Key to Opening Success Part 2
In chess, there are many openings out there to choose from. Of course, some are better than others. But they all have the ability to bring you great success over the board. That being said, it is vital to choose 1 or 2 systems against everything, as you are getting better, and continue to refine those systems. This will give you a high level of mastery in those particular systems.
But then the question arises, what systems should I choose. While some such as the Ruy Lopez are very solid, they make up for in the large amount of theory that must be studied. Others, such as the Exchange Slav, that solve the theory problem, usher in the question "How can I win"? The important thing to understand is that every opening has its advantages and drawbacks. You just need to figure out the ones that gel with your style the most.
Another thing you need to realize is that you don't have to memorize bundles of theory. Just know the basic moves, and study the basic plans. This will give you a large degree of success in the sub-2400 rating categories.
An opening that I fell in love with, when I was younger, was the Sicilian Dragon. I knew just enough to outplay lower-rated players who were out of their comfort zone, but still got my own upsets against plenty of stronger players. It is not as much theory as you think. You often see the same positions over and over again. I will walk you through the different parts of it, and show you all you really need to know about it.
When it comes to the main lines, I hear a lot of "so much theory", "death by theory", etc. Even the dragon experts in the chess world don't bother learning all of that theory because for the most part it is not a good use of time. There are so many openings out there that demand attention, learning 30 moves deep in one variation that you will probably never see, is most likely not a good use of time. I will show you the three biggest ideas, which if you know, you will become just as adept to play the dragon as almost everyone else out there.
Idea 1 (Rook sac on c3):
Idea 2 (Fighting Karpovian prophylaxis):
Idea 3 (Restricting white's light squared bishop):
Ultimately, I have provided the Sicilian Dragon as a possible opening to add to your opening repertoire. Any opening that you feel will help you will suffice, and the Dragon may or may not be that opening for you. But regardless, it is important you understand the difference between an excellent and an elementary opening player. While the elementary opening player looks at the position and sees variations that must be memorized, the excellent opening player sees plans that must be executed, and will orchestrate his pieces to carry out that execution.