Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's Talk About Openings & Tactics

When I started this blog a few months back I seemed to play a lot of everything.  I wanted to play 1. e4, 1. d4, 1. c4, and 1. Nf3.  I didn't want to choose one, I wanted them all.

As Black?  Well, why couldn't I play the Sicilian, French, and Scandinavian against 1. e4 to go along with the KID, Slav, QGD, and maybe learn the Nimzo.

Now...well, I seem to have settled into a rhythm.  I've gone back to mostly 1. e4.  I have gone back to playing the Sicilian and the Slav.  I may trot out some other stuff here and there to liven things up, but I don't feel the need to play everything all the time anymore.  I suppose that's a good thing.

So now that I have a repertoire that I feel good about again I feel that I can really start learning the openings that I play.  I know that I need to do so.  In the past month I've had both my coach and Lev Alburt tell me that I needed to work on openings more.

As for tactics...I've really made some progress there.  I have an app on my phone that has a bunch of simple quick tactics. The same stuff as you'd find on but since it's on my phone I solve a handful at a time several times a day.  Awesome!

Tonight I am going to go read 1000 Checkmate Combinations by Viktor Henkin.  A book that is awesome and also funny since there are only around 600 problems, not 1000.  Ah, those whacky Russians!

So I feel that a lot of progress has been made, and there is definitely more on the horizon!


  1. Evolution of a chess player! Finding a " bread and butter" is key for rapid improvement. Knowing your material through and through will give you way better results, than just playing everything and only knowing half of it. On a side note..Big ups to Wisconsin chess for improving and becoming a relevant chess state. With all due respect, last year this time your 200 ranked player in the state was barely 1400. Your 100 ranked player was barely 1700. That has changed and deserves recognition. Congrats Wisconsin!

  2. I agree that the state of Wisconsin chess is improving rapidly. It seems that there are many talented juniors. Most obviously with players like Sasha Velikanov, Tommy Ulrich, Rachel Ulrich, Awonder Liang, etc. But also with many players rated in the 1800-2000 range.

    I think that drives up the performance of everyone else.

    I also think that we have a lot of adults that are definitely committed to improving. Lately you see people like Allen Becker and Jim Coons hitting 10 year high points rating wise.

    I think that it's wonderful. It creates an atmosphere that inspires learning.