In Episode 4 of Season 21 of Jan's Opening Clinic our openings guru Jan Gustafsson once more tackles some serious theory, including the Najdorf and Sveshnikov Sicilians, the Meran, the fianchetto variation against the King's Indian and more. One user asks about a Magnus Carlsen suggestion for beginners to play 1.Nf3 2.g3 3.Bg2 against almost anything. Is that simple approach the solution we've all been looking for?
Magnus' recommendation came in a Q&A session hosted by Play Magnus CEO Kate Murphy:
If you were giving advice to a casual player, say an Elo around 1600, what are the best openings to ensure a positional game?
Magnus Carlsen: I think for White the easiest way is to go Nf3, then g3, Bg2 and then castle, because then you can get so many different pawn structures in the centre. You can go for d4 c4, you can go for c4 d3, you can go for d3 e4, you can even just go b3 Bb2 and develop from that. I think that’s a good opening just to be able to play different pawn structures with a relatively quiet game. And with Black there’s e4 e5, playing a closed Ruy Lopez. I think that’s a good way for anyone who wants to get better at positional chess – to try and understand these positions.
Jan wasn't in favour of sticking to one setup, with his answer including:
I don’t think that if we’re assuming the goal is to improve that sticking to one line, especially one setup, and hoping we will have great familiarity with it, will help us, because in chess most of the good players are able to play different structures, and if you change your opening more, or play e4 or d4, even without learning any theory, you will get different structures on the board. I believe that helps you more to get a broader understanding of the game.
As you can see, Magnus and Jan actually both emphasise the importance of learning to play new structures when you're starting out in chess.
Once again we've added clickable timestamps that let you go straight to a question that interests you - you can also find those timestamps in the description under the video at YouTube:
Stay tuned for the next batch of answers that should be published on Thursday 6th September at 17:00 CEST.
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