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Get one of the two books, at least. Then play through some games and pay close attention to the reasoning that lies behind the first ten or twelve moves in each game. Beginners tend not to think much about the opening moves, and they doom themselves before they even realize it. I know this from experience! Pick a white and a black opening and stick with them for awhile (like a year or two or three or four) and you'll start to understand what works and what doesn't.

If you're losing a pawn by the fifth move or if you are about to lose a knight or rook by move 7, you've made a mistake already and need to be thinking more about the consequences of your moves from the very beginning. Good luck!

Thank you. I think that is what I was looking for. Get the match off to a good start and I'll have a better chance later on.

You're right that I seem to be losing a lot of pieces very early in the game. I'm constantly playing at a disadvantage - probably as you mention, within 5 - 10 moves.

I think I'll take a look at a couple of openings and then pick one to use consistently. Hopefully, that will give me at least a consistent base to move forward from and build on.

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