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Posted by chessbaker


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Subject: openings

More and more I believe that it has no sense to know openings. I mean openings that are famous like sicilian,caro-kan,french,petroff and so on. Also openings with d4 with a name. Because for me in 90% of my games from the beginning my opponents take a different way.moves that not can be found in books or databases. I like it very much and long ago I decided not to use them myself anymore (books,databases). I think it's more useful to know the basic opening-lines,because I have seen opponents with very rear opening-moves who came out very good in the opening. what is your opinion in this

Posted by doctor_knight


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That is like saying that you don't need kata or forms in Martial Arts. In a sense, you don't need them; however, there are many benefits. In martial arts, they teach you good principles of movement, good coordination, how to link different techniques together, what you can do with your body, discipline over your body and mind, and other things too. However, there are boxers and such that don't know any forms or kata that are still good fighters, but they are probably not as good as they could be. There is a fighter in the UFC named Lyoto Machida who is undefeated at 13-0 and usually makes his competition (even dangerous competition like Rich Franklin and Tito Ortiz) look like amateurs. A large part of this success is because he is strongly routed in traditional Shotokan Karate and has practiced forms and kata since he was a child.

In chess, knowing the major openings helps you learn a lot of really good things about piece coordination and development. There are really important principles that are applicable to many other openings that you can learn from the mainstream openings. Not only that, many of the not so common openings have many possibilities to transpose into positions from the mainstream openings and in these cases it helps to know these openings a lot. And also don't forget that if you're trying to avoid the mainstream openings, you still have to know what to avoid.

Of course I don't think you need to learn the mainstream openings really well or be an expert or anything, but if you have the time to learn them, I definitely don't think it would hurt.

However, if you're talking about studying endgames more than openings, I would have to agree with you there (actually I think endgames are more like the forms and kata from martial arts than anything in the opening).

Posted by easy19


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In a Face 2 face game whiteout any Databases and books

you have a big advantage over any opponent who does not know his openings.
There are several very good opening traps that are based on logical moves.

So a player playing on logic and not on opening knowledge has a good chance to get beaten by the one who knows his opening.

you only have to know the pattern and after that you can play on logic and skill.
but you will see how many players you can surprise whit cunning opening traps even if they are unsound.

The Fried Liver Attack
This is a classic and runs as follows. 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bc4 Nf6, 4. Ng5 d5, 5. ed NxP?!, 6. Nxf7!? KxN, 7. Qf3+ Ke6, 8. Nc3. The position is unclear after 8. ... Nb4. However, white can improve with the line 6. d4 ed, 7. 0-0 when he threatens 8. Nxf7 and is probably winning.

The Staunton Gambit
This is in some sense similar to From's gambit running as it does 1. d4 f5, 2. e4 fe. Now the move 3. Nc3 has the idea of 3. ... d5?, 4. Qh5+ g6, 5. Qxd5 (and if 5. ... Qxd5, 6. Nxd5 Kd8, 7. Bf4 black has no good way to defend the c7 pawn) when white is clearly better. If black plays 3. ... Nf6, then white can play 4. Bg5 with the idea that if 4. ... d5?, then 5. BxN ef, (Not 5. ... gf, 6. Qh5+-) 6. Qh5+ g6, 7. Qxd5 QxQ, 8. NxQ when white wins the f6 pawn and has a winning advantage. If black plays the correct 4. ... Nc6 then after 5. BxN ef, (not 5. ... gf, 6. Qh5#) white should avoid the immediate 6. Nxe4 because black can play 6. ... Qe7 winning material after for example 7. Qe2 Nxd4, 8. Qd3 Qb4+ etc. Better therefore is 6. d5 Ne5, 7. Nxe4 with an equal position.

A pretty trap
There is a very pretty but rare trap which runs as follows. 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 d6, 3. Bc4 Bg4, 4. Nc3 g6?, 5. Nxe5! BxQ, 6. Bxf7 Ke7, 7. Nd5#

The Modern Defence
A similar queen trap is seen after the moves 1. e4 g6, 2. d4 Bg7, 3. Nf3 d6, 4. Bc4 Nd7??, when white wins with 5. Bxf7! If black takes it with 5. ... KxB?? (which looks superficially correct) then after 6. Ng5 he faces an unpleasant choice. If Kf6 then Qf3#, if Qf8 then Ne6+ wins black's queen, and if Ke8 then Ne6 still wins black's queen!

The Chameleon Variation of the Sicilian Defence
Another trick which makes use of this trapping pattern, but to even greater effect, occurs in an unusual line of the Chameleon variation of the Sicilian. 1. e4 c5, 2. Nc3 Nc6, 3. Ne2 (This is quite a sneaky move; white waits for black to commit himself to a particular set–up before deciding whether to play an open or a closed Sicilian.) 3. … Nf6, 4. d4 (This is probably the wrong decision. White should play a closed Sicilian here with 4. g3.) 4. … e6, (4. ... cd 5. Nxd4 would of course transpose to a main line classical Sicilian) 5. d5 ed, 6. ed Ne5, 7. g3?? (7. Nf4 is better, and quite interesting) 7. ... Nf3#. Quite a shock!

Posted by pavel76


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I think chess would be much more amusing if the game starts in random pieces position like in shuffle chess for example. That way no one will have advantage memorizing 15+ moves but the true knowledge and skills will determine the outcome of the game. Bobby Fischer' s ideas are really revolutionary :)

Posted by dysfl


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Kata in martial arts

The doctor_knight's idea about opening as a tool to gain a solid priciples, I agree. However, as a former martial arts student myself, I believe kata did more harm than the benefits in martial arts, especially to today's martial arts students.

