Masters Forget Basic Opening Principles Too!

Masters Forget Basic Opening Principles Too!

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One of the first things that we learn as chess players is the three basic goals of the opening phase of all chess games:

1. Control the center of the board
2. Develop your pieces
3. Castle your king

Along with these three goals, we also learn various opening principles such as:

-Don't move the same piece multiple times
-Don't develop your queen too early
-Don't push too many pawns
-Don't waste time with a3/h3 (...a6/...h6) rook-pawn moves

Once we've internalized these opening goals and principles, we then learn specific openings variations such as the Ruy Lopez, Sicilian Defense, Queen's Gambit Declined, etc. Along the way, we also become better attuned to avoiding things like autopilot in the opening phase and looking for ways to punish various opening mistakes from our opponents. As time goes on, we eventually combine our knowledge of an opening with understanding the plans that arise in the resulting middlegames and this pushes our knowledge even further.

You may think that at a certain rating level strong players stop making mistakes in the opening phase. However, this isn't the case! It actually ends up that strong players many times make opening mistakes BECAUSE they are accustomed to breaking the opening "rules" correctly in many situations.

But what happens when you take this too far? Well, recently this past weekend 2023 Charlotte Open concluded and there were a few interesting mismatch games from the first round specifically that I wanted to analyze during this blog. Each of these games will show various opening principles being broken and mistakes being made by master-level players. We'll also see some missed opportunities in these game examples too.

It's important to understand that if this level of strong players are making these opening mistakes, then players at the club level are doing it much more often. And this is good news for you if you can punish them effectively! If you are interested in learning more about opening principles (and when to break them correctly!), I have enjoyed the course "Opening Principles" (click here) from ChessMood and would highly recommend it. You can find more information about it though clicking the link above.

See you in the next blog! happy

Hey everyone! My name is Dalton Perrine. I am a chess coach and FIDE Master who runs the popular website where you can find a lot of information on how to take your game to the "Next Level"!