Originally posted by KingOnPoint
However, what books really show theory on an opening rather than just describe movement orders for an opening. I don't want to be bogged down with theory, but maybe I can apply theory to my own games even when I move differently after the opening.
Just because I learn something new during my own game, doesn't mean I get to apply it for ...[text shortened]... ok for, then how will your learn? When you are ignorant, you may not know what you are missing.
My heart always sinks when people rush for a computer chess engine in what would seem to be a hope that some magical powers will be transferred to them by running their game through. It doesn't operate that way and it takes a lot of work to understand what the computer output is telling you. If you have played chess for any length of time you will naturally see moves that appear reasonable which the computer apparently rejects and you have to play down your line several moves before some tactical sequence is given that nets the pawn justifying the +1 evaluation it gives at the start. However if the +1 evaluation is triggered in response to an algorithm purporting to assign an arithmetic value to various "positional" features it may never give you a clear line. More likely a series of moves that maintain or slightly improve the value, or peter out to equality. In my view that will never teach an improver anything.
At its heart chess is a game of vision and ideas. It is by taking your ideas and vision to the board and having your nose bloodied, your ideas undermined, your lack of control of the possibilities exposed that you can identify the weaknesses in your thinking that lead to the error. You can learn the basic positional ideas, rook on the 7th, pawn weaknesses, bad bishops, open files, rooks behind passed pawn, from almost any chess primer in an afternoon. But you can spend a lifetime developing the finer "positional judgement" when trying to assess if the pawn weaknesses in your position are outweighed by the attacking opportunities you have from greater mobility of your pieces. Some opening variations have the creation of these dilemmas at their heart but all they are is moves. Moves with ideas about development, threats and defences. Some are fashionable, some are risky, some are boring, a few are refuted. Some knowledge of opening theory will tell which but at 14 days per move you can try to work them out for yourself. If you are after a book which explains the ideas behind some common openings you could look at the preview of Fundamental Chess Openings by Van Der Sterren. This is similar to the Reuben Fine ideas behind the chess openings from the 1940s. Both miss things out, don't consider moves unbooked amateurs play, but do give you a story to hang your moves on.
Here is an RHP example of how opening theory works.
About 3 years ago in Thread 141239
I presented an annotated game Annotation 1427
where I played 7.Qd4 to take a game out of the books. Greenpawn showed up and lambasted me in his familiar way for playing a move that it took over fifty years of master practice to refute and presented a game by World Champion Smyslov to demonstrate. Two years later I play the black side of the opening against a 2000 player - although the moves were in a different order the position after 7.Qd4 arises and I had a quick and easy win Game 10160487
. That's how it works. You try a move, if its any good it stays, if its busted by someone it gets chucked out. You have to read about it, or discover it in databases or magazines, or by being brought to task in a forum to benefit. That's what theory is - a huge swirling vortex of moves that have been tried before. It will suck you in and devour you. Enter with caution.