So, it was inevitable. I am making progress in the middle-game. I understand positions better and my tactics continue to improve. My end games are still solid/superior for my skill level so I generally get better as the game goes on.
However, now my opening play is suffering. I just get trounced on many openings. Many of the gambit openings just blow me away, particularly the king's gambit, but others as well.
If I can survive the first 10 moves, I usually win, but there are so many traps in those first 10 moves. I have a good understanding (went through all the chessmaster lessons) on opening principles. I also understand a lot of the basic tactics in the openings.
But it's time to buckle-down and study the chess openings and understand them. However, I am not an expert/master by any means (class C/B player) so I just want a more broad understanding.
In addition to my tactics/endgame and positional studies, what should I be studying in the openings to get a good understanding?
To get some ideas of what I currently play:
- As black, against new players I will play the petroff defense. This is one I know well. I only like to play this for longer games, as for blitz games the lines get too complicated to play well.
I enjoy the Ruy Lopez from both sides. Most of the standard lines work out well.
Against the King's Gambit, I always accept and then struggle mightily to get my king to safety.
- As white, I like to sometimes play the London System and sometimes go for the Ruy Lopez lines myself.
- I am not a big fan of the Indian openings, although they generally don't cause me much trouble, they just aren't as fun. The fianchettoed bishops take too much of the action
- I sometimes will play the Italian game instead of the Ruy Lopez, but it tends to lead to less exciting games.
In general, I like balanced games that can shift between open and closed, as being able to find the right plan is where it gets really exciting. I want to maintain as many options for as long as possible and not be locked down into any particular plan too early in the game.
Most of the time, my problem isn't when things follow normal theory, it's when some trick is played. Or even when the normal line goes wildly against intuition (I've seen some openings books where the standard line is random-looking pawn moves).