Opening preparation

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One the advanced features of HIARCS Chess Explorer is its ability to allow players of all strengths to prepare their openings and also prepare for opponents. As an example we will briefly take a hypothetical look at how you could prepare an opening to play as Black against ex World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.


Find games of opponent

We first open the "TopGames" database which is packaged with HIARCS Chess Explorer.

In the Game Explorer dialog we can use the Quick search field to find all games played by Garry Kasparov with the White pieces. We simply enter "Kasparov-" and press return (or click Find) and all Kasparov's white games will appear in the Game Explorer pane. Please note you can easily make advanced searching combinations, see the Quick search section for details.

Using Opening Explorer

We can now open the Opening Explorer pane and set the Source to be the current Filter. Opening Explorer will now display all the moves played in Kasparov's games in the current position together with the statistics for those moves. With the source set to the Filter, Opening Explorer will only show moves and statistics from the games within the current Filter. The current filter and games listed in the Game Explorer pane can be redefined to list only games which contain the current position simply by clicking the Show games button at any time.


Please note at version 1.2 we renamed the Source Filter to Last Search. We also introduced a padlock on the Show games button which when pressed will engage the Show games automatically in each new position. Click the padlock again to unlock the Show games function.

Here is the Opening Explorer pane:


We can see based on this data that Garry Kasparov is most likely to play 1.e4.


You will also notice I started a new game (Game->New menu) so I can explore variations played in Garry's games. You can select moves in the Opening Explorer pane to follow different paths until you find something interesting. You can also enter moves and variations and explorer positions as much as you like.


We will assume Garry will play 1.e4 and so we will follow his most common (likely) moves in the Opening Explorer (Source: Filter).... we then reach the Sicilian Nadjorf line 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3


We now find Opening Explorer is showing us a difficult choice - there are a number of choices for Black and they all appear to have bad Scores at least against Garry Kasparov! Remember the Score is always the percentage that White achieves in these lines.


In order to help choose the best move in this position we seek information from other sources. First we select the local opening book to get an idea of the popular GM moves in this position:


Now we can compare that with the wider and deeper Online book: GM+


We can see from this information that 6..e5 is the recommended move from GM practice, so we will follow this move in the game notation, the Opening Explorer will continue to show us the moves and statistics from Kasparov filter. There are two games from the Kasparov filter which follow this 6...e5 line. So we now follow the line 6...e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Nbd7 9.g4 h6 10. Qd2 which is well established theory until we find the two games played diverge. To see these games click the Show Games button and Game Explorer will set a refined Filter to these two games and display the two Kasparov games which contain this position:

Now while the statistics do not look good for Black here, there are simply too few games to form any real opinion on these moves. So we consult the Online GM+ book:


This gives us some confidence that it may be worth pursuing the 10...b5 or 10...Be7 line. So we select the game containing the popular 10...b5 and following that game using the book sources to see what improvement we could make in this line we follow the game some more.

Finally we reach the position after 11.O-O-O Nb6 12.Qf2 Nfd7 13.Kb1 where the local opening book does not even consider the move 13...g6 played in the game and offers two alternative moves. So we should check this out as the local opening book contains established GM theory so we can conclude that 13...g6 has only been played once in GM practice and that was in this game!

Let's consult the Online GM+ book for more information and possible moves:



Indeed the Online GM+ book indicates 13...g6?! is dubious. We can also see that the Online GM+ book is recommending the move 13...Rc8 and the statistics look reasonable for this move for Black. We could now prepare this line further but this is beyond the scope of this manual. You can see how the multiple sources of information can be used to help prepare your openings.


Finally for HIARCS book subscribers you can access the World's strongest opening book directly from within HIARCS Chess Explorer. Once you have entered your book license in the Preferences->Advanced tab. Select the Source: Tournament book and you will see the moves from the HIARCS Tournament book in Opening Explorer:



Here we can see the HIARCS Tournament book offers the interesting move 13...Nc4!


The multiple sources of the Opening Explorer can be used in many ways to help you analyse games, positions and openings. I hope this section has helped give you some ideas on how it can be used.