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Is the Modern a sound opening?
I think the Modern is sound, but you need to do alot of original work, I like to play online blitz with this as Black. I find the Caro-Kann a bit dry for practical winning chances OTB. I want Black against all the players who recommend the exchange variation vs the French Defence
If you want something more active than the 1...d6 Philidor and Old Indian that is also not so mainstream, how about the 2...Nf6 Scandinavian against 1 e4 and the Tarrasch Defense against 1 d4
The repertoire book titled Smerdon's Scandinavian is the bible on the 2...Nf6 Scandinavian and the book titled The Tarrasch Defense by Sam Collins gives good advice for club players.
If you want to keep it down to just one book as black then the offbeat The Dark Knight System by James Schuyler might be worth considering. His repertoire is based on 1...Nc6. He is 2400 USCF strength and is known for only playing the London as white and his Dark Knight System as black.
Tarrasch Defense isn't mainstream? It's probably the most intuitive QGD line for black that there is.
OP, while I won't give any concrete opening suggestions as it depends heavily on you and your preferences, I would recommend that you try to pick a defense to 1. e4 and 1. d4 that have similar pawn structures. For example, the Caro-Kann against 1. e4 will often achieve similar pawn structures to the Slav or Semi-Slav against 1.d4 (except when black takes on c4 and tries to hold on to the pawn - the resultant pawn structures from those lines are quite different).
I'm basing it on what Sam Collins wrote in his book in 2013. He said there is currently no super GM advocate for the defense and that it is unlikely to become as popular as when Spassky and Kasparov were beating everyone with it. He says the defense is out of fashion. I switched out the word fashion and used the word mainstream, but perhaps I was inexact to do so.
Starting Out: The Modern by Nigel Davies is in my opinion the best book on the Modern for club players. The author presents his repertoire and it's not an overwhelming amount of lines in the book (though still quite a bit to take in). Less than 200 pages. If you are however a player who prefers to have a book that is extensive then The Modern Tiger by Tiger Hillarp Persson (the 2014 edition) is over 500 pages.
Who wants to help me pick a new repertoire? Anyone? Anyone?
I was rated 1800 twenty years ago and have decided to return to OTB play. Lately I've found that I suck equally at all the main openings. Time to put in some work. I could use some advice.
I used to play the Dragon and the Semi-Slav. I want a new black defense to 1.e4, and 1.d4 too, if it's a related system.
I liked semi-open games in the past, but I'm willing to suffer the discomfort of learning something new. Fianchetto systems are a plus but not required because I'm told I should stay away from the King's Indian, Pirc, and Modern at my level, even though I'm interested in them. What do you think?
I could just go with 1....e6 and play the French and the Nimzo/Bogo. What would you do?
You can play the Queens Gambit Declined, the opening of the world champions.
I can recommend the book "Playing 1. d4 d5" form Quality Chess. There is also and pdf excerpt so you can look up what he is recommending against various white setups.
I like his recommendation against the classical queens gambit:
Kramnik played this variation. I like that black plays c5 which is much more active than playing c6 which is a bit passive.