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.