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youngglor 35 ( +1 | -1 )
Opening Repertoire I am still on my search of a good opening repetoire...
Ive been trying to find out 2 ways to play each type of game...the aggressive...for example if its a win at all costs, or a solid opening or defence for a draw to win...

Are there any good openings i can use for these two types...for lets say till im 1500
Im thinking ;
French defence
Sicilian

and d4 and e4

what do you all think?

cheers
anaxagoras 58 ( +1 | -1 )
So you are only concerned with defences to 1 e4? You should also consider a Black repertoire for defending against 1 d4.

I think the French defence is a good choice for anyone at any level. The Sicilian, however, is a living phonebook of massively complex and theoretical lines, and so I'd suggest you save it for later. You can still win with the French defence, but you have to be content with a two part strategy of defence first, and then only after you have equality, begin a counterattack.

At your level I'd suggest you learn one defence to e4, one defence to d4, and learn one White opening with the aim of mastery.
youngglor 31 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Thanks you for you opinion...i reformulated my opening repertoire;
black against e4
e5 ( i play this mostly..just wanted a break from this)
and french

black against d4;
queen gambits declined ( i dont really play anything else)
Dutch would be nice but wayyyyy not my level...

e4 and d4
mate_you_in_fifty 40 ( +1 | -1 )
I don't think... ...any opening can EVER be a 'win at all costs' or a draw or a loss. They may be drawish or they may be aggressive,but eventually it depends on how you and your opponent play and any drawish game can turn into a win and vice versa. It's never cut and dried. If it was like that,your opponent wouldn't select that opening in the first place.:) Might apply if it's Fritz vs Deep Blue or something like that.
caldazar 314 ( +1 | -1 )
I think you're barking up the wrong tree, youngglor.

Opening theory study is a massive undertaking; you have to be ready for everything. Otherwise, your study goes to waste. If you toss out 1. e4, you have to be ready for 1... c6, 1... c5, 1... d6, 1... d5, 1... e6, 1...e5, 1... g6, 1... Nf6 (and even then you'll still be caught out by the oddball moves like 1... Nc6 and 1... a6, but they occur infrequently enough that it's not worth studying). That's a lot of lines you have to figure out; you need one line (sometimes more, in the Sicilian, for instance) for each of them. And then with 1. d4 you have a myriad of 1... d5's, 1... Nf6's, and 1... f5's (off the top of my head; I'm sure there are others; I don't play 1. d4 as White so I'm not well-versed in that arena). And after all that, what does your (non-opening studying opponent) do? 1. e4 e6 2. Nf3. 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4. And other non-main line things since he doesn't know what he's "supposed" to be playing. And then those "inferior" moves turn out to be perfectly adequate anyway.

I find a much better way to "study" openings is simply to play them more or less blind. It's not like it's going to be that much different than actually studying and getting taken out of book on move 4 anyway. Then, after the game, you can look up the relevant lines and figure out what opening theory has to say. By slowly building up your knowledge this way, you'll slowly develop an opening repertoire, and all the theory you study will make more sense to you because you'll have prior practical experience. A side bonus of this is that you'll usually be playing openings that you feel comfortable with because without opening study, you're more likely to play the types of moves you like to play (right or wrong) rather than some heavily analyzed line that's totally opposite your style (even if theory does say the line is "best).

Otherwise, you'll be studying opening books for ages, memorizing all the themes, ideas, and concrete variations the opening has to offer, and then you'll still likely miss a key line or two. For example, I score far too well on the White side of the Sicilian Dragon. Not because I'm a good tactical player, but because time and time again, I catch my opponents out of book. After 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6, many of my opponent can show me lines dozens of moves deep after 9. Bc4, all the critical variations, the refututions, the problem lines; it's pretty amazing. But then I toss out 9. g4 and many of my opponents promptly crumble. They try to apply ideas they know inside and out from their 9. Bc4 knowledge, and it all just doesn't work. I don't really know what I'm supposed to do in the position; I just have some vague ideas about g5's, trading dark-bishops, and launching some pawns on the kingside while trying hard to prevent ...d5. But it works well enough, all because their mode of play relies on employing ideas and concrete variations from memory rather than trying to work out the best move, one position at a time.

