A Chess Emergency

A Chess Emergency

| 27 | Opening Theory

   A Chess Emergency

  By NM Steve Colding


I recently was asked by  a member to comment on his blog. I did and since I feel it might help a little I submit it for your approval.Below is dronstar's blog:

On getting better and GMs

Submitted by dronestar on Fri, 02/01/2008 at 9:16pm.

While I took a couple of weeks off to deal with a medical issue with my girl friend I got a couple off chess books to study and hopefully get a better understanding of the what I consider to be the higher concepts of chess.

Then I realized something reading the first couple of pages of an book on openings, specifically a paragraph that went through the opening moves that went through a progression of moves in that every move made a new opening.(I won't go through the moves for fear of copy right infringements) but basically move one was the Sicilion defense and into the Dragon variation and into the Yugoslav attack and finally into the CHINESE VARIATION OF THE DRAGON SICILION. This was done in one game.(hopefully people with a lot of chess knowledge will understand this if not its the book Mastering the chess Openings by John Watson.)

Reading this made me realize something. EVERY MOVE I MAKE OR THINK TO MAKE AND EVERY TACTIC HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE. I seriously thought about giving up chess! But why you might ask? Because the whole idea is to get better at this game and the one revelation is that for every move or tactic I try theres a counter, Then thinking about GMs and such and getting better, I thought its not so much that I am getting better but that I would know more about the moves and counter moves to the knowledge my opponent would have.

The point being is getting better at chess a matter of having a big enough book of moves and counter moves or is it a matter of recognition and understanding.

The last thing I would say is that I've never looked at GM level games but to me at the upper tiers of chess it seems like there would be a lot of draws.

Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

  This was my answer:

     To Dronestar,

     Yes  dronstar, at first when you look at the opening and the sub-openings and their counters it looks very daunting indeed.   Your arguments, though valid speaks of despair and if true chess would be a good game. There is reason to hope.

      Here is where you arguments fall short:

  1.      Computers have discovered that the average game of chess should be about 6.000 moves! Now the average game of chess is only about 40. Which means we are all babies as far as chess is concerned.
  2.      Although there are many openings that go 40 moves into analysis there are also openings that have yet to be discovered or explored.
  3.      Over my 40 years of playing chess I have discovered that it is not the opening that matters but how you play it!
  4.      Computers who think three billion moves a second(!)did not solve chess.
  5.      That the average of winning in the middle-game is 20%, the endgame is 60%, and in the opening only 20%!

      So don't put so much emphasis on the opening, you only win in it 20% of the time. Theres  a further 80%  you should concentrate on. Capablanca said study the ending first and statisctics prove the soundness of his theorem.

     Here's a few hints on how to play the opening and avoid all those reems of analysis:

  1.      The objective of the opening is to get to a playable middle-game.
  2.      Develop your pieces quickly.
  3.      Don't block your pieces.
  4.      Keep your eyes on the center. Control at least one square in the center.
  5.      Don't move Pawns uneccesarily.
  6.      Dont Pawn hunt.
  7.      Play moves you understand, memory always fails but understanding lasts a lifetime.
  8.    Study openings which limit your opponents responses like the Bird's Opening.
  9.    Play openings which you like!

     There are many more tips but the idea is just to play good sensible moves and you will get out of the opening with a good position. There is one more thing do you think even grandmasters know all the moves in those books?   

     We are all explorers in chess and if you are diligent and enjoy yourself maaybe you too will eventually have a variation named after you. Our game is too rich to try to learn everything specialise!

     The most important thing you should remember is that chess should be fun! Put down those stuffy, dusty manuals, and just play! Birds fly, fish swim, and men contemplate. When you play chess you do what men were to do and that is where the joy should come from.

      Sincerely Steve

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