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How To Learn & Study Chess Openings



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this is going to be a video about chess openings  and how you should approach them it does not  

matter what your level is you will absolutely  learn something from this video if you're  

beginner intermediate or advanced i've split it  into three parts in the first part we'll talk  

about different openings like theoretical and  setup based ones and what things like theory and  

novelty mean in the second part we are going to  talk about databases how do you use an openings  

database how do you break down the branches  how do you prepare for opponents and so on  

and in the third part we're gonna look at  how to analyze your own games you can feel  

free to jump around i've put timestamps on the  video player let's go okay what is the opening  

in the opening stage of the game we obviously  develop our pieces and we give the uni the the  

game its unique flair it means that sometimes we  already on the first move decide are we playing  

the king's pawn or the queen's pawn theory  in openings is a position that's already been  

explored by grandmasters by computers it's in  a database somewhere it is recorded a novelty  

then is the first move out of theory novelties  can be good and bad if you hang a queen it's bad  

make a new move new idea could be good and then  people start to kind of flock in that direction  

the opening for many beginners let's say  after e4 and then black you know plays e5  

it's it's it's a time to just develop your pieces  safely and make sure that everybody's getting a  

turn and that's good that is a very good way  to start learning chess to keep your pieces  

safe follow the rules but then you need to start  realizing that chess is a competitive game i mean  

for some it's war you know um and you you're  already making decisions immediately move by  

move of what your opponent is doing so for example  against e5 we can play very traditional knight f3  

knight c6 both targeting this pawn and then  play four knights right and then develop our  

bishop because this is what the golden rules of  chess say two knights two bishops fight for the  

center but you can also play something like f4  which is called the king's gambit and a gambit  

in chess is when you sacrifice a pawn or two in  the beginning and you get all your pieces out  

faster and you get better control of the center  because that's where the game flows through  

this weakens the king but now black has doubled  pawns and you're gonna get two pawns in the center  

and a gambit there's many types of gambits  can throw your opponent off because they're  

not very popular right you also can play one of  my favorites the vienna which is non-traditional  

this is not something that people learn and then  there's like things like cheesing you know like  

going for the scholars mate the wayward queen  attack and these are things that you have to know  

what to do against the difference in openings  between theory and setup is that in a theory  

based opening when you play e4 you cannot play  the same way against everything that black does  

what does that mean so if black plays a sicilian  defense for example you can't really play the same  

way as you would against the the kara khan like  the kara khan defense right so you've gotta know  

different things against different things that's  the best way to put it but a setup based opening  

is like for example the london where after d4 it  really doesn't matter what black plays as long as  

they don't target this pawn with like you know a  wing attack they play d5 you'll play bishop to f4  

they play knight f6 you'll play e3 and you'll go  for a setup that pretty much always resembles this  

i'll say this a little pyramid structure the  two knights like this the bishop and this bishop  

black has a lot of different things that they  can do and you'll kind of always go for this  

and it's good because it's easy to learn as a  beginner you don't really need to think about  

what black is doing but then you're not really  always putting pressure on black right if that  

makes sense like what i always tell london  players is that if they're gonna play d4  

they gotta they gotta look what is black doing  knight f6 bishop f4 they go for g6 now the g6  

lines here are called king's indian positions  when the bishop goes to g7 and d6 and castles  

right that's called the king's indian there  are ways for london players to mix it up to  

not go the same way and maybe put their knight out  here remember last time they put the knight on d2  

and then i'm going to put my queen there and  castle the other way which is non-standard but  

you're observing what your opponent is doing on a  move by move basis and then you are adapting to it  

kind of the advanced beginners and intermediate  players need to start understanding that they  

can't just pre-move the opening it's it's also  about what the opponent is doing they need weapons  

they need a way to challenge each thing that their  opponent plays okay and you could study openings  

in videos books courses i have many openings  courses and i get this question all the time  

how do i study like what do i do how do i look  at databases how do i know what's the best thing  

well i mean hopefully that was a pretty good  introduction because uh we are about to jump in  

to uh to database study okay i've pulled  up the chess.com database now i personally  

at the master level have always used  the program called chess base right  

chess base is very expensive uh it's the most  extensive program uh that uh that exists uh for  

for like master level players and it's not very  pretty it looks like this this is chess base  

um it's got all these things down here and  i will show you how to read them in a second  

