Read this if you want to play openings impeccably.

The last time you arrived in the middlegame, were you confident of your position?

Were you really happy with your plan for the middlegame?

Or were you the first one “out of book” and struggling to grind out a plan over the board while your opponent watched you flail?

Don’t get me wrong. Even though your opening preparation might suck, I’m sure you still end up winning enough games to stay addicted to the sport.

It’s gotta be depressing though, knowing your playing strength will be stuck on the same plateau another year from now.

But it’s not your fault.

You’ve been hoodwinked into believing that consulting a statistical tree of grandmaster games in your favorite lines means you are prepared.

When it actually means you are shark bait for stronger players. Stronger players know that you are relying on those trees of GM games, and they have prepared for you accordingly.

So let me ask you two questions…

Where is your repertoire?

That may sound like a strange question (unless you are using Chess Openings Wizard).

I mean, you know where your last 100 tournament games are stored, yes?

So where is your opening repertoire stored?

If your answer is to show me a worn out paperback on your favorite defense, with lots of notes scribbled in the margin, then my hat is off to you. You are way ahead of the pack, and your results at the board show it.

But you know you can do better.

It’s okay. Even after 38 years of making apps for preparing openings, I still occasionally talk to a grandmaster who has their opening repertoire hidden in the variations of games in ChessBase. 

And let me be the first to admit that it works for them. They are grandmasters after all.

Second question:

Precisely how many opening positions do you know so well that you can play the best move – without hesitation?

Would you say that you have prepared 1,000 positions? A few hundred? Just dozens?

Note that I’m asking you for the number of positions you know, and not for the number of lines you know. (If you don’t grok the problematic nature of different move orders then that right there may be one of the weaknesses in your preparation.)

Here’s what I can promise you.

If you cannot show me where your opening preparation is stored (such that your coach can easily see what you plan to play in each position) and/or you don’t have a clue as to how many positions you have prepared, then…

…your rating will be about the same this time next year.

And that sucks.

I have a solution that answers both questions: a way to easily store your entire opening plan – while it measures the absolute number of positions that you can recall at the board.

But why would you want to do that? It sounds like work.

Here’s why…

When you play 1.e4 against a well prepared opponent, here’s what your opponent is thinking.

“I know 617 positions in the French defense. And after this game I will know 618.”

I want you to have that experience. Being totally prepared. 

And being more prepared with each passing game.

That’s why I created a better way to model your opening, one that maximizes the precious amount of time you have to study – while it increases your ability to remember your preparation at the board.

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