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The Chess Thread

Myzozoa

to find better ways to say what nobody says
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https://en.armradio.am/2020/09/01/armenia-expresses-concerns-and-disappointment-to-fide/

anyone else wtfing about the fide decision regarding armenia, I mean not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but this tournament was sponsored by gazprom, the player was dced from the site but not from other sites at the same time. Just seems minorly suspicious with the motive being to avoid russia and armenia finals when gazprom (russian state company) employees dominate armenian politics. paranoid monkaS. Also weird given the decision in which india and russia declared joint victors.
 

Triangles

What's life without risk?
is a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Past SPL Champion
https://en.armradio.am/2020/09/01/armenia-expresses-concerns-and-disappointment-to-fide/

anyone else wtfing about the fide decision regarding armenia, I mean not to sound like a conspiracy theorist but this tournament was sponsored by gazprom, the player was dced from the site but not from other sites at the same time. Just seems minorly suspicious with the motive being to avoid russia and armenia finals when gazprom (russian state company) employees dominate armenian politics. paranoid monkaS. Also weird given the decision in which india and russia declared joint victors.
Don't type monkaS on smogon LOL
 

Bughouse

Like ships in the night, you're passing me by
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FIDE being incompetent and/or corrupt would be absolutely nothing new. However, I highly doubt it is anything this political and insidious. Moreover, if it even was political, I assure you it would be to appease India, one of the biggest and fastest growing markets for chess in the world, and not to downplay Armenia. Note the consistent thread of how disconnections were handled in both the India-Armenia match and the India-Russia match is India.

That said, I still don't think anything insidious is going on here at all. A few reasons why:

This was NOT a real olympiad, just being done online. The format was not bring your X best players and duke it out... it was a rapid tournament with very unique constraints around who was eligible to make up the team. Essentially - no one who cares about chess cared about what outcome this tournament would have before it began. Nor was there any prize to my knowledge. The fact that the FIDE president still called it an "official" olympiad was a joke. The intrigue around how disconnections were adjudicated is the ONLY reason this is "news" at all.

Each team will consist of six players, in a mixed format with a minimum of three female players and two junior players.
Specifically, each team must include:
- at least 1 player U-20 (born in 2000 or later)
- at least 2 women
- at least 1 girl U-20 (born in 2000 or later)
The time control for this event will be 15 minutes + 5 seconds increment per move.


This format was particularly kind to India, fwiw, since they have some of the best young players in the world, as well as some of the best women in the world. India would not ordinarily be a serious contender to win the whole thing.
 
Recently I've been playing a lot of the Polish opening, but before that, I used to play Benko's opening, opinions on which is better?
 
Recently I've been playing a lot of the Polish opening, but before that, I used to play Benko's opening, opinions on which is better?
Until you get to be 1600-1700, I would recommend sticking to the primary main opening moves of e4 d4 c4 or Nf3 on move one. Until you're at that level, you're not going to probably have the ability to play without controlling the center on a consistent level. If your opponent has any idea about what they are doing, do not over react, and takes control of the center... then you're asking for equality at the most and will often times just end up worse. You want to learn chess by learning how to control/contest the center before you try and play without it. Especially as white.

If you want to play an unpopular but solid opening, put in some effort to learning the Reti. If you were interested in a list of openings for beginners (under 1000), Hikaru and Gotham Chess put together a massive tier list going through all the openings. They did one for intermediates and masters as well. Here is a screenshot of the final list.

1610871284128.png
 

berryalcremie

formerly rubysapphiremerald
Until you get to be 1600-1700, I would recommend sticking to the primary main opening moves of e4 d4 c4 or Nf3 on move one. Until you're at that level, you're not going to probably have the ability to play without controlling the center on a consistent level.
I disagree with this. I mostly quit chess (it's been about 6 months since I actually played out of my own will. yea a friend forced me to play him to see if I could still beat him but other than that, no chess for me) but yeah, I still disagree. My reasoning is that controlling the center isn't always necessary. On the black side, for example, I just do some flank stuff like Kings Indian, Sicilian Dragon, and stuff and it works out. Some of my best games below that level were in games where I gave up the center and played by attacking the sides of the board with pawn storming and fianchetto bishops and stuff of the sort.