um now if you want to use chess.com and obviously  leaches has their own database and they oftentimes  

compile what's known as master games and even like  amateur games games that are 1600 1800 2000 rating  

of course it's better to learn from masters right  so when we look at the database we see the first  

move second move so let's play e4 and then we see  sicilian has been played half a million times and  

most databases will have some sort of percentages  you know 34 black wins 37 white wins 29 uh is a  

draw you know the further you go down let's say we  go for a vienna and then we go for a vienna gambit  

look how little games are remaining right  because we've gone deeper and deeper  

and the way you study this is you really should  choose the one that's played the most or second  

most and is significant i mean if a move has been  played two times in a position that's been reached  

1400 times it's probably not the best move but  you would combine this with a computer evaluation  

which i will show you all afterward now chess  base is a little bit more extensive and as i  

said leaches has one of their own but you got to  be careful because things that are being played a  

lot at 15 1600 level will not always be played a  lot at the advanced level so if we look at one of  

eric rosen's favorite openings the stafford gambit  look how few games this gets featured in right  

that's because the truth is masters kind of know  how to deal with it a little bit better at least  

in longer games in blitz and and blitzen bullet  not not really i mean you've seen eric's streams  

uh he beats many many good players but in  classical the stafford gambit at master level  

is rarely seen but you you at home should  be doing things practically just because  

grandmasters don't play this in the world  championship doesn't mean it won't work for you  

so always remember that simple fact now for the  next portion of this database study um i was  

gonna pull up some subscribers who volunteered to  be in this video and i'm doing this for a reason  

because i want to show you the power of playing  things that are not considered the top move  

like the second most popular move for example so  here's an example i pulled up steven0396 his most  

popular move that he plays according to chess.com  explorer feature is the move e4 he plays it a lot  

and he gets e5 450 times then he plays knight f3  and then knight c6 is the most popular but look  

at how many times he's faced the stafford gambit  knight f6 knight e5 and knight c6 just 20 games  

of how many games of e4 e5 450 right so it shows  you the power of taking someone out of what  

they're comfortable in into a position that they  might not know so it's good to play these things  

that are non-standard right because if we just  follow his most popular move every single time  

looks like he plays the scotch i'll  give you another example in the scotch  

take take there's a tricky move here queen  h4 how many times has he faced it once  

queen h4 is not a great move according to computer  but it's a very tricky move in the scotch and he's  

only faced it one time ever according to his  database right and he blundered he actually  

blundered queen takes e4 check which is the whole  point so it shows you the value right of playing  

these tricks and if we go to the masters database  let's let's go back to this master's database and  

pull up that same position all right just to  show you kind of the effect look at queen h4  

here it's the fifth most popular move according  to the masters database right it does get played  

it does get played according to the masters  database but this gentleman had never faced  

it ever before which is quite interesting and  if you play the kara khan against e4 um then c6  

right how many games of c6 has he had fifth most  41 out of like 700 right so again kara khan is a  

is a great thing that i recommend for many players  against e4 rather than just playing standard stuff  

with e5 that's in my opinion what i think is  the best i think gambit's kara khan is the way  

to go challenging the opponent early on in the  game um now another person this person is 1500  

kind of pink jig so jake is uh he's a long  long longtime supporter of the stream he's also  

uh enjoyed my youtube content since i only had  like 200 subscribers so i got to feature him he  

always used to play e5 against e4 over a thousand  one hundred games if you play the vienna against  

jake look at where that takes you 82 out of  thousand games and then against knight f6  

one vienna gambit three three vienna gambits ever  to his credit he did play two wins but one of them  

this is a bad move but he still won the game  so vienna gambit takes a person who's played  

a position a thousand times into three three  times ever that's huge that is the benefit  

of of playing things that are not just  copying your opponent to actually learning  

something specific like a caracon defense or a  vienna system uh so that's one thing that i wanted  

to pull up another person this one's interesting  because this person is 1900 this next person uh gm  

uh 500. i've played this person many times  and this person plays d4 i wanted to look at  

it from white's perspective this person plays d4  a lot it's their most popular move of almost 2  

000 games now look at this if you play  the dutch defense against this person  

that takes you down 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 35 games out  of nearly 2 000 that this person has to deal with  

the dutch defense another idea for some of you  dutch defense go check it out right um dutch  

defense is event is a great defense i mean it's  it's wonderful and you see that it can take even  

the strongest of players out of positions that  they've seen one more the budapest gambit look c4  

