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# Why lower rated players should learn openings

• #41
EscherehcsE wrote:
WarrenBuffett2 wrote:

Amateurs should learn openings if they want to win more games.

I think you should stick with bridge, Warren.

He probably has no idea what "6 No Trump East" means!

• #42
You can argue many ways on this topic but I think the best explanation has always been mathematics. You learn the simple maths before the complex maths, and the simple maths lead to an easier understanding of the complex maths. Learning the intricacies of a specific opening is like narrowing in on a specific formula in math. Sure anytime you get a problem that uses that formula you'll have a great ability to solve it, but that's one problem that can be solved easily with that formula, what about the host of other problems that can't be solved by that formula? However if you learn general mathematics and how to figure out how to understand what's needed to solve problems generally you'll have a better understanding how to try and solve many math problems. So instead of learning one formula, or several really well, it's recommended to expose yourself to the main formulas that work on many math problems you'll face. In this regard, master the simple maths and expose yourself to the main formulas will help you much more than mastering one or a few complex math formulas and studying simple math lightly.
• #43

Any beginners book on chess that you read will tell you to learn a couple of openings that you feel comfortable with. Don't go whole hog wild on the idea but you have to start someplace. Not I'm a tactical wizard so I'll start out a3. I'll beat you all the time.

• #44

There is too much crap to sift through.

So I will try to make this short.

All players should study openings but through WHOLE GAMES. You need to study whole games, from start to finish, organized by opening. Start with double king pawn openings. King's Gambit and Two Knight's Defense are good. By studying these openings, you are essentially studying tactics and combinations.

Basic checkmates completely and totally over ride any need to learn openings. You can argue what is the logic in studying the endgame if you can't make it to the endgame, but what good is it to have a won position if you can't win the won position?

It is important for beginners to study first, before any openings: 2 rooks vs King, King + Rook vs King, King + Queen vs King; How to checkmate with two bishops vs King, and bishop+knight vs King, basic King + pawn vs King, etc..

By learning this basic checkmates and improving at their execution, you actually increase your chances of checkmating another beginner in 10 to 20 moves.

• #45

"If you want to play chess competitively, then you must develop an opening repertoire." - GM Patrick Wolff (1997)

• #46
kindaspongey wrote:

"If you want to play chess competitively, then you must develop an opening repertoire." - GM Patrick Wolff (1997)

Beginners and novices above the age of 12 shouldn't consider playing chess professionally.

• #47

He wrote, "competitively", not "professionally".

• #48
kindaspongey wrote:

He wrote, "competitively", not "professionally".

ok haha whoops! sorry! Yes, I would have to agree with GM Wolff.

The critical questions, though, are how and when?

I believe the basic checkmates should be learned first and maybe even king and pawn endgames. Also, we all should start with 1.e4 e5, etc.. Too many people try to skip to queen pawn openings and flank openings when they are not ready. Of course it doesn't help that often their opponents are playing 1.d4 against them or the English. As an intermediate to advanced level player my self, I almost always display the courtesy of sticking to 1.e4 e5 against my substantially weaker friends.

• #49

i remember the days when i was 1200-1300 rated completely patzer. (now those that are that rated are a lot stronger) Not that i am not now, just little less. I am not sure how i was that high rated, because i completely lack understanding of positions and chess overall.  I played only 1 opening as white 1d4. and then c4 Queen gambit..  But all that was pure memorization - don't ask me why i put pieces there in not in any particular order - i would answer  because someone told me. My vision to any.. i mean any position was .. what the hell i have to do.. i don't know.  But lets go here and see what happens, perhaps my opponent will hung his queen.  But i was quick. And i would rarely make a move without first check if some enemy piece is not attacking it.

So i can say first one need great amount of games and experience - then study tactics - then openings, but don't forget endgames. Actually one should study openings, after he understand what that opening is.. for instance i started to play Scandinavian  years ago as black.. but i did not knew bacic stuff like not having the center is giving me less oppoetunety for an attack etc..

I was not alone - thousands of players are playing the wrong opening that not suit their style.. but how to find their style - by playing a lot..but how when they blunder and give away free pieces... soo.. first study tactics.