Okay, in all honesty, I probably agree from the white side, but definitely not the black side.
 
My advise was for the white side of the board because that's what he was asking an opinion for. You can obviously play the game however you like and use whatever opening that you want and you'll be just fine, but if you have the goals of 1) obtaining consistent results and 2) improving general chess understanding/positional knowledge, then playing one of the 4 main first moves as white is the way to go about it in my opinion.

In the screen shot I shared, the Sicilian and KID are in the top 2 tiers and are obviously solid in all levels of chess. Those two defenses still at least challenge the center because the pawn on c5 and the knight on f6 still exert control of central squares in ways that 1.g3 and 1.b4 do not.

I still would not recommend those two defenses to a player under 1000 personally because those openings are a little too advanced and probably best suited for a 1200-1300 who can navigate imbalanced pawn structures and understand what side of the board to play on. It's not like if a 800 is playing the KID that I would smack them across the face and send them to their room without dinner. I just think chess at that level is the most consistent when basic opening principles are followed so that players can use their time to work on their board vision, tactical understanding, and endgame knowledge.
 

berryalcremie

formerly rubysapphiremerald
I misread the first part.

I actually started playing Sicilian Dragon and KID in tournaments when I was a 600. Playing those two was what made my rating increase really quickly for a while.

Those two defenses still at least challenge the center because the pawn on c5 and the knight on f6 still exert control of central squares in ways that 1.g3 and 1.b4 do not.
Sicilian, the pawn on c5 usually gets traded off. If you're playing either KID or Dragon, there's a lot of retreating the knight on f6 and playing f5. Getting the knight back into the game quickly isn't necessary. You're giving up the center for the game basically.

Edit: I mean 600 USCF. Although memorising Opening Theory has always been my forte.
 

berryalcremie

formerly rubysapphiremerald
I've been having a bit of a rough time finding an opening for black against e4 that fits in the style of how I like to play. I play the vienna/grand prix/two knights caro as white and the english defense against c4 and d4 to good success, in general I like positions where I've pushed the f pawn freeing my rook and knight to attack later in the game and to flank attack the opposing center, both openings are also great because the lines of theory are relatively narrow and most people are inexperienced in the lines giving me an edge.

Any recommendations for an opening that might fit my style? I've been learning the french lately which sort of fits the mold with the f6 push but not sure it's the right choice. Also experimented with the Qd6 scandinavian but didn't like those positions and some Kan style sicilians (which I do play e.g. e6, c5 against a London for example) but I'm leery of going for any main line sicilians with the sheer amount of theory to learn behind them.

Not gonna lie, when I first saw this, I was like, Sicilian. Reading through it though, the only other thing I could go for against e4 that gets a f5 with all of that is going for a Pirc and trying to go for a Kings Indian Defense-esque position. Pirc is unsound for a variety of reasons though...

I think the best bet to get those type of positions is probably Sicilian, but I think just e5 is another option. Just play a natural game and eventually try to break the center with f5? Idk. It only works on certain variations though... Like it wouldn't work on Scotch and stuff. I don't know much e4 e5 theory other than in the Italian game, which I play from white, but yeah...
 
Any tips for the London system and Caro Kann? They are the first openings I've learned and wanna improve my play with them. Any good openings for Black playing vs d4 for a beginners? Any good openings for white e4 for beginners? Thanks in advance.
 

berryalcremie

formerly rubysapphiremerald
Any tips for the London system and Caro Kann? They are the first openings I've learned and wanna improve my play with them. Any good openings for Black playing vs d4 for a beginners? Any good openings for white e4 for beginners? Thanks in advance.
So I used to play London a bit, but I haven't touched it in a while. I think that one of the best resources I remember using for London was watching Eric Rosen's videos on it. Caro Kann is relatively straightforward, you just kinda have to know how to respond to the three main lines. Also be careful about h4 in some advance variation lines. I remember getting my bishop trapped once when I was just learning the opening.

I always found the Kings Indian Defense as something that was really straightforward when it came to playing against d4. I just like having a fianchetto bishop and that entire thing. It's an opening that can be played very offensively or somewhat defensively. I liked how it gave me a lot of options.

