Mastery: Openings

Defeating "Pet Openings"

Defeating "Pet Openings"

This course advises on handling non-mainstream openings. You'll see simple solutions to countering unexpected replies in the opening. We will look at various White approaches and unusual defenses to 1.e4. I often refer to "the opening guidelines". By this, I mean the four rules which will generally get you through the openings 1. Place a pawn or two in the center 2. Castle! 3. Connect your rooks 4. Aim your rooks When you aren't sure what do do, think about those four goals.

  • Introduction

    This course will provide remedies to some of the annoying pet openings that your opponents use against you. In this introduction, I'll provide some generic advice that you can use whenever your opponent takes you out of familiar territory. In general,...

    • 5 challenges
  • Coping with Orangutans

    The Polish Opening, also known as the Orangutan, is an opening where White tries to grab queenside territory while using a bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal. The best reaction is to take hold of the e5-square and never let go!

    • 8 challenges
  • The Grubby Grob

    1.g4 is the worst opening for White, but nevertheless has a small cult following, including at least one Grandmaster. Grab the entire center and hold on to it!

    • 4 challenges
  • Grounding the Bird

    With 1. f4, White is aiming for a Reversed Dutch Defense or a stonewall attack or perhaps a queenside fianchetto attack. How should Black counter it? We'll use a reversed English Opening, since early ...f5 lines are not so popular for Black in that opening.

    • 5 challenges
  • Avoiding Nimzo-Larceny

    The Nimzo-Larsen is an ambitious strategy that starts with a queenside fianchetto. The main battleground will be the e5-square.

    • 4 challenges
  • Be ready for the Reti

    We've already seen how to handle 1.Nf3 followed by b3. Suppose White wants a Reti, and plays 2.c4 hoping for 2...d5? We confront this strategy by erecting a strong pawn chain.

    • 4 challenges
  • Defending the King's Indian Attack

    The King's Indian attack is a popular opening among amateurs because it is formulaic and very easy to play. White does not occupy the center immediately but uses a fianchetto to castle on the kingside. Then White will act in the center.

    • 3 challenges
  • Conquering the Colle

    The Colle is a simple system where White plays d4, Nf3, e3, Bd3, O-O then either c3, b3 or e4. Many move orders are used to reach the position, but 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 (or e6) 3.e3 e6 (or Nf6) 4.Bd3 is common. When White plays c3 or an early e4, it is a...

    • 3 challenges
  • Living in London Town

    The London system is a formation where white plays d4, Nf3 and Bf4, then e3, Bd3 and O-O. Like the Torre Attack, where the bishop goes to g5, it has the advantage over the Colle that the bishop is in attacking position.

    • 4 challenges
  • Tripping up the Torre

    The Torre Attack is similar to the London System and can be handled in the same manner. The move order will be a bit different because white threatens to capture the Knight with the Bishop and break up black's pawn structure. But there is an easier way...

    • 5 challenges
  • Beware the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit

    The Blackmar-Diemer Gambit has a poor reputation in professional play, but in the hands of amateurs, it can be quite dangerous. In return for the pawn, Black can get a strong attack. If you play the French, you can decline the gambit with 2...e6. Caro-Kann...

    • 2 challenges
  • Van Geet Opening

    1.Nc3 is not the sort of move to inspire fear. Black just needs to be familiar with one variation.

    • 5 challenges
  • Staring down an Elephant

    The elephants gambit has become quite popular in amateur circles in recent years. It isn't a very good opening but it can be quite tricky so you want to limit Black's counter play.

    • 4 challenges
  • Destroying the Damiano

    The Damiano Defense is one of the worst openings that Black can play. No serious players use it, just a couple of eccentrics who simply refuse to see the bankruptcy of Black's position. Nevertheless, it can lead to some complicated positions so it is...

    • 7 challenges
  • Licking the Latvian

    The Latvian Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5) is one of the wildest and wooliest chess openings. it is constantly being refuted and then resurrected by its fans. There is a vast literature devoted to this opening and to learn the main lines that are considered...

    • 3 challenges
  • Owning the Owen

    The Owen Defense can get very complicated if White wanders into one of the sharpest lines. Black plans a fianchetto on the queenside with 1.e4 b6, but neglects kingside development. Black's counterplay often involves ...f5 after White's bishop has...

    • 4 challenges
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