Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How to Choose a Chess Opening

What should I play as White against the Gruenfeld Defence? That leads me to ask this question. How do you choose your openings? Here are considerations that help me pick an opening.

1. Play what you have always played in the past. It saves you time and cuts down on errors, but you might not improve much.
2. Play what the world champion is playing. It gives you a sound repertoire, but it also requires constant research.
3. Play what your favorite master plays. If you like his or her style then the repertoire of your favorite master might work well.
4. Play what has brought you the best results in the past, either by performance rating or winning percentage. That is practical if you use a database to easily track those numbers like I do.
5. Play what you would like to learn. This works better in games that may not be serious for you, such as blitz or unrated games.

For this game I chose Number 2 above. It was part of the Correspondence World Cup. It was basically an open tournament with ICCF players from all over the world. I do not know the first name of my opponent “M. Beckmann”. Years later a “M. Beckmann” appeared in correspondence events, but it is a common name. I think Beckmann was from West Germany.

For this slow postal game I chose the Russian Variation 5.Qb3. I had a good library. I could gradually improve my position and sit on it. The danger to White was minimal. If Black made a mistake, I could methodically calculate out the proper punishment. After I opened up the h-file and g-file, Black walked into a pin.

My Chess Training Repertoire this Thursday covers the Gruenfeld Defence. Sign up if you want to receive my weekly training repertoire by email.

Sawyer - Beckmann, corr 1981 begins 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Bg4 8.Be3 Nfd7 9.Qb3 Nb6 10.Rd1 Nc6 11.d5 Ne5 12.Be2 Nxf3+ 13.gxf3 Bh3 [13...Bh5 14.Rg1+/=] 14.Rg1 a6 [14...Qb8 15.f4 c6 16.Rg3 Bd7 17.dxc6 Bxc6 18.f5 Kh8 19.fxg6 fxg6 20.h4=] 15.f4 Bd7 16.Rd2 Re8 17.f5 Qc8 18.h4 Kf8 [Or 18...Kh8 19.fxg6 fxg6 20.h5+-] 19.fxg6 hxg6 20.h5 gxh5 21.Bxh5 Rb8 22.f3 Kg8 23.Rdg2 1-0

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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