Rakhmanov’s, In most cases, my game is built on pawn structures. I adore positions with weaknesses, doubled pawns, and a better arrangement of pieces. I prefer to play short opening variations with a fixed pawn structure and positions with an open center. In preparing the lines, I use the engine. But I consider it very important to study the games of strong chess players. Of these, typical ideas and maneuvers can be memorized; this is easier for a human than memorizing lines.
Preparation for the Game
Rakhmanov’s I start preparation by viewing my opponent’s games over the last 2-3 years. Sometimes the last year is enough – if the opponent plays actively. Sometimes, if they are young and only have 30-40 games in the database, you can look at all the games (by the way, if you have only a few games in the database, this is not very pleasant for the opponent). I do it quickly, looking at about 20 moves, mainly focusing on the opening stage.
Rakhmanov’s Secrets of Opening Preparation
It is also worth looking at their games for the opposite color in order to understand whether they play the same thing that you want to play. This is especially important if you use several opening options; there is the opportunity to lead the opponent into a position less familiar to him.
An important point if you use the “Chessbase” program. You can use the “select to book” function, but I think it’s better to go through each game to understand which of the openings have been played recently.
Then I try to understand if there is a weak point. As the saying goes:
Once is an accident,
Two times is a coincidence,
Three times is a pattern,
Four times is a tradition.
Recently, I have noticed that if the opponent has played some line 2-3 times, even if the line is dubious, then there is a high chance that they will play it again. This line of play could be dubious from my point of view, but the opponent may think that everything is great. This may be a position without an advantage, but I would be pleased to play it against this opponent. Whenever possible, I always try to take my opponent away from the lines they know well as early as possible.
In general, my recommendation is simple if you play against a stronger opponent: play according to theory for as long as possible. It could be the theory in your own variation, and not the main lines. On the contrary, if the opponent is weaker, it is better that his theoretical knowledge is ended as soon as possible.