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# Purpose of development - why beginners shouldn't study openings

• #1

Hello I am a beginner chess player (started 1,5 month ago), struggling at 1.000 rapid rating on chess.com. I have learned the basic fundamentals, like develop your pieces, protect them, castle early, don't move pieces twice in a row etc. In a lot of games, I find myself doing all that, but I struggle at the next moves - the middle game - lack of plan I guess. What can I do in order to get the initiative in the middle game? Usually the players at my range are more experienced, so I find myself defending, or if I try to attack, I sometimes blunder, because I play a bad move. Everywhere I read, I have yet to see that beginners should study openings. I believe, that learning an opening (10-15 moves) could give you an advantage in the middle game, especially at my level, and help me have an actual plan. Am I wrong? What should I do?

Thank you very much

P. S. I also find it difficult to apply the tactics puzzles I have sold, as there are barely any tactics that can be done, with a bad positioning.

• #2

The basics of each phase of the game

Opening:

1.      Control the center squares – d4-e4-d5-e5

2.      Develop your minor pieces toward the center – piece activity is the key

Ø  Complete your development before moving a piece twice or starting an attack.

Ø  Move pieces not pawns.

3.      Castle

Ø    By move 12, you should have connected your Rooks, or be about to do so.

Middle game:

When you have completed the Opening Principles, you are now at the middle game.  Now you need to formulate a middle game plan.  The middle game is a very complicated part of a chess game.  A simple way to develop a middle game plan is to perform the following steps.

1.      Scan your opponents 5th, and 6th ranks (3rd, and 4th if your black)

2.      Look for weak pawns, and or weak squares.

Ø  Weak pawns and squares are Pawns, and squares that cannot be defended by another Pawn.

Ø  Knights are excellent pieces on weak squares.

Ø  When deciding on weak squares, and weak Pawns to attack, the closer to the center the better

End game:

1.      Learn basic mates – KQ vs. K, KR vs. K, KRR vs. K

2.      Learn Opposition, and Key Squares

3.      Learn basic King and Pawn endings

Pre Move Checklist

1. Make sure all your pieces are safe.

2. Look for forcing moves: Checks, captures, threats. You want to look at ALL forcing moves (even the bad ones) this will force you look at, and see the entire board.

3. If there are no forcing moves, you then want to remove any of your opponent’s pieces from your side of the board.

4. If your opponent doesn’t have any of his pieces on your side of the board, then you want to improve the position of your least active piece.

5. After each move by your opponent, ask yourself: "What is my opponent trying to do?"

• #3

Good strategy thanks!

• #4

I agree completely with GodsPawn but I started by memorizing openings and I found some I am extremely comfortable with.

I started as a colle player based on the recommendations of the chess.com community and that got me to learn to not drop pieces and some very basic positional understanding. But I was not tactical at all. When I realized I had I started as a colle player based on the recommendations of the chess.com community and that got me to learn to not drop pieces and some very basic positional understanding. But I was not tactical at all. When I realized I had

When I realized I had little tactical ability, again- based on the recommendations of the chess.com community, I started on the King's Gambit. Also, I have a small amount of time to play chess and trading pieces is not nearly as fun as sacrificing for the glorious #.

I was at your level for a while and there are two things that when I put them into practice I achieved much better results with.

1. All of your opponents' moves have a purpose- look for their threats

2. Play more games- the more you play, the more familiar you will be with various chess ideas. Take 15 seconds after every game and play through it quickly. Ask yourself where was the critical position? Did you miss a tactic? Etc, etc.

Also, just watch tons of chess youtube videos. GJ_Chess has some traps that will easily get you over 1000 rating and if you want to understand the game, go to the St. Louis Chess Club's youtube page. The second one is where I really learned all my openings and middlegame tricks. If you want a nice refreshing, interesting game, go to Mato Jelic's youtube page and watch a spectacular attack unfold with some dramatic commentary.

Hope this helps!

