16. ChessTempo Opening Training


ChessTempo recently introduced its Opening Training Program (BETA) to all ChessTempo members. If you have a sincere interest in playing better chess, I invite you to look into this opportunity and spend several hours this summer in developing your opening skills. Tasby and Conrad are poised to become significant chess powerhouses in the DISD this coming academic year.


With this new Training Program each Chess Club member is allowed to create and manage his/her individualized opening repertoire and train at his/her own pace to learn solid opening skills using spaced repetition that simulates the playing of hundreds of games in a few weeks of effort. CT also integrates your opening repertoire development with online play by providing immediate post-game feedback on where your games deviate from your specific opening repertoire activity. I have spent several hours putting together a sample set of opening repertoires that you can DOWNLOAD HERE to get started. Your path from there is entirely up to you.


16.1. Getting Started


To start opening training, sign into ChessTempo and click 'New Repertoire' to create your first repertoire using the files that I have created. To be proficient, you will need to be able to play the openings you develop from Black and White perspectives.


For our example we are going to develop the Scotch Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4). The game is rather easy to learn. It is simple and straightforward. For now it may also give you a slight advantage over other players who might be completely unfamiliar with the game. I cannot promise that you will be immensely successful with this opening, but you will certainly become better with it than you are right now. So if you learn the Scotch Game and a handful of other openings as well this summer, you will outplay some of your competitors this fall who might otherwise beat you. It's that simple.


Download all 42 of my opening repertoire files into a folder on your computer called 'Opening Repertoires'. (e.g. my computer has these files in folder d:/documents/pgn/Opening Repertoires). I have created these files to save you approximately 100 hours effort in developing your own files independently. Thus, if you spend 100 hours learning the openings instead of learning how to develop repertoire files, you will be way ahead. Each repertoire file is a pgn file with several 10-move variations. The two Scotch files (Scotch Repertoire Black.pgn and Scotch Repertoire White.pgn) are identical right now, but I may modify the training files in the future, resulting in different lines for Black and White.


Next Sign into ChessTempo: > Training > Opening Training - Beta > New Repertoire > (Type in New Repertoire Name) SCOTCH BLACK > BLACK > PRIVATE > Scotch Repertoire Black.pgn


If you have done everything ok you should now have one repertoire in your list: SCOTCH BLACK


If not, mess with it for a while and figure out how to do it correctly. I probably messed up an instruction, but this is very easy to learn. If you do something wrong, just delete your messed up repertoire and try again, with no harm done. Just like I have done many times.


Click to open or close the opening tree, which is essentially your answer sheet. You will see that there are six opening lines that are each 10 moves long, and your objective is to learn these six lines from White and Black perspectives. If you do that, you will learn that Move 3 is always 3. d4 exd4. Does that mean black should always retake the pawn on d4 to even up the game. Well, it seems logical to retake the pawn in order for Black not to end up a pawn down. After all, a one-point material advantage is a big deal. If we look at a 2-million-game database by 2000+ rated players we find that after 3.d4 15,000 of them take the pawn (3...exd4); 228 of them do something else. So it seems to make sense to go with the crowd.


You can set the depth at which you want to train. Do so easily by ckicking the little blue iconto the right of the 'Train Brachch ' button and click 'Settings' Click 'Maximum learning depth, type in '3', and close the pop-up window.


Right now if you memorize 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 you know the Scotch opening cold to a depth of three moves. Maybe that's enough; maybe not. So first add your Scotch Black Repertoire file and convince yourself that you already know the opening at depth = 3 playing Black or White without even opening the 'Opening Tree' Cheat Sheet. That's a significant accomplishment; check how many of your friends can play the Scotch Game to three moves. By the time you learn it to 5 moves, you will probably beat me 3 out of 5 games.


Please play with this new ChessTempo feature and get back to about anything that puzzles you. I think this will really help us learn to be better chessplayers, and this is the specific area where we as a team need the most help right now.