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ChessOK.com » The Scientific Way to Improve Your Chess Opening Game

The Scientific Way to Improve Your Chess Opening Game


Although the opening moves of a chess game can only take a few minutes to perform, they can have a significant bearing on the complexion of the match. Not only are they imperative in setting out your stall for attack or defense, but they can also play a large part in dictating which way the pendulum will swing in terms of early momentum.

For that reason, it’s highly advisable to learn chess openings as thoroughly and as often as possible. However, there are certain approaches to chess training and teaching which are more proven than others. Adopting a scientific stance on the subject can yield substantial benefits, especially if you incorporate the following tenets into your practice sessions.

Spaced repetition

Repetitio mater studorium est – Repetition is the mother of all learning. When a phrase is old enough to have its roots in the language of Latin, you can be sure it has centuries of human experience behind it. Having said that, simply repeating an action, ad infinitum, is not enough to stimulate real improvements in learning or comprehension.

Instead, the duration and frequency of learning sessions – as well as the intervals between them – are key to optimizing your education. In chess terms, this means encountering problems or opening moves with which you have difficulty on a regular basis, then slowly spacing out their frequency as you become more comfortable with handling them.

Improvement by imitation

When babies are taking their first steps or pronouncing their first words, they do so by imitating the movements and sounds their parents and siblings make. They might not understand why such a collection of consonants and vowels denotes a specific thing or action, but they do grasp that it does. The same principles can be applied at a much more advanced age in the realm of chess.

By copying the opening gambits of Grandmasters and far more accomplished players, you can embed the mechanics of these in your memory and witness the positive outcomes which stem from them unfold on the board. Even if you don’t comprehend why they’re beneficial at first, your brain will be working overtime to untangle the secrets of their success, thus enhancing your game in both the short and long run.

Growth by gamification

It might sound silly to introduce the idea of gamification to a discipline which is, already, a game. However, gamification also involves the idea of creating a positive learning environment in which players can attain rewards and receive recognition for their achievements, as well as compete against others and interact with their peers.

From a scientific perspective, gamification greatly facilitates learning through all of these facets, as well as breaking down seemingly insurmountable goals that might be overwhelming at first glance (beating a foe who is better than you) into smaller, more manageable chunks (strengthening your opening maneuvers).

Although it’s a game, a sport and potentially even an artform, chess has science at its heart. Use the aforementioned tactics at Chessable.com to leverage the science of chess and improve your game in the process.

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