No mind for openings


I'm falling into a slump and losing my passion for chess as lately I've spent allot of time studying openings. So many times I go into an opening, and once opening play is broken, I find myself looking at the board with one overwhelming question,,,,, Now what? It is widely known that opening study usually consists of memorizing hundreds of continuations and lines, traps, zings, and it is quite a task to do properly. In addition, there are so many openings that it is very hard just to remember 6 or 8 moves in each one as well. I feel that my time will be better served studying differently.

Some lessons that I've learned already from books and experience is that knowledge is much more powerful then memorization. Knowing not just "what", but more "why". Even if you make a wrong move, if you had a reason behind why you did it, you can learn from it. If you did it just from memorization, then you don't learn as much as you just memorize another continuation, but the actual knowledge can escape you. With this in mind, I'm going to devote allot of my study time pursuing tactics and strategy. One book I'm reading right now is "How to Reassess Your Chess", by one of my favorite authors, Jeremy Silman. I'm also reading a book, "Silman's Complete Endgame Course".

I feel that if I master the end game and improve my tactical play, that openings will then be intuitive as I will know what I'm aiming for and can adjust my play, no matter how they respond, accordingly. Besides, if I am more comfortable with middle and end game, and my opponent is more comfortable with opening, then every move that I make will be more and more into my comfort zone and less and less into his. Think of this like the sports team that has conditioned itself for the long hall games against the ones who go all out in the first half and fade away as the second half rolls around. I think "basic knowledge" will get me through openings and wisdom will carry me to victory. Some people still warn me that there are many traps that you can learn from opening study, but I once read that you should never play for "traps" or openings like that, as in advanced play, it is too widely known and will rarely follow through. I don't plan on playing at the rookie level for my whole life, I want to get into tournament play eventually, besides, I have yet to see the "fried liver attack" in any tournament log LOL.

Finally, I'm reading a book that is more of a story based chess book. A book called "Game of Kings" by Michael Weinred. It's almost like a biography, wonderfully written, about a high school chess team and a year in their lives. It puts some reality behind the game. I find the whole game so much more beautiful when it's not just a series of "this answers that" and you start to get some emotion and life mixed in it. It makes the players more real and relatable to me and my life as I start to see the reality that great chess minds are not mythical creatures of lore, they are the people I hang out with and talk to every day. They are just like you and me. It motivates me to keep playing and make a story of my own, even if it's not ever going to be put in a book.

I would like to hear what other people are doing to keep chess alive in them? What motivates you and when you hit a wall in your studies, what picks you up and gets you progressing again?