Don’t Memorize Moves! Understand your Openings | Road to 2000

Caleb Denby shows what can happen when one simply memorizes opening moves without knowing the theoretical ideas behind them. See Anand lose in six moves.

Follow along:

Alonso Zapata vs Viswanathan Anand, Biel-B (1988): C42 Petrov, Nimzovich attack

Luke Ye (1900 URS) vs. Caleb Denby (2007 URS): B19 Caro-Kann, classical, Spassky variation
Denby vs. Ben Shoykhet (1900 URS): A40 Modern defence


  1. At 27:15 If Qxc5?? Nd7, forking queen and rook. Oh and they did mentioned it on the video later. Nice.

  2. I followed the first part of not memorizing moves. Still working on the second

  3. Did Anand blunder because he thought that 6. … Qe7 would save his knight? Because at first glance it looks like black's fine. But the following 7. Nd5 attacks blacks queen and she can't go anywhere without abandoning the knight. – I simply can't imagine Vishi didn't see the pin.

  4. Can someone explain to me why Annand didnt just play queen e7? it would have unpinned the knight and protected it at the same time???


  6. I really appreciate that pace of teaching. I want to see more from Mr. Denby.

  7. 3:47 perhaps nice to add really quick on why not queen d7. (instead of pawn d5)

  8. Boring your Video tutorial Nonsense your chess style

  9. In the first game, the funny thing is that when g3 is played, g4 might have been a better move anyway, leaving it just hanging would have been really interesting. Would black take it and risk facing rooks on the h file as well as the semi open g file ?

  10. I love to see kids giving lessons that the vast majority of adults could learn from!

  11. I feel like openings have pretty similar plans so even if you don't know every opening, you can have a pretty good guess as to what the ideas are in an unfamiliar opening based on the plans from a decent subset of familiar openings.

  12. Knight to f6 instead of pushing the pond his pond takes knight opening file for you to slide your rook over into and there you can force your win

  13. not a fan. too much dead air. runaway examples… ineffective.

  14. Nice video, but when you're teaching to a wide variety of skill levels, phrases like "this one shouldn't be so hard" can only be discouraging. It either takes away the accomplishment of finding the idea for those who can, or lowers the confidence of someone who can't.

  15. Let's look at the game between Niemann and Carlsen.
    13. Rfd1 instead of the correct Bxf6
    21 c4 – sacrificing a pawn for very little compensation
    28 g4??
    30 a4 instead of Bxc4
    Niemann also didn't play the most accurate moves to bring home the point.
    Carlsen lost because he played badly in this game and not because of any computer-like brilliance from Niemann.

  16. Decent video. I actually sat through it taking notes. What has happened to me. Only started playing chess like 3 weeks ago. I used to think this game was stupid. fml lool

  17. Caleb, as a novice player, I really appreciate your coherent teaching skills. I learn a lot from you and the pauses from nobody chipping in actually helped me to try to solve the puzzles before you gave the correct answers. The crowd seemed scared to say the wrong answer.

  18. Unless somebody can tell me that the strongest chess engine can lose to a human Chess player who understands openings, I am all for it.

  19. this is what i wanna hear from a chess player being familiar with the position should come naturally, and memorizing moves is way far weaker strategy than a great analyzing ability. analyzing the position ang predicting opponents next move is the best weapon of a great player.

  20. Hi Celeb… I like your games but I don t understand your accent 😢

  21. This is crucial to learning anything. Great video. It’s not ok to just memorize moves. You have to know the why’s of these moves.

  22. Ilike the explanation. Clearly i understand.

  23. Strong disagree. Good moves are good moves whether you understand them or not.

  24. I really like this video, however I'm not a strong chess player. What happens in the position in the video after minute 27 second 20 where white can play Nd2 forking the black queen and rook?

  25. really didn´t like it, watching 4 minutes was enough for me. You just don´t explain anything interesting. At 2:00 your don´t explain the first trap, that would be very interesting and at 4:00 you don´t explain the line Qe7, Nd5 which is the interesting one. What the point of your video really?

  26. good advice, instead of just playing 1e4 by habit, understand that its the best first move 🙂

  27. The Petrov strikes again in the US open 2022. Another GM that did not know the opening Elshan vs Lenier!

  28. I don't think that teaching this ideas to young players is the best way for keep them improve their ratings

  29. He's too smart for the audience. Asking questions that no one can answer lol

  30. @4:14 why can’t black do Queen G5? You can move knight and if Queen trade you take with bishop.

  31. I would definitely trust this kid to teach me to play chess before I would trust him to drive

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