Almost twenty years ago at a large tournament in which I was playing, I was paired with a sort of harried-looking middle-agd man. We engaged in the usual small talk while waiting for the announcement for the round to commence. I recall his telling me that he didn’t have much time for chess anymore, due mainly to the fact that he had a pair of teenagers at home.
“So?” I asked innocently. “They really take up that much time?”
My opponent smiled wanly. I never understood why until comparatively recently. I’m older now myself, with a pair of teenagers at home, along with numerous other irons in the fire (including writing, video production, etc., etc., etc….). That smile from two decades ago now makes perfect sense.
It’s often very difficult for chessplayers to not only develop an effective opening repertoire, but even to find the time to do the research (and experimentation — against fellow players and chess playing software) required.
GM Nigel Davies understands the problem and has devised a solution. His answer is presented on the new ChessBase training disk A Busy Person’s Opening System. Davies’ approach is a fair bit different from the usual repertoire videos, disks, and books with which you’re likely already familiar. Instead of basing a repertoire on opening choices, Davies’ suggested repertoire is structure-based: you learn how to play positions based on a specific pawn formation and then play only openings which utilize that structure.
We’ll let GM Davies explain it to you himself, in this clip taken from the first three minutes of A Busy Person’s Opening System:
I don’t know about you, but that bit of discourse positively hooked me when I first saw it (and that’s the reason I selected it for the video clip you just watched). Basing one’s opening repertoire on a pawn structure (which works equally well for playing as both White and Black) is an intriguing idea regardless, but it’s especially so for those of us who have a very limited amount of time to devote to chess study.
In my opinion, GM Davies and ChessBase really hit one out of the park with A Busy Person’s Opening System. You can judge for yourself — A Busy Person’s Opening System is now available from ChessCentral.
Have fun! — Steve