Nineteenth-Century Openings

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Many of the posts here on r.g.c.a. take the form "what should I play against..." or the related, but very different, "what's a good line against...". I've been thinking about this a lot lately, both for myself, and, more especially, for my students, who range in strength from beginner to class A, and I've come up with some thoughts that I'd like to share and invite feedback on.

  I believe it was Reti

Ten rules for the opening

  1. Get your pieces out into the centre quickly. The opening  is a race to see who can get their pieces out first while keeping at least a share of control of the centre.
    • This is the main point to remember; all the other rules are just footnotes to this one.  Sortez les pieces!

  2. Get a firm foothold in the centre - a pawn on one of the 'little centre' squares e4/e5/d5/d4 - and don't give it up without good reason

Openings Workshop 2010

The simpler and more specific queries were dealt with first:

Some introductory remarks

Some signs of trouble:

EG: Two recent dismal examples - Exeter Chess Club [D10]

A problem in the Stonewall Attack

Maybe the answer is a different system!

EG: Stonewall Attack - Dilemma [D05]

Defending against the King's Gambit

Some ideas for Black

EG: King's Gambit - Suggestions for Black [C35]

The Sicilian for beginners

The Sicilian is not for beginners!

EG: Starting out with - the Sicilian [B92]

A bird's eye view of repertoires

h3a name="13th_Feb_2010"13th_Feb_2010/a: A bird's eye view of repertoiresbr / /h3 I've compiled a spreadsheet of recommended White repertoires from various books, websites and other sources; it is interesting that some sort of consensus emerges, at least for the 1.e4 player, even though no one book recommends the complete list:br / ul liMain system: Scotch Four Knights'/li liAlekhin (1...Nf6): Exchange/li liCaro-Kann (1...c6): Panov-Botvinnik/li liFrench (1...e6): Tarrasch/li liPirc/Modern (1...g6): 150 Attack/li liScandinavian (1...d5): Main lines/li

Chess Position Trainer

I've been introduced to this very helpful piece of free software by Jonathan Morgan. It allows you to enter a chess opening repertoire, have it displayed to you and then it will test you on it.nbsp; If you don't want to enter your own, then you can download plenty from the CPT site.nbsp;

I'm working up some repertoires of my own before I send them for download to the good folks at CPT, but if you would like to test it/comment on them, then that would be most welcome.nbsp; First, download the software from:

The Italian Game for beginners

UPDATE 15th May 2011: ChessBase version [zipped] generously provided by Robert Jannink. Thanks a million!

  The Giuoco Piano and Evans' Gambit

An Exeter Junior Chess Club booklet

  Edition 3.18, April, 96



  Kasparov/Keene, Batsford Chess Openings

  Levy/Keene, An Opening Repertoire for the Attacking Club Player

  Walker, Chess Openings for Juniors

Various magazines and other books



Ignacio sent me a generous note recently, to which I replied:
> However, I think we are two poles of what chess is:
> you are teaching people the orthodoxy and I am trying to make them aware
> that real chess is quite more complicated than what the books (and indeed
> your pages!) say.

I think that's absolutely right.  I was reading things on your pages
which said more or less the opposite of what I was saying and yet were
completely correct!  e.g. on romantic openings.  Hence my salty
comments.  But of course, I am a 1900 player writing for juniors, and


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