The clock starts on your tournament game and you play a few familiar opening moves, but soon enough though, your opponent plays a move that surprises you. You have a vague memory of having seen it in a book or course and try to follow the line you learned. Only, you’re not quite sure what the moves were, or even if you’re in the same line you’re thinking of. After a few more moves you reach the end of your preparation (or is it?) and you realize you have no clue what’s going on in the resulting position. You start to drift and, with your attention occupied with trying to find a plan, make a tactical blunder and go down quickly.
I like chessable and I like your 1.Nf3 course. There is an option I recently started using I learned about from "Next Level Chess" and it is https://openingbook.com ... free and handy. It gives the success rates of various moves based upon the rating level you entered.
This is gold!
I relay a lot in model games. I go to the DB to build a tree with choices I fancy, paying attention especially at the score and comparing this with the engine valuation. And then I go further with model games of my favourite elite GMs.
And for the maligned Benoni I bought GM Petrov book on the Quality Chess Grandmaster Repertoire series. The late Vugar Gashimov was the specialist on the Benoni and when they ask him why he attached to an opening with such a bad reputation he answered that he knew more about the opening than the engine. So I study it analyzing the games of Gashimov (and some of Topalov too).
Excellent post! thank you for the recommendations! especially that last one of creating your PGN from memory.
For those who want a FREE Chess Database, I have started this project: https://ajedrezdata.com/ I update constantly.
I hope it will be you useful.
Well written and fantastic advice on openings. I would like to add a third resource I have recently stumbled upon called Chessbook.com. It has a simple interface and an app for iOS and Android to use. It is similar to Chessable in that you can upload your PGNs of your opening or manually enter them and then it tests you. It also links to either profile on Chess.com or Lichess.org and will help show mistakes you played. I highly recommend this.