Learning to trust your intuition is an important part of developing as a strong player. If you sacrifice and you are wrong, you will probably lose. On the other hand, if you do not sacrifice and you are wrong, you might be able to draw. - Mike Henebry

I have realized that I am a sharp player. I benefit quickly from lines where a mistake by either side can quickly end the game.

What are some lines which...

  1. give sharp middle games?
  2. are easy to transition to?
  3. lead to open lines?

Lines like the Sveshnikov Sicilian that favor creative over principled play. Rules to be broken.

  • Are you interested in sharp lines in a particular opening, or is the question more broad, like suggestions for a sharp repertoire? Also, how does the quote in the beginning relate to the question? Also, w.r.t. the title, the English and Closed Sicilian can easily get sharp - but that sharp play is usually a bit delayed until after the opening, and depends on what black does. And about the Guioco Pianissimo - it's not a bad opening, but as the name suggests it's quiet, and is more centered around building your position up before going into crazy complications.
    – Scounged
    Jul 4, 2017 at 15:41

2 Answers 2


First of all, you must build an opening repertoire. One as White, one against e4, and one against d4. As a sharp player, I suggest you always play 1.e4 as White, the Sicilian Defence against 1.e4, and the King's Indian against 1.d4.

When you are white, I'm sure you won't get to play the English (since you are the one to choose not to play it!). If he responds with Sicilian, make it open. If he responds with French or Caro and you really want to open lines, exchange pawns. If he responds with 1...e5, I suggest you to go to the Italian. Avoid Giuoco Pianissimo with the Evans Gambit or even the Italian Gambit! If he responds with anything else, build up a big pawn center and crush him.

Now, when you are playing the Sicilian, I know that some of your opponents does not play d4 and give you the position you want (this is my own experience). Therefore, I have prepared a setup if he does not open the position. That is, Nf6, Bg7, e6, d6, g6, Nbd7, a6, b5, Bb7, Qb6/Qc7, Rc8/Rd8, c5-c4, Nc5, and so on. Break with d6-d5 if possible.

For the King's Indian, if you haven't tried it, I'm sure you'll love it. It's closed, but extremely aggresive, since it's a race between Q-side and K-side.

To sum up, never rely on your calculation skills alone. You must have a plan for every opening you play, and never hope for your opponent's mistake.

A bad plan is better than no plan at all - Emmanuel Lasker, 2nd World Chess Champion.

  • I have been successfully using this setup. It's neat. Jul 10, 2017 at 5:29

You may think you are a sharp player and like going for tactics, but you really have to do a self-examination of your tournament games to identify your weaknesses and shore those up first and foremost, before you start assigning labels to yourself. And, I would say at your level, understanding and being able to identify tactics is the best bang for your buck for study time. Trusting your intuition is a learned behavior in chess - you develop it by playing, seeing many of positions under fire. Losing to simple tactics should get old quickly and repetition (i.e., work) will solve those holes in your game eventually.

Personally, I like the Kalashnikov Sicilian vs e4 if given the chance. It generally catches players out because they try to play it like the Sveshnikov and in general, is the wrong way to play against it. But at times I've gone from the Dragon, The Paulsen, the Sveningen, and a few other variations. I don't consider myself stylistically as a "sharp" player. I just try to play good moves in openings that I have some strategic understanding. If my opponent knows it better than me, I learn something. Against d4, I opt for the Dutch Defense which can give white players headaches and can get dirty looks.

  • The Dutch Defense is not so reliable when White plays the move 2.Bg5, which impedes development, weakens Black's queenside, or creates double f-pawns.
    – user24344
    Aug 6, 2020 at 22:25
  • Nah. 2. Bg5 h6 3. Bh4 g5 and then black follows up with Nf6. Completely reliable defense. White ends up with his bishop trapped and black needs to be careful when to capture it, but it is nothing special to worry about as the Black king escapes to safety.
    – Priyome
    Feb 6, 2021 at 16:38

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