From 1400 USCF to 2000: #7 Building a Repertiore + Sample Game

Jul 21, 2014, 5:27 PM |

Recently I purchased "How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertiore" by Steve Giddins, and quite enjoyed it. The key points I took away from this book were:

  1. If you are serious about your chess improvement, it will be better for your chess to learn a few different opening replies. Narrowing down your repertiore to one or two lines can hamper your overall chess knowledge.
  2. Playing "systems" may make your learning easier, but it is hard to gain an advantage playing these systems.
  3. Learn from top players who suite your playing style, copy their repoertiore, study their games, preferably annotated by them! 
  4. Pick lines, and stick to them, even through the losses, while you are learning them. Losses are most likely not due to your opening, but middle and endgame mistakes.

The GM's that I think follow my playing style the most are Kramnik, and M. Gurevich. Kramnik for the white side (1.d4 or 1.Nf3), and positional play, Gurevich for the black side - French, Pirc, Sharper lines (Plays for win in all situations). 

So, Being mostly unfamiliar with the Pirc, I also decided to study this opening more. I bought a Fritz trainer, and setup Chess Position Trainer, and worked my way through from the bottom up in this case with the sidelines first, odd white second moves, then 3.Bd3, 4.Bc4 etc, working towards the Austrian attack.  I rarely see the Austrian, and felt learning the sidelines would be a better way to see how white can avoid mainlines. 

So, its time to make some decisions. While I don't play only one or two openings, I play way too many of them to get any sort of learning out of it. For example with the black pieces against 1.e4 I currently play the French, Pirc, e5 (Ruy), Modern, Dark Knight (Nc6,e5), and occasionally c5 (though I have no idea how to play it). Against 1.d4, Nimzo/Bogo, Benko, Kings Indian Defense, Modern, Grunfeld, QID, and Bassman.

Even as white, I vary tremendously. In no order Nf3, e4, d4, c4, and even vary inside this. KIA, Kings Gambit, Ruy, Scotch, Reti, Botvinik System (c4/e4), and for fun, the Grob, not to mention all the Queen pawn deviations. 

So obviously, we have to make some cuts, not everyone can be on the team, for now.  I want to have perhaps 2 openings for d4, and 2 for Nf3 (to retain some flexibility) as white, and one solid reply as black each for e4/d4, and one very aggressive/sharp line each as well, and some drawing weapons as black (for games against much higher rated players - Yasser had a video on this, and there is one here).

So here they are:


1.d4 or 1.Nf3 - Use the repertiore from Kaufman's Black and White, and the 1.Nf3 Reti opening repertiore from "A Strategic Opening reportiore".  Where the book references games from Kramnik or MG, use those games as the "Model" games for the reportiore.  Continue with a few Games using the Kings Indian attack with problematic early moves.  ie.  (after 1.Nf3 d5, strategic recommends 2. c4 dc 3. e3 transposing to a "tricky" QGA, but I have had some problems with these lines and would like to study these more) 


Vs 1.e4 Solid: Pirc, Attacking: Sicilian - (Find a sharper line), vs much lower rated, perhaps a French -what I am most familiar with. This way I will learn more. 

Vs 1.d4 Solid: Nimzo, Attacking: Benko Gambit - However, there seems to be cases where white does not play 2.c4. Perhaps 2.Nf3 or 2.e3 or the Colle etc.  KID might suffice for these or may transpose to a Pirc in some cases.

Sample blitz from my games:

Game 2: 1.d4 white

Black: Nimzo