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  1. 02 Oct '08 22:02
    When I first started getting into chess I thought the opening would be the most important thing to start studying. Then I met a sort of chess mentor and the first piece of advice he gave me was to forget about learning a ton of opening theory. For me that advice has really paid off. Of course it's important to play the opening well, but that doesn't mean learning thousands of variations. And of course you want to play systems that you're comfortable with, but that doesn't mean you should constantly be changing your repertoire, searching for that magical opening that guarantees the win. I've seen a lot of forum posts on openings here, but the way I see it, players who are anything less than experts should be concerned with other aspects of chess. In my experience, no matter how much opening theory a player knows, if the rest of his game isn't good, he'll lose a lot more than he'll win. What do you guys think? Are people worrying about the opening too much?
  2. 02 Oct '08 22:06
    I think a lot of people talk about different openings for various reasons....discovery of new ideas, boredom with repetoire, etc.

    Your advice is sound though. I've looked into some basic openings and am fairly content now that I have reasonable responses to e4 & e5 as black. Scandanavian still throws me a little as white and english still throws me a little as black.

    My current emphasis on improving is going over collections of game books.
  3. 02 Oct '08 22:40
    Originally posted by shaxmaty
    When I first started getting into chess I thought the opening would be the most important thing to start studying. Then I met a sort of chess mentor and the first piece of advice he gave me was to forget about learning a ton of opening theory. For me that advice has really paid off. Of course it's important to play the opening well, but that doesn't mean le ...[text shortened]... than he'll win. What do you guys think? Are people worrying about the opening too much?
    what if you are losing games to poor opening preparation? i know, i know, people say that you cannot lose a game in the opening, balderdash i say! i have seen it in my own measly games both as a protagonist and a victim, one mistake in the opening and your goose is southern fried with extra chillies and Tabasco sauce, especially against higher rated players, and the mistake does not have to be that significant either, a few inaccuracies and you can kiss yo butt goodbye.

    yes one can rely on general principles, but you will not get an advantage, no way, no siree, an whats wrong with learning opening theory anyway, if its done in a balanced way with other aspects, like tactics and endgame strategy? i like it, granted it has done very little for my chess, but its interesting and easier to learn than other stuff.

    we are advised, don't learn opening traps, they are not sound and will not make you a better player, good advice which i have always strived to follow, however, i recently came across a little book, Al harrowitz i think was the author, published in 1976 which had some excellent opening traps, real traps, baited with big juicy pieces, some subtle some not so. perhaps they will not work, perhaps they are unsound, but i bet it will be sure fun trying to lay them and find out what happens, giggling away at the dastardliness of it all, so i dunno, all things being considered, mostly people deviate from the theory anyway, so maybe you are right, it is a waste of time.
  4. 02 Oct '08 22:49
    It's not that I think it's a total waste of time, I just don't think openings are the most important. Of course, this depends on your priorities. If you just want to experiment and have fun, and if opening theory is fun for you, study away. If you're seeking to improve, however, then I say devote the majority of your time to other studies. In general, I find that if a game is lost in the opening, it's not because the losing player didn't know all the variations of the specific opening being played, but rather made some general oversight or error that applies to the principles behind any opening line. I say, learn basic opening principles, learn how to apply them to a FEW specific openings, keep playing whatever openings you choose for awhile, a year at least, until you know them through and through...and you'll definitely be able to stay competitive below the 1900-2000 mark.
  5. 03 Oct '08 10:32
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    what if you are losing games to poor opening preparation? i know, i know, people say that you cannot lose a game in the opening, balderdash i say! i have seen it in my own measly games both as a protagonist and a victim, one mistake in the opening and your goose is southern fried with extra chillies and Tabasco sauce, especially against higher rate ...[text shortened]... s not have to be that significant either, a few inaccuracies and you can kiss yo butt goodbye.
    I totally second that. you don't have the luxury to neglect openings anymore after, say 1600. you simply don't. especially against higher rated players, make one small error in the french as black and you'll be cramped. one mistake in the english as white and you'll end up with black dominating the queenside.

    I think the best piece of advice in that stage could be trying to limit yourself to very few openings and narrow lines, but also really learning them.
  6. 03 Oct '08 11:36
    Originally posted by diskamyl
    I totally second that. you don't have the luxury to neglect openings anymore after, say 1600. you simply don't. especially against higher rated players, make one small error in the french as black and you'll be cramped. one mistake in the english as white and you'll end up with black dominating the queenside.

    I think the best piece of advice in that sta ...[text shortened]... ying to limit yourself to very few openings and narrow lines, but also really learning them.
    Well openings are indeed a part of chess, but most beginners/club players confuse route memorization of a particular opening line with *understanding* an opening. These are two separate animals.

    Also, North American players typically focus too much concern on the openings and wonder why they often get outplayed and lose games from decent opening positions. It's part of the "get rich quick" mentality. You can often get quick results from some opening preparation, but if you're a burgeoning class player, you could be doing yourself a disservice in the long run by becoming too reliant on your ability in the opening phase of the game, thinking that it will carry you towards the full point without any further effort.