I also almost always played 1. e4 in tournaments. I'd usually play Italian though. There's some really cool tricks in the Italian, such as the Evans Gambit if your opponent plays 3. Bc5. If your opponent chooses to go 3. Nf6, you have d4, where you gambit a pawn and play very aggressively. It's technically equal if played correctly from both sides, but in many cases, you'd know theory and your opponent wouldn't. I've won quite a few games with this, even in tournaments. But I'd say Italian is the way to go if you want aggressive play from white.
 
I used to play the French but got annoyed by my c8 bishop doing nothing so I switched to Caro. Probably one of my favorite openings.

Against d4 I play the Slav (yes c6 as well) also because my c8 bishop was being a dick and I don't like the trades from the main lines.

As white I just play the English
 
(bumping old thread)

Seeing as it seems like there's a lot of Caro discussion, I'd like to hear what yall think about this line:

1.e4 c6 2.Qf3 / 1.e4 c6 2.Qh5

On Blitz and Bullet (chess.com) I'm usually around 1000 but my rapid rating is still at 700 so I've been climbing up with that. However, most people down in 700 have only ever heard of e4 e5 and so they usually just continue playing what they would normally play on move 2 (nf3). These cheesy people try to scholars mate me when I'm playing the Caro. Anyone have any tips for how I could expand my advantage against these players? If it is possible to be refuted that's not likely but it would be cool if it was.

As for my openings that I usually play, I play Queen's Gambit with white (I prefer to go into a Catalan but most people accept the gambit) and with black I play the Caro, the Nimzo-Indian, and against anything else I usually just go for a Leningrad Dutch, although that's mostly just a placeholder setup-based opening because I don't have anything particular in mind against anything else. In general I think I will stick with d4 for the time being because I like closed, positional positions more than open ones.

Oh yea, really been loving Naroditsky's speedrun lately. 71 episodes of Gothamchess Win at Chess seriess except even more instructional? Sign me up.
 
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Martin

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(bumping old thread)

Seeing as it seems like there's a lot of Caro discussion, I'd like to hear what yall think about this line:

1.e4 c6 2.Qf3 / 1.e4 c6 2.Qh5

On Blitz and Bullet (chess.com) I'm usually around 1000 but my rapid rating is still at 700 so I've been climbing up with that. However, most people down in 700 have only ever heard of e4 e5 and so they usually just continue playing what they would normally play on move 2 (nf3). These cheesy people try to scholars mate me when I'm playing the Caro. Anyone have any tips for how I could expand my advantage against these players? If it is possible to be refuted that's not likely but it would be cool if it was.
After 1.e4 c6 2.Qh5, you can punish them by immediately playing Nf6, which attacks the queen, protects the d5 square, and attacks the pawn on e4, forcing the queen to retreat to f5, e6, or h4 to defend (usually the first two), and lets you develop with tempo into positions like these:
1. e4 c6
2. Qh5 Nf6
3. Qe2 e5
4. Nf3 d5
5. exd5 Bd6
6. dxc6 Nxc6

Screen Shot 2021-03-13 at 03.00.39.png
1. e4 c6
2. Qh5 Nf6
3. Qf3 e5
4. Nc3 d5

Screen Shot 2021-03-13 at 03.22.19.png

Qf6 is a little harder to directly punish, but it's not really attacking anything until they have a few more pieces out and gives you a turn to improve your control over the centre with a move like e5, maybe aiming for something that looks like this:
1. e4 c6
2. Qf3 e5
3. Nc3 Nf6
4. Bc4 b5
5. Bb3 a5
6. a3 Bc5

Screen Shot 2021-03-13 at 03.03.47.png

GothamChess uploaded a video in January where he briefly introduces a few concepts for punishing early queen attacks, which I've linked below, though he seems to focus more on the bog-standard e4 openings like the Scandinavian or basic scholar's mate in his video rather than the Caro Kann. There are almost certainly more detailed resources around the net if you take the time to look (IDK many resources/cba to google atm, so I can't help you there) and I'm sure you probably already know a lot of that stuff anyway, but it's a solid starting point at least.


Other than that, just remember to analyse your games after you play them so you build a repertoire of responses for common follow-ups, whether that be on chess.com or by exporting the PGN and importing it to Lichess/some other site with an engine and database for analysis.
 
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What are some of people's favorite openings to play? I'm ~1600 on Lichess, kind of an opening nerd and I love playing tricky ones that give you a slight edge if the opponent doesn't know what they're doing.

