7

Although I think I've played a lot of games, my ability is still very low. I've never read any books on chess. Perhaps this explains my poor games.

As I'm starting to research some chess online, I'm left wondering why people focus on particular openings. Surely these are all well researched by people, and you'd end up just playing through the motions of what a computer would do in certain situations. Why don't people open with more randomness, in a sort of pieces scattered to the wind style? Surely opponents won't be expecting it and games will be played anew for both players.

Should you think the above is rubbish, please point towards a book/site that I should read.

  • I don't think your question is rubbish. Openings commonly seen are very efficient. They deploy one's forces in the fewest number of moves while surrendering the least advantage to the opponent. – Tony Ennis Aug 16 '14 at 20:20
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Openings have been classified roughly as being very "tactical and sharp" versus "positional and dull". For example: e4-e5 (king's pawn), e4-c5 (sicilian defense) fall under the former category, whereas d4-d5 (queen's pawn), e4-c6 (caro-kann defense) under the latter. But not all games strictly follow the above thumb rule, each opening can transpose to either tactical or positional depending on the lines chosen in the middle game.

That said, players chose their liking of openings and study various lines originating from the opening. Once the number of moves reaches 2 or above, the possibilities grow exponentially and hence most of the times will not result in the exact same game that the people had studied earlier, even at the grandmaster level, let alone amateurs.

You could open randomly, but in doing so you will be violating the basic opening principles and hence will most likely lose the game against an experienced player. You can check out the following link for some opening guidelines-

http://www.danheisman.com/opening-principles.html

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"Why don't people open with more randomness, in a sort of pieces scattered to the wind style? Surely opponents won't be expecting it and games will be played anew for both players."

Many people do this. It's a perfectly valid strategy at lower levels of play (which is a category that includes people who laymen would think of as very good players).

However, there's a reason that some opening moves are played over and over at high levels: they are good. When you deviate from them, the different move you made is probably not as good. When your opponents are strong enough to recognize and exploit these subpar moves, your positions will be worse than if you had stuck to theory.

This is why world-class players memorize reams of opening theory-to do anything else would be to make a concession to the opponent.

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