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Is London and Caro-Kann good openings for beginners?

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herr_shaibel

I randomly started to learn the London and Caro-Kann openings. I use London for white and Caro-Kann for black. Are they good for beginners or should I try other ones? I've found that my middle games are much better but I'm so far only able to play 10 moves, after that it's back to brainplay.

nklristic

Well, London will give you the same setup as white every time. You can play it whatever defense black plays against it. That might not be the best because you will be exposed to one setup every time you play as white (50% of the time). For instance if you play e4 you will face - e5, Sicilian, Caro Kann, French, Pirc, Modern, Scandinavian... If you play d4 (but not a setup like opening like the London) you will as well face different defenses and you will not be able to play the same moves every time. So you can play it, but know that it might limit your progression.

As for Caro Kann, some people say that it is better to get to know open positions first, but you can certainly play it if you like it. 

herr_shaibel

My rating is under 900 so I seldom meet players who can follow openings beyond 8-10 moves. With "open positions" do you mean other, more flexible openings?

nklristic

Exactly the reason why you shouldn't really worry too much about openings at this point. Some mainstream variation, first 3-5 moves is all you need for now and then just go with the flow following opening principles. happy.png  Open positions are e4-e5 (this is actually called open game) or e4-c5. Closed positions are d4-d5 (it is called closed game). Caro Kann and French have semi open positions (open positions , semi open positions and closed positions refers to the number of pawns traded off and if there are some open lines etc.), so something in between. 

Anyway, London is probably not a good idea because you are playing the mostly same moves regardless of what black does, but Caro Kann you can play if you wish. You will get a bunch of different games in Caro Kann, as it will depend on what will white do.

daxypoo
london and caro kann are good openings

i switched to caro kann after playing ...e5 for awhile

however, against players who are strong in their e4 games caro can be trouble if you cant play it robustly

you can make seemingly “good developing moves” and be nearly lost after 15 moves

personally, i have switched up to playing ...c5 vs e4 as it is more direct

in the caro kann you are always looking for that critical moment to get in the c5 push but by playing ...c5 right away it is already accomplished


nevertheless, caro kann served me well for at least a year; at out lower levels you will face opponents who have never seen 1...c6 and be totally befuddled

london is also solid but, personally, i play 1.d4 and (almost always) 2.c4


but for getting your head above water the london and caro kann (at least the first few moves of these classical openings) will serve you well
herr_shaibel

Thanks for the good advise happy.png

nklristic

You're welcome. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask. Less than a year ago, I was more or less in your shoes. happy.png

nTzT

I believe so yes

catmaster0
herr_shaibel wrote:

I randomly started to learn the London and Caro-Kann openings. I use London for white and Caro-Kann for black. Are they good for beginners or should I try other ones? I've found that my middle games are much better but I'm so far only able to play 10 moves, after that it's back to brainplay.

Sure. There are plenty of other viable openings, but those are two of them.

I chuckled at "only able to play 10 moves, after that it's back to brainplay". It's always going to be back to brainplay, that's the part that matters. The opening is of minimal concern at this stage. You have your pieces out, now you just have to decide how to use them. 

herr_shaibel
catmaster0 wrote:
herr_shaibel wrote:

I randomly started to learn the London and Caro-Kann openings. I use London for white and Caro-Kann for black. Are they good for beginners or should I try other ones? I've found that my middle games are much better but I'm so far only able to play 10 moves, after that it's back to brainplay.

Sure. There are plenty of other viable openings, but those are two of them.

I chuckled at "only able to play 10 moves, after that it's back to brainplay". It's always going to be back to brainplay, that's the part that matters. The opening is of minimal concern at this stage. You have your pieces out, now you just have to decide how to use them. 

Haha, that's true. But it was really an epiphany to play proper openings for the first times. Suddenly I had strong piece structures that didn't buckle so fast in the middle games. Very enjoyable happy.png

JackRoach

Don't waste time on openings. 10 moves is nothing in a 40-50 move game with the last 30-40 moves all being weak.

maryvale1
nklristic wrote:

Well, London will give you the same setup as white every time. You can play it whatever defense black plays against it. That might not be the best because you will be exposed to one setup every time you play as white (50% of the time). For instance if you play e4 you will face - e5, Sicilian, Caro Kann, French, Pirc, Modern, Scandinavian... If you play d4 (but not a setup like opening like the London) you will as well face different defenses and you will not be able to play the same moves every time. So you can play it, but know that it might limit your progression.

