Low rated players on Chess.com should study openings!

Preggo_Basashi

After every game you play, check your moves vs a database and don't switch openings often.

I wouldn't really call that studying, I'd say it's just part of playing.

 

It's the beginners who buy a book on the Najdorf and learn lines 30 moves deep that are wasting their time.

chuddog

Of course you should include openings in your study plan, along with endgames, tactics, and strategy. But you should study them in the right way, a way that actually improves your chess. Study them to understand the principles, pawn structures, and stretegic and tactical patterns behind them. What you should not do is blindly memorize opening theory. But that's what many chess players think studying openings is, and that's what others tell them not to do.

Preggo_Basashi
NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

Cleverness alone is sure to come off very badly against cleverness and knowledge combined. 

This is, more or less, the first thing beginners learn.

Movies and such portray chess as a game of cleverness, but this is vastly underestimating it.

Chess is a skill. To be good, you have to practice and learn a hell of a lot. Cleverness, basically, has nothing to do with it.

NeoRomantic-1

To CoffeeAnd420

Yes I do think that people who do not play the opening phase of the game correctly can improve by studying openings.  For example quite a few players rated below 1000 play h6 or h3 during the opening.  The do so out of fear of the Fried Liver Attack.  Most of the time the above moves are considered to be inaccurate because they weaken the Castled Position of the King, and waste time. 

Logical Chess Move By Move is highly regarded and often recommended as a good book for players such as myself.  The first half of this book addresses King Pawn Openings.  Just about half of what Irving Chernev is teaching in this part of the book is how to correctly play the opening.  This statement is based on the fact that very few of the King Pawn Openings go beyond move 20 and the assumption that the average opening is 10 moves.  In the Queen Pawn section of the book the games are a bit longer and Instructions on opening play is about 30 to 40 percent of the material. 

I think that a lot of the value in studying Logical Chess Move By Move is learning how to play openings correctly.  And since he devotes a good amount of this book to how to play the opening I believe Mr. Chernev agrees with me that you can improve your play by studying openings.  By the way it was by reading Logical Chess Move by Move that I learned not to play h6 or h3 routinely during the opening.

NeoRomantic-1

To Heather

I think you are a very creative thinker and quite cleaver.  I do not agree with the assertion that cleverness (creative thinking) has no role in deciding who wins a chess game.  At the level most of us play cleverness is as important as knowledge (pattern recognition). 

I agree with you that playing 960 is a great way to improve your creative thinking, and tactical ability.  In fact I believe as soon as I get my knowledge (pattern recognition) for my chosen openings up to par I will play some 960 chess. 

Thanks for sharing your insight

NeoRomantic-1

To dannyhume

I appreciate your insights, and agree with most of what you said.

I agree that the question is: “how do I best improve most efficiently”. 

I also agree that studying Tactics is the most efficient way to improve in fact I spend the majority of my study time on Tactics.   

However, I do not agree that endgame study is always as important as you suggest.  I believe at my level improving your ability to play the Opening, will yield greater dividends that improving your ability to play the end game. 

I base this belief on the following:

  1. Of the 76 games I have played here, I can only recall one making it to the end game. Most of the games of players at my skill level end well before they reach the end game normally for the following reasons:
    1. The game is abandoned by one of the players who are not in a losing position, more like they just lose interest.
    2. One of the players is hopeless behind in material
    3. Checkmate during the middle game.
  2. According to Silman’s Complete Endgame Course players of my ability only need to have knowledge of overkill mates which does not take that much time to learn.
  3. According to “The Complete Chess Course” by Fred Reinfeld players should first learn how to play the Opening, and then how to play the middle game, and then how to play the end game. Learning how to play the end game does come before doing a deep dive into the openings. 

So yes an improving player does need to know some endgame concepts, and should spend some time to acquire the relevant knowledge.  But the same player needs to have considerable more opening knowledge and I can apply my opening knowledge in every game, but I rarely need any end game knowledge. 

Morphysrevenges

If you are a lower rated player - you are NOT primarily losing your games due to lack of opening knowledge. (Yes, I can now hear dozens of you mumbling, calling BS, blah blah). You are not. 

 

You are mainly losing because you are blundering tactically or playing like an ape in the endgame (if you even survive that far due to lack of tactical ability. Ooops, there it is again).

 

Therefore, first tactics and then later endgames will get you much further than "studying" openings. 

