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Norway Chess R5: Opening principles

Norway Chess R5: Opening principles

Jun 12, 2017, 4:51 AM 0

If you blinked around 3pm CET yesterday, you probably missed the twenty first moves of Vachier-Lagrave - Nakamura. From pure memory and after some ten minutes, the grandmasters had shown off and played out their opening preparations, achieved a playable position, and was ready to fight on their own. 

White's "element of surprise" seemed to contain a minor improvement to an already well known line, and didn't promise more than a small edge at most. In other words: The novelty itself is not why we are here. We are here because we want to examine how those top grandmasters during the first phase of the game - regardless of how long or good an opening preparation - still fulfill and follow the principles of chess openings. 

A clever grandmaster once told me that up to a certain level, you've really just got to worry about three things during the opening: 1) Develop your pieces, 2) take control over the center, and 3) get your king in safety. Let's see how MVL and Aronian despite their super fancy, detailed opening preparations still played some solid, textbook chess and did not break too many of the opning principles! 

As we just have seen, this is one approach to reach a solid setup after the opening. Even though the players did break some of the basic opening principles like "dont move your heavy pieces (rook and queen) out too early", or "don't move the same pieces twice", their opening was still a great example to how and why one regardless of level will benefit from keeping those principles in mind. 
If you have not seen my piece on where you would like to place your pieces in the next phase of the game - the middle game - you can do so here
Photo: Maria Emelianova

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