This will be my training strategy going forward. Go over games with a database, and also try to analyze the middlegame more deeply. Probably this means setting up a board and a PC – board so that I can look at board without being tempted to see the answer on the screen first.
If there is an opening line that you don’t know, but want to play, my advice would be to play it. If you can’t figure out why it is bad, look, you aren’t dropping a piece by playing it so what the heck, play it. You can always look at an openings encyclopedia afterward, if one isn’t built into your software, but when you study deeply, you don’t need it so much for your own games as to examine other possible ways of playing that position/separate strategies.
Middle-game analysis probably needs to deepen and become more accurate, in order to make Expert strength. Tactics will be there one way or the other, offensively/defensively, that is basically unavoidable, but it is one more thing to examine correctly OTB, and just as importantly find!
Some games may not need quite as much work as others, but in any game, the missed tactics could stand to be studied and not merely “Tell me Fritz! tell me! tell me!” before trying to find it oneself (and letting the engine notify you that it’s there, perhaps the first move only). Unless there is this sort of commitment to each game, Expert strength is probably going to be elusive or unmaintainable. I’m saying particularly once the 1900+ stage has been reached, to be able to progress from there.
As far as openings, I am going to stick to the ones, variations, that I already use. If I am not sure what to play in some opening I don’t see often, fine, I’ll just play something and figure that part out later when I am going over the game and looking for ways to improve it. Basically, I am going to study what I play, and only perhaps a key main line in some opening that I don’t see much of, like Bb4 in the Scotch, where I was kind of stuck, having bad internet results – but that will be more limited. I am not going to try and study every line in the Sicilian, for example, because a move-order can negate a whole variation, and it can get depressing trying to find an advantage, if you look at it to much. If anything, that approach seems to lead to yet even more variety and risky lines, because you want to see something different after a while – which is not a bad thing, it’s simply an openings thing. And what I am saying is that, either way, good or bad, it’s going to be the middle-game which determines the result.
Another thing I figured out is that there is a reason we like to play our variations. I could pick up and have cursory knowledge of other variations, but when I study the main lines, sometimes it looks as if both sides are goofing-off, willy-nilly pointless attack/counterattack. If I played them, I would probably care more deeply, but there is a style element involved. If one of the responsibilities once a person reaches A level is to find a “style”, then so be it, style usually means openings choices. For example, I may play French Advanced, but there are still many lines within that one opening, if you let there be.
Side note: I may be moving to Colorado very shortly and not playing chess for a while – until I get a permanent job there. So this may be it for a while, but I will update eventually, when I get there and get my feet back in the ground. 🙂