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  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. Is it time to finally start reading chess theory?

I have been playing online chess for more than a year now. I have been practicing tactical puzzles too. I have been delaying reading chess theory so that my tactical skills could improve. I don't know much openings.The only ones I usually play are King's gambit and Nimzo-Indian Defence for black. I don't know any theory behind these openings either. I want to improve my rating to atleast 2100. I think I am better in tactics than my game ratings suggest. For example, the Lichess tactics trainer rates me around 2020. I think I am not able to set up those beautiful tactical positions, but once they have been set up, I can spot tactics. Do I need to start reading opening theory, or do you think my tactical ability needs more improvement? I was thinking of starting by reading Irving Chernev's introductory book followed by Nimzowitsch's 'My System'.

herman grooten - chess strategy for club players

My System by Nimzowitsch is an all time classic and well written. Surely recommended.
I advice against study of openings. King's Gambit and Nimzo-Indian Defence are fine and if you play it consistently, you get an understanding by itself.
What is your knowledge level on endgames? Study of endgames is much more rewarding than study of openings in terms of immediate profit and increased strategy awareness.

Yeah, you should have started studying "theory" when you became interested in chess.

You think bobby fischer or magnus carlsen waited a year before they started studying? And Why would anyone put off learning about something that they are interested in?

Madness.

@adondevamos That's not what I did....

At your level you have a bunch of methods to improve, including learning opening theory, endgame theory, reading annotated games of masters, further tactical vision improvements. Just choose what you like the most. You really need learn opening theory seriously if you want to get to the level of titled player, and for instance I know openings pretty bad (still my peak classical rating was 2094 here). However, learning opening theory can be very fun, especially some gambit and just unusual lines (what I do regularly, but not use them very much in actual games), so it is more the question "do you want", not "do you need".