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Updated version 2.0 of a chess master's repertoire (& offbeat chess openings links)

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Based on an old chesstalk post of mine (in response to someone doubting people had time to learn opening theory, and also doubting there being a variety of playable openings not requiring learning lots of theory):

At the risk of giving away secrets my competitors don't already know (e.g. from CANBase), I can show my 'core' repertoire (what I use when I'm not given to occasional whims of infidelity to it). I generally have used these openings 10+ times in my career. I know I could expand this core repertoire to include more openings I consider playable, even for a win, but I don't play enough games in an average year (i.e. about 75) to justify it:


vs. 1e4: French (Winawer, Guimard Tarrasch), Nimzovich Defence,
Caro-Kann, Pirc, Sicilian Kan,
Sicilian Dragon (playable deviations mainly learned so far),
Open Lopez (learning still, avoiding the dullest lines),
[Anti-]Marshall Lopez (learning still, but used mainly against lower rated players I suspect don't know theory).

vs. 1.d4: QGD Classical Orthodox (via 1...e6/d5/Nf6), QGD Tarrasch, Slav,
Grunfeld (learning still, mainly use vs. duffers),
Modern Benoni (learning still, mainly use vs. duffers),
Nimzo-Indian+Queen's Indian/Bogo-Indian/Ragozin+Catalan.

vs. 1.c4: 1...e6 intending ...d5, 1...c6, 1...c5, 1...e5 intending Closed Sicilian Reversed,
1...Nf6 intending ...e6

vs. 1.Nf3: 1...d5/e6/Nf6/c6 (including Ragozin QGD), 1...c5,
1...g6 intending Modern/Hippopotamus, Grunfeld or Pirc.


1e4: c3-Sicilian, Closed Sicilian, Bb5[+] Sicilian (if 2...e6/Nc6 3.c3 possible),
Open Sicilians (some still learning, thinking of using Sozin setups again),
Evans Gambit+4.d4 vs. 2Kts, c3+d3 Italian, Ruy Lopez (learning still)
3.Nc3 French, Advance French (mainly vs. duffers)
Panov Caro-Kann, Austrian & Classical setups vs. Pirc/Modern

1d4: Catalan, Averbakh KID, Classical Exchange Grunfeld (learning still),
Nc3+Nf3+e3+Be2 vs. Grunfeld/KID, going into a reversed QG Tarrasch if needed, g3-KID/Grunfeld (still learning), Exchange Slav,
Transpose to Catalan if Black tries Semi-Slav (i.e. 2...e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.Nbd2)

1c4, 1.Nf3, 1.g3, 1.b3, 1.f4 used occasionally, 1.e3, 1.d3, 1.Nc3 more rarely.

I think I find chess still rich enough for me.
Notice how many of these openings fit together in terms of transpositional possibilities.
Many are positional, so less memorization is required. Even with sharper openings I've tried to minimize variations I need to know to survive the opening at my level. Bear in mind I am in my 50s though, so I have a lot of experience with many types of positions.

[update: Below are links to old chesstalk threads that I started which discuss offbeat openings that I've explored in my spare time (some of these I've even played, more than once in the case of the Budapest Fajarowicz Variation - note the little explored 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Bb4ch!? may also be playable):]

Link to opening preparation blog of mine:

Links to 2 other repertoire ideas of mine:

Updated 11-08-2016 at 12:09 AM by Kevin Pacey

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Chess opening repertoire discussion