Lately I find myself putting a lot of thought into what openings I want to play. I know that this is something that a lot of players struggle with, but until the past few months it has never been something that I have struggled with.
Until recently my openings were pretty simple. As White it was 1. e4 and if I faced a Sicilian it was going to be an Alapin. As Black it was going to be a Sicilian against 1. e4 and typically a KID with the occasional QGD against 1. d4 or 1. Nf3. Against 1. c4 I played 1...Nf6 and those often wound up as KID's as well.
About a year and a half ago I had dropped the Sicilian in favor of the French and occasionally a ...Qd6 Scandinavian.
I also started playing open Sicilians as White rather than the Alapin. I also played some Grand Prix's, but mostly played open.
Those initial changes to my repertoire got me asking myself if playing the same things over and over was helpful or harmful to my development. I had such little knowledge of certain pawn structures and strategies that it even affected my ability to get the most out of playing through GM games. Sure, intellectually speaking I understood how to play against hanging pawns. But because I never saw those ideas in my own games I didn't grasp the strategies as well as I thought I probably should.
So I decided to do something about it. I started playing 1. Nf3 with the occasional 1. d4 thrown in. Now I've started to take up the English as well.
As Black I've started playing the ...a6 Slav at times, not to mention expanding my knowledge of the KID overall into other variations other than the mainline Mar del Plata stuff.
Now this has me asking myself is perhaps too much is just as detrimental as too little. It reminds me of the maxim by the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great "He who defends everything defends nothing." The chessic version of that would, I suppose, be "He who plays everything plays nothing."
But that takes me to my quandary...I'm not sure what exactly it is that I want to play long term. Ultimately I'd like to pick a repertoire and spend the next several years truly learning it inside and out.
I am fairly certain that as Black I want to stick with my return to the Sicilian and continue to expand my knowledge of the KID. I also want to learn more about the ...a6 Slav and the ...Qd6 Scandinavian because I don't want to be too predictable since I tend to play the same people over and over at the clubs I play at.
As White? Well, that's the crux of it...I don't know what I want to do. Part of me wants to switch fully to 1. Nf3, part of me wants to switch to the English, and part of me wants to mix it up and play everything.
So I guess that among the lists of things that I need to work on, putting together a repertoire needs to go on that list.
Does anyone out there have experience with playing an extrememly wide repertoire?