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When I was starting playing chess with the idea of learning, the openings made an impression of being "cool". However, I took the common advice, learned some basic opening principles, played 1. e4, 1. e4 e5 and 1. d4 d5 and that was it. At that time my knowledge of lines ended around move 3.
To be honest, I'm not having a much greater opening knowledge now. Of course, I've remembered some moves and ideas from studying games and books as well as from games I played myself. I've watched an occasional video on the openings I was aiming for at a given time (for example the Evans Gambit). During that time I realised that knowing openings, especially specific variations, is one of the least important for a player of my level.
So, I'm still on the stage of 1. e4, 1. e4 e5 and 1. d4 d5. Lately, I've been trying a bit of 1. d4, hoping to get some grasp of the Queen's Gambit. I know it's perfectly fine to play those. I do wonder though, whether there comes the time when you should start concerning yourself with some more specific openings? If, let's say, I will acquire some factual ability to play somewhat good chess by playing a narrow group of openings, will it be hard to acquaint myself with other openings later?
Don't know if it "will be hard to acquaint (yourself) myself with other openings later?" but I found that playing the same opening for both w and b over time and checking out some of the lines can be helpful.
I find too much of the literature to be way over my head...So I just play to have fun.
Thanks, any other opinions? Sorry for the long read :P
About move 50.
At 1700, you should have a very strong familiarity of basic opening concepts. And a good groundwork of the openings you play. You should be in familiar territory at move 7 or 8, 90% of the time. That is, you can remember playing this line before. Anytime you get surprised in the opening, look it up! Commit it to memory.
The opening is just as important as the middlegame, or the endgame. It should be given just as much priority.
You will need to research other moves if these ones become refuted, AND you routinely play opponents of high enough a level to take advantage of the supposed refutations.
In other words, you'll never need to branch out. You may WANT to, but 1.e4, 1...e5, and 1...d5 are more than enough to get you through a lifetime of chess in good standing.
"Knights before bishops"
But the Nimzo-Larsen attack moves out the bishops first.
"Queen should never be out early"
What about 1.e4,c5 2.Nf3,e6 3.d4,cxd4 4.Nxd4,Qb6!? 5.Nb3,Qc7? Also falls under don't move the same piece twice the queen displaced the knight to b3 and heads back to c7 to watch over the c-file and perhaps support e5 later. Nigel Short defeated a 2550 with it. Remember, you don't need to defeat GMs with it, only people in your tournament section.
"Capture towards the center"
And give up that nice d-file control in certain Paulsen mainlines or not take advantage of the tempo to activate the bishop in the Ruy Lopez Exchange?
"Never exchange bishop for a knight"
Then black won't get lightsquare domination and break white's pawns in the Nimzo-Indian.
"Develop pawn storms"
And create targets for your opponent in the endgame.
"Create outside passed pawns for the endgame"
1.e4,c5 2.b4?,cxb4 3.a3,d5! is far superior to bxa3?! which indeed obtains such a pawn.
I mean no offense by contradicting you I'm just having fun
Whenever you want, chess is a game.
Memorising openings isn't what a good player does, instead following principles will make you automatically play the best lines in the opening e.g
Yes and no. Just as important as learning the accepted principles of the opening phase is learning when to ignore them. That will usually be after the opponent has done something to unbalance the game.
Just as an example, I'll quote a few opening moves from an OTB (over-the-board) tournament game of mine, where my opponent makes an error or two in the opening, unbalancing the game enough that I can profitably ignore the usual opening principles:
Great game, blueemu! Your annotations are very instructive.
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