These are two games played in the IECC Grunfeld Thematic. I have been exploring playing this opening as Black. I’ve used it in some 15 minute games and done quite well. In this 2 game match I went 1.5-0.5, with the win coming with the White pieces.
This game was a quiet draw. I don’t usually play the main line Sicilian opening at all. I tend to use an offbeat anti-Sicilian when playing against the Sicilian. This type of game exemplifies why. Black has too much theory backing him up and can simply play it safe.
This hard fought win brought me into the #2 spot on the IECC Pyramid. A draw was offered by white around move 28. I declined that offer and decided to play for a win. I was able to squeeze my opponent by using my two bishops and leveraging a passed h-pawn.
This game took place via email. It is the 3rd time I’ve played this same opponent. He is an amazingly nice guy and plays a decent game, but I came out on top for the 3rd time.
The 2016 US Championship is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. It has attracted a strong field.
Learning openings doesn’t really become important until your rating rises above the 2000 level. At that point having a good opening repertoire is important. Prior to that it is less important. There are 4 important steps to follow when you are a beginner and learning the opening.
Before I explain the 4 steps you should understand how most people do it the wrong way. They spend so much time learning, memorizing and studying opening theory. They don’t see much improvement in their chess. They spend a small fortune on opening books and essentially memorize the content. This is getting you nowhere fast. Are you ready for the right way? Well, first off, spend 25% of that time you’ve been spending on opening preparation to solve tactics and to study endgames. If you do your playing ability is going to grow exponentially in just a couple of weeks. So how to study the openings?
Step 1. Find a few grandmaster games (5 to 10) dedicated to an opening you are interested in. It is preferable that these games be annotated so that you can have a better understanding of what is going on.
Step 2. Go through some of the games and try to understand the basic ideas, plans, piece positioning and a typical pawn structure of the opening you are studying. Pay attention to these things as yo review and study the games.
Step 3. Once you familiarized yourself with an opening, you need to get some practice by using it. Play some practice games using this opening with a sole idea to evaluate different positions that arise after the openings and your ability to play them. If at some point you get stuck just come back after your game and check (using an opening tree or a grandmaster’s games database) to see how you should have played. Each iteration of this will make you more proficient with the opening you chose. At first just pick 2 openings for black and 2 openings for white.
Step 4. Stop here. Spend the rest of your training time solving tactics, studying master games, attacking skills and endgames. These will make the most difference in your game.
This lesson is adapted from 21 Days to Supercharge Your Chess.