Terror in the Opening!

In a recent podcast interview Vishy Anand, one of the strongest grandmasters of our time, talked about his experience playing his prepared opening lines:

…a long line, for instance, where the engine’s evaluation, from start to end, is equal. Everything seems to make sense.

And then you sit at the board and you’re more or less in… panic seems too weak. I would say terror! Because almost every move scares the hell out of you.

And you can’t understand how it seemed so lifeless back home. Everything which seemed obvious and even the questions you thought not to ask suddenly turn out. Everything pops up at the board. All the questions pop up at the board – and clearly none of the answers do!

Viswanathan Anand, excerpted from Perpetual Chess Podcast episode 156

Does this happen to you? Do you get extremely nervous playing your carefully prepared lines at the board?

You may have more in common with grandmasters than you think.

Playing out your prepared opening can be exciting though. Nerve wracking even. The doubt can be crippling, even if you know you prepared well, even if you checked everything with an engine.

Have you ever arrived at a position that you thoroughly checked weeks ago, but you started analyzing, double checking at the board anyway?

And if the strongest players alive have this experience, is there any hope for you and me?

Here’s the most important question for you: Does it beat the alternative?

That is, would you ever prefer to be your opponent, the one confronted with a position they’ve not prepared – while you simply wait to see how your prepared line works out?

I think not.

I’m afraid the only cure for nervousness from trusting your opening preparation is… more opening preparation.

After a while, you’ll get used to playing top notch moves, saving time on your clock, and watching your opponent analyze and squirm. (You can save your experience of terror for when you’re paired with other super GMs like Vishy was.)

But you still have to do the work. If you’re up to the task, the work is easier with power tools though.

I’ve been crafting the ultimate power tool for preparing your opening whether you are just starting out or you are vying for the world championship. (The secret is that it’s the same process at every level of play.)

Not everyone wants to work to improve their game. But if you’d like to spend more time with your opponent suffering because you’re still in your opening preparation then naturally I want you to consider my power tool.

Sure, I’m ready to do the work

Nah, I’m good with my current opening preparation

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