Psychology (including confidence) is an important part of any competitive activity, especially chess, where nearly the whole competition is in the minds of the opponents. Preparation and practice help improve confidence, as well as get ready for the situation one is studying.

Recently my child played in a tournament and performed poorly. This is after several tournaments in which success was had. In one lost game in particular, the opposing player played a very unusual - and generally considered inferior - opening. However, my kid had never played against such an opening, was confused by it, and played poorly. While I don't by any means want to teach poor principles, in order to help prepare for future games in which an opponent pulls out a strange opening, I seek to find such openings for me to play at home, when we are relaxed, and when a "teaching moment" might occur.

Alas I will be the first to admit that I am not a very strong or knowledgeable chess player. Thus I asked the question (For training purposes) Are there any openings with rook pawns that are more effective than others (and if so, what are they)?. It has gotten several answers, and a couple of them have been helpful. However some of the answers don't address what I am asking. Instead, they just state that I should teach good principles in spite of the fact I already said I want to do this in the original post. I have made comments trying to elicit more helpful suggestions; unfortunately, these seem to lead to testy exchanges instead of improved answers.

I just added to the post in an attempt to better explain myself.

So, am I clear enough here? Is the reason I'm not getting helpful responses just due to a lack of openings that fit my question and yet some people think they should answer anyway (and yet not with something like "Sorry, there aren't any.")? Or do I need to improve the question somehow?


2 Answers 2


Don't worry about it.

I don't think the question is unclear, but people sometimes try to be helpful by answering what they think you should have asked instead. :-)

People sometimes disagree with the premises of the question, too. In this case it could be that people think that studying the opening at the beginner level (beyond general principles) is not useful.

One piece of information which could have helped give more context to your question is your kid's rating. You say scholastic, but that could mean anything from 100 to 2000+. If it's closer to the low end of the range, the opening definitely doesn't matter much because there were probably multiple blunders on both sides. If it's at the higher end, the importance of openings is much greater.


People are just trying to explain you that your question is of no importance at all. Since, seen the context you're given, most answerers assume your kid's intentions is to become a better chess player, not knowing if 1.a3 is better than 1.a4 just for the sake of knowing it, it is logical to give you advice in that direction.

You would have made a better question by asking something like "How to get an edge against that kind of opening", as the most upvoted answer suggests rather than something like "Which of these four bad moves is better than the rest?"

Finally, as @itub says, people wanted to point out some assumptions you make in your question are wrong

  • What assumptions are wrong?
    – GreenMatt
    Jun 25, 2019 at 11:11
  • 1
    "Ultimately, the other kid won the game because my kid didn't know how to respond and got rattled." That was not the reason
    – David
    Jun 25, 2019 at 11:24
  • If you want to say that poor moves lost the game, I can't argue that and don't? However, why did my kid make bad moves? Because of lack of understanding? No, but because of getting nervous. Or do you presume to know my kid better than I do?
    – GreenMatt
    Jun 25, 2019 at 11:34
  • 1
    @GreenMatt If you don't want to listen to the people that know more than you do, don't even bother to ask them! If he made those bad moves because he was nervous, then he has to work on the psychological aspects. Knowing that 1.a3 is better than 1.a4 won't help him in that regard either. By the way, I don't know your particular child, but I've worked with dozens of them, so I know a couple of things about how to teach this game
    – David
    Jun 25, 2019 at 11:38
  • "If he made those bad moves because he was nervous, then he has to work on the psychological aspects." What more do I have to say to show that that is exactly what I'm trying to do?
    – GreenMatt
    Jun 26, 2019 at 11:33
  • No. It is not. You are asked some unrelated question about 1,a4 as an opening
    – David
    Jun 26, 2019 at 11:38
  • So what you're saying is that I wasn't clear enough about the purpose of the question. I've edited it (extensively) to make it clearer.
    – GreenMatt
    Jun 26, 2019 at 22:14

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