resources for dummies like me

  • #1

    I'm not looking for a book per se, but need to get some good instruction on a limited number of easy openings for poor players like me.  I watched the video on opening principles and that helped alot (e.g. develop develop develop, connect your rooks, knights before bishops, etc.)  I needed that stuff!  Now I just want two or three openings for white that lead to action-packed tactical games.  Closed positional pawn battles are no good to me.  I need the same thing for black (i.e. one response to e4 and one for d4). 

    Here's how you can help---

    Names of such openings (sorta helpful)

    Book titles for someone like me (reasonably helpful)

    Links to free content on this site or elsewhere that gives succinct instruction on the few basic openings I described (very VERY HELPFUL!)


  • #2

    Hey Bruch.  There are tons of chess opening free videos on youtube, and several chess channels that have only chess stuff, well organized and at various levels (read ratings).  I have read a few books on chess and read comment of bloggers as well where the need of studying opening is debated at your level and even at higher ratings.  Some people just dislike memorizing openings, some others says that if you play according to the rationale of the opening itself then you shouldn't need to memorize anything but just play logically sound chess, some others comment that it is absolutelly necessary to memorize opening once you get to club level or tournament level ~1500 where you might get crushed for not knowing traps for openings, and even to this there is the counter argument that people playing for traps get eventually stuck at some club level rating.  Pretty much everyone will have opinion on absolutely everything I have mentioned.  I personally, and of course this is no advice, I just try to play according to the logic of the opening and try to stay alive my first 12 moves.  Cheers.

  • #3

    To start you on a path to chess excellence, I would say you should learn the ideas behind the openings rather than just learning openings by rote.


    For that reason I'd recommend books like, "Logical Chess--Move by Move" by Irving Chernev.


    In it he shows many master-level games and explains the thought process behind every single move (from move one and onward). It helps instruct you on how to think, rather than what to play.


    Though if you're looking for just an overall introduction, you can check out Yasser Sierawan's "Winning Chess Openings", a book that does a sweeping cover of most chess openings, with a basic introduction to each.


    From there you can decide for yourself which openings you want to play, and begin practicing with those.


    Both of those books played a role in my chess advancement early on. *thumbs up*

    And if you just want recommendations:


    For white: 1.e4, for those preferring open, tactical games.


    For black: 1...c5 against e4, the Sicilian. Difficult, but exciting.

    Against 1.d4 as black you can go with the KID, as many seem to like it. I prefer Queen's Gambit Declined, but it's a bit more positional. KID offers more tactical counterpunches.

    Best of luck!

  • #4

    Modern chess openings is one of the best opening book on the market.

    I use this book alot. It's very good to learn many openings so your game can be fun. (not always the same opening again and again)


  • #5

    I've read Chernev, but I guess I need to review the openings shown in its text.  I've explored the KID, but its so passive.  I like to be more agressive and fight for the center.  Any further recommendations for Black against 1. d4?  What about the Tarrasch?

  • #6

    Against d4 a very good approach is the benko gambit.  The ideas are pretty clear in (most) lines.  It has been played by some strong players and has probably the best reputation of all the gambits.  A good way to learn chess imop.  Do a search and I can tell you yay or nay(imop of course) on some materials that pique your interest.  

  • #7
  • #8

    set yourself up with a free database program like scid and get a database of master games, you can find huge free databases online. then watch a video in an opening you're interested, there are loads on youtube. once you have absorbed the main ideas, go into your database and find games in the opening you're interested in and play through them looking for general ideas, types of tactical shots which appear, typical middle and end game positions etc.   

  • #9

    Dereque Kelley has some nice videos on YouTube:

    Sometimes the videos are a little basic, but the benefit is that the videos are a manageable length and provide a good high-level overview of the opening (often just one or two lines within it) that should be plenty to get a lower-rated player started. I appreciate that Dereque often explains the ideas behind the moves, the opening in general, and the resulting positions rather than simply reading moves from a list (or worse, wasting time with meaningless 'annotations'). Good starting points would be the videos on the Italian Game (Evan's Gambit), Scotch, and Queen's Gambit (Accepted).