Kata has its own benefits, but if you look into the history of Shotokan style, it was developed when the teacher could not teach all the individuals one on one basis, which is the best way. Kata is a compromise with supply and demand, in a nutshell. If you open a Karate studio and teach one student at a time at 25-30 dollars/hour rate, you could not pay the rent. There is no screte about it. I have seen so many students are learning the steps when their fists are pointing to a slightly wrong direction, and in real fight, it would break their wrists.

I don't want to say to the extent that it is one of the dirtiest trick in that industry, but some people opens a studio and teaches kata only as they don't know anyting but kata.

I used to hitting pillers with ropes around it, till my fists bled, then repeated kata till I could do it quite well with blindfolded. However, what really helped me was sparring and hitting the mittens/sandbags in later days. Practicing kata gave me false comforts that I was learning something, and it was a beautiful deception.

Posted by spurtus


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Whilst tactical ability is vastly better asset to have than positional ability, opening knowledge does in fact give you something, its not completely futile...

It gives you a plan and if you can retain a margin of opening advantage it can have a snowballing effect. when you see a move you've not encountered before you spot it immediately and you should try to work why it is sub optimal and exploit any weaknesses.

If your finding that the openings are too vast to even contemplate I suggest that you completely ignore all e4 openings and simply concentrate of QP openings. You half the task immediately.( there are certain openings to help you do this. I don't even know the first thing about KP openings but I do know about Blackmar Diemer Gambit, Budapest Gambit, Scandinavian, Alekhine ) It is indeed possible to play both sides of the board ignoring the typical e4 openings 99% of the time. I've done this and have virtually never played a sicilian / ruy lopez, kings gambit etc etc.

Of course just stick to the basic maxims and you cant go too far wrong?.. can you?... namely, in order of importance... Development, King Safety.

Posted by ionadowman


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The trouble is...

... without theoretical opening knowledge, you can go wrong.

If you don't like "book learning" I would recommend doing just a little bit of book learning in what I call "Systems Openings". Such openings are the English, Colle, Reti and/or Catalan on the White side (I gather the London Opening is another such but I don't know it), and for Black, maybe certain lines of the French Defence, or the Modern Defence. I think the "Lion Variation" of the Philidor defence is also "systematic".

I've not indicated the moves for these openings, but maybe one or other of these can be discussed later.

The point of these sorts of openings is that you have a fairly clear cut line to follow, so that you can reach the early middlegame with a playable game.

I can appreciate the problem of the opening. Too much these days seems to be known, and even if you possess that theoretical knowledge, far too much of the game ends up being "book". Several months ago I played the White side of a 28-move Latvian Gambit that stopped being theory only after at least half to two-thirds of the game had been played. There probably wasn't a new move in the entire game! I don't think I'll be in a mad ruch to play this line of the Latvian Gambit again.

One thing for sure, though: in sharp openings, watch words like "development" and "king safety" won't be sufficient. Consider this sharp line:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 ...
This is in fact a good move, even though it moves a piece twice in the opening. Having said that, though, if you want to keep things within bounds you might prefer 4.d4 or 4.d3..

Develops a piece, but what price King safety? What about keeping the material balance. Mind you, Black doesn't have to play this.

(5.Bxf7+ is also playable and might actually be the better choice)

What the... Faced with a knight fork against his heavy pieces, Black goes nuts and tosses away a Bishop! But this is theory. Nothing creative about this!

(Safer is 6.Kf1, but there isn't all that much in it)

6...Nxe4+ 7.Ke1?? ...
Shortly after joining GK, I played Black in this line against an opponent who didn't like "book" learning. I knew this line; my opponent was winging it. Until this move, he had been doing fine. But this move (7.Ke1) you won't find in the books. 7.Kg1 keeps White in the fight.

8.g3 Nxg3
9.Rg1 Ne4+
0-1. White's king can not be saved: 10.Ke2 Qf2+ 11.Ke3 Nc5+ 12.Kc3 Qd4#.

If you want to progress, it can't be helped. Some book learning is needed. But maybe there are ways of limiting this to manageable proportions. As White, for many years I played the English Opening almost exclusively. It sure limited my opponent's choices!


Posted by chessbaker


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thanks for all your suggestions and answers. It will help me .

Posted by spurtus


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nice post, and nice opening, but what would you do with 4.d5 ? this might be refuted but I haven't checked any opening books deliberately, but that would be my natural first choice, I'm just glancing at the opening.

i have yet to find a systems opening that really works ( for me ) I have tried and shunned them. I've seen some players do well with this though.

here is how I would spend my chess learning time...

40% play play play, play online, play OTB, play CC!
30% study YOUR openings. ( I rate this reasonably highly )
15% get a solid endgame knowledge. ( dont learn KBN v K waste of time!! )
10% perform tactical learning and do tactical 'drills'.
4% study YOUR games (all of them!)
1% study masters games and realise you don't really understand what the hell is going on most of the time.

Posted by blake78613


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I don't think learning KBN v K is a waste of time. It helps you develop an eye for how the Knight and Bishop can be coordinated. This feel can be a great help in the middle and endgame. Also helpful in end games that have these two pieces plus others.

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