Chess Study

I haven’t had a coherent plan of specific study, lately. This weekend, I determined that I was going to donate 5 books to my local club, so went over them first.

My “working-set” of chess books is now down to two – QGD Orthodox by Shiller, and Tactics by Alburt. May not get to them for a while, but that’s what’s on tap. Figured that although studying the endings is possibly more important, my repertoire was never fleshed out like many A level players whose strength that is, and also who wants to take too long in the opening at SD time-controls?

At the moment, I am thinking of picking up the Breyer variation in the Ruy Lopez as a surprise weapon. Not that I think it is an especially wise-choice (but it’s solid), it’s just that the same opening against the same opponent gets old after a while, and I don’t always want to have the feeling for example that I must defend another Steinitz French.

Quite a few other players also play the French at my club, so analyzing the same variation with other players’ games can get a bit nauseating after a while, if it’s too close back-to-back. And then there’s the feeling that a lot of players fancy themselves as Experts at the French, so that gets kind of annoying, I mean a person that I meet. “Oh, I’ve been playing it forever!” Really doesn’t tell me that much, and is slightly annoying. Either that, or I am expected to divulge whatever knowledge that I have of it (one way or another), so that gets a bit close to home as far as retaining an opening advantage or equality.

I have been studying openings, yes, refreshing and getting rid of some of these books. The interesting thing about “studying openings” is that I’ve found it’s more like “peeking ahead to see the middlegame combination that wins it.” The openings should be mainly about solid lines, but often it’s more de jour than that. Players can pick an opening that only works if handled with an extreme degree of proficiency, but is good for a surprise OTB. When the opening is solid, it’s not the opening that wins or loses, it’s that middle-game combination. Unless studying openings is a pretext for studying middle-game combinations, then it doesn’t strike me a critical endeavor.

This is what the first 6 moves look like, here is what’s going on with the pawn-structure and it’s middlegame and endgame implications, that’s mostly what I want to know. But, you learn the combos, or what they feature, in order to look out for them. The openings de jour stuff is for people who want razor sharp chances, in case their opponent was in the mood to slough-off, but the next combo invented will temporarily kill the entire line.

I’ve had quite a few of these “openings smorgasbord” type books that I have prefered to think of as “the asbestos of my chess book collection.” So, I’ve been weeding those ones out. Turns out I’ve had so many of these that I rarely ever get around to studying an actual openings monograph.

I’ve gotten so many ideas from ‘Opening Ideas and Analysis for Advanced Players’ in the Ruy as Black.

Lots of great games, but check this one out, it rocks for Black. …f5 was winning a pieces, so Black’s queen fled and got trapped.


8 thoughts on “Chess Study

  1. I think it would be good for you to play Ruy, try to play a few online games before you play it OTB. It’s a really strategical opening with enough tactics. Here is a nice trap in Breyer:

    Opening that you play shouldn’t bore you, you are right.
    Yeah, it’s a funny game on chessgames.

  2. If that QGD book is by Eric Schiller then throw it away. It isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

  3. I just decided to pick up 1. e4 again. I only bought one book to study all those openings namely Chess openings for white, explained. from Albert, Dzindzichashvili and Perelshteyn. More one does not need at our level. Just a book that gives us some basic ideas about what the opening is about.

  4. The Schiller book looks decent at least for diagrams and general direction, old games quoted – Capa, Lasker, Alekhine. The cover is literally like raw paper, but at least it’s something to refer to.

    Okay, put aside 6 books to let go. Am currently going through Silman’s reassess your chess workbook. Really, that covers all I need for now, positional play, tactics, quiz, even has some endgames at the back.

    I have 29 opening monographs, all largely untouched, or all touched but that’s mostly it. You like maybe one line in a whole book.

    RP, I’ll learn it over the board. 😉 It will probably get deviated from to get me “out of book” or more likely because they don’t know it either.

    Chesstiger, I would recommend keeping your repertoire simple at first. I like the Scotch, but you have to know some hairy lines like …Qh4. It’s not as good as Ruy at all, but it gets opponent out of book usually, sooner. Easy to lose for either side until you get a lot of games under the belt.

    For Sicilian, try and get Bb5 in Open Sicilian as soon as possible and trade on c6, that will take Black more out of book. Against the Najdorf, you could try c3 at first, and then patiently build-up.

    Or don’t do any of that and simply play Ruy Lopez and Open Sicilian, either way, and then build up experience with them, and have some opening preparation because the basic stuff is critical, to get to the part where it can just be a game after that. Will save you some frustration OTB. An opening book will give you that info a lot faster and less painless than OTB, which would take seemingly forever.

    If you are White in Open Sicilian, don’t even think about 0-0-0 unless you are booked to the gills. Black’s only really quick kill-shot is ..e6 with …Qb6 (possibly with ..Bc5) against f4, or a tactic along the king’s fianchetto diagonal by Black.

    The good thing about the Ruy as White is it’s hard to lose fast unless you hang your e4 pawn (can get congested on that e-file). It’s a relatively safe openings choice for White.

  5. You know I was just looking again at the subtitle of your blog, and I was thinking if it isn’t the other way round for me – when I study chess I realize how easy it is, but when I play chess I realize how hard it is.

  6. Aziridine, it’s probably gotten that way for me too now

    It used to be that I took lower-rated players for granted and let Crafty find my errors later. Now I treat everyone like they are a best player and don’t trust Crafty much at all. 😦

  7. Keep in mind that your ability to interpret the computer’s endless spool of variations is proportional to your playing strength, so be careful not to draw the wrong conclusions 🙂

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