At the beginning of this skill building project, Andrea (my chess coach during these months) suggested I picked one opening to play with Black versus e4 and one against d4. For some reason, I’ve always enjoyed more playing king’s pawn games (those starting with e4). That’s why I looked forward so much to focus for at least three months on the French Defense when playing with black pieces. And that’s what I did. During the past three months, any time I played against e4 I went e6. Then I would try different variants within the French Defense, but I’d stick to that for a long period of time. I think that e4 is more popular than d4 and c4 (the main openings), and that’s probably why it felt like the past three months I did a deep dive in the French Defense. I simply had more opportunities to play that opening.
Even though I love playing a wide variety of openings (and I do know the first 8-10 moves of many openings, both with white and black pieces), I have to admit that ‘specializing’ in just a handful of openings might be more fruitful in the long run. When you do something over and over for long periods of time you have the chance of getting better at it. Of course, doing the same thing repeatedly is not sufficient. You must also do it the right way. In chess, playing the same opening over and over again doesn’t guarantee you’ll become a master at them. You need to know the ideas behind the opening, understand it a conceptual level, learn different variants, etc. But if you stick to it for a period of time and practice well, chances are that you’re going to see some improvement.[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 11) Deep Dive in the French Defense