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My 500 pages dreams openings book

My 500 pages dreams openings book

As an amateur competitive chess player, I would like a 500 pages book about “My Openings”. Not “Any Book”, but “My Book” with the moves I am going to play, and only the moves I am going to play.

The book is made of 100 fragment games, 50 with White and 50 with Black. The total number of lines is ~ 2,000 (i.e. average of 19 side variations per fragment game). Each game can be printed on 3 to 5 pages (average 4 pages), with 4 to 6 diagrams per game. The last 100 pages are for index games (games that mostly direct to other games). It feels like the right size from many angles.

This book should be customizable. What it means is that I should have the PGN source. It is super important because there are multiple reasons why I may prefer another move than the one recommended by a GM, by an engine, by your statistics, etc. Another reason why I may need the PGN is that I want to add my own notes, or I want to use it on chessable.com or with ChessBase’s opening trainer.

95% of the variations should have been played more than once by humans. A corollary is that the number of novelties (unless talked about in a chessmood.com class or in a book) should be as low as possible.

This is my dream openings book: only openings I play with notes, content-wise proportionally adjusted to moves frequencies (ChessBase Big Database 2020, chess.com Master’s database, Lichess 2200 and 2500 databases, my games database, video time on chessmood.com, number of games in books).

But whatever your level is, this book is a solid foundation, and the overall size makes sense:

  • Book can be read in 40 hours

  • Full run of variations on chessable in 20 hours

  • If you make flashcards out of the ~500 diagrams, you could go through all of them in 10 hours.

Chances are that even if you are ambitioning a higher level, let’s say 2400 FIDE, such a customizable book would still be a solid foundation because it still captures more of the important stuff. You can double the number of variations on the 50 most critical games and still have a manageable set of 3,000 variations.

Trusted sources: first chessmood.com PRO

Huge bias in favor of chessmood.com openings, but we welcome any reference. In the case of the Grand Prix, we welcome these references:

  • chessmood PRO videos

  • Databases, especially those that can be filtered for the 2200 FIDE level.

  • Stockfish 12 and Houdini 6

  • Starting Out the Sicilian Grand Prix book by Gawain Jones

  • The Modern Grand Prix Attack chessbase video by Lawrence Trent

Why do this? Benefits for 1600 - 2400 ELO

The exercise involved in producing such content should be beneficial because it’s a chance to work with the material in a creative way. But on top of this, these 100 game fragments could be used like this:

  • 1600 FIDE player: remember 80% and watch GM Grigoryan’s videos once.

  • 1800 FIDE player: remember 90% and watch GM Grigoryan’s videos once.

  • 2000 FIDE player: remember 95% and watch GM Grigoryan’s videos 2x.

  • 2200 FIDE player: remember 98% and watch GM Grigoryan’s videos 3x. Explore further.

  • 2400 FIDE player: remember 99% and watch GM Grigoryan’s videos 4x. Explore much further.

When I learn something, I live to have a story to follow. In this case, it’s the story of 100 games with a certain number of sidelines. I feel that it’s the right chunk size to digest.

What does it really look like?

Distribution of fragment games with White:

Distribution with White (Target 2200 FIDE database, Chessmood video time):

1... c5 16 (-4, +6)

1... e5 13 (+1, -7)

1... e6 5 (-1, =)

1... c6 4 (=, -1)

1... d5 3 (+1, =)

1... d6 3 (+1, =)

1... g6 2 (+1, =)

1... Nf6 2 (+1, +1) 1 1 1... Nc6 1 (=, =) 1 1

1... Nc6 1 (=, =)

Others 1 (=, +1)


You will realize that we are at most one off for all answers to 1. e4 except:

  • 1… c5, 16 games (underestimated according to database frequencies, overestimated according to chessmood video time).

  • 1… e5, 13 games (slightly overestimated according to database frequencies, underestimated according to chessmood video time).

Underestimating the share of 1… c5 is a deliberate choice. The idea is to reap off the benefits of selecting a side-line (Grand Prix) vs. a main line (e.g. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 with the idea 3. d4). We can then “be generous” with sidelines. It is often very beneficial because splitting an opening in two (or more) is instructive and practical.

What comes next?

I am going to show you an example: “Index game for the Sicilian Grand Prix”. You will see the 16 diagrams that represent the Sicilian from a White perspective. If you somehow master these 16 positions, you have an awesome coverage of the Sicilian with White.

For those of you who are interested, I can show some of the foundational 100 games. It takes time (maybe 6 hours per game, hence 600 hours total for the entire project). It would be nice if this project would interest other people, because we could share the work.

Please let me know if there is any interest on your side.


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What's Wrong with this Game

I was browsing my YouTube Subs recently when I came across this stream https://youtu.be/_O6m6Yh5S5Y?t=1  and spotted something immediately that both these Chess titans somehow missed. Stunned and confused I tried to justify to myself how is it possible that players of this calibre can miss such things with plenty time on the clock.

The pgn is given below along with a screenshot from the game, can you spot without an engine what both these GM's overlooked: 


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