chess24 Aug 30, 2018 | 3:47 PMby chess24 staff

Jan's Opening Clinic 21: Part 4

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. 

You can find Jan's previous answers in Jan's Opening Clinic 21 here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. And below is his latest video:

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:

  1. Slyph: Triangle Slav 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c6 4.Qc2 Nf6 5.e3 - how to avoid the Meran? (00:01:02)
  2. KannErN1xMachen: Caro-Kann 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 Qb6 - is Black ok? (00:06:02
  3. Zeveraar: Nimzo 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.Bd2!? - what to do? (00:12:30)
  4. moriarity: Caro-Kann, why is 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 out of fashion? (00:19:28)
  5. Luzhins.parachute: Meran 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Be2 Bb7 11.e4 e5 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nh4 g6 14.Bg5 - how should Black play? (00:24:31
  6. MrNormalName: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.c3 0-0 6.0-0 d6 - what's happening here? (00:29:17
  7. Spieler15: Sicilian Pelikan main line 9.Nd5. Is the sharp line from Giri-Shirov in trouble for Black? (00:35:35
  8. WhiteGengar: Is it a good idea for beginners to play 1.Nf3 2.g3 3.Bg2 every game? (00:44:05)
  9. AnsondePeiza: King's Indian - what to do against the Fianchetto line? (00:48:00
  10. Speedster: Scotch 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Nb6 9.Nc3 Qe4 10 Qe4 d5 - what can White do? (00:52:27)

Stay tuned for the next batch of answers that should be published on Thursday 6th September at 17:00 CEST. 

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