How do you learn Openings?

I’m going to help you...
It’s called Ruy Lopez, or Spanish.
Basically, what white is doing is placing a threat on the black knight defending the e5 pawn. What is black to do? One of the most conventional responses is a6. It is such an important response to Ruy Lopez that there’s even a book written called “The Spanish without a6”. That book was written to give players on black a way to counter other than a6.

Ruy Lopez is probably the most basic, even childish, systems in chess. Higher level players on black will probably try to prevent white from building a Ruy Lopez because it’s basically, well, boring and puts black in a long term difficult situation if the player on white knows what he’s doing. But since there’s a great genius out there who knows more than the rest of us. Tell us, please oh great genius, tell us how to counter Ruy Lopez, a6 or not....


I learn them by playing Daily Chess.  That forces me to look at a lot of possible variations and gives me time to consider which opening variations give me decent attacking chances in the middlegame.

For example, I decided to try the Sicilian Defense, even though the Caro-Kann is my favorite defense to 1 e4.  I tried the Dragon but soon realized you have to memorize a lot of variations if you want to stay out of trouble.  So I tried both the Kan and the Taimanov, where making moves a little out-of-order does not give you major problems.  I'm still trying out the Taimanov.

One more thing...
A good way to counter an opponent on black who trying to play for more than a draw, is Scotch game. If the player on black has a really good understanding of the Spanish, and can get white potentially into time trouble in Ruy Lopez. Push Scotch game onto black instead. It was crucial when Kasparov wrestled the title away from Karpov. Kasparov used Scotch game to take Karpov out of his comfort zone.

That Fine book is what allowed me to see all of this live as it was happening. Start with Ideas Behind the Openings, then google your way through more recent theory. But start with Fine.
Caro-Khan seems intuitively like it’s better for black than Sicilian. You have good instincts. But Sicilian is actually better. You just can’t always rely on being able to dragon your king bishop. If white plays the Alapin pawn move, you probably won’t be able to dragon because your king pawn might need to come into the game to counter white’s Alapin pawn move. But you can’t just rely on the theories in live, especially clocked games. Board experience counts for a lot.
kindaspongey wrote:

Not sure if you are trying to tell me what to do, but I have to tell you that top-3 stuff is way beyond my level to judge. I just thought that I might have some idea about issues to consider for more meaningful answers. It might be of interest to look at:

I had just read this blog post today and really liked it.


If you study the pawn structures that occur in certain openings (the ones you play) and the common ideas/plans involved, you're on the track. But I don't consider this study of "opening theory". I consider it study of middlegame planning (ideas behind the openings...if you will). I haven't read the Fine book...yet. This is where I see many people being discouraged from studying this concept because of the widely known reccomendations to not study "openings". They get stuck on tactics and endgames without advancing their positional play skills.


PawnStormPussie, you’ve nailed it.
This is the essence of chess. To understand the ideas, but be able to play a position, even if it isn’t coming from book knowledge. But pawn structure is just one component of the equation. I often let an opponent make an exchange because the opponent thinks the disruption of my pawn structure will be an advantage later in the game. Quite often, a disrupted pawn structure ends up being an advantage in end games.

Free material 

"... What EXACTLY is: Ruy Lopez? Scotch? Giuoco Piano? Queens Gambit? Sicilian? French? King’s Indian? I'll bet you that many players who are pretty good (including yourself) do not know exactly when those positions officially occur upon the board? …" - 9497010838
"kindaspongey, without looking them up, can you type out at least one of the opening positions I exampled earlier? …" - 9497010838
"... How could I demonstrate that I did not look up, for example, 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5?" - kindaspongey
9497010838 wrote:
... That bishop move is what defines the opening series of moves you spewed. But you still haven’t been able to call it what it is, or even better, give us an idea about what is happening on the board when those moves have materialized? Yet, you have put yourself out as the expert on such matters. ...

I was unaware that you wanted to test me about the name. What's the point anyway, since it is easy to look up such things? And, again, why does this sort of thing matter? Can you identify a specific sentence where I "put" myself "out as the expert on such matters"? I have posted some quotes. I am not telling anyone what the quotes mean. People can decide that for themselves.

9497010838 wrote:
... Start with Ideas Behind the Openings, then google your way through more recent theory. But start with Fine.

It is perhaps worthwhile to note who is selling the Fine book these days. New in Chess? Chess4Less? Chess and Bridge Limited? Random House?

There SpongeyBob goes again, manning the irrelevant over the salient. Enter reality, please...
Magnifying. Who else hates these damn spell check bots?

D. Analyze Game Collection of One Opening

For 1. e4 Openings as white, I recommend games of Anand, Short and Kasparov.

For d4 Openings as white, I recommend games of Karpov, Kramnik and Kasparov.

Kasparov plays any openings excellently.

9497010838 wrote:
Magnifying. Who else hates these damn spell check bots?

It is possible to edit your posts.

Just as well you didn't though - or we would be denied the expression "manning the irrelevant"

That will probably go down in history as my best quote. It’s about as close as I’ll get to 4 score & 7.
bong711 wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

Pawn structure, and piece placement.  Gain some understanding of "why" the pawns, and pieces go where they go.

Can you recommend a book or chess article  regarding this? 



Learn e4 repertoire of GM Anand


Just want to say the (somewhat rude, but we're online, so that's okay, right?) attack from 9497010838 on kindaspongey is somewhat unjustified. kindaspongey is one of the most helpful regulars here on the forums.