• #50
Candidate35 wrote:
You can argue many ways on this topic but I think the best explanation has always been mathematics. You learn the simple maths before the complex maths, and the simple maths lead to an easier understanding of the complex maths. Learning the intricacies of a specific opening is like narrowing in on a specific formula in math. Sure anytime you get a problem that uses that formula you'll have a great ability to solve it, but that's one problem that can be solved easily with that formula, what about the host of other problems that can't be solved by that formula? However if you learn general mathematics and how to figure out how to understand what's needed to solve problems generally you'll have a better understanding how to try and solve many math problems. So instead of learning one formula, or several really well, it's recommended to expose yourself to the main formulas that work on many math problems you'll face. In this regard, master the simple maths and expose yourself to the main formulas will help you much more than mastering one or a few complex math formulas and studying simple math lightly.

Yea  i agree. But chess is very complex. Thousands of opening variations and lines. I myself do exacly that. Many players and coaches advice for beginners is to play 1 opening or two so he can be safe and prepared and to know where to put his pieces so he dont lose right away. That has pluses and minuses.

I prefer your method. I would rather study 20 openings/lines not deep, but to have bigger idea  and wide vision in generall. I don't want to be surprised on move 3.. oh now what to do.. no, i want to know what line is that etc and how to proceed, even if i have basic idea.

But this method is extemely hard for beginners, because in order to do that they first need some experience overall.. but how to have experience when they blunder a lot and they dont know openings...

• #51
Don't you hate those low/average rated junkies that they think they rule the world? Or you are like me, who loves to destroy their big ego? (not in this game)

• #52

Indeed. Back in the "old days", players would be segregated into some categories.

-Beginners/novices

-Book players

-Experts

And so on.

Point is, now days there are no lines. The advent of information is accessible from beginner to expert.

There is no, contrary to some, supposed "rule" that beginners can't learn openings, extensively or not, and not other areas too. As the OP suggests.

• #53

Those of us here posting, with much experience & knowledge, in my opinion, cannot say that "yeah, beginners at a certain level shouldn't be messing with openings til a certain level."

We've all been there. What to play after 1. e4 or 1. d4? Or as black even?

Personally, without my uncle, I would just be muddling in the dark without a flashlight.

• #54

In fact, World Championships are often decided by one's opening repertoire.

Not beating a dead horse, Bobby Fischer played his openings which he extensively studied for oh soo many years. Tweaking, innovating them all the while.

• #55

But developing one's repertoire has to start somewhere. Why not earlier the better?

Of course there is always room for change. When one becomes mature.

In martial arts, you develop your foundation, say if you're into Jiu-jitsu, you ceremoniously begin at an early age.

Analogically, likewise in chess, I advocate. Vehemently.

• #56
najdorf96 wrote:

But developing one's repertoire has to start somewhere. Why not earlier the better?

Of course there is always room for change. When one becomes mature.

In martial arts, you develop your foundation, say if you're into Jiu-jitsu, you ceremoniously begin at an early age.

Analogically, likewise in chess, I advocate. Vehemently.

Studying opening lines isn't really a foundation. Opening principles, basic endgames, tactical themes ... those are.

The thing is, opening theory is huge and getting an opening down to 3-6 moves in some lines, in many cases, is enough for sub-expert players. Players can add to that knowledge organically by finding where the opening deviated from theory but studying a lot in advance is going to leave a player with a lot of knowledge, assuming memory is good, that will not be very applicable to many of the opening postitions that end up on the board.

So, I don't think anyone says no opening study at all but that study time would be better spent in other areas for most players.

• #57

OP forgot to write the word "not" somewhere in the title.

• #58

www.365chess.com OPENING EXPLORER.

• #59

Indeed. Opening theory now a days extends 20 moves deep. At least. 3-6 moves isn't enough at all.

In fact, opening studying encompasses many positional themes as well as tactical nuances.

Pawn structure, piece play, variations that twist and turn to establish equality or gain the initiative is well documented in many lines established from centuries of distillation.

My main point is that having an opening repertoire that one can tweak, innovate through trial n error while also firming up tactical ability, endgame prowess is ideal and very attainable now a days.

• #60

I think many players can reach expert level without having to memorize 15-20+ deep lines. But about 6-10 should be enough. Most of it is just tactics and endgame skills.  problem is in tournament you play 1 opponent one time. And if you know many openings... does not matter a lot. You can make transpositions but... someone knowing a lot of lines and have equal middle/endgame will beat you.

Having a good opening knowledge and stable tactics (not haning free pieces or failing at forks etc) should boost you up quickly, because you will have better middle game and more better chances.

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