HOW To Understand Chess Openings Instead Of Just Memorizing Them – Dr. Can’s Chess Clinic #5

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The paper describing the decomposition method and connection between the opening and the endgame:

I should also mention two effective methods to gain understanding of our openings:

– looking at model games from our openings – perhaps from chess classics where a middlegame plan was clearly illustrated.
– studying master games from similar pawn structures – even guessing the moves along the way.


  1. My understanding is if black in the Karo can achieve the pawn cube he can generate a passer but don't know the specifics mechanics…

  2. Now the question arises: After we have built up an opening repertoire, where can we find the typical middlegame patterns? Are there any books that can help with that?

  3. 👌👌👌👌❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  4. keşke videolarınızda Türkçe altyazı olsa

  5. ohhh wow, that Alekhine game with the Tartakower pawn structure was beautiful to watch, pinning the rook, leaving the knight hanging, sacrificing the queen for mate! just stunning geometry!
    great vid once again Sir thankyou!

  6. Fantastic work!! Thank you Dr. Can!! 🙏🏻🏅

  7. Very interesting thought process w the "decomposition" method

  8. PERFECT VIDEO! I need this! Opening is my weakness. From now on, I will study the 12 openings I commonly use! It is important to have a strong opening, middle and end game training to become a tougher chess player.

  9. Waw, amazing explanation! Your videos are terrific! Can you recommend a book to study these ideas? Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.

  10. This is great advice, thanks Can! Very classy choice for the example opening. 👍

  11. sir..could u please make video or a series of videos on evaluation

  12. Grischuk, in a candidates tournament, said after a game he lost that he knew a certain move was good but he didn't know why. The move was recommended by the computer, he believed it, and when the game went away from the line he had memorized he didn't know what was going on and he lost. In another game (I don't remember if this was in the same candidates tournament or a later on) he did much the same thing.

    One of the best chess players in the world clearly believes that in the opening chess is a game of memory, not of understanding. How can we understand this?

    I think that ordinary players follow the moves of the grandmasters and the champions, even when weak players don't understand these moves, because they look up to the players identified with these moves.

    Even top players like Grischuk can be intimidated by the powerful computers, just as weaker players are intimidated by Grischuk and his peers. When a powerful program that could beat Grischuk ten times out of ten effectively tells Grischuk "do this," he does it, just as a club player who hero-worshiped Grischuk would do what he was told if Grischuk told him, "do this."

    If Grischuk was looking at theory from the games of players of his own strength I think he would be more critical and thoughtful. He would not be intimidated at all. As for theory produced by players weaker than him, he would take an independent view of all of that, based on his own, superior understanding.

    If one weaker chess friend shows another an opening move he has thought of, again the response would likely be critical and thoughtful. There would not be the feeling that "this is what Magnus plays so I want to play that too (even though I don't know why)." There would be estimates of good and bad points.

    Chess players may have a similar underlying attitude, but the stronger ones will seem more thoughtful and less reliant on memory just because the stronger players are outmatched less often and so they go into the mode of imitation and memorizing less often.

  13. Wow, really nice and clear video! I mean sure it’s a logical step to look at the pawn structures which could arise from one’s opening but for me it’s a really new way to look at my openings. Coincidence that I play this variation and I knew an endgame would be losing for me but I never thought on “don’t trade pieces”. So thanks for this video!

  14. Your tip that really helped me was memorizing things as soon as I see them. By trying to do that instead of mindlessly going through moves and planning to remember through repetition, I retain things much faster.

  15. 👏👏👏💯thank you so much for such lucid explanation,on this matter of the openings I am yet to understand , what is equality 😮no chess book I have come across so far has been able to give clear explanation,an How do I gain equality, what I have done in self coaching is I make a serious study of the first10 moves up to the point of castleing of with reason an logic for every move, then I move to another opening,is this a good idea ,?🤔 would like to know what is equality in. Opening

  16. Dude, are you awesome or what? (- ‿◦ )

  17. I think playing typical opening positions with fewer pieces is a fantastic idea to help with understanding. It sounded like you called it the composition method, is that correct?

    I just discovered your channel and I have subscribed.

  18. Hi, HenryChess here, can't believe someone used a video instead of plain text to answer my question 🤣

  19. Volume is much better on this video! Really enjoying your content and learning a lot about the beautiful game of chess! Thank you! 😀

  20. Unsure how to message you a question directly so leaving a comment here in hopes you get a chance to read and reply.

    I am entering my third OTB tournament this year next month and was wondering if you could address the strength difference that exists between online vs over the board between ratings of similar ranges.

    I know the elo value changes per country (Im with the CFC rating system) and is slightly different in calculations – however it always seems to me as though my games online vs over the board play different.

    OTB even if they are low rated I find it hard to get an advantage even if the opponent doesn't know theory or have good engame technique – whereas online I seem to be able to have good chances.

    I was wondering if this is due purely towards games being long time format plus touch move – making you more hesitant to make moves that may be a mistake, or if possibly there is also some psychological aspect where I am precieving my opponents moves in a different light than I should be due to face to face vs online anonymity

  21. Awesome. I instantly recognised your voice from the chessable courses I owned. Often hear you saying that the pieces are crying 😀

  22. I'm rated around 1100, and my highest rating so far is 1244. I really just prefer to play chess than study openings or simplified positions. While I'd like to improve, I am just not interested enough in chess to devote resources to serious study of openings, positions, middlegame, endgame, etc. To me, chess is a fun activity, not an area of study, so I think my best option may be just to keep playing and learning organically, rather than by turning the game into what I consider to be a chore. Do you have any advice for people who might view the game like me, other than to keep playing?

  23. Keep making videos frequently – I guarantee you're at 10-50k subs in a few months

  24. Nice job as always. I find myself sticking to two or three openings to deepen my understanding. I hate memorizing sequences that fall apart as soon as the opponent does not behave him/her self.

  25. So basically you can be a jack of all trades and master of none…or you can choose one opening and after a few years you'll understand it and play it well

  26. What an absolutely outstanding video. I have never heard anyone present these ideas in such a digestible way— this video earned my sub!

  27. Great video. The idea of analyzing the pawn structure of your openings is excellent and I will try to implement that for myself. While watching, here is a question that came to mind.

    You said chess expertise relies on chunks and pattern recognition. However, super grandmasters (Nakamura, Carlsen, So, etc.) tend to also be very strong at Chess960. Is chunking still the cause of Chess960 strength despite the drastically different board positions?

  28. is there a resource that goes through the openings with their middle game patterns? preferably a resource that just covers the main openings and main middle game ideas for them, not a dedicated resource for just one opening.

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