Mastery: Openings

Exploiting Typical Opening Errors

Exploiting Typical Opening Errors

In this course, I will try to teach you how to react to a dubious looking move that you have never seen before in the opening. Theory is all fine and good, but you need to be able to punish early mistakes on your own as well!

  • Copycat

    Black has copied white's first 3 moves. Can you beat the copycat strategy?

    • 2 challenges
  • b5 too late

    In a standard Ruy Lopez position, Black castled before playing b5. Can we take advantage of this difference in move order?

    • 2 challenges
  • Wasted Time

    In a French defense, Black has played the seemingly useless move 2. ... a6. How should White react?

    • 1 challenge
  • Keep the pawn at all costs

    After accepting the Queen's Gambit, Black seems to be going to any and all lengths necessary to keep the pawn on c4. Is this justifiable or can White punish Black's greed?

    • 2 challenges
  • Basic King Safety

    After a brief sharp sequence, the game has quieted down. How can White prove the opening successful here?

    • 1 challenge
  • Ambitious Dragon

    It's well-known that in the Sicilian Dragon, the Black dark squared bishop is the most powerful piece on the board. Black tries to maintain this piece by trading off White's dark squared bishop for a knight... but will it work?

    • 2 challenges
  • Blind to the Opponent's Plans

    In the closed Sicilian, White usually tries to build up an attack on the kingside, while Black seeks counterplay on the queenside. However, in this case Black may have opened up the queenside a bit too soon.

    • 1 challenge
  • Too Natural

    So far, Black has played all the most natural moves in the position... from a strategic point of view. But Black forgot to calculate!

    • 2 challenges
  • Inattention

    Much like the previous example, Black brought the bishop to g4 too soon and must now pay the consequences.

    • 2 challenges
  • Weird Sicilian

    Black has played a highly abnormal move very early in the Sicilian. How should White respond?

    • 2 challenges
  • Horsie Horsie!

    Instead of trying to develop all the pieces and control the center, Black has been moving a knight all over the board. Can White punish this careless play?

    • 2 challenges
  • Pawn Push Happy

    White has moved all the pawns in front of the king without developing enough of the army, leaving White vulnerable to tactics.

    • 1 challenge
  • Scared of Ghosts

    In a normal-looking Caro-Kann, Black played h6 to keep any intruders out of g5. Was this important?

    • 1 challenge
  • Kill the birdie!

    White has opened up the king too early and not moved any center pawns. How can Black capitalize?

    • 2 challenges
  • Too many pawn moves

    White has again neglected development and opened up the king. Should we let White get away with it?

    • 2 challenges
  • MATErial

    In this game, Black opened the king and neglected to develop pieces, chasing a dream of capturing the rook on h1. How can White punish those mistakes?

    • 2 challenges
  • Lack of development

    In this game, Black has only developed one piece while White has developed three. Can you make use of this lead in development?

    • 3 challenges
  • Lonely Piece

    In this game, Black only brought out a bishop and moved the central pawns only one square. How can White capitalize on that odd play?

    • 2 challenges
  • Dutch Too Dangerous

    All Black has done so far is made kingside pawn moves, usually a bad idea, but Black has White's bishop trapped. How should White react?

    • 1 challenge
  • Grunfeld woes

    Black has just played the seemingly useless move h6 in the Grunfeld defense, an opening in which time is always of the essence. How should White react?

    • 1 challenge
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