• #5
CoolCh3ssPlayer wrote:
Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev will help you in the middle game.

I was gonna say something else, but this advice is just as good, and much more concrete.

• #6

Hmm seems interesting. Many people suggest it as one of the best books for beginners. Would you agree? What other books would be good?

• #7
tasosgoudas wrote:

Hmm seems interesting. Many people suggest it as one of the best books for beginners. Would you agree?

The word beginner is a vague term. To some, everyone below them is a beginner. Many players no longer consider themselves beginners when they have won a few games.

I just published a book designed for players who miss one and two move tactics. The word beginner only appears in a book title listed in the references at the back (a book by Bruce Pandolfini).

The first thing a player starting out needs is a fundamental understanding of contacts--pins, skewers, forks, etc. The second thing is knowing elementary checkmates. Then, basic understanding of mobility, center control, vulnerability, and piece coordination.

At at that point, the aspiring player seeks to understand the rudiments of middle game planning. Logical Chess is one of the best places to begin.

• #8

Thanks for your great answer. How do I train those, only by tactics? Would the book help me? Do you have any other recommendations?

P. S.

• #9

Back to Basics: Tactics by Dan Heisman is the best book for you. He teaches basic strategy and basic tactics, which can easily get you over 1600 USCF if you apply what he says without reservations. It was responsible for bringing me from 1200s to 1600+ in a year without coaching, and with 3-4 months of no study during that year.

• #10

Yorrdamma recommends "Winning Chess Tactics" and "Winning Chess Strategies" by Yasser Serawan as excellent workbooks with examples and quizes. "Chess For Ordinalry Players" by Hardin is also good for an overview. I have Fred Reinfeld's "1001 Brilliant Ways To Checkmate" and "1001 Winning Chess Combinations and Sacrifices". These are both insructive and entertaining.

Good luck. Also, record your games and study the analysis this system provides. That helped me gain skills rapidly.

• #11
GodsPawn2016 wrote:

The basics of each phase of the game

Opening:

1.      Control the center squares – d4-e4-d5-e5

2.      Develop your minor pieces toward the center – piece activity is the key

Ø  Complete your development before moving a piece twice or starting an attack.

Ø  Move pieces not pawns.

3.      Castle

Ø    By move 12, you should have connected your Rooks, or be about to do so.

Middle game:

When you have completed the Opening Principles, you are now at the middle game.  Now you need to formulate a middle game plan.  The middle game is a very complicated part of a chess game.  A simple way to develop a middle game plan is to perform the following steps.

1.      Scan your opponents 5th, and 6th ranks (3rd, and 4th if your black)

2.      Look for weak pawns, and or weak squares.

Ø  Weak pawns and squares are Pawns, and squares that cannot be defended by another Pawn.

Ø  Knights are excellent pieces on weak squares.

Ø  When deciding on weak squares, and weak Pawns to attack, the closer to the center the better

End game:

1.      Learn basic mates – KQ vs. K, KR vs. K, KRR vs. K

2.      Learn Opposition, and Key Squares

3.      Learn basic King and Pawn endings

Pre Move Checklist

1. Make sure all your pieces are safe.

2. Look for forcing moves: Checks, captures, threats. You want to look at ALL forcing moves (even the bad ones) this will force you look at, and see the entire board.

3. If there are no forcing moves, you then want to remove any of your opponent’s pieces from your side of the board.

4. If your opponent doesn’t have any of his pieces on your side of the board, then you want to improve the position of your least active piece.

5. After each move by your opponent, ask yourself: "What is my opponent trying to do?"

Thank you GodsPawn for this. It is posted often and always valuable. My hat is off to you Sir!

