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If you lose most of your games in the opening already, it's quite logical that you have to try and improve there first.
It isn't really intuitive to study middle- and engames, if you cannot even make it there.
I think, to somewhat summarize some of the other posts, beginners focus on openings simply because that is where the game starts and it "seems" a logical point to focus on.
General consensus, disagree with me if you wish, is someone playing in the 800 - 1300 range against a similar player, the opening in and of itself is very rarely going to matter. So for the time being, study tactics - where those games are won or lost.
I started looking at openings because I was afraid of falling into opening traps. Now I am doing a broad approach of trying to learn a little bit about all the openings. I’m not focusing on memorizing lines, but rather just trying to get exposed to the logic behind the moves and the strategy behind the resulting positions. My hope is that by doing this I’ll be able to follow basic opening principles and have a clue as to what to do once I’m outside the opening, even if I don’t know the name/variation.
Thank you for your contribution, but I respectfully suggest it might matter to beginners.
They think that they become immortal in the opening, they will be 1/3 of the way to perfecting chess. These are mostly people who want to quickly gain a new skill and move on. These will continue to learn forks pins etc. The more intelligent amongst us know that it is a battle of wisdom, not knowledge.
easy to get really good
Personally seeking an easy way to win.who doesn't want an extra piece or two from the begining that they may win with a powerful opening :)
This relates to me although lately I've abandoned studying openings now but instead I'm focusing on tactics and endgame. Bought CT-Art 4.0 and that Silman's endgame book (really opened my eyes I should say).
But the thing is, studying openings as a beginner really did boost my level a bit specially sinced I carefully studied the following:
1. the principles behind each move
2. the ideas behind the opening specially in terms of center control and piece development
3. piece placement
Those 3 things helped me greatly as a beginner to win or equalize positions toward the middlegame. Although as I said, I'm abandoning it for now because I realized that I was weak in tactics. I needed to improve my board vision and calculation. And I tossed too many winning positions in the end game.
But needless to say, studying openings as a beginner taught me many things and more specially it gave me confidence and more interest to pursue my quest for chess excellence!
Idosdos, your approach to studying the openings as a beginner seems like sound advice. I suppose that when many beginners hear about learning openings they find out that many GMs do lots of opening preparation and memorise a lot of lines and variations and think they ought to do the same.
Slavishly memorising opening lines and variations to the detriment of studying other areas would mean you are neglecting developing your thought process and ability to cope with the unknown. I remember Josh Waitzkin said he played against kids from a school whose coach pretty much just taught openings and various lines and variations. Josh would struggle at first, maybe losing a pawn or two but when the middlegame hit these kids just got lost and and Waitzkin's tactics and endgame study won out every time.
One thing I started doing recently is going over master games using certain openings. Generally games from the 19th century to the 1930s. I'll choose 4 or 5 games of around 20-40 moves which use a certain opening and spend 10 minutes on each, first running through a game a few times relatively quickly. Then I do one slow round, analysing each move and figuring out why the move was played as well as recognise tactical combinations and look to understand the weaknesses which was taken advantage of leading into a great tactical combo. I do the same process over with each game in turn, then do another slow analysis of each game, this time trying to anticipate moves and combinations.
My reasoning is that chess is someways like language learning in that in both instances patterns must be internalised and they may well be done through a kind of osmosis. I've learned Norwegian pretty much just through reading and listening to lots of new native content, looking up words and grammar points as I go and my brain naturally starts to internalise words and patterns of structure due to their appearance in many contexts.
Grammar drills also helped a little, but I found dealing with lots of native comment less of a bore and produced more benefit, getting an intuitive feel for structures and of course I'd end up learning more vocabulary. It also kinda follows how we learned our native languages, through lots of exposure to different contexts, albeit with a little extra help when doing this as an adult.
The point is, a similar approach to studying lots of chess games, especially opening specific ones, aid your planning skills and might be a great way to improve, reinforce, and pick up on patterns subconsciously, as well as guide your intuition in tough spots but only after lots of exposure to many games. Tactics problems should still take a lot of study time too though. A somewhat symbiotic relationship will occur from studying both ways concurrently. Thanks to some Morphy games I've gone over, I more easily spot smothered mates in some tactics problems, while tactics problems let me more easily spot potential tactics in games I am reading.
I haven't done this long but it will be interesting to see if this approach is an effective one.
Why are beginners so interested in learning specific openings, against the advice of more experienced players who tell them to focus on tactics and endgames.
I have 3 theories:
1. Intuitively, the start of the game should be the first thing to master.
2. They think there are some secret opening moves that will give them a definite advantange if they only learn a few.
3. They have interesting names!
No. 3 seems to attract the attention of many beginners. I'm also one of them when I was a beginner.
scudafox i agree with the line "I actually find opening theory as interesting as anything else on chess"well said an oak tree starts with the acorn
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