While some players think that it is necessary to learn thousands of opening lines in order to succeed, others don't pay enough attention to the important aspects of the opening of a game. In the eyes of the beginner, openings are seen as a chance to land a quick checkmate. Intermediate players simply develop their pieces and don't consider the ensuing middlegame. Strong players find a balance. They will attack when there is such an opportunity and they will develop their pieces in their most active locations, always paying careful attention to their opponent's moves as well.
Playing well in the opening of a chess game is not about memorizing opening lines. Some intermediate players see thousands upon thousands of opening lines and think that it's necessary to memorize all of the theory in order to be a strong player. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you hone your chess ability, the opening should be seen only as a segue into the middlegame.
One method for approaching the opening is to have a "set up" or system. This system must involve choosing the placement of pawns and pieces, as well as the safety of your king and the control of some central space. Once devised, these placements will be the original goal of your openings in chess making sure to pay close attention to move order and double attack tricks, of course. As you employ your system over and over against various players, you will learn the strengths and weaknesses of it, and you will be able to alter it accordingly. Strong players are able to adapt their opening systems according to their opponent's plans. They attack and defend with every move of a piece.
In today's featured game, one of my favorite chess players, GM Leonid Yudasin, uses a seemingly awkward opening (1.e4 2.d3 3.Qe2) and achieves nothing but a solid position. While his opponent did take some central and queenside space in the beginning of the match, GM Yudasin masterfully traded dark-squared bishops and used the overextension of his opponent's pawns to post a knight on c5. He then used this small positional advantage to convert the win.