Play to Your Strengths in the Opening, or Play the Best Openings?

2 04 2010

In a recent post about How to Study, I mentioned I thought it was better to play openings reflective on your chess strengths rather than play the best openings out there.

This is a very debatable topic and one that needs some explanation about why I think that.

The reason why I have the opinion that I do is that the opening is not what determines the game. Sure, you can occasionally catch your opponent with a refutation (always play those), but will happen only rarely, and even if you get a good position out of the opening, if you aren’t comfortable with it, then you won’t play well and you’ll lose the game anyways.

The argument (I guess) is that you will get in a bad position if you play an opening that possibly isn’t the best, or that perhaps anyone could play well in a good position.

To deal with the first one, I have to say that I agree completely; with the part about getting a bad position. Only play openings with positions that you feel comfortable playing in. If you play a “bad” opening but get in a position that you like more than in a “good” opening, then the opening is better for you.

The second one is just bogus to me. It seems silly to think that anyone could play well in a “good” position. Only if you’re comfortable with it.

So the best openings for you are the ones which you’re most comfortable playing; that’s what I think, and that’s what I think makes sense. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.