  • #10

    Kevin from "thechesswebsite" has really good videos on openings. Videos are for beginners but he's really good at explaining stuff for his target audience.

    Even has a series on opening on youtube.



    I just don't understand why you would want "action packed tactical games".

  • #11
    plutonia wrote:

    Kevin from "thechesswebsite" has really good videos on openings. Videos are for beginners but he's really good at explaining stuff for his target audience.

    Even has a series on opening on youtube.

    I just don't understand why you would want "action packed tactical games".

    Yeah, I just discovered Kevin.  Great videos.  I'm liking the Sicilian Najdorf for a response to e4, and perhaps the Slav defense for d4.  But I'll look into the Benko Gambit.  For white I typically do giuoco piano, but I'm starting to think something like the queen gambit would be better and lead to "action packed tactical games!"  Any other reco's for white?  What about Ruy Lopez?  I used to play this opening, but I hate my bishop getting kicked around by Black's pawns.  Any suggestions on this?  I also tried the Colle System a few times, but I almost never get the whole thing set before black attacks and it sometimes doesn't work.

  • #12

    Slav and Ruy Lopez are two highly theoretical lines, meaning you need to know the correct book moves up to around move 20 or so otherwise you'll be in a worse game.


    The Benoni is fun to play, I played it for a few years, though once you get to the higher levels (2000's and up) it gets difficult to win with. It's very tactical though and you might like it if you like the Najdorf.


    In general for white: e4 leads to tactical games, d4 leads to positional games.


    KID isn't passive, though. :D It's a very aggressive defense that aims to storm the white kingside. Look at some of Kasparov's games that he played with it.


    If you like aggressive, tactical openings you can look into Gambit Openings! :D


    The King's Gambit is a fan favorite for 1.e4 that leads to wild games.

  • #13

    the scotch game as white

  • #14

    You can have fun playing different openings, but you're losing games because of tactical oversights. Study openings for enjoyment if you want to do that, but study tactics to increase your rating.

  • #15

    Tactical oversights derive from lack of positional understanding.

    While training yourself in seeing tactical patterns is necessary, it is not nearly enough to be able to see tactics in a real game for the simple fact that you don't know it's coming (on your side or the the opponent's) and that you'll have tons of other things to think about.


    For example, last game I played against an expert I fell into a simple knight fork that cost me the exchange (to be fair it was a blitz and I was trying to move fast). I need to study tactics you say? In a good day I'm aroung 2000 in TT, how come did I miss a simple knight fork?

    The reason is a made a couple of POSITIONAL mistakes few moves earlier. I recaptured with my queen instead of with a knight, thus allowing the enemy knight to improve its position with tempo and being unchallenged in my camp. Another pressure somewhere else induced me to move a pawn creating a weakness in b6, that became unguarded because I had the bad idea of moving my queen earlier. My opponent saw the hole in my position and it didn't take an expert to think to drop a knight there.


    So it's not that I simply missed the fork, even if it could of course have been avoided. It's that I got under pressure and gave the enemy piece too much activity. If you're in a bad position you're bound to blunder. When you have weaknesses all over the place you're doomed to miss something, especially in rapid games.

    That's why you need positional understanding to avoid tactics, not only tactical vision. Undefended pieces, king exposed, queen that can be hit, weak squares, bad pieces, enemy with too much activity...this will all lead to be on the receiving end of a tactic. You need to learn to prevent them from arising, not just waking up at the last second to avoid them.



    Tactics are the servants of strategy

  • #16
    skakmadurinn wrote:

    Modern chess openings is one of the best opening book on the market.

    I use this book alot. It's very good to learn many openings so your game can be fun. (not always the same opening again and again)

    No, No, No.  MCO was a fine book in it's day before computers and databases were available but is virtually useless today.  It does not explain why moves are made and is basically just a listing of variations.  Fundamental Chess Openings is a far superior book.  It does not go into endless variations but instead explains the ideas behind each and every move and the typical plans for each side.  In many ways it is a modern version of Reuben Fine's The Ideas Behind The Chess Openings.  Please don't waste your money on MCO.

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