How to know you are studying openings wrong!
I'm not saying you are studying the openings wrong - but ask yourself if you have ever done the following:
1) When you reach a position that you are not familiar with, you immediately turn on the computer and let it "buzz"
take for example:
That's not to say that Qd3 is better than Qd2, but what does matter is how you reached the conclusion that you should play your queen two spaces up instead of one:
Is it because the silicone monster said that Qd3 is 0.16 better than Qd2?
Or is it because you were inspired by a GM game and liked how the pieces were coordinating in that game?
The problem with the first line of reasoning is quite simple, and that's that we are not allowed to use computers during real games - so once we start actually thinking on our own, then the trouble starts..
I am inclined to say that the second way of reasoning is a very good way to study the openings - I now introduce (finally!) what I believe is the best way to study the openings.
You should focus on where to place your pieces
There is a place and time for specific variations but when it comes down to it, the most important thing when preparing the openings is knowing how you are going to coordinate your pieces.
Notice that the ideas I mentioned make no mention of "this is a good move because it is +0.37 for White" or some variation like we play 3. Bc4 Nd5 4. Nc3 .... (obvious nonsense, but you get my point)
We focus on putting our pieces our squares that make them happy, and it is this kind of thinking that motivates most of our opening play. (Of course there are exceptions, like looking for tactical opportunities, but ultimately I am saying that thinking in the opening is equivalent to planning out where your pieces and pawns will be best placed in preparation for the ensuing middlegame)
I hope I didn't confuse you too much, I will post more examples next week!
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