Thoughts About Improving w/Openings?

kindaspongey
CJFusco wrote:

Thank you, Taskinen -- that does look useful. I especially like that you get *some* control over the center (although not from the typical d and e pawns) and that you can both fianchetto and castle within four moves. I'll give it a shot!

The King's Indian Attack is sometimes suggested as a sort of quick-fix opening solution for near-beginners, but notice the reservations that IM Watson had while mentioning the idea.
"... For players with very limited experience, I recommend using openings in which the play can be clarified at an early stage, often with a degree of simplification. To accomplish this safely will take a little study, because you will have to get used to playing wiith open lines for both sides' pieces, but you can't eliminate risk entirely in the opening anyway. ... teachers all over the world suggest that inexperienced players begin with 1 e4. ... You will undoubtedly see the reply 1 ... e5 most often when playing at or near a beginner's level, ... After 2 Nf3, 2 ... Nc6 will occur in the bulk of your games. ... I recommend taking up the classical and instructive move 3 Bc4 at an early stage. Then, against 3 ... Bc5, it's thematic to try to establish the ideal centre by 4 c3 and 5 d4; after that, things can get complicated enough that you need to take a look at some theory and learn the basics; ... Of course, you can also play 1 d4 ... A solid and more-or-less universal set-up is 2 Nf3 and 3 Bf4, followed in most cases by 4 e3, 5 Be2 and 6 0-0. I'd rather see my students fight their way through open positions instead; however, if you're not getting out of the opening alive after 1 e4, this method of playing 1 d4 deserves consideration. ... a commonly suggested 'easy' repertoire for White with 1 Nf3 and the King's indian Attack ... doesn't lead to an open game or one with a clear plan for White. Furthermore, it encourages mechanical play. Similarly, teachers sometimes recommend the Colle System ..., which can also be played too automatically, and usually doesn't lead to an open position. For true beginners, the King's Indian Attack and Colle System have the benefit of offering a safe position that nearly guarantees passage to some kind of playable middlegame; they may be a reasonable alternative if other openings are too intimidating. But having gained even a small amount of experience, you really should switch to more open and less automatic play." - IM John Watson in a section of his 2010 book, Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 4
The KIA is discussed in Winning Chess Openings by GM Yasser Seirawan (1999).
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627132508/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen173.pdf
For more on the KIA, one could try The King's Indian Attack: Move by Move by Grandmaster Neil McDonald (2014).
https://www.newinchess.com/media/wysiwyg/product_pdf/7277.pdf
Perhaps, it would be of interest to look at Starting Out: King's Indian Attack by John Emms (2005).
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627034051/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen81.pdf

kindaspongey
SmithyQ wrote:

... playing through Morphy's games, ...

A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario
https://www.chess.com/blog/Chessmo/review-a-first-book-of-morphy

kindaspongey

"... Each player should choose an opening that attracts him. Some players are looking for a gambit as White, others for Black gambits. Many players that are starting out (or have bad memories) want to avoid mainstream systems, others want dynamic openings, and others want calm positional pathways. It’s all about personal taste and personal need.
For example, if you feel you’re poor at tactics you can choose a quiet positional opening (trying to hide from your weakness and just play chess), or seek more dynamic openings that engender lots of tactics and sacrifices (this might lead to more losses but, over time, will improve your tactical skills and make you stronger)." - IM Jeremy Silman (January 28, 2016)
https://www.chess.com/article/view/opening-questions-and-a-dream-mate

kindaspongey
[COMMENT DELETED]
kindaspongey
BobbyTalparov wrote:

... "Starting Out:  The Sicilian" ...

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627122350/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen123.pdf

kindaspongey
ed1975 wrote:

... book by GM Emms: ... Discovering-Chess-Openings ...

https://web.archive.org/web/20140627114655/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen91.pdf

kindaspongey
CJFusco wrote:

... I will shift my focus more toward tactics and endgame theory, ...

Here are some reading possibilities that I often mention:
Simple Attacking Plans by Fred Wilson (2012)https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090402/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review874.pdf
http://dev.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/Simple-Attacking-Plans-77p3731.htm
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 (1948)
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
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-back-to-basics-tactics
Silman's Complete Endgame Course
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708103149/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review594.pdf
A Guide to Chess Improvement by Dan Heisman (2010)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105628/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review781.pdf
Studying Chess Made Easy by Andrew Soltis (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090448/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review750.pdf
Seirawan stuff:
http://seagaard.dk/review/eng/bo_beginner/ev_winning_chess.asp?KATID=BO&ID=BO-Beginner
http://www.nystar.com/tamarkin/review1.htm
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-winning-chess-endings
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708092617/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review560.pdf

CJFusco

Very good recommendations -- that's a lot of stuff to wade through! Guess I better get started...

darkunorthodox88

you are still in your chess infancy,if you play online, experiment with a lot of openings, and see which ones grab your attention. after doing some of that, you will have a better idea what cluster of openings you should focus on, or even what areas your chess is deficient in. normally a person's taste in openings early on, reflects quite a bit on what parts of the game they are comfortable in, and what positions they rather avoid.  when like many young players you are force fed double king pawn positions all the time, its not as easy to tell.

AnhVanT

I also have a question on the opening. Let's say in some Ruy Lopez Exchange lines, White should not establish queenside fianchetto if Black plays 5...f6 to support his e5. Therefore, White should play something like 6.Be3 and the line keeps go on up to 11th move. However, if Black does not play 5...f6, do we switch to another variation idea or do we just simply establish queenside fianchetto? The hard part of following the lines is what to do if the opponents want to burn the book

kindaspongey
Year1993 wrote:

... The hard part of following the lines is what to do if the opponents want to burn the book

Most of the time, one faces a position with no knowledge of a specific move indicated in a book. One has to accept that as part of chess, and think of opening knowledge as a sometimes helpful aid. After a game, it makes sense to try to look up the moves in a book and see if it has some indication of how one might have played better in the opening. Many opening books are part explanation and part reference material. The reference material is included in the text with the idea that one mostly skips it on a first reading, and looks at an individual item when it applies to a game that one has just played. 
"The way I suggest you study this book is to play through the main games once, relatively quickly, and then start playing the variation in actual games. Playing an opening in real games is of vital importance - without this kind of live practice it is impossible to get a 'feel' for the kind of game it leads to. There is time enough later for involvement with the details, after playing your games it is good to look up the line." - GM Nigel Davies (2005)
"... Review each of your games, identifying opening (and other) mistakes with the goal of not repeatedly making the same mistake. ... It is especially critical not to continually fall into opening traps – or even lines that result in difficult positions ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2007)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627062646/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman81.pdf

kindaspongey

"... there will come a time, whether on move two or move twenty, when your knowledge of theory runs out and you have to decide what to do on your own. ... sometimes you will leave theory first, sometimes your opponent. ... It happens in every well-contested GM game at some point, usually a very significant point. ..." - IM John Cox (2006)

kindaspongey
CJFusco wrote:

Very good recommendations -- that's a lot of stuff to wade through! Guess I better get started...

I did not mean to indicate that one needs to read all of those books. I was just trying to suggest possibilities for consideration.