In today’s post we welcome back Colonel Walter Polhill (RTD) to our humble blog. The Colonel wrote a series of erudite articles for The Independent on Sunday back in the late 90’s and yours truly has excavated them, dusted them down and now presents once more for your enlightenment. In this article the Colonel tackles the knotty issue of opening theory and reveals the real reason why so many Grand Master games follow the opening books for so many moves.
The true value of opening theory is not generally understood. Studying the opening to such a degree that one may reel off a dozen or 20 moves by rote is, above all, an aid to digestion. Some tournament organisers, for reasons best known to themselves, insist on starting play in the very early afternoon. This presents a stark choice: forgo lunch, risk indigestion by attempting to think too soon after a meal, or rely on opening theory until the meal is digested.”