Beginner advice: Do NOT study openings (game included 2100vs2100)

Well it's also possible the interest in the topic is the innocence. While the title looks a little obnoxious the conversations in them were rather innocent and that may have sparked a lot of the interest.

Another thing I've learned from this topic is that A LOT of us, including myself, think we are so incredibly wise and can teach others a lot, sometimes on topics we don't know very well at all. We can be arrogant, self-centered and self-important, far more than we realistically should be, proportionate to our real life results, which is a consequence of the Dunning-Kruger effect, I suppose.


At a beginner level, the main problem is indeed that players don't know enough about the principles (counting "look out for your opponent's tactical threats" as the most important one).

But learning these principles is not that difficult actually (in their verbal form - that's, like, 100 sentences at most). What is difficult is *applying* them, or in other words, knowing when to obey which principle in favor of another. At a 1500+ (FIDE elo) level already, most mistakes don't happen because someone didn't know the principles, but because they decided to follow the wrong one.

So, following the principles is a good advice, but it's just the very first step of the journey unfortunately.
I think many "talented" stronger players underestimate this when saying "oh, just follow the principles" (or "oh, you don't need to study openings"!) - the act of picking the right choice is often so natural that it's easy to not recognize it as a choice at all - but for the novice the advice is given to, this is not all that helpful (exaggerated, they might as well have been told "well, just always play the best move, obviously".)


Yep, converting "knowledge" into "skill" is much easier said than done.
I'm sure the vast majority of us want to improve and dedicate much time, effort and resources to that goal.
Many (certainly myself included) spend countless hours acquiring all types of knowledge in the hopes of improving, whether opening, middlegame, endgame, strategic and tactical, pawn structure, etc.
But how many here have been doing precisely that for many, many years without obtaining improvement in skill that is commensurate with the time spent trying to improve one's understanding of the game and performance? The sad reality is probably: most of us.
For sure, one must often work very hard before reaping any visible or tangible benefits.
So, perseverance is important.
But the greater problem, I believe, is when one chooses an unproductive path and toils endlessly without realizing the path will lead nowhere or to very meagre and disappointing end results.
As in any field, some people have great talent and, when accompanied by a capacity for hard work, achieve great things in relatively little time.
Others are just plain "lucky": they hit upon a useful path fortuitously or by a chance encounter early on with a mentor, for example.
Most people, however, are "average": they learn the rules young, pick-up bad habits, stagnate as adults, lead busy lives while trying to improve as best they can, often haphazardly.
Those in the first two categories often lack personal experience and perspective to understand what this means.
So, people like me stumble along doing their best to improve while others who improve significantly and more quickly sometimes have difficulty understanding how one can be stuck and 1500 so long... ;D

Often the applying of openig principles is step by step and with help of stronger players or good books. E.g. at one specific topic:

Step 1.) getting into trouble by Bg4 / Bb4 Pins

Step 2.) Getting into trouble by weakenig the kings position when breaking the pin with h3+g4

Step 3.) Getting into trouble by playing premature h3+a3, when other moves should have been played

Step 4.) Trying to figure out which of the three above has the lowest drawback. This gets better and better with time and knowledge.

I had tried to train some adulds rated 900-1300. One was overestimating the doubled pawns and liked to exchange the bishops asap without waiting for the weakening h3 or a3, two others always played both h3+a3 or a6+h6. I think they'll play the same until now. But they played such stuff because they were realky weak at tactics. So with a little bit daily tactics training and trying to apply the pinciples they would all have gained 100 - 200 points easily.

Funny people believe a neural net of alphazero thats based on played games is far superior to stockfish with an opening book and integrated positional gm evaluations. Why is it when it comes to humans they believe the opposite?

Leaving a chess naive person to the commercialized chess, is like leaving a naive girl alone at a party full of pervs. If anyon needs improvment please look for a real life strong chessplayer with indisputable reputation that you trust, and ask him for advice. Its a sad reality that you cannot trust random stranger on the internet.


I don't believe we are talking about the same thing. I am referring to an interpretation of Steinitz laws of chess based on GM Igor Smirnov's interpretation. So while you might be correct in what you say, I have no idea. From my point of view I have seen GM Smirnov point to classical games from Lasker and Alekhine. Prove they broke principles and lost because of it. And then I watched him dissect modern games from expert to master class and do the same thing.

I think in a way you could think of it like an old kung fu movie. You know how they always fight as to whose school is better. We could banter back and forth as to who has the better chess fu school. ;-) Either way.. You can also suggest that the teachings not only contradict, but intersect as well. So from my point of view, like I said, you could be right.. But I believe still that it's a lack of understanding of chess principles. And even IM's and GM's can fall into this trap.

One of my favorite comparisons is Smirnov Vs Silman. Two completely different schools of chess. And the students from them tend to battle on theory of how thinking process should be conducted. Fun fun.


Since you mention schools... I was rather thinking about the hypermodern one as the "anti"-movement against the classical one.
For every game that was lost because someone disregarded one of Steinitz' laws of chess, there probably is one a few decades later that was lost because someone clung to such a law too tightly.
If development had stopped with Steinitz, we wouldn't have openings like the Najdorf or all the Indians for example. We take them for granted now, but it was a long process until the chess world learned that behind their principle-violating outside they have a very solid core.

The modern consensus (of those that are not completely ideologic about it) is that both sides have their point, or summed up: "Chess is concrete". Very few chess games can be broken down to just one or two decisive principles. Most of the time, there are lots of (oftentimes conflicting) principles in play and chess "skill" is precisely the ability to choose the right ones better than your opponent. And of course, blatantly violating principles without a good reason will most of the time end in disaster.