Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Opening Worries

Learning Opening Theory is not on my agenda. There are too many other leaks in my game to work on. Still, it is hard to totally ignore chess openings. One of my chess dreams is to come up with a low maintenance opening repertoire that would keep me comfortable in the opening phase of the game. It would be so much better if I also would enjoy playing the repertoire.

The biggest problem is to figure out what to choose as Black. I have really enjoyed reading about Katar’s view of things but the Scandinavian is just not my cup of tea.

Any suggestions?

(Hey, I just learned how to include pictures!)


  1. In my opinion, the French is the easiest way for Black to equalize against 1.e4. The problem is that the positions can get tedious at times...

  2. Thank you, Jonas!

    The French is already under evaluation based on the suggestions by Purdy in Action Chess. The funny thing (as I remember it) is that Purdy also suggests some sicilian version as a Lazy Man's Tool!

  3. I think the best way to pick an opening is find the one that looks like it will be fun for you at this period of time.

    I am starting to think that the whole "pick an opening to suite your playing style" is a little over rated. Since openings are important but at the same time not life and death (that is reserved for tactics and endgames), we should pick openings that look fun.

    I played the French for a year and really liked it. Now I am getting ready to move on. I think a year is a good amount of time to spend with an opening at my patzer level.

  4. Interesting!

    One complication is that my number of games played is not in synch with my patience for trying stuff out! Work, Family and what-have-we-nots seem to limit my number of games to about 1/week. My level of patience is fairly well estimated by my unsound habbit of: " Hey, I haven't bought a book on a chess opening (to put in the never-to-read-pile) for almost a month"

    Yes, the concept of "style" is not applicable to me.

  5. Farbror:

    I think we all have a bit of the "I haven't bought a book in a month" habit! My habit tends to steer towards game collections. I am a little addicted to them.

    A really interesting book was Steve Giddens "How To Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire".

    He discusses concepts such as whether or not to vary your opening or stick with just a few for a long time. He also discusses the "style" question and he puts some importance on it but not as much as in other sources I have seen.

    One of the interesting things he points out is that varying ones openings to a certain degree will actually increase a person's overall chess knowledge and skill over the long haul because he or she will be have been exposed to MANY different types of positions.

    He doesn't advocate changing an opening every week just vary up a little bit. That is why I am going with the "opening for a year" thing for now. Giddens seems to think that style and taste make more impact on a person's opening choices when they have gotten to the 2000 or so level.

    This has been a very helpful book to me.

  6. Tommyg, Thank you! Most Interesting.

  7. dear patrik, it is vital that you experiment with a variety of things. i always played the Caro-Kan in my comeback to chess since 2002, but never played the Slav.

    the more and more i thought about it, i took the advise of a FIDE master guiding me--nothing heavy, just good sense--to play the Slav, since it had unity with the Caro.

    whatever you play, it must fit your style, not just theory or reputation first. below master, whether it heuristically and systematically scores 52% or 61% is ALMOST irrelevant.

    i play 1.d4, and to c5 do NOT play d5 but cxd. its inferior, but good enough since this is not a common opening, and can take it to MY own prep and familiarity. i play 1.d4 and to ...Nf6 play 2.Nf3. i dont want to play KID, Catalan, Nimzo, QID, but anti-indian, anti-grunfeld. 3.Bg5 usually, the torre. 2.Bg5 shows my hand too soon.

    so, whatever you settle upon as Blk, have it fit your Wht style. experiment with e6 c6 Nc6 Nf3 g63 d6 and evaluate your chosen lines globally.

    lastly, make a chessBase file of ALL your games in one place if you havent already THEN copy a file clipping EVERYTHING not in your chosen lines. create a file of high level GM games in your prep, thats three files to use again and again.

    Warmest, dk

  8. you dont need a book, you need to think! no giddens.

  9. Hey Transformation:

    The whole point of the Giddens book is to encourage people to think and experiment for themselves. It is the same as getting advice from a FIDE master except it is in book form. In fact, Giddens never realy suggests one opening over another. His whole point is to get people to try different things and think independently.

    So one could say that reading Giddens' book actually encourages more independent thought and growth then just playing what an FIDE master tells one to play.

    There are many ways to get to the same place.

  10. No opening advise from me since at our patzer level all openings are good, even those that are rejected at grandmaster level. Just applying the three golden rules of the opening must be enough.
    1. one pawn in the centre, not more then two.
    2. develop your pieces.
    3. king safety.

    Play a few games according these rules and then you can check in a book to see if any opening is about the same as the moves you played. Then you can learn the 5-8 first moves of this opening. Adding extra moves in the future when going over your own games to see where you left theory. Just add one extra move, not an entire variation. That way you learn the opening better, does it stick in your mind better.

  11. What looks interesting to you?

    This is the one question I asked myself before picking the Alekhine.

    It can quite possibly be as simple as that.

  12. I have some feelings for the King's Gambit and maybe even the Latvian. Not exactly the main road!

  13. Chesstiger and Wang give good advice! I have thought less and less about openings and seem to be playing better chess at my level. I also agree with Wang that what looks interesting and cool to you is probably the best thing to go with!

  14. Farbor, you might consider Tiger's Modern...it is written in a style similar to Zuke 'Em. It has convinced me to give the ...a6 modern a try...and that is something I never thought I would consider!

  15. Thanx, David!

    Tiger's book has been on sale at the chess store in Göteborg. I might have a closer look.