Monday, January 23, 2006

Bookup is sweet

I have decided to stick to more mainstream beginner defenses than the accelerated dragon and the Nimzo-Indian. It's simply less work, and I want to keep the focus on the Circles. I am entering a new, simplified, repertoire in Bookup (a nice tutorial video is here). It is much better than using the Chessmaster opening book in two ways. First, the professional version has a 'Training Wizard' that will quiz you on your opening system. Second, it automatically finds transposes so you don't have to do any work to deal with 'em.


Blogger funkyfantom said...

Why not just pick the openings that you
understand the strategy of? Otherwise, you will be so worried about forgetting your memorized moves that you won't enjoy the game.

Strangely enough, I have recently switched to the Nimzo myself and am doing OK with it. I don't have much memorized, but I think I understand the strategy enough to handle reasonably players in my range.

Just my humble opinion.

1/23/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I prefer to take my time to think through opening moves and principles when I'm not in the middle of a game. The patterns come up so often OTB that it pays quite well to know the positions so I can spend more time thinking in the more complicated tactically rich middlegame positions that I reach.

Plus, if I consistently play the same opening (i.e., I have a repertoire) I become much more familiar with the typical pawn structures, strategies, etc associated with the result.

Plus, for me it's just fun to mess around with openings and memorize a particular repertoire. Even if it doesn't help over the board (which it will) I am having fun!

At any rate, rigidity about this is probably foolish, as flexibility leads to interesting variations.

I've switched to more classical lines that follow more directly from the old-school principles (e.g., open with a pawn in the center). I am much more comfortable with such conservative openings. The hypermodern stuff freaks me out.

1/23/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger CelticDeath said...

I find myself (and I don't know if this is an efficient way to do it or not) studying openings only when something isn't working. For example, I play the Scandy, and someone plays against it in a way such that I don't know how to respond. I lose the game. Then, my next step is to get down any info I have on openings or use Fritz or whatever to find out how I should have played that opening. I rehearse and rehearse until I think I will know for the next time how to play against it.

That's about the extent of it. Incremental knowledge gained through trial-and-error.

1/24/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

CD: That's what our hero MDLM suggests. Also, Heisman suggests the same thing. I think that, at my level, this is a sane approach.

I am going to implement the same approach, but starting with a core repertoire that gets me out to move 4 or 5. From there, once I confront a move in practice that stumps me, I'll add to the repertoire. I figure I'll get even more out of this incremental opening enhancement once I have a kernel around which to build.

Partly this is just because I have started to really like studying openings. They are so simple compared to middle game, so elegant, and offline study of the positions should really pay off, as they recur so often, more often than any CT-Art pattern, for instance.

To paraphrase Heisman, studying openings, thought processes, and time management should pay off in every game. Studying particular tactics will pay off in some games. Beating hungry bears with wet spaghetti never pays off. Take it from me.

1/24/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Hey BD,

Good points. However, I don't agree with the idea that tactics only pay off sometimes. Tactics pay off in every game, even between masters. If you are weak in tactics, especially at our level, you don't stand a chance, no matter how much you know about the openings or positions.


1/24/2006 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

PS. You are right. You need to be good at tactics generally. Sensei Heisman beat the Patzer with the reed three times in my next post to make this point.

But as far as actual identical board positions, it happens very little in the middlegame, some in the endgame, and LOTS in the opening. I think a rational study plan should reflect these assymmetries. I'm not sure HOW it should reflect them, but I'm trying to converge on something good...For tactice, some kind of MDLM/Heisman repetition approach seems smartest. For openings, I think an MDLM style, built around a core of commonly occuring tabiyas (sp?) is probably best.

But I don't really know what the hell I'm doing. I'm just struggling along to improve, and so far I have improved a lot (ahem, just don't look at my rating).

1/24/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Heh, sounds good to me! As for your current predicament. Might I suggest hiring a coach? At least for a couple of lessons. Make sure they give you a good roadmap to follow and just trust that their plan will work (especially since it worked for them). It's kind of like a religion. Some faith is necessary. Without it we end up following down all sorts of paths, wasting time.

You seem to like Heisman so maybe you can sign up for a couple of lessons. The other Knights seem to likehim. Anyway, just a suggestion. My coach has helped me tremendously even though I only took 11 lessons from him.


1/25/2006 06:33:00 PM  

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