Studying The Openings
Like many other average chess players I knew some of the opening principals, and few main lines of from popular openings, but I had never studied any opening in depth. Not because I was against such study, but the idea of learning all those lines and variations was kind of discouraging. Perhaps I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to put enough effort into studying, and everything was going to turn out to be a big disappointment. This finally has changed.
I was very excited and motivated to return back playing chess, after not moving a single piece for decades. All the learning tools online chess offered was looking very promising. Yet they are only useful if one is determined to take advantage of them. After spending months as a premium member, I realized I wasn't doing much more than playing chess online, a feature that is available to all members, premium or not. It was a decision time. Either I was going to cancel my membership, and keep on playing chess as a regular member, admitting I'll never study as much as once I thought I would, or I was going to go re-start using the study tools regularly.
That's how my recent journey of studying the openings started. Instead of counting on my scrappy knowledge, I decided to go back to point one. Finally I had a courage to admit: I knew nothing serious about the openings. Just by admitting that, I became more comfortable in my quest. A mental block was lifted. Now I was more eager to learn than before. I browsed through the videos, and courses available to see which openings are recommended for the beginners. I created myself a training schedule, and started to study. Once I started to understand the core idea behind the opening I picked, learning the variations turned out to be easier than I previously thought. They were not the bunch of moves I blindly had to memorize anymore. They were making sense.
When I wanted to apply them to my games, most of my opponents at my level didn't reply my moves with the known responses. Previously this was a stage I thought my study was going to go wasted, but the reverse happened. By following the solid rules I was learning, I found myself being able to spot the mistakes of my opponent's irregular moves. So there was a reason the best variation was called best, and masters were studying them restlessly, instead of counting on spontaneous decisions. In a short period of time, I found my performance was improving.
Today I am neither a good chess player, nor knowing the mainline and some variations of an opening is really much. I am more than aware the difficult times are waiting ahead, and once I pass beyond my current level everything will get tougher. Yet just by seeing the results of investing some time into study, today I am more encouraged than ever before.
This is not an advice I give out. I am merely listening the advice that was given countless times by the players of all levels. And its working.