Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Openings: Chessmaster and Kenilworth

I recently got Chessmaster 10: it is great. Very user-friendly, other than the lame-ass fact that you have to have the original CD in the drive to start the game. I finally figured out how to use it to make an opening book, so today I have inaugerated my first opening book (hyper-accelerated dragon in response to e4, and Nimzo-Indian in response to d4).

Making an opening book in Chessmaster is wicked fun: just enter the moves by sliding the pieces around and enter annotations at will (my annotation for 1. e4, for instance, is 'This is the most played opening in chess. If you don't have a good response, you are screwed!'). The only fear I have is that I'll get too into opening study: it is so fun and easy with Chessmaster. Even the authors of the opening book from the previous post suggest that you don't spend a whole lot of time on opening study (OTOH, I haven't spent any time officially studying opening, so perhaps I am deserved some leeway). Never fear: I have not abandoned my tactics, and am still working the Divine Tragedy.

On another topic, hats off to Patrick, who in a previous post, pointed me to the Kenilworth Chess Club's excellent page of links to opening study. Those folks in New Jersey seem to have caffeine in their blood, as they tirelessly make fantastic lists.

Anyway, having lots of fun with the opening book thing today!


Blogger DreadPirateJosh said...

Did you have Chessmaster 9? If you did do you think its worth it to get 10 as well?

1/04/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

1. e5?

I've got CM 10th myself for quite some time now, as it is (in my opinion) a must have if you're really into chess. Just as much as a Fritz or Shredder or the likes is a must have. Not to be compared nonetheless. People still do, but personally i feel they're not to be compared. They're both in a whole different range. When we're talking Fritz (and the likes), we're talking professionality. When we're talking CM, we're talking fun & games. Sure CM plays a kickass game and can be used as a tool, but seriously... Imagine Kasparov preparing for a some serious games with CM. Know what i mean? But in it's range, CM is awesome. Have you had a look at some of the animated 3D boards yet? Not that i use them, but they are really great. Even though it's teaching capabilities offer a lot of real beginner stuff and the same stuff from the 9000 series (which i also have), i am still planning to go through the whole lot sometime. As it still offers some very interesting stuff. You surely must have a look at the 500 famous games. An awesome database of 500 richly annotated games, of which you could make great use when you get to the phase of studying games. But what i really wanted to tell you, is that it is not necessary at all to have the CD in drive. If you look around the Internet, you surely must be able to find a no-CD crack. I've got one :)
I shall look for it and try to send it to you by email. In the meantime you could try and look for it yourself.

1/04/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Got me, Edwin. I changed it to 1. e4 so people won't know what you are talking about :)

Thanks for the tips on CM10, Edwin: I have not yet used many of those features. I'm gonna try to find those annotated games that use my openings.

Dreadpirate, I have both versions, and think it is a substantive improvement (which you basically never see with Fritz). For instance, they have added a whole new set of tutorials by Josh Waitzkin: in 9000 they have some of his advanced tutorials, but they have added a bunch of new beginner and intermediate stuff from him. This is in addition to what Edwin mentioned. Also, the user interface is much improved.

If anyone knows of any way I can use Chessmaster without using the CD, I would sure appreciate it....My email is on the Chess Confessions sidebar.

1/04/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

I'll look it up for you and send it to you. I've got it on a CD somewhere :)

1/04/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Druss said...

Ah! Now I've got to buy CM 10 as well ... right after my recent chess shopping binge. Better check my credit card balance ...

I haven't really properly prepared opening systems before. I've had a bit of a look at a couple of John Emms books: "Attacking with 1.e4" and "Play the Najdorf: Scheveningen style". These are great books, but I haven't really learnt these systems ... more casually read about what you can do.

The main two problems I've encountered with trying to learn opening lines are:
- I can end up playing moves mindlessly without thinking about the moves. This can lead to playing the same patterns no matter what my opponent plays! Blunder a few pieces away that way
- There is just too much to remember. Maybe seeing the lines visually on the board would help.

1/05/2006 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

For the cheapies http://www.chesspositiontrainer.com/ is a neat tool to organize an opening book.

The important thing is to learn a couple openings that you will know better than your opponent. Ideally they give you an open game with tactical opportunities and not too much studying required. In order to learn them, you must play them inside out, at every opportunity possible. Blitz games can be valuable for opening drill. (Basically the only thing blitz is good for.)

1/05/2006 08:30:00 PM  

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