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Key to Opening Success Part 1

Key to Opening Success Part 1

Jan 2, 2016, 9:16 PM 0

In chess, experience often plays a major role in who will win particular games. When one person has a lot of experience playing a certain opening, and enters a familiar position, they are inherently going to play that position much better than even their skill level may indicate. It is something you cannot prevent, and they cannot deny. Often a key idea players have is to surprise their opponents in the opening, and take them into an unfamiliar position. In this way, the players can downgrade the quality of their opponent's moves, and perhaps drain their opponent's time. This is the process of creating opening novelties.

However, the players who try to create opening novelties make three key mistakes. The first mistake is that they never check their ideas with a computer engine. It is important to double check your ideas to make sure your opponent doesn't have a cold refutation of what could have been your great idea. The second mistake is that they often try to find places very early on to create these opening novelties. At the beginning of the game, the same first few moves have been played very frequently because they are the best opening moves. Rather than trying to go around them for possible temporary success, players should embrace them, and aim to create their novelties only later on in the well-established lines. The final mistake is that players refuse to innovate on their novelties. When you play a novelty so many times, other players often have the ability to study them. After they study them and prepare against them, those novelties became just as much common knowledge to them as the solid main lines. 

When you create a novelty, don't just look for specific moves, look for potential ideas that you will enjoy playing. There is no point playing a novelty against a stronger opponent if you too are just as unfamiliar in the resulting position. Here is an excellent example of the power of creating novelties. Even the best can be taken down with them.

Even the chess elite make mistakes, however. Karpov held his head high after defeating Kasparov that he made mistake number three, and forgot to innovate on his novelty. He mistakenly predicted that Kasparov would try to avoid the position he previously lost. However, Kasparov seeks to refute it once again. Karpov, out of fear, goes back into the main line in their next encounter, and gets what is coming to him. This next game shows what can happen if you do the same as Karpov, and refuse to innovate. 

The purpose of creating novelties is to get an upper hand on your opponent in the opening by taking them into an unfamiliar position. That being said, it is very important to analyze any novelties you create well, in order to make sure your goal doesn't backfire. As the chess world moves closer towards opening perfection, one of the last keys left to opening success is to take your opponents out of their comfort zone early on. Openings don't decide the outcome of the game, but they can provide an amazing head start.


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