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1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 f5
4. d3 fxe4
5. dxe4 Nf6

trading a wing pawn for a center pawn. Probably doesn't really matter a whole lot right now as I have a rather large gaping hole in my kingside defense.

When I played in a few tournaments back in the early 70's I concentrated my study on the middle game and the reasons behind the openings because there was no way I could memorize all the different opening variations.

I understand and agree with you completely. That's why I chose to learn just the Ruy Lopez. I picked up the Schliemann when I decided that if I really wanted to know the Ruy Lopez inside and out, I had to know not only how to win with it, but also how to defeat it. Right now I am studying tactics. I'm using the Comprehensive Chess Course by GM Lev Alburt. It is wonderful. It is basically just the old, once-secret Soviet training method. I'm on the third book out of seven. My game has already improved tremendously. He doesn't give a lick about openings. Says studying them is a waste of time. If you have a firm understanding of tactics, you won't have to memorize openings, you'll be able to figure it out on your own. It also comes in handy because nobody will ever be able to throw you by deviating from the main line. I like to study endgames myself. I don't know why. I could say that you could have every opening down pat and have an incredible middle game, but without a solid endgame, it will all come crumbling apart. Then again, without a decent understanding of openings and middle games, you may never make it to the endgame. <G>
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