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Normal Topic How to stop being ambivalent about my defences? (Read 715 times)
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Re: How to stop being ambivalent about my defences?
Reply #1 - 11/29/17 at 18:34:25
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Nothing sensational from my side:

You write like changing defenses is bad. Start with thinking what's good about it.

Write down a two by two table to detect hidden motivations. The 2 columns are named changing openings - yes - no. The two rows are effects, positive and negative.

So you get four squares:

1 positive effects of changing
2 positive effects of stability
3 negative effects of changing
4 negative effects of stability

Often men concentrate on 1 and 4. But sometimes the main reasons for keeping a behavior are in 2 and 3.

Maybe useful, but not guarantee given.

Medical textbooks say I should be dead since April 2002.
Dum spiro spero. Smiley
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How to stop being ambivalent about my defences?
11/29/17 at 02:12:09
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Hello Everyone,

I often have trouble making decisions in many things beyond chess openings (a typical Libra if you want to get astrological), but when it comes to my defences, it often seems like I am just straight up bipolar.

With White I am actually quite consistent, always playing one and only one variation against each of Black`s defences, and only varying something once in a while (such as capturing on c4 with the Queen vs. playing a4 in the mainline Catalan, which to be honest, is one of the few branches in my White repertoire where I am still not sure which option I like better), and my results are quite good against most defences, though like most of us, there are some serious gaps in my knowledge which I need to learn/relearn/deepen/etc.

With Black, however, I seem to jump around between several different defences, and have done so for years! One month I am all about playing 1...e5, then after finding that I get too few Ruy Lopezes for my taste, I am back to the Sveshnikov and the boatload of forcing lines that come with playing that! Then, after getting frustrated with my bad memory for such long forcing lines, I am back to the Najdorf, as it is a more intuitive for me and seems to be less drawish (or for whatever reason, lol), then I start to miss my old friends the French and Caro-Kann.... You see where I am going with this.

At least against 1.d4 I seem to consistently jump between the Leningrad Dutch, Modern Benoni, and Semi-Slav, so it is more manageable, especially considering that at my level, my opponents do not usually know so much about the first two. But against 1.e4 I am all over the place, often switching between 3-5 defences within a given year, when I should really play 2 at the most and spend my time working on other parts of my game. The one good thing perhaps is that I seem to switch between the same 4-5 openings against 1.e4, and never really add a new one; sometimes not even a new variation. For example, if I return to the French some day, I already know that I will play the Winawer against 3.Nc3, and that is highly unlikely to change. So, when I switch, I am never learning things from scratch at least...

Furthermore, I am not necessarily switching due to my results. With the Najdorf, for instance, I have always had good results, yet if I play it exclusively for too long, I start to crave something different. Perhaps I get bored too easily...

One could argue that playing so many defences has done a lot for me in terms of chess education, but on the other hand, I cannot say that I truley have deep knowledge of any of them! At my level, which is around 2000, having deep knowledge is not so important, but if I want to try to get up to master level in the next few years, I feel like it is necessary to specialize and also put more time into things that will really help me get stronger -- tactics, endgames, analysis of my own games, etc. I guess I just enjoy the variety of chess too much, and have trouble really sticking with one or two particular openings long term!

Do any of you have the same problem when choosing openings? What have you done about it? For non-professional players, is being an opening generalist every really a good thing?

Please note that I am not asking which of my defences I should choose, as I already know the pros and cons of them all too well. I am, rather, asking about your experiences with the decision making process, and how to overcome ambivalence.


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