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i actually think openings are quite important.The theoretical advantage you get from them is bullshit at our level of course. BUT playing a set of moves will get you into similar positions each game, here you can gain experience and learn all the important themes, wich will make you a stronger player than if you were winging it every game.
One could argue that at our level, it's even more useful to get experience in a wide assortment of different positions. It's a question of better short-term results vs faster growth as a chess-player.
Im somewhere between. I think its bad for people to play stuff like the colle or stonewall every game as it doesnt give them a wide enough range of positions to play.However, i think only playing something like ruy lopez v e5,open sicilian etc etc is enough to give a large variety of positions without changin your moves too much, by say playing 1.e3 one game and 1.d4 the next.Variety is good, too much variety could slow progress though, as experience becomes a lesser factor.
I don't think the Kasparov Carlsen coaching (such that it was, lasing only a few months IIRC) benefited either player much. It seems to me they have completely different styles and philosophies. I think Kasparov told Carlsen he will have to work hard, and how to structure his work. I think this was probably quite useful for Carlsen, but so far as gaining chess specific skills I suspect it wasn't a productive partnership.
All this coming from a person who has a fascination with waffles (just look at his profile picture...need I say more). And OF COURSE the one-on-one coaching that Carlsen received from Kasparov helped Carlsen; nobody's contesting that. But this idea that somehow Carlsen just MAGICALLY became a thousand times better at chess overnight on his own (after receiving coaching from Kasparov) is just ridiculous. I mean come on, they even have VIDEOS OF IT ON YOUTUBE, videos proving that Kasparov was going over specific chess lines with Carlsen:
How much longer are you going to deny this? Wow. *facepalm*
This wasn't a coaching relationship yet. It says soon after but it was actually about 5 years later when Magnus was about 18 already... and #3 in the world.
You can check his rating progress: http://ratings.fide.com/id.phtml?event=1503014
It seems a few months after that video his rating took a dip (lol). Otherwise his progress has really never slowed (or accelerated) since the beginning.
ok i think i got it all out.....
Now i got it all out ... i think.