Chess Openings

So far, I’ve been doing pretty well at my attempt to back into chess, I think.  I’ve been playing more games, and winning most of them (6/9), even against people with better ratings than me.  I just defeated someone with a rating about 200 more than me, actually, which is nice, making it by best victory at chess.com yet.  I do have one loss against a player with a lower score than me, though.  I really made a huge blunder…

I’ve also started analyzing my games through the website, which is an extremely useful and fascinating tool.  It takes you through the game, move by move, and calculates the “real” score in hundredths of a pawn and takes position into account, allowing for a more nuanced view than that solely provided by looking at the difference in material.

What I’m learning is that my openings suck.  I’m not surprised.  I’ve never been a serious enough player to get into memorizations of openings and endgames, and it’s obviously hurting me.  My openings are so bad that, according to the chess analyzer, I’m basically starting off at a pawn disadvantage, entirely through my own ignorance.  I tend to make it up as the game goes on, but it seems so unnecessary to handicap myself like that with crappy openings.

So right now my goal is to start memorizing a few good openings.  Nothing fancy, just enough to get by for a bit and hopefully get me to the next level so I stop shooting myself in the foot before the game even gets going.  Luckily, Chess.com has a lot of openings to look through, so my goal for my next few games is to try out some of the more popular openings and see whether they help, and hopefully commit a few of the better ones to memory so I can employ them in the future.  I also want to stop using my bishops to capture knights early on, because the analysis has been telling me those are bad moves lately.

In general, though, I’ve been doing pretty good.  Against players mostly better than me, I have 5 wins and 3 losses in regular chess since I started recently, against an overall record  of 9 wins and 12 losses at Chess.com.  I also have one victory in Chess 960, where I tend to do better, since memorized openings are less valuable.  Perhaps that’s why I always did better at Bughouse, too.  The less important standardized openings are, the better I do relatively, it seems.  Probably explains why I was such a good positional player in Diplomacy, too.  Now if only I didn’t suck at the diplomacy part…

EDIT: I wanted to add this tool, from Shredder Chess.  You can go deeper into openings than you can with chess.com without a membership, but it’s not as pretty.  Still, it’s another useful tool to have to be able to reference.

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14 Responses to Chess Openings

  1. Ayman says:

    Thanks for this. A long time ago I did study openings as an amateur, but now it’s all gone. I was trying to get back into it when I came across this post. Chess.com has a ton of drawbacks, but I’ll give their analysis tool a go.

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    • johnkutensky says:

      Good timing! I really like their analysis tool, even though sometimes I don’t quite get the results. In my last game I thought my position was pretty good, but the analysis tool had me as three points down until my opponent blundered and put me three points up.

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  2. BAP Blog says:

    What openings do you prefer. Any you dislike playing? E4 as white, Sicilian as black here… In tourney typically.

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    • johnkutensky says:

      I’m pretty boring, I’m an e4 kind of guy. I’m just getting into more hypermodern openings, I guess? I stuck with e4 d3 for a long time, and I’m getting over that now. Part of my problem is that I have zero openings memorized, which I’d also like to work on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BAP Blog says:

        Yeah, I am fairly boring on white pieces lately. E4, with preference to an open Scotch game or something. I kind of love crazy games like against King’s Gambit players, but if the creativity is initiated in the opening, I’m usually playing the black pieces. Do you have an MCO? That was the quickest way to,pick up main lines fast. Curious, what was the rating of the higher ranked player you bested? Is it ELO where you play?

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      • johnkutensky says:

        It’s available online through my library, so I’ll have to check it out. I just play online; I’ve never done a tournament. I think you’re overestimating me, haha. But if you play on chess.com, I’d love to have a game: http://www.chess.com/members/view/Mertvaya_Ruka I’m definitely making up for lost time. I used to play a lot in college, and I was pretty good then, especially at Bughouse, but it’s been 6 years since then, and I haven’t had any sort of regular playtime since, which is a shame, because I really do enjoy it.

        I’ve definitely used the Ruy Lopez opening a lot, but I’m trying to shy away from capturing knights on the 3 and 6 rows with my bishops, since lately chess engines have been telling me they tend to be mistakes.

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      • BAP Blog says:

        I know right! Maybe it’s my familiarity w
        With the situations, but I always like Ruy Lopez. I may check it out, I haven’t played in years… And tournament play is for beginners too! Unrated section is hella fun my friend. Where do you live?

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      • johnkutensky says:

        DFW right now. I know tournaments take place around here. Maybe after I’ve sufficiently re-educated myself, I’ll top it off with entry into a tournament. I think it would be fun, whatever happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      • BAP Blog says:

        Yeah, my trick is I pick a tournament in a city I want to go to anyway. The North American Open in Las Vegas is a riot… But it’s hard to play hung over. : o

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      • johnkutensky says:

        Have you ever read Understanding the Chess Openings? I was doing some research on a good opening guide and it looks good: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Chess-Openings-Sam-Collins/dp/190460028X/ I especially like that it might have some good explanations. I think I’ll request it from my library and see.

        Liked by 1 person

      • BAP Blog says:

        No, it looks interesting though. I made the mistake of memorizing technical lines without understanding the underlying concepts.

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      • johnkutensky says:

        I pretty much never learnt anything besides e pawn, d pawn, knights, in that order until very recently, so that’s where I’m coming from. I previewed that book on Amazon and it looks like what I need, so if the rest of it is that good I might buy myself a copy as a birthday present. I think I’m already having some success just from trying to control the center without necessarily occupying it, and bringing out my bishops a bit faster.

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      • BAP Blog says:

        You know, even if you don’t enter, there’s almost always good bughouse action in the skittles / post mortem rooms- no clue where room got its skittles name. Local players will sometimes head up just for the variety of action and the comraderie

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      • johnkutensky says:

        Interesting. I love bughouse, but I haven’t played a single game since I graduated. It’s a shame. I think I was better at bughouse than regular chess. I’ll definitely check out local tournaments once I feel prepared.

        Liked by 1 person

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