400 games here how many games of e5 which is the  budapest game but 25 25 out of like five or 600  

games that is how you would apply the usage of an  openings database right to scan against certain  

players or just explore positions that are not  so theoretical you know things that i recommend  

for example in my uh in my kara con course  uh sorry in my in not in my course with the  

white pieces so just one thing that i wanted  to show in my course for the white pieces  

against the karakan i recommend the advanced karo  khan which is very trendy now second most popular  

move and against bishop f5 i recommend not knight  f3 which has 7 500 games and probably even more  

but the second most popular move right which has  only three thousand and now when players go h6  

right we go g4 and now we're down to about two  three hundred games out of a position which has  

been reached how many thousands of times right  so we go lower and lower and this position will  

appear later in the next part of this video we are  going to show how to analyze the games you play  

okay the games you yourself play uh and uh how to  learn from those games and how to incorporate the  

use of a computer to analyze games after they're  done we'll go all the way back to the beginning  

and for this next portion we will go back and  start to analyze games that i played against  

subscribers so we'll start with this one okay this  is a game i played actually in the most recent  

video i uploaded on youtube which is how to win a  chess it's a playlist i started to play 10 minute  

games against my subscribers and i was black i  was playing against um a 1059 rated player uh and  

he played the vienna gambit against me i played d5  which is the main line he took i took he went here  

i took he took so far so good this is all known  and here i played the move c5 which i believe is  

the most popular move in this position and here my  opponent played d4 which is not correct and a few  

moves later actually ended up losing his bishop by  virtue of a fork so let's say you have a game like  

this with white let's say you play this with white  you blunder a piece how do you learn from a game  

like this okay uh well here you go we're gonna  have to go back to our handy dandy database right  

and we say well what happened you know i was  playing my vienna gambit what did i do wrong  

how did it go so wrong for me so far so good  take take and here my opponent played c5 right  

oh i mean i played a move that's that's basically  not in the database at all uh and if we go to the  

even more uh robust uh chess-based database  right uh what whatever it is that you are  

using i'll pull up the chess-based database  just for instructional purposes um watch this  

so look take take right and black play c5 which is  one of the main lines look at this how many games  

of d4 in this position like 13 and the score is  34 which means that 34 of the time white wins and  

66 or 65.4 percent of the time it is black who is  winning and there are no gm games if we see if we  

sort the database by white who's got the higher  rating with the white pieces not a single gm all  

2000 2100 and some of these people down here who  last played in 1889 so you know we're not in very  

good territory so then what you do is you go back  and you incorporate engine analysis and you say  

all right well that wasn't right right that that  wasn't good i i i have to do better than that um  

another example that i can give in the vienna  gambit is you know just if we flip it to white's  

perspective real quick uh on this big board um  if they play something that's not in your in your  

analysis at all like for example in this position  people uh will sometimes play the move knight  

to g5 which attacks the queen and here people  just freak out they go i don't know what to do  

so now i'm going to kind of incorporate the  the last layer uh of study that i wanted to to  

demonstrate which is the computer see this thing  that i've popped up on the screen you have to  

use the computer after the game not before and  what does it say the top line it says the move  

that gives plus 1.3 advantage which is a pawn  and three tenths of a pawn is queen takes d5  

queen takes d5 because you've blundered  the pawn knight g5 is not a theoretical  

move it's a novelty and it's not a good one  because you just lose this pawn that is how  

you learn openings right if there's only one  move in a position in an opening that's good  

you still have to find it because otherwise like  for example it's like walking through fire right  

if you can walk through fire but get across okay  that's that's fine but if you walk through fire  

and get burned all over the place you're not gonna  do it again right you're not gonna right and here  

white is just it's just much better so that is  how you incorporate the computer into your opening  

study you go move by move is this something  i know is this bad is this good what does the  

computer say uh i will give you another example  i had this game against the subscriber okay  

this was a kara khan an advanced car con with this  move h4 my opponent played h6 bishop h7 and i know  

that when the bishop goes off of this square  the most critical move is this pawn sacrifice  

it doubles black's pawns and it weakens the light  squares and i played bishop d3 take take and queen  

