Achieving a solid position during the opening
stage of the game is a task with which many beginners, and
even some intermediate players, struggle. Choosing opening
systems that suit one's style of play is the most effective method
for fulfilling this goal.
The first step is to determine
your style. Are you an aggressive player who likes to attack?
Are you a strategic player who builds a solid position and wins
the game through subtle maneuvers? Do you just like to take as
much space as you can and let the opponent wallow in his misery
as you prepare for the final attack?
Every style has
a set of accompanying openings which tend to lead to games of
that type. For instance, many of the Sicilian systems lead to
sharp games where tactical ability is paramount. On the other
hand, the Cambridge Springs Variation in the QGD (Queen's Gambit
Declined) is a more solid defense and requires a deeper positional
While it would be great for you to be able
to play well in all situations, you must have specific strengths,
and attempt to adopt a position which suits them. While much
of this can be achieved with home preparation, perhaps the
most interesting part about opening play is what you can do at the
board to increase your chances in the game.
Like you, your
opponents will also play opening systems which are suited for their
styles of play. In many cases, it may be a proper idea to steer
the game away from the positions that arise from the opening
that your opponent has selected. Take the game out of his or
her hands and make it uncomfortable for him or her.
have found that the best way to achieve this is with an unusual
pawn move. In order to really change the structure of the game,
you must get down to the skeleton of the position, and that
is determined by the pawn chain. If the position is closed,
open it up. If it is possible to make an attack, go for it.
Anything you can do to knock your opponent off balance gives you
Happy New Year!
to mate in two moves.
Link to solution at the bottom.
Anand, V. (2762) - Chernin, A.
Corsica Masters, 11.05.2000