For a while, anytime I got the chance to play the Scotch, I would as long as my opponent (being black) played the moves. If they did not follow the move order, I would just continue with something else, but I noticed, the more I play an opening, the better I get at it (This is obvious).

Another way to view this question is, besides 1 or 2 move openings such as the English, Caro-Kann, Sicilian, Pirc, etc which obviously have been defined as being reached after 1 or 2 moves, how can I force my opponent and this may not be possible, it may just be by chance, to play moves up to the point where my opening is defined?

Certain openings I have found this actually works pretty well such as the Ruy Lopez because it has such a natural move order 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5., but in other openings, it is not so easy.

1 Answer 1


This is where you have to understand the opening, not just play memorized lines. If your opponent strays too far from the most popular lines, he's probably made an error. It's up to you to understand the opening enough to punish him for it.

So you can't force him to play the line but you can make him wish he did.

  • 1
    In other words, you are referring to Opening Principles, correct?
    – xaisoft
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 15:20
  • 1
    I suppose, but for a specific opening. Opening principles could be generic - develop pieces, castle early, don't move the same piece twice, etc. In this case, if an opponent doesn't follow the tried-and-true script, there is likely a way to gain an advantage and this may vary depending on the specific opening.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 15:28
  • 2
    And that leads us to the eternal battle with openings... it is just impossible to learn them all, but the way i see it, as @xaisoft points out, Opening Principles will give you a solid game, that is far more important IMHO.
    – Helio
    Commented Dec 18, 2012 at 21:33
  • @helio, you seem to be saying that we don't need to know openings as long as we know general principles. That may work at the "C" level but works less and less as we improve. GMs spend a lot of time learning specific variations of openings. Are you suggesting their time is wasted?
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 2:22
  • 2
    ...this answer does not apply to him, why would a GM ask himself a question like this?...
    – Helio
    Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 21:18

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