now I've decided to switch to the Scotch Gambit (3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4). If I tried to learn how to play it just by reading books, I'd learn the book moves, and the master level deviations, but I doubt most books will deal with the possibility that black won't play 3. ... exd4, because no master would ever play anything else. But if I play it in blitz practice games, 3. ... d6 comes up all the time in low level amateur games.

                  So I go to 365chess, plug in 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 d6, and it comes up with over 1000 games. It shows me that 4. dxe5 and 4. Bb5 are the two most common white replies, both of which have insanely high winning percentages for white. I can follow either of those branches to see how those games typically go and learn from them.

                  When you look up the moves of your game in a database, if you deviated from book first, you learn what book move you "should" have played. If you're not sure why your deviation was bad, the games in the database will show you, because you'll see how higher level players played against your move. Or you might discover a playable sideline if there is no obvious refutation of your move. Either way, you learn something useful and expand your knowledge of the opening.

                  If your opponent deviated first, you learn how best to exploit his mistake, as in my Scotch Gambit example.

                  The point of doing this with blitz games is just to play the opening a lot. The more times you play it and look up deviations, the more you learn. Playing one slow game might be better for developing your ability in other parts of the game, but lots of blitz games give you lots of opening study material, even if the game was played badly after the opening.

                  "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by markkus View Post
                    I have never understood the advice of "learning" openings by playing lot of blitz games, and then analyse the games afterwards. I can't imagine you actually learn much or anything from this. Apart from learning moves by heart

                    If you blitz moves, you haven't time for a extensive analyse. You are lucky if the move is good.
                    I'm with you. To me, all this says is, "I want to invest very little time or effort, but still get some great learning!"

                    Not happening. At least, not for me; I would rather immerse myself, slowly, into any type of learning, for the most part. I understand some folks out there are real slick and can learn very complicated things in mere seconds, but that action is not for me.
                    Alexander Alekhine is my chess hero.

                    An eerie chess short story: The Empty Chair

                    My newest chess story: Gamble: A Supernatural Chess Tale

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                    • #11
                      Databases can't tell you why a move is good or bad. Stats may say something, but not all. They can even be delusive. A low percentage win does not necessarily mean that the move is bad, it can also mean that the variation is less explored and therefore there aren't enough good games available with that line.

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                      • #12
                        That's why I like that 365chess site. It shows you how many times a particular move has been played, so you know when it's a trend based on a large number of games, or just statistical noise based on less. And you can follow the line through to see what followup moves were more successful than others.

                        But no, they don't give explanations. That's what books are for. But I've read opening books, and usually come out of them not remembering most of the details, because it's too much to learn at once. Practical experience playing an opening, then looking it up in a database and/or book afterwards to see how you could have improved your game, is a memorable way to drive home the point of one detail at a time.

                        Which brings us back to the point of this thread. Playing blitz lets you try out the opening many times, and learn from it each time.

                        "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

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                        • #13
                          Blitz has been quite helpful for me in learning openings, as long as I am intentional to stop after a game and then look at the positions that arose out of the opening I chose.

                          I'm with Fromper on this one.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by doulos View Post
                            Blitz has been quite helpful for me in learning openings, as long as I am intentional to stop after a game and then look at the positions that arose out of the opening I chose.

                            I'm with Fromper on this one.
                            This. As long as you just look at how you completed the opening, and just kinda forget the following craziness that is blitz, I think it's helpful. It's really the only way to get lots of opening practice against a variety of real people.

                            Of course, I really don't like playing blitz in person due to the impossibility of keeping score. I haven't tried it on my DGT board to know if it's fast enough to keep up. I expect it is, but I'd rather not beat it up in a blitz environment.
                            Returning to Chess blog
                            ICC: ELandes
                            Chess.com: Boogada
                            Playchess: PDXDude

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                            • #15
                              Looking over the rest of a blitz game after the opening is still useful for training. Kind of a "What did I miss and why?" session. Making a mental note of what you missed at the fast time control will help you remember to look for something similar in a later game.

                              "Don't be afraid of ghosts! Always play the moves you want to play unless you see a genuine tactical drawback." --Grandmaster Neil McDonald

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