The Complete Chess Course! I got that for Christmas in 1971 and devoured it. Years later, I had fun going through it and figuring out which games were actual master games and who played them. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Awesome...I think I'll be purchasing FCO and Understanding Chess Move by Move here this weekend!
However, kikvors' method works very well, and is close to the way pro players learn new openings.hicetnunc: Really? I had the impression that they strapped into beefy chess database software and special training programs.I'm nowhere near a pro but I can't believe those boys and girls aren't doing some serious memory work in their training. I don't see how they could perform at their levels any other way.Love your nick!
To put it another way -- just as people are crazy for tactics these days so that they don't have to think about how to trap a loose piece, they simply recognize the pattern and do it, I assume the pros must be functioning at that level with openings too, to save time on the clock if nothing else.As to getting the general story of an opening -- White attacks on the kingside, Black looks for a d5 break, the dark squares are weak but there is compensation on the half-open c-file etc. -- I'm sure the pros know those stories for all openings and major variations whether they use them or not.
My favorite opening book is Understanding the Chess Openings by Sam Collins. While not as detailed as FCO, its easier to read. I always go to the Collins book first.
Good but more detailed are the series of four books by Stefan Djuric et al Chess Opening Essentials Vol one is 1 e4 openings, Vol 2 is 1 d4 d5 and Vol 3 Indian Openings. Fairly explanatory, more detail than FCO, but in double-algebraic (sometimes called full-algebraic) notation.
Yes, actually, what I meant is that pro players learn an opening by going through a bunch of games (maybe they don't need the annotations) and sorting out things by themselves, rather than going over a tree of variations. Then they analyze and try the opening in offhand quick games and refine...
But I completely agree there is a lot of memorization involved, at any level. The "understanding" (wordy) part mainly comes as a way to help memorization, though in some cases it can help generate ideas or useful questions (ie. "why not the xxx developing move here ?").
However, the more you know about chess, the easier memorization becomes, as you can quickly make sense of most opening moves you see (so you can label them with some explanation, no matter how right it is at the moment).
didnt the world champion lasker once wrote a book where he put down a plan for a weak player to become strong. Didnt he also mention opening training in his book, or do i remember it incorrectly??
But are opening books the best way to train openings? I don't think so.
I think the proven method is still: play through good annotated games with the opening, then start playing it, then analyze the games you played, then repeat.
Books can sharpen the details after you've already done that for a while, or give some ideas for lines you may want to start playing, but you can't just sit down with an opening book and expect to learn an opening by memorizing it.
you're setting up a false dichotomy here. you can basically think of, and use, an opening book as an annotated games collection. i don't think anyone has suggested sitting down and trying to memorise an opening book cold....
I love this conversation.....I'm happy to read about all the varying opinions regarding learning openings and just improving chess in general
JoeH: Since you're farther along than my first impression, I'll throw out an off-the-wall suggestion: the Alburt/Dzindi/Perelshteyn Chess Openings for White/Black Explained repertoire books.Since they are repertoire books, they aren't overall references but systems for white or black to meet almost any opening moves from their opponents. So the utility of these books largely depends on whether you like their choices enough to want to live by them in play. Some of the lines are IMO iffy. I like the Black book better than the White.But what sets these books apart from other repertoire books is that they include a good overall introduction to all openings and what the opening in general is about. Furthermore these books have the best visual format I've ever seen in chess. Many, many diagrams, even for the discussions of side-variations, along with conversational discussions. Plus the books are printed on high-quality white paper with a spine that will lay flat without breaking (as my old MCO already has).I wish there were more chess books printed like this.
AHA!! I used to have those books but couldn't remember the titles!!
I just looked them up...going to get those again...thanks for jogging my memory!! I learned my favorite opening against e4 with that book!