  • As White, I play the Italian. If the opponent continues down the main line: 3...Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 At my level, no one realizes you can go 6...d5! and they usually end up losing a piece.
  • Against the Sicilian, I like to play the Alapin. People tend not to know d5 and tend to play cxd4 (which you shouldn't do right away in the Alapin, unlike other Sicilians) so you get a very pleasant position with two pawns in the center.
  • Against the Petrov I play 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3!? Nxc3 5.dxc3 which is very dangerous for Black if they don't know what they're doing (5...f6 is the only move that doesn't lose on the spot). It's basically the Stafford Gambit for White, but even more venomous since you're up an extra tempo.
  • I'm a KID player as black and against the London System, I play this setup:


London players are more positional and aren't used to being attacked so early.
 

Texas Cloverleaf

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I've built myself a 1.e4 2. Nc3 repertoire with white, the Vienna is such a pleasant attacking setup to play with especially when people aren't familiar with it and accept the Gambit (losing for black) or go into the copycat variation and get their Queen trapped. The Grand Prix against the sicilian is much more complicated and tricky but still fun to play even when I haven't done much research on the lines yet, and Nc3 against the Caro leads into the two knights variation which I haven't studied at all but gets me into more open positions. Not so good against the French though, need to figure out something better there, atm I go into the Exchange French and try to outplay the middle game.

With Black my absolute favorite opening is the English defense reached after e6/b6 against d4/c4 (d4/e4 being the Owen's, also playable but dangerous. Brilliant hypermodern setup, the pressure against e4 is huge and you get fantastic central piece play with a strong reserved pawn structure keeping you safe. Some very dangerous lines for White if they play the aggressive e/d/c4 setup and don't precisely know what they're doing. Against d4-e6-e4 I will usually transition to the Owens though I've considered taking up the French to combat it. I struggled for a long time to find a good response to e4 as the Owens isn't something I want to go into straight away and the majority of the set ups I looked for didn't give reasonable attacking chances on the Kingside which is where I prefer to play in all my openings, mostly ignoring the queenside. After trying out the Four Knights Sicilian courtesy of Isa's recommendation, I've started trying out the Dragon Sicilian and I think I've finally found my home. If the opponent doesn't know the Yugoslav attack (and at my current 1300 they never will) the positions are very pleasant with good attacking chances and as I continue to improve even that attack won't be so scary. I'd avoided main line Sicilians for a long time due to the breadth of theory but investigating the Dragon even in the 20 move main lines the moves are all fairly straightforward and forcing once you know what your plan is so its almost not intimidating at all, and the race to checkmate each other is something I'm willing to go into with my penchant for coming up with creative defenses in the middle of my attack.

Planning to pick up the Dutch to complement my English Defense and give me a rock solid repertoire against d4 and c4 playing similar structures.
 

berryalcremie

formerly rubysapphiremerald
What are some of people's favorite openings to play? I'm ~1600 on Lichess, kind of an opening nerd and I love playing tricky ones that give you a slight edge if the opponent doesn't know what they're doing.

  • As White, I play the Italian. If the opponent continues down the main line: 3...Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 At my level, no one realizes you can go 6...d5! and they usually end up losing a piece.
  • Against the Sicilian, I like to play the Alapin. People tend not to know d5 and tend to play cxd4 (which you shouldn't do right away in the Alapin, unlike other Sicilians) so you get a very pleasant position with two pawns in the center.
  • Against the Petrov I play 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3!? Nxc3 5.dxc3 which is very dangerous for Black if they don't know what they're doing (5...f6 is the only move that doesn't lose on the spot). It's basically the Stafford Gambit for White, but even more venomous since you're up an extra tempo.
  • I'm a KID player as black and against the London System, I play this setup:


London players are more positional and aren't used to being attacked so early.

