Thursday, 16 August 2018

How to deal with the openings - Part 2 of 3

As Black ...what do you like to play?

If White plays e4 - then we can choose our favourite response ... It depends as to what type of player you are as to which response you choose. Here are some examples of some very specific responses to 1.e4 that are typically played ... but they may not be everyone's bag?

   - 1. ..c5 Sicillian Defence (E.g. use the Najdorf to travel down sharp and theoretical lines)

And what about d4?
  - Kings Indian (very theoretical)
  - Budapest Defence (surprise value!)

These are my personal favourites ... but whichever opening you choose to respond with, I recommend drilling down into sub-variations either with a computer or with a book to gain an understanding of the possible positions that you will typically reach in the middle-game.

As White - what do you like to play?

As White you will have to decide upon whether or not you are an e4 or a d4 player (or neither of these). I was once advised that playing 1.e4 leads to more tactical games - whereas playing 1.d4 takes you into a more strategic opening with a slow thematic build-up. For instance - you can drive down tactical lines with 1.e4 ..

Here are some typical openings that arise after 1.e4 at club level ...   - Scotch Game/Gambit
  - Sicillian Defence - Grand Prix Attack (worth learning for surprise value if your opponent plays 1. ..c5! - play 2. Nc3)
  - Scandinavian - an interesting line to play is the Leonhardt Gambit
  - French Defence (Note: if your opponent plays the French then you can steer the game into the Exchange Variation because in doing so you get out of book pretty quickly)
  - Caro-Kann (Note: if your opponent plays the caro kann then play the Advanced Variation, which is especially effective in a blitz game I find!)

The above openings are some of my personal favourites and which I have spent some time learning and practicing. The bottom line is that you need to make a choice of opening - then do the homework and drill down into the lines for this chosen opening!

The ones I have given here are just examples and by no means the best :) Interestingly, The Budapest and the Sicillian - Grand Prix Attack are both classified as unorthodox openings in one particular Batsford reference book I once read through !!! The key is to 'be ready and prepared' in chess for what is coming next ... the less time you need to spend analysing a position over the board (because you've already encountered it before) then the more likely it is that you will win, given that you can spend more time analysing the game in those critical positions that demand your concentration ...

So in summary you can see how it is possible to build a little repertoire of openings with 1.e4 and after 1. d4 is played. In the final part of this little series of Blog posts I will drill down into a few of the variations that can be played using these openings and the typical middle-game positions that can be reached.