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GM Aveskulov knows best

I have to admit that I had no knowledge about GM Aveskulov from Ukraine until today. Nikos came across this quote which was very flattering:

Strongest chess players in their interviews emphasize on the importance of the openings in the modern chess. This matter is so crucial on the top level that up to 100% of their chess trainings are dedicated to preparing of openings variations. All other aspects of the chess mastership (such as: strategic understanding, endgames, studying of classical games etc.) were supposed to be studied at the beginning of their chess carriers. Now, only openings, openings, openings…
But these talks are about top players. What should do less experienced players who just at his/her start? Of course importance of openings knowledge is not so huge there. Even if they get winning position from the very opening it does not mean he/she will win this game. That’s why I am strongly convinced that players up to level 2400-2500 should not sacrifice all their chess time only for openings. Books by Nimzowitsch, Dvoretsky, Aagaard, Alekhine and many many others could be (and should be) studied. As well, mastership of analysis is a good key for long-lasting REAL improvement.
But this idea does not mean that you should for­get about openings trainings absolutely.

Grandmaster Valeriy Aveskulov on www.chessangora.com

Having worked a bit with 2600+ players on Strategy and provided calculation exercises for some players much stronger than that, I would say that the 100% should maybe be 80-90% to achieve the best results…

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  1. Jacob Aagaard
    July 23rd, 2012 at 12:38 | #1

    Over the weekend I received a request to analyse a line for the newsletter. I think I have permanently deleted the e-mail by mistake. I would like to keep my promise to look at it, but I need it resent!

  2. Alea
    July 23rd, 2012 at 17:35 | #2

    I don’t even see why this is true at the top level. There are mistakes even at the 2800+ level and the best chess engines on the best hardware are likely to beat the best human even if they started with 1. a4 or responded 1. e4 a5. I’m not just guessing here; it’s actually a generous assessment. After all, Rybka was able to beat Joel Benjamin five years ago with pawn odds. Keep in mind that the Rybka of that time on that hardware would get pulverized by the latest and greatest so even that was very far from perfect chess. This suggests that both machines and humans have a long way to go in improving their chess strength regardless of the opening. It’s delusional and complacent to ever claim that all you have left to study is openings. And this is coming from someone who actually enjoys studying openings! 🙂

  3. Jacob Aagaard
    July 23rd, 2012 at 22:06 | #3

    @Alea
    You will see a factor of diminishing returns at some point. For example: I liked a lot of the positions in FORCING CHESS MOVES, but I disagreed more or less entirely with the author’s idea that tactics is the most important thing in chess, based on a computer beating Adams 5.5/0.5. The problem is that a human cannot calculate 2 million moves per second no matter what we do; so we need other aspects as well. But sure – those who do not train calculation pay for it. For example; I am sure that Kramnik trains it much less than Caruana!

  4. kaimano
    July 24th, 2012 at 08:11 | #4

    “I am sure that Kramnik trains it much less than Caruana!”

    In fact Caruana won last two games against Kramnik! 😉

  5. Jacob Aagaard
    July 24th, 2012 at 09:18 | #5

    @kaimano
    Yes, by outplaying him after getting nothing special in the opening. My main point is that I know that Kramnik analyses openings like a mad man 🙂 and that Caruana always have done an exceptional amount of puzzles. Still Kramnik is pretty good…

  6. July 26th, 2012 at 11:39 | #6

    Jacob Aagaard :
    @Alea
    You will see a factor of diminishing returns at some point. For example: I liked a lot of the positions in FORCING CHESS MOVES, but I disagreed more or less entirely with the author’s idea that tactics is the most important thing in chess, based on a computer beating Adams 5.5/0.5. The problem is that a human cannot calculate 2 million moves per second no matter what we do; so we need other aspects as well. But sure – those who do not train calculation pay for it. For example; I am sure that Kramnik trains it much less than Caruana!

    I think human player should base his play on THINKING not calculation. Of course we cannot escape from calculation process, but the less we do it – the better. But you should be aware that this ART requires great knowledge and skills. I love chess not just because it is great game, but because it helps to develop mind skills and abilities. I have great pleasure if I play good game according to common sense much more than winning a game but “calculation power” (I mean tactical complications).

    I would like to be able to calculate 2-3 moves ahead EVERY time. But more important to me is working out a plan, make solid evaluation of the position… and not to blunder until the end of the game.

    BTW: Playing official matches against the best engines should be continued – it just need to change a form and the battle might be really interesting.

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