My son is an avid chess player. He has a good chess teacher who prefers to focus on a specific opening and its variants as well as responses while studying with him. So, I wish to get an editable file of chess openings on a branching tree so that my son can visualize the variants his teacher teaches him better. I wish to put it into editable format because I would like to reorganize the tree based on his teacher's order of teaching. Of course, instead of a branching tree, it would be great to have a branching (and sometimes merging back) graph.

I am a mathematician and I also care about (later) finding measures which would predict distance of openings from each other based on some criteria beyond classical approaches. But this is not my primary concern.

My preferred language is Python (but should be fine with others) and it would be great to see the openings online on collapsing graphs or if not possible, I am OK with printing on small posters for my visualization.

Of course, it would be great to have the option of nicely including/excluding the bad choices of all these openings. I think it would give anyone who cares a better sense of what they are doing.

P.S. I remember learning Rubik's cube. While people were memorizing the moves, I was trying to understand what kind of transformation do I need for specific goals and why. So, I guess I am trying to do the same with my son's learning of chess. Stop repetitive clutter in learning. While repetitive practice is a core part of learning and mastery of a skill, I have seen many waste their talents with useless repetition.

  • 1
    Can you give an example of what this looks like? an editable file of chess openings on a branching tree
    – ferdy
    Jun 5, 2022 at 23:33
  • 1
    Problem with a tree is transpositions. In particular the QG family is rife with move-order issues. It's not like creating an efficient algorithm that flows. Recently I studied semi-Slav games from a database. In just the first three moves ( 6 ply ) there were 37 different lines. Unfortunately some books 'standardize' the move order, such as 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 . This is like printing a sentence with the words in alphabetical order. Many variations cannot be understood without considering the move order. Grammar is a human attribute.
    – dlemper
    Jun 6, 2022 at 2:34
  • I don't know how strong your 7-year old son is but looking at my own 7-year old learning specific openings seems way overkill. Having a general understanding of what one tries to achieve in an opening and how to judge which figures are well placed seems more than sufficient at that age. Setting up an attack in middle game and winning a winable endgame seem much more useful skills.
    – quarague
    Jun 8, 2022 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


Perhaps you have a look at http://www.chesstree.net since it features the core of what you want nicely.

That project is freelanced, so I see good chances the author helps you out with their source code, if that is needed. From what I understand, it's done in javascript, but that shouldn't trouble you, I guess.

Allow me to mention something heretical: while learning openings is surely important to make progress in general, it's deemed least important by many, because it doesn't help improve ones playing strength. "Learn endgames instead!" is what they'll all add, and rightly so. Endgames are the bread and the butter when it comes to improving, and with lacks of understanding them (and critically: pawn structures) there is hardly a point in learning openings. Yes, investing in openings spares one quick losses, and it so helps to encounter critical middlegame and endgame feats more reliably, and so can become a great starting point for studying the latter, but starting from tail and working backwards is what will typically make one improve in leaps, and only give rise to understanding a specific opening as opposed to merely memorizing them. Understanding endgames is thus (imho, but I'll namedrop Artur Jussupow here) the equivalent to your rubics cube logic; perhaps you ask the chess coach for more on this.

Still, I admire your intention and hope you and your son may catch two flies here.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.