What is a chess opening journal?
In the journal, you will be able to fill out the move-list of the first 20 moves, mistakes, key moves, notes, and lines to research. There is also a diagram to fill out for the most important position (use to different color pens and fillout the diagram with K, Q, R.. I use dots as pawns)
Why should you try this journal?
The whole idea is that the journal is a desirable difficulty. A wording that was coined by Robert A. Bjork, who is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California. A desirable difficulty can be described like this:
“Many tasks give the illusion of learning because they are too easy. For example, re-reading notes or a textbook is a common learning tactic that has been proven to be less beneficial than using flashcards.
A student may feel like they are learning when re-reading, but this is partly due to the fact that the words are more familiar rather than that the material is being processed and learned. Flashcards, on the other hand, require the student to actively recall the information.
This is a desirable difficulty because it requires more effort and forces the student to do more complex processing. At first, learning with desirable difficulties may take longer and the student may not feel as confident, but over time knowledge will be retained better.” (wiki)
So while it is much quicker to just press ‘Request a computer analysis’ and skim over the mistakes. By journaling and thinking about the opening phase of the game will prove as a good desirable difficulty.
My own experience with this journal
The journal is a kind of a learning experiment, that I hope you want to try out. My initial experience is that I better recall the name of the variations and the mistakes I made in the opening compared with when I just request a computer analysis. The idea is use the journal together with the chess engine, so you actively partake in the review of the Opening.