Thoughts About Improving w/Openings?


"... 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)

BobbyTalparov wrote:

... "Starting Out:  The Sicilian" ...

ed1975 wrote:

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

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)
Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev (1957)
The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev (1965)
Winning Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (1948)
Back to Basics: Tactics by Dan Heisman (2007)
Silman's Complete Endgame Course
A Guide to Chess Improvement by Dan Heisman (2010)
Studying Chess Made Easy by Andrew Soltis (2009)
Seirawan stuff:


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


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.


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

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)


"... 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)

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.