 

Just start out with a simple forcing opening such as the colle, or torre, King's Indian Attack, Reti, or whatever. These openings do not require the learning of long forcing lines, but will not get you a big opening advantage. It does not matter - the goal of the opening is simply to get to a playable middle game. 

 

Tactics - Tactics - Tactics!!! STUDY THEM! 

JamesAgadir
HessianWarrior a écrit :

Actually I have found that playing totally made up openings levels the playing field down to who is the better chess player. 

You do know that you haven't made up the english ?

https://www.chess.com/daily/game/197404230?username=hessianwarrior

NeoRomantic-1

To Morphysrevenges:

 Please see my response to your comments below

If you are a lower rated player - you are NOT primarily losing your games due to lack of opening knowledge. (Yes, I can now hear dozens of you mumbling, calling BS, blah blah). You are not.  

 

In my first post I listed 4 reasons why lower rated players should study openings, not one was because they are primarily losing games due to lack of opening knowledge. 

 

You are mainly losing because you are blundering tactically or playing like an ape in the endgame (if you even survive that far due to lack of tactical ability. Ooops, there it is again).

 

I agree that players such as me mainly lose due to mistakes and blunders.  It is a well-known fact that people under stress are more likely to make mistakes.  I believe the following is a good example of this: A friend of my recently played a game in which both sides had some pawns and a bishop and a rook.  At about move 80 the other guy blundered and lost his rook, on the very next move he blundered away his bishop.  If you play the opening poorly you are more likely to be stressed and therefore more prone to making mistakes.  This is why I believe low rated players should have a knowledge of the openings they play and not just rely on opening principles.

 

Therefore, first tactics and then later endgames will get you much further than "studying" openings. 

 

I agree studying tactics should take priority over opening study.

 

I wonder if you would be so kind as to answer a few questions about why endgame study should take priority over opening study.

  1. What do players who rarely reach the endgame gain by studying endgames?
  2. Most endgame books are very large and contain a vast amount of information. What aspects of the endgame should players of my rating study?
  3. How long do you think it would take for a lower rated player to gain an understanding of the material?

 

 

I am asking you these questions not as a basis for debate but because I really what to know. 

It is very common in this forum for skilled players to say study tactic and never give any guidance on the best way to do so.

It is very common in this Forum for skilled players to say study endgames and never give any guidance on the best way to do so.

ChessicallyInclined

I made it to about 1600 when my opening knowledge consisted of a manual that had like 2 pages on every opening.

I then took up an opening repertoire and my rating went up about 200 points.

It's not really necessary to learn lots of theory at your level, just get a general idea of where you'd like to put your pieces and you should be fine.

(Please note: On my way to 1600 I wasn't playing "no-theory" stuff like the London... I played e4 with White and the Sicilian with Black! This was because I put tactics as a higher priority than openings...)

Preggo_Basashi
NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

 

 I wonder if you would be so kind as to answer a few questions about why endgame study should take priority over opening study.

  1. What do players who rarely reach the endgame gain by studying endgames?
  2. Most endgame books are very large and contain a vast amount of information. What aspects of the endgame should players of my rating study?
  3. How long do you think it would take for a lower rated player to gain an understanding of the material?

1) Endgames are the foundation of middlegame strategy. If you don't know which endgames are wins/losses vs which are draws, then you wont know which minor piece trades are necessary / acceptiable / impossible. Same thing for pawn trades.

Endgames also stress the importance of piece activity (which will indirectly teach you general positional concepts) and teach you about making long term plans (which will introduce you to strategic play).

 

2) Basic rook endgames, and basic pawn endgames.

 

3) Depends on the material. Lets say a book like Silman's Complete Endgame Course which breaks it up by rating. I'd say spend 1 month on a topic, like endgames. Then go back to tactics, openings, strategy, etc. Then back to endgames. Just keep repeating a cycle like this. Don't try to study everything at once, and don't think you're ever done, even grandmasters continue to learn.

 

 

 

NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

 It is very common in this forum for skilled players to say study tactic and never give any guidance on the best way to do so.

If the puzzle is not incredibly simple for you, spend at least a few minutes on it.

Try to solve from the diagram (or if you want, set up the position on a board)

This means don't move the pieces until you think you see the whole solution (this will force you not to guess, and will help exercise your calculation and visualization skills)

Don't spend more than 5 or 10 minutes on a single puzzle. At that point you're trying to calculate your way to a solution, so you obviously aren't sure of the main idea. At that point you can start moving pieces.

