In the 1992 hacker movie, Sneakers, Martin Bishop (played by Robert Redford) finally realises that the name "Setec Astronomy" does not actually mean anything. It is in fact, an anagram for the phrase,"Too Many Secrets".
And this brings me to my topic for today. Greg, in an earlier post, mentioned how chess players tend to guard their opening repertoire secrets very tightly, holding things very close to their chest.
Do you openly show people your opening repertoire or do you guard your many many opening secrets (too many secrets?) tightly?
For example, in social blitz games in the club, do you or do you not divulge your opening repertoire?
Me? I play a wide variety of openings, Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Philidor, French, Scandinavian etc. so I'm not too bothered if someone learns about it. In fact, I'm too low down on the pecking order for players to be concerned about it.
Some higher rated players get more and more secretive (that's to be expected) about their opening repertoire and rarely give away their game. That's because if future opponents learn about their repertoire, the latter can quickly look up a database to find the best continuation to play to achieve even the minimum advantage.
How then do these players guard and train their opening repertoire, if not over the board?
I can gather only a few possible solutions.
The Internet is probably one of them. Using an anonymous handle, players can play lots of online blitz games using their preferred opening repertoires, refining it, correcting errors etc.
The other alternative is to play it against a computer opponent. Fritz has a wonderful function called Opening Training that allows it to follow any opening book and will replay the moves it finds in the opening book. This is a great way to fine tune and remember your moves for your opening repertoire. The slight problem with Fritz is that it acts and thinks in a non-human way.
The last choice is to get a training partner whom you can trust. In fact, it's great to have a training partner. Both of you not only get to grips with each other's opening choice but it also helps you to prepare for that opening should you encounter it over the board.
Incidentally, if you're a geek, Sneakers is probably the best and last hacker movie to come out of Hollywood ie. a movie that actually does not insult the audience nor rely on any special effects to carry the movie. Of course, the scene of Mother (played by Dan Aykroyd) holding up an old 90s-style modem definitely shows how far the technological world has come since then. And no, Die Hard 4 does not count, it's just filler about a Mac geek and some guy standing on a flying aeroplane.