My advice: play more, analyze your games to find your weaknesses, correct them, and leave your opening knowledge to grow naturally at its own pace.
rubico 7 ( +1 | -1 )
i learned this the hard way first learn the endgame then the opening, thats what all the GM's say to do :p
youngglor 19 ( +1 | -1 )
I do realize this...the endgame should be studied before openings should be touched. The problem is to find a book that teaches endgames. Anyone happen to know any...suggestions?
nelsonnewman 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Learn Endgames first? Hmm.. I really have to disagree with this...

Endgame study is very important, yes... but if a beginning player never GETS to the endgame, what good is all the endgame study?

You cannot be so one-dimensional that you will forego study of any facet of the game.. be it opening, middle game, or endgame. All facets of the game are equally important. My advice would be to devote an equal portion of study time to each of the three parts of the game.

--Nelson


peppe_l 296 ( +1 | -1 )
Just my two cents...I may be wrong :-) "but if a beginning player never GETS to the endgame, what good is all the endgame study?"

IMO,

When a beginning player loses the game in the opening, the chances are studying more lines will not help.

For example,

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bc4 Bg4?? 8.Bxf7+! Kxf7 9.Ne5+

Black lost in opening stage but if he studies all the lines from ECO, will it really improve his game that much? Yes he CAN say he lost a pawn because he had no clue 7...Bf5 was "book move" - but he can also say he lost a pawn because he missed relatively simple tactic. What if he studies all the book lines till, say, move 15? Well if he misses a simple tactic in move 7, surely it can happen after move 15 as well. Yes he will get to move 15 (unless his opponent deviates from theory, of course!) but the result will be the same - he WILL overlook something and he WILL lose the game.

After somewhat modest 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bc4 (or Bd3) there is no need to know any theory because the position is relatively simple and losing is certainly a result of lacking tactical or positional skills, not a result of lacking opening knowledge. But it is a completely different story after 5.Ng5 for example, because even if one knows tactics and strategy quite well, one cant really expect to see all the threats in complex main lines. Of course then we can ask why was he playing complex 4...Nd7 line in the first place? Why not much simpler 4...Bf5?

So my question is, if he studies a) tactics b) strategy c) endgames d) opening principles (instead of memorizing theoretical variations) AND e) chooses less theoretical line, for example 4...Bf5, wont we agree he has very good chances to survive trough the opening to a PLAYABLE position? Compared to surviving trough the opening by studying theory (once again assuming opponent plays book moves!) he will benefit from his studies not only in the opening, but in other stages of the game as well.

Every time a titled player (FM, IM, GM) advices us amateurs (say, players who are clearly below expert level, like me!) he gives the same hint : study tactics, endgames and play trough lots of annotated master games. Always! I have NEVER heard a titled player advicing amateur to "construct a powerful opening repertoire and learn lots of lines" :-)

When they talk about choosing an opening they usually say for players below (and above!) 1500 playing different openings in order to become familiar with different types of positions is much better approach than "specializing" to one opening vs 1.e4 etc.

Titled players were once class players like us, surely they must know something about chess improvement?

P.S...Before anyone says "yes but titled players study lots of openings..." - yes because they _are_ titled players already :-) The question we have to ask is what they were studying when they were at our level?

caldazar 230 ( +1 | -1 )
"Endgame study is very important, yes... but if a beginning player never GETS to the endgame, what good is all the endgame study?"

This is certainly a valid point; many low-level amateur games never reach anything remotely resembling a playable endgame. By the time an endgame-like position is reached, someone's usually down a piece or some such. But endgame study teaches more than just how to win the Lucena position, or how to outflank an opposing king. It teaches you how to calculate many moves deep; there may only be one or two reasonable moves at each point, but you're sometimes forced to calculate these forcing lines all the way to a pawn promotion. As a consequence of this, it also teaches you how to visualize. In endgames, you also gain experience in how to coordinate your forces; since your force is so small overall in endgames, you need to understand how to maximize the effectiveness of every piece. This is not necessarily the case in the middlegame where you can sometimes conduct active operations using only a small percentage of your total force.

