Hello; welcome to my article about advice to new chess players…
Firstly why play chess? well it can be fun, its good for the mind and stimulating; plus there is always something to learn
Now why do you want to play? probably the best reason is to have fun winning is the shortest simplest answer.
So the best way to do that if you are brand new is to follow my advice, LoL; i am 50 years old and will never even meet a Grand Master of chess and the vest majority of chess players will never actually have to repeatedly compete against Grand Masters for money or fame etc.
So it is sort of irrelevant to mere mortals what they think of chess but like everyone they just follow the herd of chess opinion anyway. Very rarely are they actually finding new moves to improve chess overall but focusing on their own games and general chess knowledge like middle games or defending etc.
Simply how they do chess is totally different to what most people do but most wanta-bez follow the herd of advice, this includes learn tactics and solid openings etc. This is terrible advice to new players especially older new players like myself. I did play a lot of informal chess years ago but never into tournaments but have forgotten most of everything over time since the brain discards information unless it considers it important enough for later recall. This means that most of what you read about chess will soon be forgotten unless you start applying that knowledge usefully.
What most people do is they want an advantage in their chess games and i will tell you how to get that lasting advantage very soon, but for now lets consider how the vast hard of chess players try for that winning advantage. They study openings and buy lots of chess books (like i have done) in fact my partner is now at the point of saying i love you darling but either the books go or you do its not that bad really but over 50+ books is kind of hard on her.
Most of what i read soon becomes irrelevant to me and now i understand a fundamental point of chess, there are so many factors in chess that its impossible to know or predict how many variables you will need to consider in a game of chess to win repeatedly. But history shows that even strong Grand Masters often repeatedly lose chess games.
Opinion varies about the best chess openings like the open tactical king’s pawn game or the closed positional queen’s pawn games, which advice says new players should avoid due to their lack of tactical experience. So new players should choose solid world class proven openings that match their style of play and that they also enjoy and focus on tactical training. This is what new players are told and it is terrible advice especially to older players, and here is the simple answer of why it is really bad advice.
There are 150 variations of openings in chess of which some two dozen form the strongest most secure openings. Since new players have no clue what they will enjoy and no idea what style of player they really are it is impossible for them to make any sort of useful decision on what sort of opening meets their chess needs. Add to this that to learn the Ruy Lopez or Sicilian or French will take well over one year to understand the main lines and important variations. But after 3 or 5 years of study and tutoring new players will have some serious winning knowledge of these solid openings and will start their chess careers. Well i am 50 and no time for solid study nor a tutor and certainly no time to evaluate everyone’s opinion about the new lines of each of these really detailed complex openings.
In short a new player needs something for the here and now something to use today and to learn with and something that gives them an immediate advantage against other opponents. Experienced chess players will tell you this is why you need a selection of solid openings. But in truth you only need four openings for the rest of your life, these four openings will get you a very long way in chess and certainly these openings are all proven up to master level repeatedly so when others tell you they are not good enough you will know how chess smart that other person is when you know they are wrong, LoL
for WHITE openings…
The KIA King’s Indian Attack / Reti = 1. Nf3 … ;
The Blackmar Diemer / colle zukertort opening Systems = 1. D4 … ;
for BLACK openings…
The pterodactyl Defense / Sniper openings against anything white plays especially = 1. D4, you reply 1… G6 ;
The Nimzovich Defense = 1… nC6 ;
(sorry this one guy name is spelt Nimzovich or Nimzowitsch or another two spelling variations )
So now you know what my best openings pick for new players are, now simply here is why. These openings get you up and running fast, they are surprise openings which most of your opponents will not be ready for usually. They will get you playing chess fast and people will think you are crazy for using them. This is because they are not considered strong and most other players follow the herd and just play main stream openings.
So if you want to be socially accepted just do what everyone else does and follow the herd but remember this these other players have spent 2 years or 5 years or 10 years learning those accepted openings. So frankly it will take you way to long to even become an average player if you choose the normal path. BUT be warned chess players are conservative and this means you are offending their sensibilities and forcing them to consider something different; shame on you…
But these four openings are also part of much more conservative and stronger openings so over time you are learning layouts that will allow you to “return-from-the-darkness-and-reenter-the-light-path” should you later decide that social standing is more important than playing winning chess.
Just silicon search any of these four openings and you will find world-class chess players who won many many games wit these openings over very long and successful careers. So when people tell you these openings are not strong you will know how smart these people are in truth.
Another thing new players are told is to avoid closed positional games early in their careers. Well simply that is not so relevant now days. Most people who play chess now days play silicon opponents who usually do not make human tactical mistakes. So the open lines of 1.E4… are much less used now-a-days so learning to play open style of games for a new player is not as important as yesteryear.
Today the average teenage serious chess player knows some ten or twelve openings fairly well, this was never the case decades ago. So new players need simple unusual stuff to give them a starting fighting edge against others who have spent years or decades doing chess.
The other thing “the-herd” will tell you is these openings will tell you is that these four openings are weak and easily prepared for. That they can be easily defeated and are not worthy of your time and attention. Simply if i KNOW someone is going to play the Ruy or French or Caro-Kann i can be ready for them. So unless you want to learn a dozen different openings then your opponents are going to be ready for anything you throw at them even if they are normal or off-beat openings. With these four openings you get a surprise value that your opponent is forced away from their normal opening sooner so you have gained a small edge toward winning.
Regardless when you start getting better at chess and not making simple mistakes you will lose less and less games. Do not blame the openings above. These four openings are proven good enough for mortal chess players, even Super Grand master players have used them when needed. Do not believe others who tell you your opening is why you are losing your games, its something else. Maybe tactics or positional thing or mistakes, LoL could even be you. Do not swap around your openings stick to one thing and spend years learning it will because the time will come when your openings will meet better players who have prepared for these openings. Its your job to be more knowledgeable about your opening and how to avoid their common responses, but remember these players are much more advanced than you so simply you will probably lose anyways.
But that is chess, every thing is a 50-50% bet until the first move is made then equilibrium is lost and you have to force that percentage chance to your side for the win. Do not lose faith, have some fun; only play nice people and be yourself.
The only people i think of as mega stars in chess are Capa and Tal; so find your hero’s and just think about how they would feel. All the other dozen great players were defective in some way at the chess board but still played amazing chess. Find some chess authors you like and spend a week reading online reviews about their books before you start buying chess books. In fact the WORST chess books you can buy are books on the openings. Buy puzzle books and use them or books or positional play or endgames or annotated games, whatever but seriously do not waste your time or money on openings books, the author just manged to get their opinion published but that does not mean hey actually are right. Remember if you buy a ton of books you will not have time to study chess games you have already lost and maybe even you will get thrown out and have to live with me and my chess books when my hunny throws me and the chess books out during a clean-up of the clutter in her life…
Remember; Have Fun !!!
Beat you out there