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I am just learning this game and have a question about openings. If I'm playing white and black doesn't reply with the standard moves to my opening, should I continue with my standard opening moves or adjust them to what black does?
It depends on the position. The most difficult thing to learn about openings for me, was only getting to the second or third move before my opponent wouldn't follow the opening anymore. I eventually gave up on following openings.
Play the board, and position. If you do not, you could get in real trouble fast. Many players know of obscure moves not necessarily covered by standard book, or its a transposition, that will favor them. Don't just blindly follow a standard opening or set of prescribed moves. If you lose the game, go through it carefully, and check all sources to see if it was a transposed move or out of book, which should have been listed in your opening book.
In the opening stage, you have to do mainly 4 things:- Control the center- Develop pieces (minor pieces, knights, bishops)- Make castling- And finally move the queen, to connect the rooks.
So, if your opponent plays a non-book move, then you still can play a very good game. Or even if your opponent plays an opening what you don't know, you do not need to worry, just follow the usual openings principles.
This is not advice because I am not qualified to give it but this is what I am now doing.
If in the opening my opponent does something out of the ordinary which most of the time is an aggressive move for one of my pieces, I think why are they doing this and what in doing it have they left open.
I think opponents do this for one main reason, to intimidate, to try an halt your development in the opening. I now tend to develop despite the threats...in a measured but aggressive way.
You get nothing for free in life, so if they wants something of mine, what of theirs is on offer, even if that unwilling trade is just to make them move their King so they cannot Castle.
Starting out, the ONLY concern you should have about openings is to follow the basic principles of development to get your pieces out, your share of the center, and your King to safety. Scroll down that whole page for the advice of several great players and authors.
There's nothing wrong with learning the names of openings and the moves which define them, just so you will know what they are when you see them in master games or hear others talking about them, but that is purely incidental knowledge for you as a beginning player, much like learning the names of past World Champions, not something that will help you improve your game.
I would suggest you not view any of your opponents' moves as "out of the ordinary" at this point. In chess there is no penalty for an unusual move, or even a bad move, other than what you can prove on the board at that moment.
For instance, suppose he plays an unusual move which is not objectively good, but does have a single object of a threat to play another unusual move which will combine for advantage. If you dismiss the move as out of the ordinary, and proceed with the "opening" you have chosen, you may fall into the trap when any other reasonable move may have averted it.
In short, you will lose games for the first part of your chess career because you do not see the tactical threats being made against you, one or two-move tactics which win material or threaten checkmate. Those tactics are what you need to work on and learn to recognize before you even begin to think of what opening you are playing.
Many thanks to all who replied! As a beginner, there is a great deal to be aware of. Concentrating on development principles is the correct course of action for me at this point in time.
Certainly NOT continue as if nothing happened.
You have to adapt. If your opponent deviates from the standard moves, it must be wrong. If you don't know why it is wrong, you have learned to much of the opening.
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