Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Opening dilemmas

         After reading through Chess Praxis by Nimzowitsch, I found it easy to convince myself that his favored crooked openings, like the Dutch, Reti, or for that matter the Nimzo-Indian Defence are the most dominant openings known to man.  Even more irregular openings he would play he would occasionally acknowledge as being slightly dubious, but encouraged the reader to believe that correct chess could be found on a wide road rather than a narrow path.  The closer to the edge of that wide road you go, the more cliffs and ravines might threaten your every missed step, but the more beautiful the journey would be (paraphrasing from memory).  
This got me to thinking - is there a skill level at which mainline openings are truly needed, and is any of us likely to reach it?  Our own NM Mark Kernighan plays sensible openings but will play second- or third-best variations for the sake of variety or to avoid book opening traps, knowing that the middlegame is his proprietary venue.  Class A players I have played seem to have made up their own openings out of whole cloth - perhaps they are dubious, but how to prove it in a quick game?  How many moves have I memorized that are just the latest refinement in a long series of refinements on an opening when what actually determines the winner of my games is being the person who doesn't drop a piece?  
So play your Grob's, your Fried Liver attack and your Cochrane Gambit.  In a game between us amateurs, the road is wide indeed, and the view occasionally breathtaking.

Someone once said that all openings are playable below ELO 2000....
Abby Marshall has been wreaking havoc with the King's Gambit at master level...

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