Effectively learning Chess Openings
Created at: 2020-08-06 ; Last updated: 2020-12-27
Everyone wants to become an expert in chess openings. In this blog post I share techniques for beginners as well as advanced players to learn chess openings.
How Listudy can help you learn openings
On Listudy you can learn opening repertoires using spaced repetition. Upload your own opening repertoire as PGN file, import studies from Lichess or use one of the already uploaded openings.
The learning is then done by playing against the repertoire. First the study is introduced. Then the computer will select moves from the repertoire and you have to play the correct moves. If you play the correct move, the game continues, otherwise the position is repeated. If you make a mistake, the position will be reviewed sooner than positions where you made the right move.
In this way, the moves that you have difficulties with will be repeated more often and memorized better. This process is called spaced repetition and is used to learn new information effectively. And with the help of Listudy this is also possible for chess openings.
What Listudy can not do
Listudy can only help with the memorization of openings. Learning the theory of openings can be better obtained with other methods.
It is possible to add comments to the studies which will also be prompted during learning, but this cannot replace a chess book for an opening.
Listudy is only a supplement for memorizing, not the all-purpose solution for learning openings. Learn the theory of an opening through a book or a video series. Create a PGN of the lines you select that are most appropriate for you, then use Listudy to learn them by heart.
How to learn chess opening theory
Learning a chess opening without knowing the theory is like cooking without salt. Something very important is missing. There are several ways to learn the theory underlying openings. Here I would like to go into more detail about the two that I use.
Videos are for me the more leisurely way to learn theory. There are many video makers who make informative videos available for free on the internet. To find the best for a particular opening I can recommend the Lichess video library. Many volunteers have categorized videos from youtube by the opening.
Books are probably the best way to learn theory. Many different lines can be discussed here, and the advantages and disadvantages of different moves are highlighted.
How to best learn chess openings
As briefly mentioned above, the learning of chess openings can best be achieved by a combination of different methods.
This is the method that helps me most when learning new openings:
- Play the opening without much research on what the theory and lines are.
- Note the games you lose out of opening.
- Learn the theory behind the opening. Use the games you lost and try to understand with theory what you could have done better and why you lost.
- Create your repertoire for the opening and learn the lines you want to play with Listudy.
Should I learn chess openings
If you are just starting with chess you should not invest time in learning chess openings. There are much more important areas that you can work on that will benefit you more.
- Opening fundamentals: Better than memorizing individual openings is learning the principles behind openings. Getting your pieces out, castling, controlling the center, are things you have to do in almost every opening. To figure out these basics of the opening will help you more than blindly memorizing lines in specific openings.
- Tactics: If you are just starting out in chess you will lose many games by blundering your pieces. Here it helps best to play a lot of chess, especially in slower time controls.
I wrote more on this point on: When to start learning chess openingsBack
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