a5 check the point here is you go here now this  game didn't go very well for my opponent and from  

the opening i i had a quite a big advantage  actually so again if we pull up the computer  

what does it say here it says plus two it's the  eighth move and white already has basically a two  

pawn advantage and think about that white is down  upon white sacked upon so white is down a point of  

material but is up plus 2.4 and growing that's  huge that's a full piece and more compensation  

so what did my opponent do wrong then right that's  the thing how do you learn from a game like this  

what did my opponent do wrong uh should we go  check our our handy dandy database maybe we pull  

up old chess base or whatever it is that you want  to use um whatever website you want to go on we  

can uh we can go and explore if we pull up the  chess based screen again we we have the vienna  

gambit here but let's take a look now at uh at  the position that we got from the opening so g4  

ah we see the problem bishop to d7 is the move  here theoretically and bishop e4 is a move bishop  

h7 has a 73 win rate with white if they play this  move and after e6 look at that 76 percent of the  

games are won and that is why you will not find  many top level games here and if you do white  

is winning white is winning a lot of them now  sometimes in raiding mismatch situations look at  

this here black won this game 01 but black is 2408  and white is 2066 right so that's yeah that's kind  

of the point that that is how you explore your  openings and that is what my opponent did wrong he  

went into a variation where 75 of the time white  is winning so you got to fix that you can't just  

repeat that mistake right i'll give you one more  example a final example here against jordan 2197  

jordan uh sub of mine uh also on twitch uh we  played and i played a london and he kind of  

londoned my london and i i know here that there's  a critical move which is c4 right which is c4  

uh e6 and queen b3 this is kind of the point in  london positions when your opponent moves the  

bishop off this there is c4 and queen b3 and  you go for this and uh he played queen to b6  

queen b6 is very standard move now here if  you don't know your theory uh you will not  

know that the most critical and challenging move  uh for the black position is the move c5 say why  

why why why is that the case like why is that  the most popular and challenging move that  

exists because if you trade the queens you've now  given me a brand new open file and in doing that  

you've also given me a b pawn which i can push to  chip away at your position supported by my bishop  

now again just one final scan if we go to  our handy dandy database right we will take  

a look here and we'll see that c4 look at  the bottom left of your screen c4 scores 62  

right c4 e6 queen b3 queen b6 c5 look at  this move in this position c5 43 games 70  

after c5 70 ha that's a nice number  that's a that is a nice percentage  

that's a nice percentage and then we go like  this right so from here we have to develop an  

advantage and and that is that is how the game  goes like that this is how openings are studied  

whatever database on whatever website or whatever  program you're using i'm showing you chess based  

it's for profit you know it's a paid program um  obviously you know we all know that the leeches  

database it's a free one but it also is for 16  18 2000 and it's it's tough to filter all of  

this it's tough to kind of balance um the the  desire to to see whatever while your peers are  

playing uh and also not all databases cover uh  moves for people who are like 1200 they are a bit  

uh rating discriminate rating discriminatory i  hate to tell you uh but that that is how it works  

what wherever it is that you study this it could  be on opening tree which is another resource  

that is how you start learning and exploring  opening so what do you do from here if you're  

a beginner if you're a beginner don't just play  standard developing stuff look to practice look  

to practice uh certain things that are maybe the  second and third most theoretical incorporate a  

gambit with whiter with black into your into  your openings because gambits are very tricky  

and people aren't ready for them if you're an  intermediate player uh add a layer to the opening  

that you play right try to get ahead of the theory  for example so what does that mean adding a layer  

to your opening means if you play e4 and they play  karo khan go play that h4 line i just talked about  

in this video add that if you're playing something  else and it's not working find what in your own  

database is causing you to struggle if you lose 60  of the time against a certain opening you need to  

learn a certain line that is how that is literally  how i became a master in chess from 2000 to 2200  

i just deep dove openings and i learned the theory  i learned things and i got myself easy positions  

against strong players and i got my game to the  next level so hopefully this was helpful if you  

have any other questions feel free to discuss  them in the comments um i think i covered just  

about everything i set out to cover when i hit  the record button we're like 22 minutes in and  

you know the usual stuff if you're enjoying my  content feel free to check out my other playlists  

i have things on openings middle games tactics  uh recap videos of tournaments and so on if  

you're not yet subscribed consider doing that  uh and much love i'll see you in the next video