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I'm driving myself crazy trying to decide what openings to play. And for someone at my level, which is maybe knocking on the doors of Class D, I know it's a stupid waste of energy on my part. But--
--I enjoy playing around with different openings, like everyone does. --I'm reasonably quick to grasp ideas & themes like ideal piece placement etc. --I have a lot of resources to peruse, like bookmarked websites & actual books (again, like most everyone). --I have a good deal of time to study.
I know beginners shouldn't spend much time on the opening. I find, though, that I play better when I'm following a certain plan out of the gate. And I *do* spend time on tactics, too (up to half an hour a day now, generally, which for me is pretty disciplined!). Also, I study endgames appropriate to my level (as per Silman). But I'd like to put this extra energy I'm spending on openings to rest, and plunge ahead.
Here's the deal: One day I concoct a repertoire of tactical openings, thinking that this would be best for me right now. Things like Scotch Gambit/Italian, Albin Counter-Gambit against 1.d4, Smith-Morra versus the Sicilian, Blackmar-Diemer Gambit against the Scandinavian if I can get it.
The next day I think, hmm, I've heard that it might be better to get a more "solid" repertoire, start on it early in my "career." Ruy Lopez, Sicilian main lines as White, Nimzo/Bogo-Indian against 1.d4. --since I'll have to learn them eventually, anyway.
I can't decide, I go back & forth repeatedly. (Thank God I play the French Defense and enjoy it, so I don't have that worry.) So I ask, does anyone have constructive help for me? Trolls, please move on to another post. I need some good input.
play the french, play the QGD and play the italian.three sound, solid openings which apply to basic principles and you can keep in the long run.
I'd avoid the Albin Counter-Gambit. I've played against it twice. The first time, the surprise factor was my undoing. The second time I crushed my opponent. The Blackmar-Diemer can be fun if you get away with it, but I don't recommend it.
As white, play Queen's Gambit lines. You'll learn a lot and have some fun. If you want to avoid the Nimzo and similar lines, transposing to the Torre Attack can be effective. There's also the English, which can be fun. As black, if you're comfortable with the French, stick with it. Against d4, maybe the QGD or Cambridge Springs defense.
Im going to respectively partially disagree.I completely agree with the Albin, playing for tricks isnt chess.As for the BDG I do believe its a good weapon HOWEVER the theory required to practice it successfuly is intense.
As white recommending the QG, torre and english is however bad for a beginner. closed slow positions will stunt progress. Playing things such as the italian will be much more effective or developing tactical skill as well as understanding of basic principles.
I'd recommend reading a book that explains opening strategy a little. My suggestion is John Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by Move. Since all the opening is really about is bringing your pieces into the game, the most important thing is to do so in a way where you pose problems to your opponent. Many mainline openings are about posing very small and very specific problems to very strong opposition, which is not needed at your level (and small problems can just be ignored there anyway). Develop your pieces around a simple and powerful idea like gaining central space or piling up on f2/f7, and your opponents will suffer a lot more.
Try not to switch so much. Pick a reasonably solid opening and stick to it. My preference wouldn't be the Albin and the Blackmar-Diemer but it's your call. You cannot get a deep understanding of a position from playing it a few times. Most likely you end up knowing the main line while you're absolutely lost if an ''odd'' move is played.
When I started, I had no opening book. It was only after a while that I got 1 old reportoire book. It was e4 with white, and e5 with black or the KID against anything else. Having no material, this is what I was forced to play! You could use a book like this. After so many years, I made a shadow reportoire and it was only a few years ago that I also made another shadow reportoire! That means, with a little revision I feel somewhat comfortable with 3 options for black and for white.
I have more books now that also deal with strategy. I can tell you the way I played the KID back then seems completely foreign to me. It's like I played the pieces out as told in the book and then went my own way. It turns out I wasn't ready to play the opening. The Spanish opening that was explained much better in the book I played just fine.
In the end, it doesn't matter too much what you play, until you are ready to look at the middle game strategy and instructive sample games.
Thank you everyone for the feedback. French, QGD & Italian, as was suggested above, makes sense, as does the advice to stick with this group for awhile. Also I like the advice to look for problems the openings pose for opponents, as the moves progress. All in all, the kind of replies I was hoping for.
I don't know what most of those opening names mean. I think, at the class D level, if you can manage to make it to the middle game without already being lost, you've done your opening work.
I just try not to do anything stupid. I'm not very good at it.
Im going to respectively partially disagree.As white recommending the QG, torre and english is however bad for a beginner. closed slow positions will stunt progress. Playing things such as the italian will be much more effective or developing tactical skill as well as understanding of basic principles.
I don't believe these are necessarily bad for a beginner, nor will they stunt progress. At higher levels, the QG and English may be "closed" and "slow." This is not always true, particularly in the OP's rating class.
I'm not as active in chess as I was, say, fifteen years ago, and I was something of a weekend player back then. (I'm just starting to come back after a ten year "vacation" from the game.) But when I played more often, learning these openings indeed greatly improved my chess, and I scored well at the local tournaments. Of course, part of my study was tactics, as well as endgames, the latter being of at least equal importance, as it often made the middlegame more comprehensible.
If part of the reason for learning any opening is to get an idea of piece development and coordination, these openings will certainly accomplish that, and D class opponents will have a difficult time finding the lines necessary to close and slow these positions. With the good development which is the strength of these openings, tactical possibilities can abound. In fact, the English has a reputation of often allowing one to win (or lose) quickly because of tactical shots.
They may not be for everybody, but it can't hurt to give them a look. Positional and strategic play are NOT the opposites of tactical swashbuckling. They are part of a whole, and exposure to ALL is vital. As I once said, tactics are the bullets; strategy is the gun.
As an aside, I had a friend who played the Italian ad nauseum. It didn't seem to help him much.
6/18/2013 - Tal-Starodub, Petrozavodsk 1984
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