But beyond that, I have to pretty much agree with peppe_l; opening study is generally not worth the effort at amateur levels. As I said before, opening study is a huge undertaking requiring a large time commitment (new opening theory comes in every time some GM plays a game or presents a bit of analysis to the chessplaying public). Also, I firmly believe that your greatest weaknesses define your strength as a player. If doesn't matter how expertly you play other facets of the game if you consistently make awful blunders that immediately wipe out any gains you may have made with prior play. And while opening play is indeed a weakness of amateurs (heck, we're weak in everything), it is generally not the most significant one. After all, does it really make sense to talk about whether one move leads to a 'slight advantage for White' and call the move your opponent played inferior because it only leads to equality when you consistently make blunders that change the evaluation of the position from 'equal' to 'Black is winning'? Fix the largest weaknesses first, then fix the smaller ones.
steve_toyne 129 ( +1 | -1 )
Endgames are most important as they teach you the power of each piece. Once you learn the strengths and weaknesses of a knight, for example, in the endgame, you will have valuable knowledge with how to deal with them in the opening and the middle game. You will also know which endings to aim for and which to avoid. Openings are common sense, dealing with logical development. How do you know how to develop a bishop if you dont know its character in its purest form? Endgames teach this.

Take a look at the most basic: Opposition of Kings. One of the first things you will learn in endgame study and yet so important. It teaches the power of the king amongst other things.

What do you learn from opening study? Not alot. You may memorise some lines, even finding out why some moves are made. But you aren't learning the trueness of chess until ya learn to think for yourself, which will come when you are out of book. Alot of people learn lines to openings but do not play the middle game well because they dont know the ideas behind that opening. Until anyone is ready to learn openings well, safe and logical development of the pieces is certainly enough.

Any comments? Sorry to waffle on.
steve_toyne 17 ( +1 | -1 )
....and another quick note:

Endgame study does not JUST teach you about endgames. So it doesnt matter if you NEVER get to an endgame. Plenty of lessons to learn.
brobishkin 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Steve... So true a statement... I have quoted many times here that it's the idea's behind the openings that count and understanding the strengths and weaknesses before going into the middlegame... Casablanca once said that if you study the game of chess from the endings first, then through to the openings, you will accellerate much faster at your studies...

One must play the openings like a book, the middlegame like a magician, and the endgame like a machine...

Bro...
nelsonnewman 85 ( +1 | -1 )
All that has been said is very true.. but the point I was trying to make in my original post was simply that you cannot improve as a player unless you study ALL phases of the game..

but perhaps what has worked for me may not work for others.

When I started out, I devoted 3 hours of pure "chess study" per day.. one hour on the opening, centering on the openings I wished to play, one hour on the middle game, getting used to and comfortable with the types of middle game positions that usually arise out of my selected openings, and one hour on the ending. Sometimes I would spend more than the hour per phase, but at the very minimum, I would try to divide my study time so that I would study the ENTIRE game, not just one phase of it.

This regimen worked for me, and during my over-the-board career, it has worked very well.

Best wishes,

--Nelson
steve_toyne 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes, but still....endgame is most important
bogg 9 ( +1 | -1 )
bro Maybe yongglor should look at the Maltese Falcon Defense.
Play it again bro ;-)
happinessisawarmgun 11 ( +1 | -1 )
nelson....... man,
I wish I had three hours a day to study chess !! I am lucky if I can get an hour somedays ! Maybe I need to give up my job :)
chris21 21 ( +1 | -1 )
Just to pick up on something said earlier in this thread. 1...Nc6 is definitley worth studying. If you play 1.e4 you'll come across it quite often! It's the Nimzowitch defence which is a big mainstream opening for black.