Sunday, October 11, 2009

Building A Repertoire, And Mastering It

"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."

For the last months I've been busy building up an opening repertoire. Not that I didn't have one before, as I've played the same openings for a year or two already. But although I did put some work into it, it never was very systematic nor thorough. Reading books, studying games, blitzing the openings, sure, but I never really focused into it as with tactics. And I probably didn't need to, except maybe considering blitz where it really turned out to be surprisingly useful. There was just always other more important things to train.

So, now I've finally reached the point where I feel it's usefull to dive deep into it, and will be properly focusing on openings for some time. I began booking up on my selected openings a few months ago, going through videos & books and putting all the relevant lines into a database. All of which I've gone through many times already, so I'm somewhat familiar with the ideas, but shaky on the actual variations. Such knowledge is simply not digestable without extensive drilling, and although some of it stays with you, most of the details evaporate fairly soon.

It's still very much a work in progress, as playing a sicilian there's just such a huge ground to cover. I'm also already training the parts I've already plugged in, but still only beginning to cover anti-sicilians, not to even mention polar bear. I've got maybe 30% of the eventual material plugged in, of which I've now drilled (exhaustively) about 30%. So maybe 90% of the drilling still ahead, and also getting rest of the planned material into a database. This might take a while. It's not hard, but time consuming. A year, or two, but months at minimum. There are existing dbs, but I really want to construct my own versions, handpicking what I need.

The method of training is very much the same as with tactics: Drill the positions until they're second nature to you. Effortless, instant recognition of familiar elements and related patterns. -In practice I've got the lines in Chess Position Trainer, every opening as a separate sub-repertoire, from which I drill random lines until I know them inside out. Currently I'm doing lines from move 1 into the end of the line, around 16-30 moves deep generally. In sicilian the first 11-12 are pretty much fixed, so it's manageable. Also, I might not remember people's names, but this is the type of memorization I excell in.

In time I plan to switch into drilling from random positions, which requires accurate recognition of all the elements present in the given position. Out of order recollection. So far it seems that might turn out to be much easier than it sounds, the lines are not only sinking in well but also the triggering details start sort of popping up. Many of which you never knew about before, but somehow just deduce from constant exposure in different but similar positions. The black box of the brain at its best, nonverbally and unconsciously classifying patterns from a jumble of data. It doesn't need reasons or narrative, just feed it huge amount of data and let it do what it evolved to do best.

What I'm seeking to gain with all this, is a basic, rock solid opening repertoire. It won't be 'complete' by any definition of the word, nor it will be final. But it'll provide my brain a blitz-proof model of all mainlines and basic deviations, a geometry I can instantly recollect and recognize with no calculation. A base on which to build further understanding of the related typical middle- and engame positions and schemes. And when it's all in I'll probably start adding other openings as well, just to complement the understanding by learning different types of positions. But that's another project for another time.

Well, enough banter, back to work.

16 comments:

Korch said...

It could be useful for you:
http://www.helium.com/items/721587-chess-tips-how-to-build-up-your-opening-repertoire

wormwood said...

thanks.

I know my approach is kind of laborous, especially because of playing the sicilian, but it's also kinda the point why I'm doing this. which is to build the basic structure/plan bank of fianchetto openings in my head. I don't want an obscure sideline nobody knows, even though it would cut workload to a minimum. I want general understanding of the relevant structure, as widely applicable as possible. which means much more work, without significant rating change.

some day I'll move back to locked center type of structures, maybe alapin & ruy, and do the same thing. get my central pawn game into shape, which is now pretty weak. (I originally went to fianchettoes because I handled such positions so poorly, now I've made it my strength.)

but I want to do it properly, grind it until I can't get the related positions wrong. it'll take time & effort, but I think it'll be for the better in the long run. catching up with the experience my opponents have gathered through decades of playing.

Mary said...

Hi,


Americachess.com is currently in the progress of choosing chess blogs/clubs to receive recognition from Americachess.com as Top Resources. This award is not meant to be anything other than a recognition that your blog/Clubs gives information about tactics that directly or in directly raise Chess awareness. Simply place the award banner code on your site and your resource will be listed as a Top CHESS Resources on Americachess.com once you place it. Americachess.com is a Private Global Chess Server which offer FREE Chess Games and Guidelines for learning chess and whose goal is to promote Chess (which game has lost his fan base) through the spread of information globally. Thank you for your dedication to your Club/blogs. Please reply me back with the subject line as your URL to avoid spam and to make sure that you only get the award banner.

jovana said...

Hi,
We at Chessboss.com strongly believe in necessity of chess to increase both knowledge and understanding. It is unfortunate that the oldest game in the world (Chess) has a very little fan base, ChessBoss.com aims to change that. We understand the importance of blogs and the information made available on them. We are working towards building a strong fan base around our FREE chess server to better increase the use of Chess online. Your blog seems to have a large viewing public and seems to hold great information which I would love to make available to my viewing public.

