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  1. 10 Dec '09 20:33 / 2 edits
    How did YOU gain "concrete knowledge" on the abundance of opening lines, their various subsystems and subvariations?
  2. 10 Dec '09 20:48
    By only trying to play/learn a few openings and using them every time.

    For instance, I always play the Nimzowitsch as my only response to 1.e4 Nc6

    I always try to play either the Nimzo Indian or Queens Indian in response to 1.d4

    1.d4 Nf6

    I always play 1.e4 and respond to 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 [Closed Sicilian or Grand Prix]

    To 1.e4 e5 either 2.f4 or Nf3 The King's Gambit or the Giuoco Piano.

    I have never varied in years of play. Sounds boring!! :-)

    I purchased CDs from Chessbase for the Giouco Piano, anti-Sicilian openings,
    Nimzo Indian and King's Gambit plus many more.

    I always play the same openings and keep track of my opponent's responses and react accordingly.

    This has been the same over many years of play.

    I have never tried to learn or study other openings in as great a detail because I am still in training with the openings above and quite frankly it gets much too complicated.

    Most play that I have encountered in both correspondence and tournament play has been 1.e4 1.d4 and different variations of the Sicilian.

    I guess by repetition, recognition of patterns, blitz play and a little osmosis my responses to opening moves has become almost automatic when the above opening moves have been used.
  3. 10 Dec '09 20:53
    I experimented and took suggestions from better players until I found openings that lead to positions that I understood and liked to play. I studied. I played lots of games using those openings. I studied. I played lots more games. I analyzed wins and losses. I learned from my mistakes (I hope). I kept up on theory. I played the same openings, more or less, for 30 years. Easy.
  4. 10 Dec '09 20:56
    Originally posted by dkurth
    I studied.
    Elaborate please?
  5. 10 Dec '09 20:58
    Originally posted by heinzkat
    How did YOU gain "concrete knowledge" on the abundance of opening lines, their various subsystems and subvariations?
    i think the way is to play the most forcing moves i.e gambits. take for example the Sicilian defence, people spend a lifetime trying to learn all the different nuances, if your a 1.e4 player, what chance have you got that you will learn and remember all of these? what chance have you got that you will learn all the variations of the French defence? therefore it makes sense for a club player to learn one system against each of these and the same with black, one system against the major openings. Gambits to me seem the most forcing continuations, at least for the club player.
  6. 10 Dec '09 21:48
    Originally posted by heinzkat
    Elaborate please?
    Studying, for me, meant finding some uninterrupted time to play through complete, well annotated games with the opening(s) I wanted to learn. I tried to start with general understanding and work eventually to specific variations. I never played through a game just once. I had to spend some time to get acquainted with what was happening on the board. After I played one of my own games (won or lost), I analyzed it, both on my own, and with others. I made sure I understood what I did right or what I did wrong. Over time, a lot of knowledge and "feel" for the positions was built up. That's what worked for me. For others, who knows?
  7. Standard member orion25
    Art is hard
    10 Dec '09 21:57
    I play
  8. 10 Dec '09 22:52
    An OTB loss that can be put down to the opening is enough to make anyone stay up 3 days straight studying its nuances.
  9. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    11 Dec '09 00:06
    Originally posted by heinzkat
    How did YOU gain "concrete knowledge" on the abundance of opening lines, their various subsystems and subvariations?
    My best tool in this area is to play through the first 12-15 moves of my chosen opening in Informants, New In Chess, or even ECO's. I set up my chess set, and play through every variation. This is a bit old school, but reading the moves as well as making them on my board gives a much needed repitition, which helps me remember them. This is also helpful in choosing which variations of my openings I prefer.
  10. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    11 Dec '09 01:37
    Originally posted by bill718
    My best tool in this area is to play through the first 12-15 moves of my chosen opening in Informants, New In Chess, or even ECO's. I set up my chess set, and play through every variation. This is a bit old school, but reading the moves as well as making them on my board gives a much needed repitition, which helps me remember them. This is also helpful in choosing which variations of my openings I prefer.
    Informants and NIC remain the best resources in this world of ChessBase/ChessAssistant megabases.
  11. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    11 Dec '09 01:42
    Originally posted by heinzkat
    How did YOU gain "concrete knowledge" on the abundance of opening lines, their various subsystems and subvariations?
    I'm still trying.
  12. Standard member Nowakowski
    10. O-O
    11 Dec '09 01:51
    Originally posted by wormwood
    I'm still trying.
    Agreed.
  13. Standard member Weadley
    NONE
    11 Dec '09 02:55
    I looked at wormwood's games, I looked at alot of games at chessgames.com
    I looked high I looked low. Then I found a local club and had some friendly people beat me and explain how they beat me. All that has helped me to become the crappy player that I am now. I still mostly blame wormwood!
  14. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    11 Dec '09 03:57 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by heinzkat
    How did YOU gain "concrete knowledge" on the abundance of opening lines, their various subsystems and subvariations?
    My approach has evolved over the last 20 years. My first attempt had me with pencil and paper, and I systematically went through GM John Nunn's "The Pirc for the Tournament Player" chapter by chapter, sifting out the lines that were best for Black.

    My latest attempt started 4 years ago when I decided to take up Alekhine's Defense. I read GM Nigel Davies' book on Alekhine's Defense, and also John Cox's book, because they had annotated games that allowed me to see the opening turn into standard middlegame positions and plans, and also allowed me to see what kinds of endgames resulted.

    As I read through the books, I noticed GM Edvins Kengis had several great games, and a variation named after him. His style of play appealed to me, and "made sense" to me in that his moves were consistent with how I see my own style.

    I then tracked down as many of his Alekhine's games as I could, and I studied how he approached each variation, and how his play evolved over time. For all practical purposes, I copied his repertoire.

    This approach has been very effective for me so far, as I have won the vast majority of my OTB games, and my performance rating with the Defense is about 200 points over my actual rating. I actually feel like Kengis has been my personal coach, even though his only communication with me is via his games and moves.

    To make a long post short, I recommend studying complete annotated games, and I recommend identifying a GM or IM who plays the opening and whose style best matches yours, and studying their games and approaches to particular variations.

    Paul
  15. 11 Dec '09 04:13
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    My approach has evolved over the last 20 years. My first attempt had me with pencil and paper, and I systematically went through GM John Nunn's "The Pirc for the Tournament Player" chapter by chapter, sifting out the lines that were best for Black.

    My latest attempt started 4 years ago when I decided to take up Alekhine's Defense. I read GM Nigel D ...[text shortened]... tches yours, and studying their games and approaches to particular variations.

    Paul
    You can do that for your "favorite" lines. But how about the lines that you have to know about, their essentials, i.e. if you want to play the Najdorf as Black, you have to know something about 3. Bb5+ regardless, you can't go around that...?