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How to make your own custom opening course based on win%! - Newsletter from Say Chess

Martin B. Justesen
Martin B. Justesen
I have just been interviewed on the 64: A Chess Podcast (check it out!). It was a really fun interview where we talked about my book projects and chess in Denmark. During the interview, I also mentioned that I have made some custom Chessable courses that are only 10 moves deep.
So in this newsletter, I want to share how I made them. But first, a short shoutout. I just published a hardcover edition of ‘Chess Fundamentals’ by Capablanca. Available only in the US right now.

64: A Chess Podcast
New episode ‼️ had a blast talking with @saychess1 about Danish chess culture and about writing chess books. Stay tuned for our OTB meetup in Copenhagen? Det var så sjovt til at snakker om skak, Martin! (pardon my bad Dansk) 🇩🇰🇩🇰🇩🇰
Pick an opening (Sicilian, French, Caro-Kann, etc.)
In this newsletter, I will use the example of a rep. for Black against anti-Sicilian openings. First, set the opening book in a Lichess Study to be based on Lichess-games and on the rating group you play against. This way you will be making your rep. based on what you most likely will face.
By basing your rep. on the average rating group you will be preparing against the most often played moves in all the positions
By basing your rep. on the average rating group you will be preparing against the most often played moves in all the positions
Next, create a study and map out the main variations that later will become chapters in your Chessable course. The next step is to create a chapter in your Lichess Study for each main move.
Now it is time to select the moves for your rep. I have done this by picking the move that has the highest win% in the Lichess-database within 0.2 of SF evaluation. Thereby I will both play a move that has a high chance of posing my opponent problems and is also approved healthy by the engine.
Now for the first move of the rep. against 2. Nc3. The highest win% of the moves that are within the best move of the engine is 2..a6 with 47% Black wins. Then we pick 2…a6 and look at the most played responses by White: 3. g3, 3. f4, 3. a4, and 3. Nf3. You now repeat the process until you reach move 10 or the depth you want to go after. In the end, you should have a nice tree of lines to import to Chessable.
Along the way, you will have to pick how many sidelines you want to cover, and when the Lichess-database gets too small. It maybe makes sense to only look at the engine evaluation after the no. of games falls below 100.
When you have mapped out the lines you have the option to annotate and draw lines to help you understand the positions. If you don’t understand a move/position go back a step and pick the second-best option.
Go to Chessable
Now that the rep. is ready it’s time to create the course on Chessable. When you create the course go to the course control panel and create the chapters that match your Lichess study. This is an important step to remember. You then go to the owner’s option and import the chapters-pgn to the matching chessable-chapter.
When you are done it will look something like this:
My own French course
My own French course
I think that by doing your own course you are actively learning while you create it and you can investigate the moves in the process, secondly, you get a rep. that is manageable and fits your own needs, and finally it will be based on the moves you will most likely see in your games according to your rating. You can also make your own selection algorithm or base it on a course/book of course..
Let me know if you try it out!
Kind regards,
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Martin B. Justesen
Martin B. Justesen @saychess1

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