As for Caro Kann, some people say that it is better to get to know open positions first, but you can certainly play it if you like it. 

hello i am a beginner and and was wondering, are you saying i should, instead of going for a setup based opening and just focusing on tactics, that i should instead study e4? would that not hinder my progress? there is so much to know for e4 it would certainly consume a lot of time that could be used learning tactics and endgames. so how does wasting time studying every reply to e4 help me at all? sure u can say exposure but I don't need the exposure to different positions if I'm not going to have to worry about playing them. I can just look at playing e4 later down the road when I'm better at the game. I'm sorry if i come of as rude but i just don't get this logic

nklristic
maryvale1 wrote:
nklristic wrote:

Well, London will give you the same setup as white every time. You can play it whatever defense black plays against it. That might not be the best because you will be exposed to one setup every time you play as white (50% of the time). For instance if you play e4 you will face - e5, Sicilian, Caro Kann, French, Pirc, Modern, Scandinavian... If you play d4 (but not a setup like opening like the London) you will as well face different defenses and you will not be able to play the same moves every time. So you can play it, but know that it might limit your progression.

As for Caro Kann, some people say that it is better to get to know open positions first, but you can certainly play it if you like it. 

hello i am a beginner and and was wondering, are you saying i should, instead of going for a setup based opening and just focusing on tactics, that i should instead study e4? would that not hinder my progress? there is so much to know for e4 it would certainly consume a lot of time that could be used learning tactics and endgames. so how does wasting time studying every reply to e4 help me at all? sure u can say exposure but I don't need the exposure to different positions if I'm not going to have to worry about playing them. I can just look at playing e4 later down the road when I'm better at the game. I'm sorry if i come of as rude but i just don't get this logic

No need to be sorry, everyone has a right to their own opinions. happy.png

Before I answer I have to notice something. Your blitz (bullet even more, but let's not focus on that) rating is very high for a beginner. In fact your blitz is around 1 000 points higher than rapid, which is very uncharacteristic. Your blitz is far from beginner rating. Based on those 2 ratings, you are a better player than me, or at very least, you are not weaker.

In any case, I will now give my answer based on what you've said - that you are beginner and based on your rapid rating.

First of all, while you are a beginner, you will not be actively studying openings. Openings are pretty low on list of priorities. Beginners (let's say up to 1 200) will "live and die" on a chessboard because of 2 things in most cases. They will either learn how to avoid straight up blunders and learn how to follow opening principles (if you just push pawns it will soon be game over in many cases) or they will remain under 1 200. Studying 10 or move moves of some line is almost useless on that level and is a poor usage of your time regardless if you play Sicilian or London System.

In that regard, difference between playing system like opening like London system or something different is not that important for a beginner - both will give you playable positions if you follow opening principles. Now, if you wish to look up opening explorer after the game, that is fine, just do not overdo it and do not base your progress on memorizing lines, it will be useless in most cases.

So, why am I saying that London system is not the best way to get into chess (in my opinion)?

Because every time you are white, you will close your eyes and play d4, Bf4, Nf3, e6, c6, Nd2 etc. You will generally play this, regardless if your opponent generally plays Slav defense , QGD, Kings indian defense, QID/Nimzo, Benoni or Grunfeld defense as a response to 1.d4. By doing this, you are restricting 50% of games (all the games as white) to similar moves and similar pawn structures. That is neither fun for most of the people, neither that great.

I am not saying that you must play e4. If you really wish, you can play d4, and follow it up with c4 and then see what the opponent plays and play accordingly. You will get all kinds of different stuff and gain experience in all of that. But yeah, people propose 1.e4 because games are in most cases more open which is supposedly more straightforward.

The real reason why novice players choose London System is because they feel more in control. But that is a false control. A novice player will lose 9 out of 10 times with 1.e4 or with London system to someone 400 rating points higher than him. Openings do not matter that much up to master level.

Another problem might occur as well. If a beginner starts with London System, he might get to some nice rating - let's say 1 800, then he might want to switch, but he will know London System only. He will play other stuff on a much lower level than his London System, as he has very little experience playing other positions. AKA it will not be a smooth transition, and it would take him a lot of time to just regain his 1800 playing strength.

For instance when someone wants to change his openings, he might change the way he is playing Sicilian Najdorf as white, choose a different move number 6. That is a minor change compared to what London System player will have to do. London player will change his entire white repertoire if he chooses to switch it for something else.

If you choose 1.e4 for example, instead of false security, you will dive into the unknown (which is natural when you start out doing something new) and build up from there. There is no rush, if you intend playing chess for a while, you will have all the time in the world to strengthen your opening play. And trust me, other beginners don't know theory either. He will be in unknown territory just as much as you are.

Now of course, the choice is yours, but for me, it would be boring if every game as white is something similar.

Sorry for the long post. Have a great day. happy.png

Propeshka

Completely agree with nklristic. The London is ok, of course. But in the long run it's better to get exposed to many different structures, so I'd play either 1.e4 or 1.d4 with 2.c4. The Caro-Kann is good. Depending on what White does, you'll get different pawn structures in the classical, the advance, the exchange, the Panov. This will be beneficial for your chess development.

nTzT

Something is definitely not right with @maryvale1 's account. His puzzle rating and rapid ratings are indicative of a beginner and yet his blitz is not. His blitz also dropped all the way from 1900 to 1000.

The only logical conclusion is that someone else was using the account prior to it being handed over to him.

So, it's best not to judge his level of play without that in mind.