Save all the puzzles you miss and try them again a few days later. Since I liked to solve from books, I could easily see which puzzles I'd missed, and how many times I'd gotten them right and wrong (I'd pur a small mark by each puzzle for each attempt). 

It's not enough to get the first move or main idea right. Did you also find the best defense for the opponent? Why or why not? You should study the solution and explore any sideline you thought may or may not work. Really try to understand why the puzzle solution is correct.

 

 

NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

It is very common in this Forum for skilled players to say study endgames and never give any guidance on the best way to do so.

I had an endgame book as a beginner and I went through it using a board, setting up the positions, playing through the analysis.

Later (years later) I bought a harder endgame book and went through it the same way, this time I even took notes, reviewed parts.

Preggo_Basashi

Luckily (for all of us) our similarly rated opponents struggle with the same things we do.

All you need in the beginning is to know the first few moves of the mainlines you play, and the basic idea.

You don't need books to do this. Books go in depth and explain why the main choices on move 10 lead to some thing on move 15 that's good. Forget it. Your opponents wont be playing that.

Instead use stuff like wikipedia and youtube videos to learn some basics

Like this guy, he has some good intros to various openings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKCMXf4g1HU&list=PLPT2Ux0iNpmhU_g9ya9gNb1E_n1MJjPCH

kindaspongey
NM ChessicallyInclined wrote:

I made it to about 1600 when my opening knowledge consisted of a manual that had like 2 pages on every opening. ...

"... everyone is different, so what works for one person may likely fail with another ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627084053/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman19.pdf

kindaspongey
Preggo_Basashi wrote:
NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

... What aspects of the endgame should players of my rating study? …

... Basic rook endgames, and …

Apart from explaining how to use a rook to checkmate a lone king, Silman's Complete Endgame Course does not begin to discuss that sort of thing until the section for rating 1200-1399.

Preggo_Basashi
kindaspongey wrote:
Preggo_Basashi wrote:
NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

... What aspects of the endgame should players of my rating study? …

... Basic rook endgames, and …

Apart from explaining how to use a rook to checkmate a lone king, Silman's Complete Endgame Course does not begin to discuss that sort of thing until the section for rating 1200-1399.

Heh, ok.

dannyhume
NeoRomantic-1 wrote:

 

However, I do not agree that endgame study is always as important as you suggest.  I believe at my level improving your ability to play the Opening, will yield greater dividends that improving your ability to play the end game. 

I base this belief on the following:

  1. Of the 76 games I have played here, I can only recall one making it to the end game. Most of the games of players at my skill level end well before they reach the end game normally for the following reasons:
    1. The game is abandoned by one of the players who are not in a losing position, more like they just lose interest.
    2. One of the players is hopeless behind in material
    3. Checkmate during the middle game.
  2. According to Silman’s Complete Endgame Course players of my ability only need to have knowledge of overkill mates which does not take that much time to learn.
  3. According to “The Complete Chess Course” by Fred Reinfeld players should first learn how to play the Opening, and then how to play the middle game, and then how to play the end game. Learning how to play the end game does come before doing a deep dive into the openings. 

So yes an improving player does need to know some endgame concepts, and should spend some time to acquire the relevant knowledge.  But the same player needs to have considerable more opening knowledge and I can apply my opening knowledge in every game, but I rarely need any end game knowledge. 

 

I will second what Preggo said about the endgames. Studying the endgame is not necessarily about getting to it and knowing what to do (although that is important)... it is the lessons in concrete analysis, pawn and piece play/geometry, and logical progression of studying a complex subject from goal to setup (the goal being a win or draw... if you can see a winning position with several pieces and pawns on the board because you recognize it, you can plan for it earlier, while your opponent is busy trying to calculate to checkmate).  Also, as you make fewer catastrophic mistakes, your games will more often head to endgames that at least appear somewhat even, or with a slight material imbalance that a strong player could easily convert, but you got to figure it out. 

The tricky part is how much of each phase of the game to study, and not being too emotionally biased when losing games in the opening and your "booked-up" opponent acts like s/he completely "logic'd" moves 5-8 ("oh I just recognized this weakness and jumped on it"), when in reality they recognized a theme they had seen in that opening a lot of times before and you didn't because you don't play that opening, but they tell you to work on your tactics and strategy, even though they win against you less often when you get past move 8 or play something novel against them.