• #12

Possibly of interest:
Simple Attacking Plans by Fred Wilson (2012)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090402/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review874.pdf
https://www.newinchess.com/Shop/Images/Pdfs/7192.pdf
Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev (1957)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708104437/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/logichess.pdf
The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev (1965)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/most-instructive-games-of-chess-ever-played/
Winning Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (1949)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708093415/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review919.pdf
Back to Basics: Tactics by Dan Heisman (2007)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708233537/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review585.pdf
Discovering Chess Openings by GM John Emms (2006)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627114655/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen91.pdf
Openings for Amateurs by Pete Tamburro (2014)
http://kenilworthian.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-of-pete-tamburros-openings-for.html
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/openings-for-amateurs/
https://www.mongoosepress.com/excerpts/OpeningsForAmateurs%20sample.pdf
Chess Endgames for Kids by Karsten Müller (2015)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/chess-endgames-for-kids/
http://www.gambitbooks.com/pdfs/Chess_Endgames_for_Kids.pdf
A Guide to Chess Improvement by Dan Heisman (2010)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105628/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review781.pdf
Seirawan stuff
http://seagaard.dk/review/eng/bo_beginner/ev_winning_chess.asp?KATID=BO&ID=BO-Beginner
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-winning-chess-endings
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627132508/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen173.pdf
http://www.nystar.com/tamarkin/review1.htm

• #13
kindaspongey wrote:

Possibly of interest:
Simple Attacking Plans by Fred Wilson (2012)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090402/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review874.pdf
https://www.newinchess.com/Shop/Images/Pdfs/7192.pdf
Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev (1957)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708104437/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/logichess.pdf
The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev (1965)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/most-instructive-games-of-chess-ever-played/
Winning Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (1949)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708093415/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review919.pdf
Back to Basics: Tactics by Dan Heisman (2007)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708233537/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review585.pdf
Discovering Chess Openings by GM John Emms (2006)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627114655/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen91.pdf
Openings for Amateurs by Pete Tamburro (2014)
http://kenilworthian.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-of-pete-tamburros-openings-for.html
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/openings-for-amateurs/
https://www.mongoosepress.com/excerpts/OpeningsForAmateurs%20sample.pdf
Chess Endgames for Kids by Karsten Müller (2015)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/chess-endgames-for-kids/
http://www.gambitbooks.com/pdfs/Chess_Endgames_for_Kids.pdf
A Guide to Chess Improvement by Dan Heisman (2010)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105628/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review781.pdf
Seirawan stuff
http://seagaard.dk/review/eng/bo_beginner/ev_winning_chess.asp?KATID=BO&ID=BO-Beginner
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-winning-chess-endings
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627132508/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen173.pdf
http://www.nystar.com/tamarkin/review1.htm

• #14

don't forget to learn KBK vs K ending. doesn't come up much but it's not so simple so you have to learn it.

• #15

Tactics and Strategy come first, but spending a little time Learning the first several moves of a Black Opening vs 1 e4 and 1d4 are good ideas.  Personally, the Caro-Kann (1 e4 c6) and it's cousin the Slav (1 d4 c6) sometimes transpose into each other and have similar goals.

For White, if you play 1 e4,  then appropriate moves vs 1...e5, 1...e6, 1...c5. 1...c6, 1...g6, 2...Bg7, can slowly be incorporated into your repertoire.

• #16

It will not do any harm of course, there are matters of priority, different levels require different priorities

• #17

beginners must play chess only I think. those books on openings are wrote from Grandmasters to the Masters and can confuse one a lot.

• #18

It does not mean, though, that the beginners must not study the principles of the opening stage, like control of the center, plan-directed development of pieces, safety of the king, not too many pawn moves at the beginning, etc.

• #19

you need to study 3 openings when your just starting off.

1. your white opening you'll play.

2. your black opening to 1.e4

3. your black opening to 1.d4

but once you've done that you need to learn how pieces can work together to attack/defend a square or another piece. this will boost your middle-game skill.

• #20
ciarli wrote:

beginners must play chess only I think. those books on openings are wrote from Grandmasters to the Masters and can confuse one a lot.

"... Everyman Chess has started a new series aimed at those who want to understand the basics of an opening, i.e., the not-yet-so-strong players. ..." - FM Carsten Hansen (2002)

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