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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Opening Repertoire How-To (Read 20197 times)
an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #59 - 12/24/21 at 03:19:47
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A relatively recent article: WGM Raluca Sgîrcea, IM Renier Castellanos (2021.10.12) How to Learn Chess Openings: The Complete Guide. Even though the byline lists both Sgîrcea and Castellanos, I suspect this one is just by Sgîrcea.
https://thechessworld.com/articles/openings/how-to-learn-chess-openings-the-comp...

I haven't looked at this site in a while. At one time I could have recommended it but today my quick impression is the quality of the articles has gone down. Anyhow, I summarize this article in bullet points.
  1. Choose an opening that fits your style; not just based on traps.
  2. Collect some model games; e.g. classical games.
  3. Find some top players who specialize in your opening and look at their games; different games from #2.
  4. Create a database with the model games, top player games, and book (or DVD) analysis; supposedly the hard step, but there isn't any detail on how to do it.
  5. Play some training games in the opening.
  6. Now you are ready to play tournament games in the opening.
  7. Keep your database up to date with new games and new ideas.

It seems about right. Notably they didn't forget the first step of choosing an opening. But to be a "good" article it needed to flesh out the steps more.
  
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Pawnpusher
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #58 - 12/13/21 at 12:37:31
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ok so it was Tarrasch mea culpa!!
  
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #57 - 12/12/21 at 12:53:13
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What is the Tartakower quote that leaps to mind?
  
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MNb
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #56 - 12/12/21 at 11:41:06
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 12/12/21 at 11:05:26:
[If they spend lots of time studying openings because it's easy (what Greg Shahade said at the top),

Yeah, I found this questionable. He clarified it with "With current tools like ....." However on internet there are several sites devoted to endgame and tactics training as well. For GMs it might be different; at the other hand I remember Dutch GM Erik van der Doel saying that it was extremely hard to find something in the Ruy Lopez that poses problems for Black. So I'don't really understand what Shahade means with this. As a consequence I've nothing sensible to say about what you right next. I prefer to keep it simple - GMs study openings to improve their results. That's why it's important to them.
  

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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #55 - 12/12/21 at 11:05:26
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MNb wrote on 12/12/21 at 09:00:16:
"GMs spend lots of time studying openings hence they matter." There is nothing wrong with this argument and it certainly doesn't contradict that other quote from the beginning of his article.

I accept your paraphrase, I was also paraphrasing but yours is better than mine.

Why do GMs spend lots of time studying openings? That is the crux of it.
  • If they spend lots of time studying openings because it's important, Q.E.D.
  • If they spend lots of time studying openings because it's easy (what Greg Shahade said at the top), then it remains to be shown it's important. I can think of other reasons for GMs to spend lots of time studying openings that are unrelated to importance, but I drew attention to the reason Greg Shahade himself gave in his very own article.

Saying it must be important because GMs spend lots of time on it, even though there is an alternative explanation available for why they spend lots of time on it, is called begging the question. My own view is both that it's important, and that many players, GMs included, spend too much time on it. Some players spend _way_ too much time on it. In fact, once we accept that some players are spending too much time studying openings, then certainly for those players at least we should accept that quantity of opening study has diverged from opening importance. Then the question arises to what degree the same divergence exists for _all_ players.

If Shahade had simply said the opening is 1/3 of the game and therefore must be important, he would have been on firm ground.
  
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #54 - 12/12/21 at 10:09:42
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Well, I find myself in the same relation to your post as I find myself in relation to Greg Shahade's article. I agree with 7/8ths of your statements, but I'm struggling with your logic.

Stigma wrote on 12/12/21 at 06:11:07:
"if all the stronger players know them much better than weaker players, that means weaker players only need a little bit of study to surpass their peers in that area"

Not my point at all, but I will address it. I agree with both halves of your statement, but I don't see how the first half logically implies ("that means") the second half.

Stigma wrote on 12/12/21 at 06:11:07:
But that would still mean opening study is valuable for everyone, only with the caveat that weaker players especially should take care not to overdo it.

Again I don't see how the previous quote logically implies ("that would still mean") this idea; my logical difficulty is separate from my agreement with you (and Greg) that opening study is valuable for everyone. Also in the second half I quibble with the word especially -- my 1/8th disagreement. The point of my money analogy was that rich people spend too much of their time earning more money, and by analogy strong players can, and many of them probably do, spend too much of their time learning more openings.

It's easy to identify certain weaker players -- the extreme cases -- who study openings "too much": They get great positions, but collapse quickly once out of book. The same thing doesn't happen to stronger players: When they get great positions, they almost always win. But we should not therefore conclude that stronger players cannot ever study openings "too much". That category of error applies to any player regardless of strength. The difference is in the details.
  
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MNb
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #53 - 12/12/21 at 09:00:16
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 12/11/21 at 19:08:49:
I'm just pointing out that saying GMs know enormous amounts of opening theory is not a conclusive argument for deciding how much time to spend studying openings -- not even for GMs.

That's not what Shahade wrote. He wrote (I paraphrase) "GMs spend lots of time studying openings hence they matter." There is nothing wrong with this argument and it certainly doesn't contradict that other quote from the beginning of his article.
This doesn't mean I totally agree. I've known some amateurs (stronger than me) who disliked studying openings and still enjoyed playing chess. They simply accepted the consequence: in many games they had bad positions after say 10 moves. But personally in otb chess I prefer to have decent/good positions and belong to the up-to-1800 category.
The first two questions one should ask him/herself is "do you want to improve and how much time/energy do you want to invest?" My answer to the first one has been "I don't care" since 25 years or so and "as much as I feel like" to the second one. So I can afford to be quite subjective in my choices (Classical Dutch! - don't play it when you're ambitious).
  