So I’m going to preface this with the fact that it’s been about 8 months since I played a chess game because I’m focusing on other parts of my life, but I’m also an Italian player! When I quit though, I was hovering around 2100-2150 blitz on Lichess. So Italian is pretty normal and has a tendency to be aggressive, but I try to play as aggressively as I possibly can as white. So the line I use a lot is 3... Bc5 b4 (evans gambit) and then just use normal Evans gambit theory from there and try to get my opponent into increasingly uncomfortable positions where they make some blunder or something. Usually they’ll have to give me back the pawn I sacrificed anyway to get out of the attack, so it usually works out. Plus you’re much more developed early, which makes it an all-round good opening. Ofc, the other major way to defend against the Italian is 3... Nf6, to which I respond 4. d5. Naturally, 4... exd5 and then 5. 0-0. Here, there’s two different options. 5... Bc5 which gets hit by 6. e5 d5 7. exf6 dxc4 and just game continues. With moved such as 8. Re1+ Kf8 and 9. Bg5, you can pretty much force gxf6 and play 10. Bh6+, which after Kg7 has an open G-file with the king blocking in the rook. If I recall correctly, this line is actually optimal play from black, and it still ends badly. Also disclaimer I’m just trying to remember lines after over 8 months of not playing, so I may just be misremembering. Okay next up, 3... Nxe4, which should be the better move for black in that position. 4. Re1 d5 (tactics incoming) 5. Bxd5! Qxd5 6. Nc3 and you have a pretty good attack. I have to go do things so I’m not going to go into depth in this line, but there’s a lot of opportunity for aggressive play. You can dm me if you want some more info on it tho!

Against Sicilian, I play Sozin against Najdorf, Yugoslav against Dragon (cause f3 is annoying af), Sozin against classical, Bb5+ and trade everything against classical, and I have no clue what I usually play against Taimanov. Also learning Maroczy Bind was fun.

Against French, learning the Two Knights attack was a really fun way to play because it’s aggressive and mostly unprepared for from the black side. Eric Rosen did a video I think. Sorry this is getting fast cause I’ve spent too much time and I gtg...


Also isn’t your Petrov play just the Urusov? I’m curious what you play if black declines the gambit. Do you just transpose into your Italian or something different?

Against black e4, Sicilian Najdorf or Dragon depending on my mood. D4 and C4 are just KID. I play a similar setup against the London sometimes, so yay!

Anyway sorry I cut this post so short, I just have to go get ready for something lol...
 
Ended up winning the 1500-1800 bracket at an over board tournament last weekend with a 4.5/5 score. Still basking in the rush from that and am excited to get to be able to participate in more over the board events as Covid numbers continue to drop.

Mentioned my openings awhile ago, but I've done quite a bit of tweaking in recent months to my repertoire and am super happy with the results.

As white, I've played the Queen's Gambit as white for the past 10 years and I love it. I've historically played it very slow and sound, but have recently gotten really into playing some super aggressive lines that have yielded me some extremely dominating victories. I also have some extremely aggressive lines against the Indian Systems that really demands precise play out of black that have also given me some extremely nice results.

Against 1.e4, I am a Caro-Kann player. Very solid, easy to play opening that plays into my strengths of closed/positional games. I use to play the French Defense, but as my rating improved and players became more and more prepared, I frequently found myself lacking the theory needed and often ended up worse off. I still REALLY love the French Defense and it gets such an unfair reputation from literally everyone.

Against most everything else, I play the Classical Dutch. I started playing this around October and have just fallen in love with it. Even though it is a pretty demanding opening to learn and understand (definitely don't recommend it for anyone u1600), it is so much fun to play. My biggest upset wins online have been Dutch Positions, and it absolutely dominates people who do not have any prep for it. It is also so versatile of an opening, as I play it against literally anything that isn't e4 or f4.
 
Also isn’t your Petrov play just the Urusov? I’m curious what you play if black declines the gambit. Do you just transpose into your Italian or something different?
It's not quite the same as the Urusov, that happens when you play d4. Formally 3.Bc4 is called the "Italian Variation" of the Petrov (Lichess incorrectly calls it the Urusov), and 4.Nc3 is called the Boden-Kieseritzky Gambit.

If Black declines the gambit with 4...Nc6, then I'm very happy because this just transposes to the Two Knights Defense and I'm back in Italian territory. If they play 4...d6 then you can go 5.d4 dxe4 6.O-O and you're in some kind of Philidor (5.Ng5?! has the highest winrate here actually, but if your opponent has the psychological willpower to play d5 after playing d6, then you may get a bad position). If they grab the pawn but let you recapture afterwards (5...Be7), well, then it becomes kind of dry but there's not much you can do about that. I think the variation I would dislike facing the most is 4...d5, where you either lose the bishop after 5.Bxd5 or your pieces get awkwardly shoved around with 5.exd5 e4.

