When should one start studying opening theory?

chesstutor

On one of the Forums of http://www.chess.com someone asked whether it was necessary for him to study opening theory. My reply was something like:

I think players worry too much about opening theory and about learning by rote certain lines that they think will help them. Of course, at higher levels a knowledge of opening theory is pretty critical. But far more important is to have an understanding of opening principles – which you clearly do have.

Keep playing stronger and stronger opposition and if you keep winning you certainly shouldn’t worry about opening theory. I do recommend looking through some of the classic chess games of the old masters – the natural way people learn chess is to start off in the style of the old masters and then move through the 20th century. Studying some obscure variation of a hyper-modern opening is not going to be much help…

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