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  1. 07 Sep '09 06:45
    Hope this post is decipherable ...

    When I choose an opening to study, I rarely find an opportunity to play it. Before I can steer the game down the line I want, my opponent will refute it with some defense or other that I don't know.

    I wonder if it's possible to build some sort of comprehensive opening gameplan - and how one would go about it. So in other words, how many different opening types have I got to be aware of (and which ones are they?) before people stop surprising me with Russian Games and what not?
  2. 07 Sep '09 12:06

    All openings have an underlying theme, a motif, a 'spirit'.

    Develop your pieces, watch the centre and try to keep in the 'spirit'
    of the opening you have chosen.

    But be flexible and ready to adapt to every change in circumstance.

    Don't memorise the opening moves but do remember the idea
    behind each move and why it was played.

    Never play an opening move because 'it's book' you must understand
    why 'it's book'.

    Remember it is your opponents job to steer the game into positions
    he is comfortable with and you are not. Don't complain about it.

    So when some guy slips in an 'out of book' move look upon it as an
    interesting challenge and adapt to the new situation.

    1.e4 e5 openings: (open games).
    A lot of non-book moves are non-book moves for a reason.
    Often there is a tactical refutation, So if you are sure the guy has
    violated one of the opening principles. (pawn grabbing - Early Queen
    sorties). Then whack him.

    As for closed and semi-closed games.
    You can get away with a non-book move unless it's plain daft.
    Tempo is not a main issue. The drawback of a clumsy opening move
    in these games is that it often leads to a wretched middle game.
    (it's usually a silly pawn moves that cannot be undone that are the
    chief offenders - every pawn move weakens your position.)

    So recap:

    Stop worrying about what opening moves your opponent is going
    to play. Let him worry about what you are going to play.
  3. 07 Sep '09 14:56 / 1 edit

    Sounds like you're feeling the same frustration that most of us have had to deal with at one time or another. You put in some time studying an opening that looks promising and leads to positions that you like (and hopefully understand). You try to play the opening a few times and get ambushed by moves that you're not familiar with, don't like the position that you end up with, and maybe lose the game. This happens a lot. It's part of the learning curve that you navigate in order to establish an opening repertoire.

    Don't give up and fall into the trap of believing that the problem is the opening. It's not (usually). Not if you're playing main lines, anyway. Thousands of books on "not quite mainstream openings" have been sold based on this thinking. Chances are you misplayed the position or missed a 1-2 move tactical shot and things didn't work out for you.

    There's no universal opening scheme that will always lead to positions that you're comfortable with. Class players don't need to invest huge amounts of time studying openings, but they should have a repertoire they have confidence in. This takes time to acquire. If you switch openings looking for that magic system of play, you'll keep getting frustrated, and years later you still won't have an opening repertoire.

    If you've chosen main line openings, you have a good start. Titled players use these openings when the money and their reputations are on the line for a reason. They are the best opening moves humans and machines have been able to devise. They work. If you get tripped up in a few games, analyze and figure out where you went wrong. Chessplaying friends, databases, and opening books can all help with this. Post games on this forum and ask for help. Every time you determine where you went wrong in a game, you add a bit to your knowledge base. Don't memorize. Understand what went wrong and how you could have improved on your play.

    Good luck.
  4. 08 Sep '09 02:10
    Thank you both. I appreciate the advice.

    Will do my best!
  5. 09 Sep '09 01:52
    Very helpful read. Thank you. I feel my game has moved improved, even without playing, if that is possible. In any case, thanks again, and I look forward to other posts.