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Back to Basics: Openings
Back to Basics: Openings
Back to Basics: Openings
Ebook587 pages6 hours

Back to Basics: Openings

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Chess Openings Can Be Simple! Because of the sheer volume of variations, possible transpositions and ever-changing theory, chess openings can be overwhelming – even intimidating. This book is an introduction to understanding and playing chess openings. The author, Danish Master Carsten Hansen, stresses opening play based on comprehending opening principles as well as useful, fundamental knowledge. With an overview of all the most important opening variations, examples of good and bad opening play, opening traps and problems to solve, chess openings and its major principles are covered thoroughly. Many games are lost as a result of a player’s poor grasp of even the most basic principles of opening play. This book will help you enhance your understanding and give you guidelines on how to best study and play chess openings, reaching good, playable middlegame positions.
Release dateMar 4, 2015
Back to Basics: Openings
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Carsten Hansen

Carsten Hansen is an experienced coach as well as both a FIDE Master and a certified FIDE Trainer. He has authored 15 books all phases of the game but is recognized as an expert on the opening phase of the game.

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    Back to Basics - Carsten Hansen



    Thanks for getting this book. You have probably started playing chess quite recently and you are looking for a quick climb up the ladder to chess excellence. So, openings may be the place to start because openings come first in the game, and therefore should be your first topic of study, right?!

    Well, perhaps not. In fact I would recommend you first take a look at some of the other books in this series on tactics and endings, as these will help you better realize the advantages from the positions this book will hopefully help you obtain. Having noted that, this book will certainly assist you gain a solid understanding of chess openings.

    Openings in chess are quite the temptress, and many players spend year after year studying, yet never mastering them. In fact, when it comes to chess, there are on average 1-3 new opening books, CDs or DVDs released in any given week, 52 weeks a year. Therefore keeping up with the development of all openings is extremely difficult.

    However, this book is not out to teach everything there is to know about openings, but it will help you understand and play openings much better. It will also help instill a sense of balance in your study of openings, give you some direction about how to obtain better results from your openings and how to approach a variety of situations relevant to our topic of openings.

    The book is divided into the following chapters:

    Chapter 1

    My Own Experiences with Openings

    This first chapter will give you a more general introduction to the opening, including how I have approached the study of openings, which types of books I have worked with and most importantly, the mistakes I have made over the years, and how you can best make use of my experience, including, of course, how to avoid repeating my mistakes.

    Chapter 2

    Opening Principles

    In this chapter, we will examine the basic principles pertaining to development, which squares are important, and how to get yourself ready for the next phase of the game after the opening – the middlegame.

    Chapter 3

    How do I decide which opening to choose?

    This chapter will cover topics such as why some openings are played more frequently, why some are played less frequently, which openings are good and which are not, what you should consider when putting your opening repertoire together, how to work with repertoire books, and much more. The answers are not always as simple as we would like.

    Chapter 4:

    An Introduction to Opening Theory

    Chapter 4 will give you a good handle on how to deal with the succeeding chapters, which all concern themselves with opening theory. It covers terms such slight advantage, with compensation, and many other similar terms of art, which you encounter time and again when studying opening theory, but which you may find difficult to get a feel for when working on your own.

    Chapter 5

    The Open Games

    This will cover all openings that start with 1 e4 e5.

    Chapter 6

    The Semi-Open Games

    This chapter will cover openings starting with 1 e4, but where Black replies with something other than 1...e5.

    Chapter 7

    The Closed Games

    Games that start with 1 d4 d5 are covered in Chapter 7.

    Chapter 8

    The Semi-Closed Games

    Like its counterpart, Chapter 6, this chapter will cover openings starting with 1 d4, but where Black replies with something other than 1...d5.

    Chapter 9

    Flank Openings

    A wonderful mixture of what remains, such as more mundane openings like 1 c4, 1 Nf3, 1 f4, and 1 b3 as well as more bizarre choices like 1 b4, 1 g4, 1 Nc3 and several others.

    Chapter 10

    Where do I go from here?

    In this chapter, I will give you pointers about how to continue your studies and how to apply your newfound knowledge.

    Remember, chess is supposed to be fun, and while studying openings at length will pay some rewards – a few quick wins and some good positions – studying chess openings constantly may become boring unless you are already one of the world’s best players. Therefore, take a measured approach, spread out your studies over a period of time, and follow the advice offered in this book. You will certainly be on your way to better results for a long time to come.

    In many openings where the lines are finely balanced, the player with the better understanding has an excellent chance for winning the game.

    Chapter 1

    My Own Experiences with Openings

    Early Lessons

    My first experiences with chess openings came back in 1978. I was six years old and participating in one of my first scholastic tournaments. I knew little more than how the pieces were moving. My opponent, whose name I can’t recall, must have sensed my insecurities. The game went like this: 1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nc6 3 Qh5 Nf6 4 Qxf7+ mate.

    My dad, who was an experienced player rated just under 1900, and who had taken me and some other children to the tournament, saw this. Acknowledging my terrible defeat, he suggested to my opponent that we play