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Choosing a Chess Opening

Posted March 2nd, 2015

Written by WCM Claudia Munoz

Do you feel like you need to change your opening? Are you a new chess player and don't know where to start? Openings are very important because they are the way we start a game. They set the tone for the middlegame and endgame. If you are not careful, an opening mistake can give you an unequal position, leading to a tough game.

Deciding among the hundreds of openings can be a little hard because if you choose the wrong opening, you may feel uncomfortable throughout the whole game. Therefore, when you are looking for an opening, first concentrate on your style of play because this will help you choose which opening complements your style.

When I started playing chess, my father used to tell me that how a person lives outside the chess board is how he is on the board.

In other words, if a person is passive outside of chess, that is mostly how he or she plays on the board.

To find your own style, follow these tips.

In a notebook, write down what characterizes you as a player. For example, are you an aggressive or passive player? Do you like open or closed games? In your current opening, which piece do you struggle to activate the most?

Once you understand your style, you can begin researching for the right opening for you based on the answers you wrote down. You will need to analyze master games by using chess databases, and read chess encyclopedias.

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All openings have an ECO code (Encyclopedia of Chess Opening), which classifies them into different systems. I suggest you understand the ECO code system before you begin your search.

When you find the opening you would like to play, you will need to become a student of it. In other words, you will have to submerge yourself into understanding every aspect of it.

How can you understand a new opening in a short amount of time?

First, you need to determine the three main lines of the opening you want to play. While you study them, you will gain the basic and fundamental knowledge of the opening. It is extremely important to understand that memorizing the lines of an opening does not mean you "know" or "understand" an opening.

You have to fully understand the concepts and ideas behind them in case your opponent deviates from the main line. Studying top master games is extremely important.

One thing that I have learned is not only to study games where my opening wins but to study the draws and the losses, as well.

As you do this you get a general idea on how to better play the opening because learning from other people's mistakes allows you not to make them.

While you are researching the opening you need to keep an eye out for several things:

1. Transition from the opening to the middlegame and endgame.

2. Look for general plans of attack.

3. Recognize weak squares.

4. Learn development patterns.

5. Be aware of piece placement.

Last but not least, keep an eye on the endgame of the opening you chose, because you will notice a common denominator in them. This information will also improve your game because both the opening and the middlegame are linked with your endgame.

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Overall, when you first start out playing a new opening, you might hit some bumps on the road, but remember it takes practice. Learn from each mistake and fix it. This experience is like learning to ride a bike, you may fall down but continue on and don't give up!

 

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Chess Clock Review: DGT Easy Game Timer

Re-posted February 13th, 2015

This Review was written by chess player Cub Noble for Wholesale Chess.

I needed a game clock for the scholastic tournaments that I play in. I wanted one that would be functional and digital for a decent price. The other game clocks that were digital were running for waaay out of my range and I found the DGT Easy Game Timer. The black is perfect for tournaments because it blends in to the board and bringing it together as one set, it is not too loud or obnoxious. It is the perfect size too for the bag that I have.

DGT Easy Game TImer Chess Clock

However if you want a clock with delay this is probably not the way to go. It is good for preset and creative time settings and its unique design always brings people to want to use it. I got the DGT Easy chess Timer just in time for a chess tournament and I found it works wonderfully. My opponents asked me where I got this clock because they wanted to get one just like it for their usage.

This clock is a lot better than a lot of the other chess clocks that I have used at scholastic tournaments mostly because it is light weight and durable, the screen is very easy to read, it is easily programmable. The DGT Easy Timer clock is different because instead of holding both sides of the buttons down to pause the time there is a button in the middle to pause it. Also the sound button is good for club and blitz play because it signals when you are running low on time, however, I don’t think I would recommend it for tournament play because it may annoy you or your opponent or the other games being played.

If you want to start it over you just need to press the power button again. I really like that feature because it enables you to change the time control if necessary by pushing the up button or handicap a player if you are playing someone stronger or weaker than you are. If you are in a blitz game, I don’t much care for the count up option that occurs when you run out of time however there is a flag that comes up to signal that the game ended on that side. There are 3 different features for this clock. I know I will be using this for years to come. I highly recommend this product for anybody who needs a good clock at a good price.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Wholesale Chess. We welcome open discussion on all aspects of chess on the Wholesale Chess Blog. If you would like to be a guest author on our blog, please contact us at marketing@wholesalechess.com.

If you are interested in the delay feature and like the rest of the features of this clock, you may be interested in the DGT Easy Game Timer Plus, which is pictured below.
DGT Easy Game Timer Plus Chess Clock

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