Are you a Gemini Player? (Consistent Opening Heuristics)

Oct 21, 2017, 2:58 PM |
1

**In psychology, heuristics are simple, efficient rules which are generally applicable but have some exceptions

My 2017 New Year's resolution was to develop a near-universal opening for Black and White. My reasoning was this:  Even if my equally experienced online opponent knew I was going to open with d4 and Nf3 next, there is no way his last 100 games as black were played against d4. But my last 100 games as white where. Therefore, any continuation should be more familiar to me than to him.

The logic goes like this:  Given a reasonable assumption that if you are capable of recognizing the optimal next move  in 100 positions (defined by you & your personal choice of engine, etc.)  would you want those 100 positions to be divided into 2 different openings (50 each) or all 100 within a single opening (and it's side lines).  I decided to do the latter and am glad I did.  Now when I say optimal I mean a combination of optimal evaluation + familiarity.  For example, if you're building an opening and you've found that 60% of the time Bd3 is optimal and Be2 is optimal 25% of the time, you may find that Bd3 can be played 70% of the time with very little loss is evaluation.  This is exactly what I did because it allowed me to narrow the variation of positions I was getting in by move 7 or 8. Which then allowed me to focus on the DEEPER meanings and strengths and weaknesses of key positions in the middle game.

Regardless of my results, which have been good, it was the only way I could prune unnecessary variations from my own decision tree.  For example, from my hours of building a repertoire prep using Chess Position Trainer, I discovered that I can play Bd3 80% of time (exceptions include c5 and g6), instead of constantly trying to decide between Be2 and Bd3.

Unlike professional players, we non-professionals have the luxury of nearly always playing with new or random opponents which makes this idea even more logical in my opinion.  But like i said earlier, even if they know our first few move bias, we've played it more often then they have so how could choosing an opening I'm less familiar with be an advantage?

I know the anecdotal arguments against this approach. For example, this could be seen as boring or not in the spirit of chess, or building dependencies, etc.  But I feel the opposite. Given I can only study chess a few hours a week I have choice with how I spend that time.  Go deeper and deeper within a narrower lane (which is still quite wide given after move 10 I still have few identical games) or....spend that time trying to learn positions speckled across various openings which I'm more likely to forget?

Anyway, I know many will disagree with this approach and argue on the merits of becoming more well rounded (and I respect those opinions), but I found this approach works for me and it has helped me improve my rating this year.  Another thing that helped is that I created puzzles in my blog just for me and within my narrow scope of openings to get even more photographic powers

These days I mostly play on other sites because I like to play 20 games as white then 20 as black to further this type of depth and memory.

So if you're a Gemini player and like to open the same way every time please let me know what your results and thoughts are below!

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