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I was wondering if playing the famous openings or counter openings are something that is required if you want to become a good chess player?
I know the other games I play aren't directly compariable to chess, but I usually don't like to be forced to play a certain way. The whole "cookie-cutter everyone who plays does X, Y, or Z and if you don't, you will be at a big disadvantage" type of thing.
You will be at a big disadvantage if you and your opponents are strong tournament players rated 1800 FIDE or higher. For the rest of us it isn't such a big deal.
For instance, I play 2. Ke2 as white, all the time, and I do fairly well.
You can paint a black rainbow, but you should not expect it to win at the Romantic-Representations-of-Rainbows fair competition. But you can still put it on your wall!
I am good at metaphors.
It would be even better if I listened to "Paint It Black" while I did this. \m/
Most chessplayers don't have full knowledge of any opening lines, but they do know something about opening principles (i.e.: fight to control a share of the center; make few pawn moves in the opening, and ones that aim at controlling the center; move knights before bishops if/when possible; don't bring out the rooks or queen too early without good reason; castle early and provide your king with a safe home; etc.).
I have pet openings, but I do not know the best lines in any opening. In fast games, I play inferior openings that I have some knowledge of through experience, and this experience helps me somewhat. In online chess, I use the openings database here until the moves run out in the middlegame, which helps me tremendously by covering up my lack of opening preparation (and I am probably picking up some opening theory in the process).
Most of us do not need to worry about studying openings. You get better results by working on tactics exercises, middlegame theory and endgame technique.
Thank you Fingerly! :)
What fingerly said is true for most players I think. I also have a more or less 'complete repertoire', but I ont know any openings really past move 8-10.
Yes, you should play the book openings. There are two reasons for it.1. If you do not learn some opening to play, you will think more in the opening stage. But you should play quickly in the opening. (Because it is the easiest stage of the game, and if you are think a lot in an opening stage, you will have less time for the other part of the game.)2. If you are playing against a stronger opponent, it is not so good if you already have disadvantage in the opening.But of course, do not memorize openings, understand the ideas behind it.You should not deal with the openings yet, just follow the opening rules. So control the center, develop pieces, castle. The good openings follow these rules.
It's not as bad as it seems. At first, you don't need to memorize anything at all, you will just need to learn what your goal is in the opening (get all your pieces involved, fight for the center, try to prevent the opponent from doing the same).
Eventually, as you improve, you'll find that the best moves have names, and a lot is known about them. But chess is nearly infinite, there are plenty moves that are maybe slightly less than optimal or just not played, and once you play them, an opponent that's only memorized things will be on his own. You won't be at a big disadvantage, but maybe a small one. If you've instead spent your time on getting better at the rest of the game and they haven't, they'll lose the advantage within a few moves.
Then if you become very strong, you'll want to play the well known openings and learn everything about them. Because they're so great. There will still be a huge amount of them to choose a few of your favourites from.
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