Sagar Shah: This is the very best way to learn chess openings

by Sagar Shah
4/22/2021 – A lot of players want to get better at openings, but they don't know what the right resources are: which books they should buy, which DVDs. "I can tell you with confidence that here is one product which is going to help you to become a very strong opening player," says chess trainer Sagar Shah. "It's the Opening Encyclopedia 2021!" In a 27-minute video he tells you why, and shows you how to use this great tool to improve your openings skills.

Opening Encyclopaedia 2021 Opening Encyclopaedia 2021

The comprehensive theoretical reference work for beginners and pros alike. Over 1,200 opening articles with professional analyses, 60 opening videos (total running time: over 22 hours), 7,127 opening surveys, opening tutorials for beginners.

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You might say hey, but isn't this for strong players, like GM's, IMs, 2200 plus, maybe for 2000 plus players? Earlier the Opening Encyclopedia was advanced, but now they have made a lot of improvements, lot of things which can be useful for players of any level.

[1:06] On the left of the Opening Encyclopedia 2021 you see the menu. "Introduction" shows you what exists in the Opening Encyclopedia. "Ideas for your Repertoire" has opening articles by IMs and GMs which could be very useful to you. So for example under the Open Games it is all nicely arranged by openings. Let's imagine you want recommendations in the Italian e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 Bc4. You click here and you will see that there are all these very interesting opening articles on the Italian. Let's say I pick the Evans Gambit. You will see that the article has been written by Peter Lukacs and Lazlo Hazai and they no they make the first few moves with 4.b4, which is what is the Evans Gambit. You can click on positions and play through the games, with the analysis. Basically these are recommendations that have been given by strong players which you can use for your openings.

[3:07]  One of the problems I keep facing, because of the explosion of the London System, is how to play it with black. So let me see if I can solve this problem...

[7:16]  So in these articles on different openings you can learn a lot of things. Guess the number of opening articles. It is a whopping 1200 plus articles, which is crazy. On all openings there is something or the other... This is really important if you want a tailor-made suggestion by an IM or GM.

[8:38] We come to opening videos. I love this part. There are 60 opening videos with 22 hours of content! The quality of the trainers is very high class...

[10:08] Anna Muzychuk is one of my favourite trainers. I want to give you a glimpse of how it works. [Sample] Anna: "Hello dear chess players, dear viewers, I am grandmaster Anna Muzychuk... I will be looking at the variation in the Sicilian, mainly from White's point of view. But at the same time I'll also try to be objective and show the best possibilities for Black. The first game was played recently at the Gibraltar Tournament just a few weeks ago..."

[11.53] Daniel King presents the Najdorf Variation for Black, Lawrence Trent a positional weapon versus the Najdorf, Alexei Shirov the h3 Najdorf...

[12:22]  Then we go to semi-open games part two. Lawrence Trent against the French Tarrasch, Erwin l'Ami with the French Winawer...

[12:52] Then we go to the closed openings, Daniel King on the Queen's Gambit Declined Bf4, Robert Ris on the Queen's Gambit Exchange Variation...

[13:09] There's also Vidit Gujarathi with g3 Slav. Let's listen to Vidit [sample]...

[14:45] Oh, here is me as well – with a lot of hair... [sample] And here is the cute Nihal Sarin, four years ago, when he was twelve and rated 2424... [sample – watch and be enchanted]. There are all these great nuggets of information here.

[20:14]  Until now you have seen a lot of the things that revolve around players who are serious, who are ambitious – tournament players very high quality opening content. But what about the people taking their first steps into the world of chess who want to know the basics of openings? Well, the Opening Encyclopedia deals with that as well in the tutorial section. Here you have basic introductions in a short article form...

[23:08] We go to the ECO list, where all the openings are arranged by ECO code, from A00 to E99. Here you have a list or 500 different openings and games from 1200 articles, 39,200 annotated, from which you can select very nicely [example]. 

[23:35] There's also very interesting thing called Surveys, with specific opening lines nicely surveyed by top GMs, with all the analysis. So in one game you have everything. It's not like an opening article where you have text and recommendations. There are 7,000 surveys of different openings...

 

 

I would say the Opening Encyclopedia is pure value for money for any player, from beginner to an advanced to a grandmaster. It has everything that you want to know about openings.

 

 

 

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Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.
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