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Opinion on studying openings

  • #1

    I have only recently started studying openings. I has to select one as a starting block and decided to go with the Sicilian. Specifically, the Najdorf. Now, I know that sounds ambitious (based on face-to-face feedback), but I want somthing with flexibility.

    Now, should I explore multiple openings at the same time or would I be better off studying Sicilian exclusively until reasonably comfortable with it?

    Or should I even begin with the Najdorf?


  • #2

    I suggest you study one opening at a time. If you play several games of GMs within the same opening can you learn the patterns and ideas more easily in comparison to study them all together. At least, that is how it has worked with me a few times.

    I haven't done it much, but playing GM games gave me more insight in openings then studying opening books.

    Every opening is flexible as long as you like the positions that arise from the play. What type of positions do you prefer? Do you get those when playing Sicilian?

  • #3

    No, you shouldn't start with the Najdorf. It only starts after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6... 99% of your opponents will have played something else before then.

    And, its theory will be irrelevant to you. Black has to play very tricky moves because otherwise white will have very tricky moves to get tiny advantages to... completely irrelevant to your games, as these lines will never occur and neither you nor your opponent know what to do with tiny advantages.

    I feel you should study one *player* at a time. Like, try to play through all of Alekhine's games this winter, and make notes when you see something interesting.

    Then just play the openings he played, and try to emulate his success.

  • #4

    @ Loek

    Good to see you responding to my inquiry. Thank you.

    @ kikvors

    "study one player at a time", Great idea!

    I'll take the advise from both of you. Thanks again.

  • #5

    I study openings often and have learned much

  • #6

    Often when u study oder books, like chernevs logical chess or euwes master against amateur trilogy you learn a Bit about openings as well

  • #7

    Just learn a few opening moves and replies to common black responses, and after the first 5 moves you should let opening principles guide you.

    there is nothing wrong with studying openings for chess, studying chess in general improves your game regardless

  • #8

    Here is a page with all the opening information you need until you can get through a game without dropping a piece.

  • #9
    markgravitygood wrote:


    Would/Did you read Shakespeare in the fifth grade?

    You should avoid opening study until you are at least a Category B player. Just fix your mistakes as you go, rinse and repeat.

    Of course, you should know basic opening principles to guide you along the way. That certainly should be sufficient.

    Spend your time on Tactics, good planning, and Endgames.

    I actually read Herman Meville's Moby Dick when I was in the 8th grade. No adaptation, the whole novel. Followed by a book review. But I understand what you are saying. Thanks.

  • #10

    i just saw moby dick. i just love ahab.

  • #11

    I suggest studying openings by chess.com or youtube videos.They show not only the moves but ALSO thy "why's" of them and , by this, permit the learning of tactcs, strategy and planning besides the opening.And, with 2-3 hours it is possible to know more than our opponents in the lower halp of the ratings (below 1800).

    The Najdorf is difficult to learn but versatile to be your only answer to 1.e4 (besides knowing how to deal with "antisicilians that the white could play).Also, permits to learn a lot about chess and has a lot of recent games to study.

    The idea of studying one player each time is good but only if you really have time AND acess to good books or a coach.

  • #12

    Study pawn structures. That will help you much more than a particular opening. Chess.com has numerous videos on that subject, Also there are lessons on them in chess mentor.

    Learn pawn structures first, then an opening will be much easier for you to understand, therefore to learn. That also does not mean to neglect other aspects, such as, End games, basic check mating patterns, as well as every check mate pattern you can burn into memory,  opening traps, and tactics. This also is not to say you shouldn't study openings at all either.

    I am not sure of your level, nor age, thats basically what I would tell anyone though. Good luck.

  • #13

    Najdorf is very specific so if you want flexibility and still want to play the najdorf sometimes maybe you can look at pirc defense, it's a very flexible defense and you can get to sicilian dragon or najdorf lines by transpositioning. 

    They say you should start with the endgame, go to the middle game and finally to the opening. This is true but you can't neglect your opening ideas because then you will start with a disadvantage in the middle game a lot of times.

    I just started playing but the first month I spend almost exclusively on tactics, surviving the opening game and looking at all the different end games and checkmates. Only then I started with opening theory. I still make some horrible mistakes sometimes in the opening but a lot of times when I get in the middle game I seem to be more comfortable then my opponent because he doesn't know how to keep his advantage or to get the initiative from his board position.


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