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

@LukaCro I would disagree. Not if you had known the theory. If you had had better positional judgement you wouldn't have created that weakness. Good positional judgement comes with general chess strength, knowing classics etc. not from memorising long opening lines.

@JARANDujo well if by "studying the openings" you mean "memorizing moves", then I agree with you. But by "study openings" I usually mean studying the positions emerging from certain kind of openings, learn where the pieces typically go, what pawn structures are to be prefered, etc.

So I have studied semi-slav for a while before playing the game, I would probably catch some key ideas, positional maneuvars and pawn structures which would help me not to make some mistakes I made.

I never study by memorizing moves, it's silly. I study by going through master games or reading some good book (or DVD) which explains key positional ideas and plans. Once I know key ideas and plans, I can usually figure out the moves myself in the game.

Luka horrible example. My browser wouldnt show the game, so i have to guess. The problem comes from playing a theory opening. And is the best example why not to study opening. The problem with c pawn is that you didn't play c5 i assume

And if you buy opening book, watch video they could tell you the same crap as luka and you would believe it. If you study tactics you calculating power and memory increases and you could check things yourself. And even bad tactics training helps but bad advice is useless at best and probably harmful.

@Subomega at the time I played the game I knew next-to-nothing about opening theory for black. This is why I ended up in this mess. Which I wouldn't have if I had spend some time studying the games with this particular defense (semi-slav). Like I said, studying for me means understanding the ideas and positional elements emerging from certain openings, not memorizing moves.

Anyway, thanks for commenting a game you didn't see at all.

@LukaCro I hear what you are saying and know you don't simply "memorize moves" when studying openings but I disagree with your point of view on a few key issues.

First, if you consider study-time as a "finite resource", the question becomes "how to make optimal use of it?".
In other words, what gives the most return on the time invested studying?

If you objectively consider the game you submitted (#50) for our consideration, you can't conclude otherwise than both players were pretty evenly matched throughout the opening, both straying out of book very early and committing their fair share of inaccuracies during that phase of the game.

In fact, by 15...Ne4, play was dead even. After 16.Qxe4, you could easily have 16...c5. So, the situation isn't as "disastrous" as you seem to think, unless you are talking about a later position, after the opening phase of the game.

Secondly, and relatedly to what I previously wrote, your c-pawn problem isn't because of a lack of understanding of the theory associated to the defence you chose but with the more general problem of how a backward pawn on a half-open file constitutes a weakness that should quickly be addressed. This is a general chess principle that applies irrespective of the opening or defense you choose. You failed to address this problem because you didn't understand this principle, not because of some failure to understand the semi-slav.

A better grasp of just what a "backward pawn on a half-open file" means is something you can pick up much faster than a better grasp of the ideas, plans and themes associated to the semi-slav and that understanding would probably have completely changed the course of the game. Similarly and more generally, a good grasp of fundamentals is much more quickly acquired and usefully converted to advantage on the board than ideas, plans and themes related to a particular opening, let alone the minutiae related to a particular opening.

This is not to say that such study doesn't have its place. It does, obviously. But many lower-rated players devote an inordinate amount of time to such study. Time that takes away from perhaps understanding important principles and fundamentals as well as familiarizing oneself with varied tactics and basic endgames. The point is that serious "opening study" becomes more relevant when one faces very strong opposition where play is, more often than not, both very accurate and filled with tactical potential. Something one doesn't find so much, on average, in our level of play where egregious mistakes and blunders very often decide the fate of a game. ;D




Looking at the game I think I was originally correct. And I think you shouldn't think of openings in that way either. @PixelatedParcel was the closest to your problem for sure.

I play the semislav. Have been religiously for the last year. I probably know more about it than most people under 2300. I mess up on moves around move 10 all the time. I can't blame the opening prep because they are usually with positional problems that I sometimes forget. This is exactly what it is with this game. It was a positional problem. Or more closely a strategic problem. The best way to solve it is strategic. Funny thing is a lot of the cure is basically things you claim to have done. Look at master games and review ideas. But you have to address it as a strategic problem in your mind instead of an opening problem. Because a lot of the people here are correct. You have to address the understanding of strategy you are lacking to know how to cure it. I think what you might find is both you and the crowd have things right. Just the identifying could be off.

Have you thought about serious analysis?

@MeWantCookieMobile ok, but I still don't see anything wrong with analysing games and positions emerging from the openings you usually play. So if you play for example London System, take some 30-50 good games and go through them, try to get aquainted with the typical positions and also tactics which often appear. Same is with black, if you play semislav, you should make an effort to go through the games with that defense and pick up some ideas. This is what I mean by "opening preparation", not memorizing the lines.

Of course, being generally positionally sound will not hurt either way, as @PixelatedParcel said. It's all part of the same process.

What do you mean by "serious analysis"?