The grandmaster’s openings laboratory review


One of my biggest weaknesses ( see my training plan ) is my openings and I decided to use The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory to help me transform this weakness into a strength.

the grandmaster's openings laboratory

This course is composed of a lesson part which contains 5 lessons:

  1. Forget about the openings! : In this chapter, Smirnov tells you not to spend a lot of time studying the openings. He explains that you need to build a good opening repertoire and stick to it. He also tells you what constitute a good opening repertoire.
  2. How to choose the openings? : At first, we should play correct (i.e. that follow the basic strategic principles) attacking and not too complicated (i.e. that don’t have a lot of theory) openings. Then, once we reach the master level, we can play complicated and non-attacking openings.
  3. The practical description of all the openings. : Here, Smirnov describes all the well-known openings according to the ideas in chapter 2. This chapter gives you a list of openings you can play at the non-master level and at the master level. So if you don’t want to follow the openings repertoire in the practical part, you can still choose good openings to study.
  4. How to learn the openings effectively? : In this lesson, he explains how to study the openings with books or with a database. He tells you what kind of book to choose and describe in a LOT of details how to use a database if you don’t have a book. This chapter is a great help!
  5. Your powerful opening repertoire. : In this lesson, Smirnov explains how to use the practical part of the course. If you paid attention to lesson 4, you can skip this lesson which doesn’t bring anything new and go straigth to the practical part.

and a practical part which is a repertoire. The repertoire isn’t complete. You won’t have recommendations on how to face the elephant gambit for example, but you will have games and a theory file for every common openings in your repertoire.

The repertoire is :

For Black:

  • vs 1.d4: the Benko
  • vs 1.e4: the Scandinavian and/or the Sicilian

For White: 1.e4

  • 1. … e5: the Spanish, the Petrov and the Philidor
  • 1. … c5: the open Sicilian
  • 1. … e6: the 2 knights French
  • 1. … c6: the Panov-Botvinnik
  • 1. … d5: I don’t know the name of the variation
  • 1. … d6: I don’t know the name of the variation
  • 1. … Nf6: the exchange variation

The Grandmaster’s Openings Laboratory is a good course by Smirnov and it is definitely worth the price (IMHO) if you follow the repertoire in the practical part. Even if you don’t want to play the openings he teaches, you will have all the tools to build a good opening repertoire!


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