Wednesday, 7 February 2018

How to deal with the openings - Part 1 of 3

I think that many beginner to intermediate players make the same common mistake of 
trying to learn too many openings ... It is true that after 1.e4 then Black actually gets to choose the opening :) I think that many beginners are actually unaware of this fact!

For instance you have to know what your going to do against 

1 .. d5, The Scandinavian, 
2 .. e6, The French 
2 .. Nf6, Alekhines Defence
2 .. g6 or d6 Pirc Modern
2 .. e5, Kings Pawn
2 .. b6, Queens Indian
2 .. c5, Sicilian

If you play 1.d4 then expect: 

2 .. Nf6 3. c4 g6 Kings Indian Defence
2 .. Nf6 3. c4 e5 Budapest Defence
2 .. d5 3. c4 e6 Queens Gambit
2 .. d5 3. c4 c6 Slav/Semi-Slav Defence
These are only a subsection of the most popular openings ... As White ... My old chess coach used to remind me that as White, you should decide whether you are a d4 or an e4 player. Generally speaking e4 leads to potentially more tactically rich openings and d4 leads to more strategic lines. Obviously both styles of opening can lead to tactical positions of course ...! As Black ... If White plays e4 then you need to decide which one of the above openings to follow up with ... If White plays d4 then you have to decide whether you are going to play:
2 .. Nf6 leading to Kings Indian, Budapest, Gruenfeld, depending on each players second move.  

2 .. d5 can lead to Queens Gambit or Slav / Semi-Slav Defence, Catalan
etc. etc. etc. Whatever you choose it is important to stick to learning one or two openings for each colour, before going into the depths of every opening ... Once you have learnt one or two key openings then you will see similar ideas / patterns in other related openings ... Part 2 of 3 to follow.