=====

I'll expand some more on my earlier post and share more of my opening repertoire. I have been struggling a lot vs the Scandinavian, because the position opens up really quickly and I can't "squeeze" the opponent like I tend to do in the Italian / Alapin after getting 2 pawns in the center. So what I'm trying now is Levy Rozman's suggestion, 3.Nf3, with the idea to go Be2 / c4 / d4 / maybe d5. From what I can tell Black has to play a very specific way to prevent this plan, 3...Bg4 / 4...Nc6 / 5...O-O-O.

Versus the French, I don't want to be "that person" who plays the Exchange and sucks the life out of the position. I initially tried the Advance with the Milner-Barry Gambit, but I was having trouble because assuming Black knows how to defend properly, it ends up being IMO too passive and it's hard to know what pawn breaks to play for (I know you're supposed to get your f-pawn moving in the French, but your knight is blocking it and it's kinda hard to move it since your d-pawn is so weak). I'm planning to switch to the Tarrasch.

Against the Caro-Kann, I like playing the Exchange with Bd3 / c3 / h3 (used at grandmaster level) which makes it very hard for Black to develop their light-squared bishop as they're used to doing in the Caro.

As Black, I'm currently trying out the Kan Sicilian / (Hyper)accelerated Dragon against 1.e4, which both feature more positional play than other types of Sicilians. Against everything else I play the KID. In the future, I might look more into the Caro / French against e4 and Dutch against non-e4.
 

berryalcremie

formerly rubysapphiremerald
As Black, I'm currently trying out the Kan Sicilian / (Hyper)accelerated Dragon against 1.e4, which both feature more positional play than other types of Sicilians. Against everything else I play the KID. In the future, I might look more into the Caro / French against e4 and Dutch against non-e4.
I'd actually advice against playing the Accelerated. I think the Hyper Accelerated is fine but like, kinda gimmicky and less sound then the dragon imo, but the Accelerated Dragon runs into the Maroczy Bind, which makes it really difficult to find counterplay from black's side. Your choice, but I've seen a lot of games just get totally shut down like that.
 
I'd actually advice against playing the Accelerated. I think the Hyper Accelerated is fine but like, kinda gimmicky and less sound then the dragon imo, but the Accelerated Dragon runs into the Maroczy Bind, which makes it really difficult to find counterplay from black's side. Your choice, but I've seen a lot of games just get totally shut down like that.
That's true, but the Hyper/accelerated Dragon does prevent White from playing the Yugoslav Attack, at least. I tend to be better at maneuvering games, so I'd rather get positionally squeezed than attacked.

The reason I decided to go with Hyperaccelerated rather than Accelerated is because you avoid the Rossolimo, but it's true you can run into other funny stuff like Qxd4.
 

Martin

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I'm a noob and a normie, so I like playing the Italian Game. I don't really know a whole lot about how to play as black, but I want to learn how to play the Caro Kann and the Nimzo-Indian/Queen's Indian/other e6 Indian lines. I know I should probably learn how to play a simpler response to e5 openings until my opening/midgame base is more solid before diving in with something as complex as the classical Indian Game—probably something more similar to the Caro Kann like the Slav Defence—but I'm not disciplined so I just kinda wing it and hope I don't blunder/make many mistakes lol.

I struggle to know how to best study openings though, so my knowledge base is still very shallow. I've built up a (very) small amount of knowledge from just playing games/solving puzzles, but trying to remember how to respond to certain early-game sequences is difficult, and the only moves you know to study being from the game I've just played slows my progress to a snail's pace. I'm probably gonna work through a few Hanging Pawns videos to see if it makes a difference, as I've heard his openings series are some of the better free ones available, but studying doesn't hold my attention that well compared to actually playing the game (and flipping through computer moves/following common variations through the database isn't as engaging a form of study as something like solving maths puzzles, especially when you don't fully understand the reasons behind why certain moves are good/bad), so idk how much of a difference impersonal tutorials like that will make. I might just need to get a personal tutor when I'm done with this maths A-level to guide me a bit better lol.
 
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