Openings According to Me: Intro
For many players the opening is a huge weak point (actually, often they are weak in all the phases of the game, mainly because they are "lazy"). For me the opening is a great strength; often I gain a large advantage out of the opening which helps me to get a winning position in the middlegame (actually converting that advantage is the part I have some trouble with). I have decided to start a column that will help people with their openings, and to muddle through all that complicated theory.
I remember when I picked up a copy of MCO-15 (Modern Chess Openings 15th Edition). It was one of my favorite books, and although it helped me immensly with my openings, it also led me to a few false conculsions. For instance, I spent too much time looking at the += (which means white is slightly better) and all those other chess evalution symbols instead of the moves and ideas behind those moves themselves. Many lines of the Closed Ruy Lopez and various other openings gave white an edge according to the book. In truth, in a single line there could be as many as 10 or 20 good alternative moves throughout, and 5 to 8 improvements in the line. I eventually realized that GM's wouldn't be playing the French Defense, for instance, if they thought they were giving white a super easy and clear road to an advantage. At one point, never played e5 against e4 (unless I was playing the petroff defense) because I thought that it gave white an easy advantage. I can't say that was MCO's fault though, going through Fischer's games where he crushed the Closed Ruy Lopez really made an impact on me (even today I would not play the Chigorin Defense, although I might try the Breyer or Zaitsev). However MCO was still a great book, it got me excited about chess, and I learned all of the major openings; even though there are a few nice openings that were not in it or had not fully evolved around the time that the book was written. Eventually I can to realize that the book was not "true gospel" and was merely a sampling of various opening ideas. In truth, the book barely scratches the surface, but did jumpstart my knowledge of openings.
Instead of MCO, I would recommend FCO (Fumdemental Chess Openings), because instead of just long lines of moves it tells you the the typical ideas of an opening - what each side is striving for. The opening is all about the advantages you have and what advantages your opponent has.(The chess advantages include: Superior minor piece, superior development, better king safety, more active pieces, better pawn structure, etc.). You should play with a plan in mind, not just arbitary moves. That whole stale line - "you should try to find the best move every move," is GARBAGE. How do I find the best move? I may talk more on this subject of best move vs. best plan later, but if you want to better understand what I am talking about pick up a copy of 'How to Reassesse Your Chess' by Jeremy Silman. It is one of the best books I have read and gone through. Your moves should have a purpose, a goal to which they atain based on the advantage of your position and the weaknesses of your opponents positon.
The column I will write is a column which will go over a specific line in an opening; for example, the 4...Ba6 variation of the Queens Indian, Kasparov-Petrosian Attack. I will discuss the major ideas of the opening, point out things to avoid, interesting ideas, maybe a novelty I have discovered, and present a few games that show what both sides are trying to attain.
I plan on publishing 3 articles so far. The first will be on a variation of the Nimzo-Indian, the second on a sharp variation of the Semi-Slav, and the third on a insane variation of the Sicilian Najdorf. After I have published those articles, I plan on seeing what kind of response I am getting. If the response is positive, I plan on countinuing this column. I hope you all will enjoy it.