Studying openings appeals to me for more than one reason. Discovering unknown worlds on my personal chess map and filling my chess vocabulary with interesting new pictures is both enjoyable and rewarding. Even more exiting is the feeling of setting my feet on completely uncharted territory, being the first human to study and write about an undiscovered area of chess.
Opening research is a creative process. In contrast to the mathematical structure of technical endings, it is more an art than a science. Or should I say “it was”? Without doubt, the rise of engines and big data turned studying openings into a much more mechanical endeavor than it was before. But still, there is much left to find out, and being creative and also critical toward engine proposals is an important quality for today’s opening theorists.
Even if you don’t share my romantic feelings about openings, you better appreciate the importance of opening knowledge for success. Only after I started to systematically work with ChessBase, subsequently creating opening files in the three digits, I managed to break the barrier of Elo 2600 in 1996. I see no reason why ambitious amateurs should not apply the methods, which make professionals successful. Of course, there are differences. An amateur won’t be able to maintain such a broad opening repertoire as a pro, but this is no problem against amateur opposition. Also will an amateur not have the time to perform a big amount of analyses himself. He has to rely on professional offers.
Beside my engagement in generic analyses I also help my clients to solve individual opening problems.