How to Prepare Chess Openings – The Classical Approach with GM SP Sethuraman
When it comes to opening preparation, there is more than one approach. The classical approach to opening preparation involves studying classical games in the chess openings of your choice.
Every modern GM stands on the shoulders of giants. Top players immediately recall famous classical games from the past. Much of their strength comes from studying and copying the great play of their predecessors.
Fischer, for example, studied all of Steinitz’ games. Kasparov, Carlsen, and Anand have in-turn studied many of Fischer’s games.
Studying the classics is an essential aspect of chess improvement. The ability to memorize great games of the past and utilize the ideas in your own games is paramount. It helps you to broaden your horizons and get more and more strategic and tactical ideas.
As GM Sethuraman shows in this video, a free preview of his new Master Method, studying classical games is an excellent way to learn chess openings.
If you want to add a new opening system to your repertoire it is always important to study the classical games in that particular variation.
By analyzing classical (and modern) games, you’ll greatly improve your pattern recognition. When calculating variations in your own games, these classical patterns will come to your mind and help you find the best ideas.
Train Like a Chameleon
The ability to stay flexible and to adapt is vital for chess players. When choosing your opening, your playing style and your overall strategy for the next game, you are well-advised to take your opponent’s specific traits into account.
Today, with strong engines and huge databases at our fingertips, it has become more important than ever to be well-prepared to meet your opponent.
That’s why GM Sethuraman says that having a universal style is key to success. One of the secrets behind Magnus Carlsen’s success, for instance, is his ability to adapt according to circumstances.
He has no easy-to-identify weaknesses, plays plenty of different openings and performs well in positional, dynamic, tactical and strategic positions. He is an excellent defender and also has brilliant attacking skills. His universal style has helped him to dominate the game for a long time.
In the full course, Train Like a Chameleon, Indian GM Sethuraman provides you with the knowledge and the most important skills you need to develop a universal style.
If you want to become a more complete player who is also well-equipped for the endgame and psychological battles, this course is for you. Click here to get your copy with 50% off.
Preparing Chess Openings
It is always interesting to note how the legends played in the past and see how the theory has evolved since.
GM Svetozar Gligoric, for example, was the first to introduce a deep subtle rook- and bishop maneuver in the Mar del Plata Variation of the King’s Indian Defense in 1953.
The maneuver was later copied in millions of games and is still used today.
After the opening moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bd2 Nf6 13.b4 g5 14.c5 h5 15.Nf2 Ng6 16.Rc1 (see the diagram to the left), GM Svetozar Gligoric was the very first to introduce a new setup of regrouping the kingside pieces for an attack.
He played 16…Rf7! 17.cxd6 cxd6 18.a4 Bf8! 19.a5 Rg7 (see the diagram to the right).
Black’s idea was to bring the rook to the g-file from where it supports the advance of the kingside pawns and helps Black attack the White king.
Here again, Gligoric finds an instructive idea to regroup his pieces further – 20…Nh8!
If you look the game now with any strong computer, this move is not in the top three choices immediately, but once you analyze the position somewhat more deeply, it becomes the computer’s first choice.
This once again proves that the classical players had a great understanding of piece placement even before the invention of chess engines.
It’s interesting to see, for instance, that Super-GM Alexander Grischuk used the same knight maneuver in a similar position which arose from the Mar del Plata Variation of the King’s Indian Defense in a recent game against GM Markus Ragger (see the diagram to the left). In the position at hand, Grischuk played 27…Nh8!, retreating the knight to make room for the rook to operate on the g-file.
One of the reasons why the world’s top players are extremely resourceful is that they have studied many games from the past and present. Classical themes also pay a huge role in modern games.
By analyzing classical and modern games, you’ll greatly improve your pattern recognition. When calculating variations in your own games, these classical patterns will come to your mind and help you find the best ideas.
Other interesting articles for you:
- How To Decide Your Next Chess Move: The Ultimate Guide
- Magnus Carlsen’s Best Chess Tactics – GM Damian Lemos
- Learn The Grunfeld Defense With Super-GM Peter Svidler
- The King’s Gambit: The Ultimate Chess Opening Guide
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