I would be pleased to offer you the ChessBoss.com featured blogger badge to post on your site, recognizeing your blog as a leading contributor to the Chess community. Thank you for your great work and dedication, we look forward to your response!Please reply me back with subject line of your Url to avoid spam and to make sure YOU get the Award.

Thank you.

wormwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wormwood said...

for both of you spammers, which probably are the same exact shithead, the only thing I have to say is a big FUCK YOU. I regret not being able to bitch slap you in person. I also wish I could somehow give you an unreasonable amount of online trouble, so people like you would stop trying to use people against their will to promote your website.

in fact, I might just start showing up on your sites just to fuck with you on regular basis. although maybe that'd just create more revenue from your evil advertisement schemes, so probably not. but I'll say this: you are the lowest form of online scum, you evil twisted fuckheads.

stay the fuck off.

wormwood said...

well what a surprise, you actually are the same site/guy. which makes it even more pathetic to try appear as two distinct people in your spam. with almost identical wording. you moron.

but I've never met a smart spammer yet, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Korch said...

My suggestion for you wormwood - delete this advertising spam.

Wahrheit said...

Heh, "Mary" has been dealt with

wormwood said...

I usually do delete spam, but for once I thought I'd leave it up, so everybody who comes through here gets the exact opposite kind of message that they tried to push.

transformation said...

i read this post with great interest. not so much as 'wow, this is new, how does HE do it' as in, i have done exactly the same, in the last year or two, very, very carefully.
*
i am very, very against opening study for most, but with 14,000 games in my cbv (19,000 if other pieces were added, too cumbersome, long story).... its not too hard to mine the critical path.
*
what sounds missing, to me, is you play 1.f4 as Wht, yes? but 1...c5 to e4 as Blk?
*
my real lift off occurred when i MADE myself quit the Benko gambit to play ONLY the Slav. no books, just lot of hard knocks. this is not to advertise the position, but the method:
*
i learned it, and did so, to align my Blk's to both 1.e4 AND d4. to 1.c4 i play 1...c6, and the Caro-Kann as Blk, my main move for nine years.
*
this was key, to align it all.
*
secondly, i even play some lines a Wht that are second best BECAUSE i know the position. i dont TRY to mirror Blk but inevitably wind up in structures which i know.
*
so you:
*
prep, yes. you are a brilliant man. i cannot teach you what you already know.
*
but just watch for unification, seamless connectivity. unity. consistency, not just prep.
*
to me, i am sure you know what you are doing. but to play 1.f4 when you play 1...c5 seems inconsistent.
*
one offbeat line, then one main line, no?
*
would you not seek mainlines as Wht and Blk alike, or instead offbeat lines, both ways?
*
i can check you FICS and ICC but choose not to recheck, but seem to recall your embracing or adoption of 1.f
*
.
*
and all the rest of you new guys here wormwood, temposchlucker, BDK and i all were here to start. wormwood and i also go WAY back on CTS. he was 1400 and got to 1700 by working harder than everyone, and i do mean all.
*
some have more tries, but the way HE did it got him where he is, along with massive redHotPawn.
*
i lost my job, 14 months ago, and am on blogging hiatus but plan to start back soon, very soon.
*
dktransform and dogWaste at CTS
*
david korn

wormwood said...

hi dk,

all of my openings are fianchetto openings, and as such possess certain similarities. leningrad as both white and black against everything else, and sicilian against 1.e4. I'd love if there was a 'leningrad' against 1.e4, but there simply isn't.

on the other hand, I just love the sicilian. it's a lot of work for sure, but it's worth it, for me. the biggest downside is that most opponents fear the mighty dragon so much they'll try anything else. which means loads of more work. but I'm becoming relatively solid there as well, and able to throw 'the book' at them bullet speed, no matter which anti-sicilian they choose. most people are lazy, and when there's a vast chunk of theory to cover, it favors the one who's willing to outwork them.

still lots of work to do of course, but after crunching it through the last 6 months, I've got EVERYTHING covered in my CPT opening database. from here on it's a question of grinding it all down cold, a straightforward but laborous mechanical task. no different from CTS training in any way. just the way I like it.

and it's working, my blitz is continuously improving. I've pretty much become a convert on the importance of opening training regarding blitz. it's THE thing for getting your bearings in blitz, the thing that finally made the difference. that and playing thousands of 5/0 games.

Korch said...

Yes - I fear the Dragon and play 2.c3 against Sicilian ;) Against weaker opposition 2.c3 gives me almost 100% result.

wormwood said...

well how are you doing against equal or stronger opposition then? :)

c3 sicilian is vast. there's a great opportunity for the hardworking player to gain advantage by superior opening theory. from either side.

wormwood said...

korch, what do you play against c3 yourself btw? and how are those games going?

Korch said...

Also against equal and stronger opposition I have no reason to complain about results. To compare with amount of theory in open Sicilian 2.c3 is real sideway :)

I don`t play Sicilian too often but when I faced against 2.c3 I can play 2...e6 or 2...Nf6. Usually I have good opening positions.