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Stigma
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #52 - 12/12/21 at 06:11:07
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 12/12/21 at 04:11:29:
Stigma wrote on 12/12/21 at 02:53:32:
Could you spell out why you think there is one?

No. It's boring. I tried to do it, but it was too tedious.

That's a shame. I thought your point might be something like "if all the stronger players know them much better than weaker players, that means weaker players only need a little bit of study to surpass their peers in that area".

But that would still mean opening study is valuable for everyone, only with the caveat that weaker players especially should take care not to overdo it.
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #51 - 12/12/21 at 04:11:29
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Stigma wrote on 12/12/21 at 02:53:32:
Could you spell out why you think there is one?

No. It's boring. I tried to do it, but it was too tedious.
  
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #50 - 12/12/21 at 02:53:32
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 12/11/21 at 19:08:49:

I knew about those Greg Shahade articles, but although I find myself agreeing with him sometimes, I also find him annoying at other times. (Greg also uses the word annoying; what goes around comes around.)

Quote:
Greg Shahade wrote:
I think studying openings is very valuable and should be an important staple of every chess player’s study regimen. (p/) Why do I think that? Well first of all, it’s exceptionally easy, especially if you are already a high rated player.

That was at the top of the article, and then at the bottom we find Greg completely ignoring his own comment.

Quote:
Greg Shahade wrote:
If they (openings) didn’t matter why would anyone bother studying them at all, and why would all the stronger players know them much better than weaker players?


I don't really see any contradiction between these two statements by Shahade. Could you spell out why you think there is one?
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #49 - 12/11/21 at 23:09:01
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FMCharless wrote on 12/11/21 at 21:57:02:
where does Greg write/talk about this?

It was in RoleyPoley's second link.

RoleyPoley wrote on 12/11/21 at 12:26:22:

  
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #48 - 12/11/21 at 21:57:02
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where does Greg write/talk about this? by the way is he still making videos?
  
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #47 - 12/11/21 at 19:08:49
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RoleyPoley wrote on 12/11/21 at 12:26:22:
I am often caught between competing voices in my head as to what to play. Some sort of "correct" openings that may offer broader learning opportunities, while others that provide you with your own ground upon which to commence battle.

Both of those voices are correct!

I knew about those Greg Shahade articles, but although I find myself agreeing with him sometimes, I also find him annoying at other times. (Greg also uses the word annoying; what goes around comes around.)

Quote:
Greg Shahade wrote:
I think studying openings is very valuable and should be an important staple of every chess player’s study regimen. (p/) Why do I think that? Well first of all, it’s exceptionally easy, especially if you are already a high rated player.

That was at the top of the article, and then at the bottom we find Greg completely ignoring his own comment.

Quote:
Greg Shahade wrote:
If they (openings) didn’t matter why would anyone bother studying them at all, and why would all the stronger players know them much better than weaker players?

I find the problem of openings in chess to be like the problem of money in real life. People generally agree that, while important, money is far from the most important thing in life. Of course, if you have zero money then it is incredibly important to get some money. At the other end of the scale, even after having acquired more than enough money to last for the rest of their life, people still spend Wink most or indeed all of their time acquiring even yet more money. The reasons are complex; the simplest summation I heard was: people go after more money because they know how to do it. To that I would add, having money makes it even easier to make money.

I'm not being silly and telling anyone not to earn money, nor am I telling anyone not to study openings. I'm just pointing out that saying GMs know enormous amounts of opening theory is not a conclusive argument for deciding how much time to spend studying openings -- not even for GMs.
  
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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #46 - 12/11/21 at 12:26:22
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Sandman wrote on 12/10/21 at 01:27:39:
TD wrote on 05/15/21 at 06:12:05:
an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 05/15/21 at 01:35:26:

But all the sources I have looked at recently actually make a big assumption, that you already know which opening to study. Building a repertoire has to include a step where you make the choice.

Indeed, it always surprises me that that step is left out most of the time.



This!!!! I jump from one to another with no idea or guidance on HOW to pick one.


Me too. I find I am often caught between competing voices in my head as to what to play. Some sort of "correct" openings that may offer broader learning opportunities, while others that provide you with your own ground upon which to commence battle.

In addition to the Vanessa West Article linked earlier there are some articles by Greg Shahade on the same site which I found interesting, including one where he sets out suggested openings according to what your chess ambition is.

http://www.uschess.org/index.php/February-/Greg-on-Building-an-Opening-Repertoir...

http://www.uschess.org/index.php/April/Greg-on-Chess-The-Value-of-Studying-Openi...
  

"As Mikhail Tal would say ' Let's have a bit of hooliganism! '"

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Re: Opening Repertoire How-To
Reply #45 - 12/10/21 at 12:09:12
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I never had much of a method for picking openings to study. I just tried different openings/defences that seemed interesting or ones I struggled against, and over time I kept the ones I liked and scored well with. For amateurs I don't think there's much wrong with such a trial and error approach.

Though from the start I had an unhealthy obsession with surprise value and slightly offbeat openings (d-pawn specials, the Grand Prix attack, the Dutch, Ninzowitsch' Defence and whatnot). If I could talk to my junior and young adult self I would recommend trying out more main lines and not be so afraid that opponents would know all the theory on them - they almost certainly didn't. I'm consciously moving in main line directions now, but I'm still not there in all respects.

Also, had I been seriously going for a title I should have stuck with some important openings a bit longer despite bad results, making the effort to turn those results around instead. In particular, after some early debacles I have been shying away from openings featuring wide open centres, the IQP and the "hanging pawns" centre, and the Sveshnikov/Boleslavsky Sicilian centre. But those are all arguably fundamental chess structures that every strong player should master.
« Last Edit: 12/10/21 at 13:18:39 by Stigma »  

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