Wednesday, March 24, 2010


What does a world-famous trainer like Mark Dvoretsky have to say about the choice of openings for a chess player?

‘Your choice of openings should be made primarily in accordance with your own tastes and style of play. This rule may sound obvious, but all the same it is quite easily broken,even by strong players’

Now if a player is usually afraid of giving away pawns or pieces, or is scared of complications, is it then possible that this player will be able to confront positions laden with tactics and be comfortable in them?

In his book Opening Preparation, Dvoretsky recounts how he once gave advice to a quiet sober-minded player whose openings were that of fashionable and sharp variations like the King's Indian and Sicilian. In other words, the choice of opening depended not on his own taste but that of the coach. He advised the player to switch to quieter openings by playing 1 d4 instead and that player's results were better as he was better adjusted to the positions that arose.

There are many examples of course, esp when Mikhail Tal tried to lead Botvinnik out of the main lines in the Caro-Kann by playing the Advance Variation. Though he thought he could surprise the great strategist with something new, his results with it was poor. That's mainly because Tal specialises in open positions with great complications, while Botvinnik was at home with closed pawn structures where play was largely strategic and positional. Hence it was easier for Botvinnik to find moves than Tal.

Mark Dvoretsky also suggests that every chess player should takes a hard look at his powers of memory. For those who have limited memory, its best to steer clear of openings which are very theoretical and demand a huge knowledge of games and refinements. Such is the Sicilian Defence. You can only play such lines if you possess a good memory. For players who are not good at memorising, its better to stick to 'opening schemes' , ie logical opening systems with limited theory but easier to play once the typical ideas of the position are understood and less emphasis is on move-order.

Those interested in the subject should get a copy of the book, Page 111-112 and read the rest.

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