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Your book should tell you the ideas behind the lines, why you should play them and what plans you should have for the middle-game. That is what you should read and remember in a game. If it doesn't then put it in the nearest recycle bin, or at least shelve it until you are somewhere around 1700 USCF.
Ok, lets look at your question this way:1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.nc3 h6 4.bg5?? would lose your bishop.
Do not blindly follow moves, understand them.
I think what you must learn is to understand the principles and fundamentals of openings so that even you were confronted on a new move; you still know what you are heading for.
This is why you shouldn't deal with openings yet. Your opponent's won't play the book moves, and even if they do, if you don't understand what you want to do in a certain opening, then that knowledge is useless.
As white you should play 1. e4, and answer 1. e4 with 1. e5. Against 1. d4 you should play 1. d5 and then just develop pieces, castle, connect your rooks, that is all.
You should read books on tactics, strategy, endgame. Those will improve your skills, opening's won't.
Until you get to a higher level you won't often encounter players who play book moves. Personally I still found learning openings useful because I learned them from heavily annotated sources and I learned tactics and strategy at the same time as I was learning the variations. Once you start facing stronger opponents you will see the actual mainlines more often.
You should know the general ideas behind the moves you play in a given opening and use them to guide you once your opponent leaves the book, but you certainly have to respond to each move on its merits. Using 'system' type openings where you set up the same way every game is counter-productive for the beginners in my opinion. When I first start playing chess someone told me I should play the Colle system as it is good for beginners, I credit that piece of advice with putting my development as a player back about 12 months.
Thank you everyone.
Advice number 1 :Work on tactics.
If you really want to work on opening, you should have a look at the game explorer. You're not a premium member but there are some other free similar databases on other chess sites. You could take a look at it whenever you discover a new move on your opening that is not in your book.
So in summary,
I should 1. work on tactics while playing with general principles
2. learn more about endgames
3. play this way until my tactical skill gets me consistent success against people who are near my level
4. learn the long term goals of certain openings
5. learn actual openings
Is that about right? Anything else?
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