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They're harping at me about openings again!?!?!?

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  • They're harping at me about openings again!?!?!?

    The guys at the chess club are just as nice as can be but one or two of them are nudging me into learning openings again.

    I'm sort of the type that goes along with some of the old masters' books. Study endgames, then middle games, and then openings, in that order, but don't memorize openings. Learn opening principles.

    I'm getting the hang of always looking for tactics and short combinations. As for openings I do work on developing pieces, occupy/control the center, and protect the king including castling. I use the Ruy Lopez/Guico Piano/Guico Pianissimo for the first several moves but my opponent usually gets off track so soon that I start winging it after only a few moves.

    I'm just not that interested in memorizing any openings yet and I'm doing okay and improving. The middle games and endgames are where I see the fruits of my efforts.

    I do feel that I *may* need to do more work on the openings but ???

    When should I begin concentrating more on improving my openings?
    "Slow down and the world comes to you." A Cat in the Hat cartoon

  • #2
    Look more deeply into your openings when you stop getting reasonable positions out of the opening.

    What's your rating? You play 1 e4 with white? What do you play against 1 ... c5? 1 ... e6? Etc. What do you play against 1 e4? 1 d4?

    Having a repertoire does not mean you memorize lines. (i.e. someone decides I play 6 Bc4 against the Najdorf, looks at a few games, does not mean they know 12 moves of theory in all its primary lines). But you also don't need to have a repertoire.

    Most importantly, when you do study openings, don't pay attention to the commentator's evaluation so much—if a position is slightly, or even much, better for Black but you don't understand how to play it, it doesn't matter. Find positions that you are comfortable playing and understand.


    • #3
      1. Are the people telling you to study openings significantly stronger than you are? If so, they may have identified your main weakness. Studying endgames is great, but you’ll never win an endgame if you lose in the opening.

      2. Why the resistance? They are fun! Once I knew the Alekhine opening forward and backward, my rating went up 200 points, and that’s no joke. Understanding opening principles is great and yes, *a few* masters have never given credence to opening study, but I still highly recommend doing so.

      I look at it like this: Vitamin C is good for you, but it can't be your main diet or it’ll kill you. A well-balanced diet is the only way to go. Why should it be any different with chess, the most complicated game there is?
      Alexander Alekhine is my chess hero.

      An eerie chess short story: The Empty Chair

      My newest chess story: Gamble: A Supernatural Chess Tale


      • #4
        Skwerly, I'm not saying the masters never studies openings but they warn against memorizing them.

        Yep, they're higher rated than I am so maybe they're right.
        "Slow down and the world comes to you." A Cat in the Hat cartoon


        • #5
          Ehhhhh, fine line between 'memorizing' and 'understanding.' If you understand the openings, you'll be playing 'prepared' lines, almost unintentionally. Memorize the moves? No. Understand and remember? Yes.
          Alexander Alekhine is my chess hero.

          An eerie chess short story: The Empty Chair

          My newest chess story: Gamble: A Supernatural Chess Tale


          • #6
            Originally posted by pgmrdan View Post
            Skwerly, I'm not saying the masters never studies openings but they warn against memorizing them.

            Yep, they're higher rated than I am so maybe they're right.
            I don't know, what's your rating? What are you playing (with both colors)?

            When you lose, why do you lose (dropping material to few move tactics, unable to formulate plans and then crumble, etc.etc.)? When you win, why do you win?


            • #7
              If you are playing higher rated players then understanding openings becomes more important, especially if you are playing on the clock.

              Lower rated players have no clue what they are doing or why. So trying to memorize lines or ideas of the openings won't help out against them. They give you their pieces anyways.

              Memorizing lines saves time on the clock which is what they might be getting at.

              So watch some you tubes on the openings you usually play. See if you can refine your opening and save some time on the clock. It isn't like you have to give up what you are doing when you do this.


              • #8
                But hey, the next time you see them try asking them why they think you need to study openings.


                • #9
                  Hey Skewerly, im trying to upgrade my game by learning ideas behind opening structures. Im not going to mindlessly learn 15 deep moves, instead i try to focus on pawnstructuctures and the ideas behind the structure; Eg Caro Kahn focus of white to controle E5 and to exchange D pawn etc so your aware of basic ideas without going 15 stockfish moves deep.