The big ten of the opening
I have looked over the top ten rules of the opening on chess.com and I have tried to follow these rules. However one rule, I think makes all of the other rules relative. That rule is number 9. The rule is develop plans, not just pieces. It even further explains that “opening theory… essentially means playing the opening and developing moves that are considered theoretically best by GMs and world champions.”
So I take this to mean that all the other rules are good guidelines however there are certain responses that are best. That is to say that there are certain moves you make in response to your opponent that will be better than other moves you can make even if they are kept within the “rules” of a general opening.
Now please let me be clear. I am not trying to refute years of experience or contradict current masters. My knowledge of chess is vastly inferior to theirs. I am just trying to understand one thing. Is it beneficial to study openings of masters and learn or memorize certain lines, up to a point, maybe to the 3rd or 4th move, or just learn the reasons for the moves? To me it seems to be a distinction without a difference. To learn opening theory is to learn the reasons behind the moves.
So I have been looking over my old games and master games in the chess explorer data base and trying to memorize and understand why I would want to move for example 3.Bc4 instead of 3.Nxe5 against the Damiano defense, this is an example of a game that I played. It seems to me that the next time I play someone who leads with this defense I should play Bc4 which would mean that I would need to have this in my mind or memorized so that I can set up a middle game in which I could have a fighting chance.
Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.