Don’t Memorize Moves! Understand your Openings | Road to 2000

Caleb Denby shows what can happen when one simply memorizes opening moves without knowing the theoretical ideas behind them. See Anand lose in six moves.

Follow along:

Alonso Zapata vs Viswanathan Anand, Biel-B (1988): C42 Petrov, Nimzovich attack

Luke Ye (1900 URS) vs. Caleb Denby (2007 URS): B19 Caro-Kann, classical, Spassky variation
Denby vs. Ben Shoykhet (1900 URS): A40 Modern defence


  1. I don't think that teaching this ideas to young players is the best way for keep them improve their ratings

  2. He's too smart for the audience. Asking questions that no one can answer lol

  3. @4:14 why can’t black do Queen G5? You can move knight and if Queen trade you take with bishop.

  4. I would definitely trust this kid to teach me to play chess before I would trust him to drive

  5. Great lesson. Wow, I need to learn openings. I thought it keeps uvula n a box, but I see now. Thx.

  6. The audience's average rating must be in the three digits…

    Anyway, the lecture itself is nice!

  7. @25:38

    I have mostly been flummoxed trying to guess the reasons why and the moves although I did see moving the Rooks to the center D file.

    My guess about your Bishop to before move is:

    … that his Bishop is more active defending his King than your Bishop is Defending Your King so let's get rid of it.

  8. Stopped watching at 27:15 into this. Where Queen takes pawn . Has to be a blunder .. Due to whites knight forking the blacks queen and rook on E2 square. How does a high rated chess player miss going over that one.

  9. Young man! It's a good video and you are intelligent. But please stop your adverse comments against the other players, at least, whose games you are showing.

  10. for the first opening: Why not Queen e7 ?

  11. At 24:15 what are you thoughts about knight taking bishop? White's king is pinned and can't take back with the Queen or he loses it. King moves , you trade queens and then capture the rook, letting them take your dark bishop. In the end, you are exchanging a knight for a rook and white's position is seriously compromised.

  12. It's hard to understand openings, memorize is better

  13. I believed memorise the first maybe 8 moves is impt., otherwise u can easily fall into a trap. And to analyse and avoid a trap u need to spend a fair bit of time and not to your advantage if playing speed chess. So I don't really buy the idea of this vid.

  14. Memorize first, understand later. Get good positions. We don't tell NFL teams to go down 14-0 before they start trying to win. First mistake loses.

  15. In 31:27 u can just Rook take A3, check! Pawn take rook a3, queen take A3, check! King B1, Rook B8, check! Then the only forced move is Queen to B2, Queen take Queen game over!

  16. why does the bishop not return to g4 after c4 on 7:24? Im confused

  17. What a great attitude when they called his blunder, no ego whatsoever

  18. I never felt so bad at chess 😭, thanks a lot for this video. Really instructive.

  19. Thanks very much for this invaluable lessons. It is right we should understand why we should move as mentioned, for instance 1. e4 we open the path for the queen and bishop and keep the initiative, we move pawn first to make the way for minor pieces to develop. But such explanation AS I KNOW, seldom appear in the chess books or chess lessons. Chess books elaborate and analyze long calculations as well as the outcome of previous similar games instead. We expect the text move explains the match MOVE BY MOVE every single move why the player makes that move. But again we don't get approriate and adequate datas about that. Please kerp on making explanation like that, Viva Saint Louis. Thanks very much again.

  20. At 3:56 couldn't black respond with queen e7 and in the next move save the knight

  21. Dont memorise moves? And yet you have gone about 15 moves into the CaroKann main line without any explanation, haha.

  22. 3:38 haha, I considered Q e2 but dismissed it because I didn't see a follow-up. What I think is baffling is why isn't the response …Qe7 shown, a move based upon I dismissed the tactic. If there is a counter to …Qe7, it should be shown in the video, not to be done in 3 seconds, just suggesting the absolutely idiotic pawn to d5 disaster. The "kid" in the audience suggested an absolutely idiotic Nh4, which would indicate it is not just chess geniuses he is talking to. Therefore it is false to assume they would just figure out the follow-up on their own. Why is Qe7 a disaster then? I am not seeing that. I am sure it is something very sophisticated, unless it is actually all bullshit and the position is equal.
    Edit: I have just used an engine to figure it out, and is indeed a much more sophisiticated tactical sequence than that stupid-ass pawn move. That's what Anand didn't see, not that stupid kid move. Anand isn't an idiot, give some credit to the guy.

  23. Title: "Don't memorize moves!"
    Opening statement: "The truth is, strong players have their opening repertoire prepared."

  24. “What do you think of this move?”


    “Ya exactly”

  25. Memorise openings? I only play chess 960 so I don’t have to.

  26. U missed whit3 knight fork on rook and queen not thr whitr bishop improved its the knight

  27. I would have liked an explanation why not castle long as black.

  28. It's crazy how little people in the room are responding. I would cry

  29. why cant anand play queen e7 ? you take the knight out of pin and continue the game

  30. why this soyboy is waiting for 600 rating players to give him answers .. pathetic way of teaching

  31. Some moves are just self destructive. It's worth it to fine tune what we play.

  32. Study the middle game positions that come out of the game — one of the best lessons I have learned in my chess journey. 1600 rated now

  33. on the first game instead of d5 what if white plays Qe7?

  34. truly , memorizing moves is old school . Just play and adapt , like Alexander on the battlefields

  35. Hey everyone, Caleb here. If you enjoyed this lecture and want to see more of my content, I've started my own personal YouTube channel. Check it out for all sorts of content including smaller instructional videos, gameplay, blindfold chess, and more. Thanks!!

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