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I've only recently paid for membership, and therefore only just been able to explore past more than 2 moves. (BTW this relates to online chess not live)
I find it a useful way to look at overall strength of openings, but it is obviously more relevan for stronger players as it reflects strength of master games. It is most useful if you can study why these moves are good or bad
What I find frustrating is that sometimes, at the begining of an online game, only when playing other paying members, it does feel like you are both looking at explorer and not really playing based on your own skill or memory of openings. Now I guess there isn't much difference between memorising openings and using explorer but it still feels a bit dull
So now I try to work out my move before looking at explorer so I can feel that I am deciding it myself. The other option is choosing a weaker move, or one not even in the master games list, so that one's opponent is forced to think and not just base it on explorer. This seems favourable to get a proper game, even though it might put me at a temporary disadvantage. I guess I'm hoping that my skill and analysis from that weaker position will overcome someone who relies to much on explorer, once we get away from a "classic" position. And perhaps players at my level cant exploit that less favourable position in the way that it would be obvious to a master
I also dont really like the whole follow the database idea many players seem to use.Its why I play blitz as well.
You can't rely on the game explorer alone to plan your opening. It needs to be supplemented with other information. Blindly following the explorer without understanding the goals of the opening just isn't going to get you very far. FCO does a good job of laying out the plans for each side and of course for a diamond member there is the Chess Mentor and videos. I think people who are playing a lot of games probably rely on the explorer the most. It's just so easy to plug in a move from the database and move on to your next game.
Fundamental Chess Openings by Paul van der Sterren. It's pretty much become the 1 volume opening reference. MCO (Modern Chess OPenings) used to be the standard, but it's really just a listing of variations without explanation and you can get that from any data base. FCO, on the other hand, is mostly about explanation and is in many ways an updating and expansion of Reuben Fine's classic "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings" . Highly recommended.
You can't rely on the game explorer alone to plan your opening. It needs to be supplemented with other information. Blindly following the explorer without understanding the goals of the opening just isn't going to get you very far.
This is true, but it's not the reason I dont like it.Often when I want to test an openings playability, ill start up maybe 25 CC games from the position and see how people respond to it naturally.This is of interest to me because if I find people reularly choose a line in which them playing natural moves allows me to induce complications, which I will be more familiar with, then I have a very good reason to play it.What I get instead is a bunch of people blitzing out 15 moves of mainline before I diverge into a sideline, and yes, often they are at a loss of what to do, but so what? Winning isnt my concern and neither of us will learn anything from a game that starts 20 something moves of perfect play in (which would never occur OTB at my level).
So which is a better book for someone my level. FCO or Complete Idiots Guide to Openings - I have the Patrick Wolfe Idiots Guide to Chess which is great
I now some basic openings ideas and a few openings to the first 3/4 moves but little else. I am >1500 CC but >1000 on Standard live, and 800 ish on Blitz
I think FCO would be more valuable to you since you're already using the game explorer. You'll be able to choose lines based on some knowledge of where the game is headed. On the other hand you're not yet a good player so the Idiot's Guide might help you more. It's quite possible that some key general concepts about opening might really help your live game. Don't be surprised if you find an annoying amount of your discretionary income starts to be spent accumulating a chess library. Have fun.
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