Originally posted by anthias
I think the best way to study an opening is to go to a site like chessgames.com and quickly go over lots of games of that opening. Is it possible to improve your opening play by this method? I also would like to hear what you do to study.
Well, I do this a lot when I'm presented with an unfamiliar opening variation here. I don't think its really a useful study method, but it is helpful to get an idea of how the variation usually goes. Things like - black or white wins a lot, leads to endgames frequently, leads to highly tactical positions frequently, leads to open or closed positions, etc.
For learning specific openings, nothing beats a good book on the target opening and lots of practice. I find it almost impossible to sort through (select variations, memorize, try to find improvements etc.) without having played the opening a few times, so the process ends up being interative - read a little play a little, go back and figure out what went wrong and what went right, play more. I've often heard players (of various strengths) complain that opening books are hard because there are so many variations - its true. It takes patience and experience.