What is the best way to learning the openings?

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What is the best way to learning the openings?

Post by c0unterpl4y on August 5th 2016, 9:32 pm

It seems that the opening collection is really a bunch of ideas for many different openings.

Is there a tool that people normally use to learn something like this? I have fritz running komodo 10.1 and I have chessbase along with various powerbooks, megadatabase, and chess opening encyclopedia.

Just confused on the best way to practice (besides play) and study the repertoire.

Is it just flat out memorization?

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Re: What is the best way to learning the openings?

Post by BorgQueen on August 23rd 2016, 12:21 am

When you find out, please let me know. Openings are my biggest weakness. I just can't remember the billions of lines needed to "be a book".

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Re: What is the best way to learning the openings?

Post by PawnCustodian on August 23rd 2016, 1:20 pm

A pretty good tool for the openings is Chess Position Trainer. It's not too difficult to import the pgn files from the provided ICS Openings files. What's nice about the tool is the way it navigates from openings through variations and notes which helps the memorization. I think you will find that the openings provided by ICS are coherent and more than just a "bunch of ideas for many different openings" when you are able to see the big picture which the Chess Position Trainer helps to see.

It's impossible to memorize everything, so I've truncated a lot of the ICS files and try to focus on the ICS provided "To Do" lists for the main variations. This is in part because ICS was a bit inconsistent with their formats - some of the material incorporates mainly game scores which (although useful) makes a quick study of main ideas difficult. Also, you can "train" your repertoire with Chess Position Trainer and over time you will be able to easily to adjust the repertoire from your practice to fill out the numerous voids and as your taste in openings changes.

Another "tool" available to you since you already have ChessBase and Fritz is to create your own opening book in order to practice with training games against the computer. I think this works better than the opening training that Fritz provides since you will be playing your whole repertoire rather than particular lines and because it incorporates recent theory into your training games. You can just follow the ICS outline on how to learn the opening (from month 1) to collect the games into a database, then convert the database into an opening book. (In his opening course Smirnov recommends collecting games by ECO code to capture move order transpositions. I don't know if that works in this instance, but you may want to look into it if you decide to try and create your own opening book(s).).

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Re: What is the best way to learning the openings?

Post by ChessPriyome on January 7th 2017, 1:25 pm

I agree that using Chess Position Trainer (CPT) is a good way to train your openings. I did what PawnCustodian did and loaded the pgns from the course into CPT. I don't play all the variations - I concentrate on what I play and study only those lines - but it is nice to have the repertoire for reference.

chessable.com allows you to load pgns as well. The caveat is that unless you are a paying member, you cannot study beyond the first 10 moves. My guess is that is sufficient for most players to get their feet wet in an opening so that might be a useful tool in conjunction with the pdfs presented in the course. Loading them into chessable.com and reviewing what you can for free is a good way to jump start. Also, the commentary from the pgn is there as well.

I really like the choices the repertoire presents to you from both sides. I got all giggly when I saw the Dutch. I study one opening per week using CPT, and can rotate through the entire repertoire of openings I am interested in playing from both sides in about 22 weeks.

My openings are getting better, especially from a fundamental understanding of the "why" and "wherefore" of the ideas from ICS. This improves your ability to come up with your own ideas should your opponent deviate from the lines presented. Naturally, my middlegame play is still suffering, but it is getting better as well.
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