An interesting question came in this week about the openings someone should use in correspondence chess and whether these should be the same as the ones in over-the-board games. Well, it depends…
If someone wants to play correspondence chess for its own sake then they should use the ‘most principled’ moves in the most challenging lines and not worry about either wild complications or lengthy theoretical variations. This approach will reduce both sides’ margin for error and lead to sharp struggles, which is rather necessary in this kind of chess, especially if computers are allowed.
On the other hand if someone uses correspondence chess for training purposes (a major recommendation of mine for over-the-board players) they should use the openings they intend to use in over-the-board play. Using them against super-GM opposition (which is what happens when you marry a 1900 player to a long time limit plus Rybka and Chessbase) is a wonderful way to iron out any wrinkles.
It is possible of course to tick both these boxes if one wishes to participate successfully at GM level and the following game was one of my own attempts to do so. It’s also one of my best at any form of chess.