Openings Course


Class 1 Scholar’s Mate
Class 2 Fried Liver Attack
Class 3 King’s Gambit
Class 4 Caro-Kann Defense
Class 5 French Defense
Class 6 Queen’s Gambit
Class 7 English Opening
Class 8 London System
Class 9 Dutch Stonewall Defense
Class 10 Sicilian Grand Prix Attack

In this course, we take a look at 10 topics connected to middlegame strategy. Rather than look at Grandmaster games, I’ve decided that I will mainly look at examples from my own games.
1. Scholar’s Mate- Many of you may know this as a cheap trick aimed at scoring a quick win against an unsuspecting novice. This is partly true. OK, it’s mainly true. However, Scholar’s Mate can be used as a legitimate opening. It is incorrect to assume that White is busted, or even has a bad position just because their quick checkmate threat was stymied. Because the opening is used frequently in lower-rated competition, it is useful to know it inside and out.
2. The Fried Liver Attack- Where do they get these names? Like Scholar’s Mate is an opening in which White launches a quick attack against Black. Care is needed for the second player to successfully navigate into a strong middle-game position. Unlike scholar’s Mate, the Fried Liver Attack is employed by amateurs and Grandmasters alike. Despite White’s early volley of threats, it is actually Black who gets to have all the fun as the opening moves along.
3. King’s Gambit- Another opening in which White plays in an aggressive and risky fashion right from the get-go. Black can quickly find himself in over his head if he isn’t prepared to deal with this confrontational opening choice.
4. Caro Kann- Now that we have gotten the dangerous stuff out of the way, we can turn our attention to expanding our knowledge of classical mainlines openings. The Caro-Kann defense is considered a safe and solid opening choice for Black. However, as we will see, some variations do lend themselves to frisky play. We will discuss the general ideas behind the opening, look at the different main branches, then look more closely at the Classical variation.
5. French Defense- Another common, well-established opening with a reputation for solidity. What sets the French apart is that the pawn structure that arises is distinct and characteristic of the French. French positions are often closed. This means that both sides must hunker down and prepare for some slow strategic play.
6. Queen’s Gambit- Popularized by the famous Netflix series by the same name. This is our first foray into a 1.d4 opening. On the surface, it will look like a left-handed King’s gambit. A closer look, however, reveals that the openings could not be more dissimilar. The Queen’s gambit often leads to solid positions with a slight advantage for White.
7. English Opening- Our first opening in which White doesn’t play e4 on the first move. In fact, White doesn’t play d4 either. The English Opening is described by the move 1. c4 by White. The English are a high transposition opening- meaning it can morph into a different opening very easily, usually when they move d4 is played. We will look at a purely English version of the opening in which White eschews d4. The players avoid each other, playing on different sides of the board in an interesting strategic battle.
8. London System- A favorite of Magnus Carlsen, current world champion & also Gata Kamsky, former world championship challenger, in the shorter time formats. A deceptive opening that is easy to play with White and lull your opponent into a false sense of security. The game can suddenly transform into a position full of dynamic and position landmines for the opponent.
9. Dutch Stonewall Defense- A variation of the Dutch defense which intends on building an impregnable fortress. It involves closing the center and attacking along the flanks. A fun and easy play the opening.
10. Sicilian Grand Prix attack- The Sicilian defense is perhaps the most popular opening in chess. A very dynamic opening leads to imbalanced positions with attacking chances for both sides. We will look at the main branches of the Sicilian, and look more closely at the Grand Prix Attack.

As part of the package, students will be given access to the course material (lectures and puzzles) in lichess, as well as homework puzzles for each class.

This is a GROUP COURSE with a maximum of 20 participants. Each class will have 2 MASTERS present for the whole class.

COURSE DURATION: 10 weeks (1 lesson/week)
DELIVERY: Zoom + Lichess (Participants will need to create a account)
COST: $200 for the full course. (Venmo, Zelle, Paypal, etc.)