Why Are Openings Emphasized So Much?
Ok I get it. Openings are important. You obviously don't want to be blown out of the water before move fifteen.
But I just have to shake my head when I see ten year olds trying to memorize* 25 moves in the Sicilian. That's ludicruous!
For most chessplayers, they would get the bang for their buck studying common middlegame themes or endgame positions. The way I see it, studying openings doesn't really become important until you reach 1800 elo. Before that, keep playing a set of moves that won't get you in trouble. No need to be fancy or aggressive--that's for the middlegame!
If you're starting out, here's my recommendation for an opening reportoire that won't take you too long to understand:
As White, 1. e4
- Against 1... e5, the Italian Game or the Vienna Game
- Against 1... c5, the closed sicilian
- Against 1... c6 or e6, the King's Indian Attack
- Against 1. e4, 1... e5. Ruy Lopez, Italian Game, you name it.
- Against 1. d4, 1... d5. Queen's Gambit Declined
*I want to emphasize memorize because I seriously doubt they understand the purpose of those moves.