I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

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I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by Bilbo on July 2nd 2009, 8:21 pm

This week at my local club in our annual summer tournament I played a much higher rated opponent, the current tournament leader, (ECF rating 140) so I decided I needed to prepare for him, the first time I've done any preparation speficially for an opponent.

Anway my research into his games showed me he would almost certainly play the Nimzo Indian or Bogo Indian Defense to my intended Queens Gambit setup and I knew I didn't want to face his Nimzo, so I prepared some lines against the Bogo Indian and managed to get an excellent draw in which was I actually the aggressor throughout the game.

My next big challenge is in three weeks when I play the highest rated guy in the tournament, (ECF 160+) so I've been researching his openings. I've found he always seems to play as black against 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 and then after 3.d5 he will either play a Benoni setup or else the Benko Gambit.

So I had a quick look at the ICS reportoire for white against the Benko with 4.Qc2 and then as recommended to do I searched the Megadatabase for related games. I found hundreds of course but best of all two were very well annotated including one by no less an authority than the great chess commentator Igor Stohl!

So from now on I'm definitely adopting this approach, study the ICS reportoire suggestion then search the database for some well annotated model games.

This will be a great way to learn and fun too, I like doing my own 'detective' work to a degree and I think this level of research will definitely pay off.

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by Bilbo on July 2nd 2009, 9:53 pm

This is really great, just checked out the lines for the Benoni systems and once again some great annotated games, some more by Stohl and even better some really detailed games annotated in the Benoni by one of my favourite chess writers Mihal Marin!

I wish I'd made use of this resource earlier! I'm going to start preparing all of my openings like this now.

Just learn a little bit of basic theory and some main variations then study the appropriate master level games that are well annotated in Megadatabase Very Happy

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by fanat on July 2nd 2009, 10:41 pm

I completely agree that ICS opening material is really great!

I'm going through Scandinavian Qd6 and their coverage is much better than any book on Scandinavian. Ok, there are no good books covering Scandinavian but still.

I'm starting to take a look at Dutch and again ICS coverage is excellent.

Also, I was really impressed with their coverage of Catalan. The depth of coverage again is really great.

We have to supplement all the material with annotated games and this is where Megabase and other books come in.
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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by BorgQueen on July 13th 2010, 2:12 am

I hope I enjoy the same successes. I have always struggled learning openings and still have to calculate my way through most of them, which often leads to disaster.

Too many openings, too many variations... life is so short!
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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 3rd 2010, 11:52 am

Yes, if you leave it to calculation I think too much time is taken from when the full calculation powers are really needed. OTOH, there is something fun about figuring things out OTB. Smile

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by BorgQueen on August 3rd 2010, 7:50 pm

I have no idea how people memorise so many opening lines! I think I will always have to calculate through the opening to some degree.

I recently play a game where my opponent tried 1.e4...e5 2.Qh5 and I didn't know the book lines so had to play very carefully, calculating through the lines. Not sure I did so well in the opening, but I did win the game.

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by Hank on August 4th 2010, 12:05 am

I think one way is to build slowly from the ground up, by looking up the first few opening moves after each of your games, in a database like this one:
http://chessok.com/?page_id=352
and then as Dan Heisman says, find the first move where you would play something different next time, if you faced the same line, and try to learn that new move that would improve on your play from the last game. You won't remember everything you look up this way, but at least the positions that keep coming up over and over in your games will get reinforced and you'll slowly learn the more solid or promising moves in those lines that you face regularly, step by step.

Just my $.02 (actually other people's, that I'm recycling here)....

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by BorgQueen on August 4th 2010, 1:10 am

I've been doing that for years, but I just don't seem to make much progress.

Some people in my club are like walking opening books. To get there with this approach I will have to live until I am 3,872 :-P


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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 4th 2010, 12:10 pm

LOL I think as your rating goes up, opening prep becomes more important. At my level, I can pretty much ignore opening prep. Smile

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by BorgQueen on August 4th 2010, 7:38 pm

Maybe doing this course is a bad idea then!! The last thing I want to do is study openings forever! ^^

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Re: I'm liking the ICS approach to learning openings.

Post by Chess? on August 6th 2010, 10:37 pm

I am with you on this BDK.
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