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How much to study openings as a beginner? (Hangin' with Mr. Lopez)

How much to study openings as a beginner? (Hangin' with Mr. Lopez)

Aug 30, 2016, 1:05 PM 6

I have seen many people on the internet claim that beginners should not bother to study openings. That to study the opening is a waste of time and beginners should focus on tactics, tactics, tactics. They say we should just follow the basic opening principals and not worry about any book openings.


While I agree with the majority of what they are saying I do not think that beginners should totally ignore study of the opening. I think we should limit opening study to somewhere around 15% of our study time. One idea I really like was from Simon Williams (Ginger_GM) who said beginners should find 3 openings they like and stick with them. One opening to play as white and as black one against e4 and one against d4. 


With that in mind I have limited my opening study to a handful of openings. With white I play 1. e4 and go into the Spanish if possible. And against 1.e4 I do essentially the same but reversed. Since I play the Ruy Lopez so much I feel fine with it on either side of the board. The other e4 lines I just try to find something simple which doesn't have a ton of theory. For example in the French I'll just play the exchange variation. I still usually play the more open lines in the Sicilian since I spend most of my study time on tactics.


But even a little opening knowledge can win you some games. Take this game i recently played.


Ok so the opening didn't flat out win me the game. But if I didn't understand how to play this opening I would have wasted a move defending my e pawn which isn't necessary in this position clearly illustrated by the game above. And without that knowledge I wouldn't have been in the position to allow my opponent to blunder with a6. However even if he doesn't I already think my position in that game was better.
Here is another fun common Ruy Lopez Mistake by black:
So in conclusion you don't have to memorize a whole book of openings. But if you are going to play something at least understand the ideas and common plans. Spend a little time studying openings you play and it might win you some games. 




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