The Most Common Chess Openings

A game of chess is divided into three distinct phases, known as the Opening, the Middlegame, and the Endgame, each of which has its own strategies. There are many chess openings to be aware of. Some are too straightforward to survive, while others provide a lot of good opportunities. These advantages and openings are nothing more than strategic patterns that appear at the beginning of every chess game.

What is a Chess Opening?

An opening is simply the first several moves made in a chess game. Most likely, they’ll follow one of hundreds of classic sequences (or one of the hundreds of variations on those sequences). More broadly, though, an opening refers to the first phase of a chess game, as distinguished from the middlegame and endgame.

A good opening allows you to:

  • The initial position of the board: Your opening is meant to help you get your pieces out on the board and mostly to establish them to either control or threaten the center and then to form the shape of the future battle that you will have. In general players will want to get their knights, bishops, queens and rooks out and fight as fast as possible (and in that order too).
  • To take control of the game: The more openings that you know, the more choice that you have in the way that you conduct the game. Think about the phrase “knowledge is power”, it absolutely applies in chess too. Most of the beginners don’t study openings (because they’re still wondering what to do) and thus, all they do is react to their opponent’s moves, this leaves them behind from the beginning and never in control.
  • To play your preferred game: If you practice a set of openings and then know how to use those openings to make your midgame and even your endgame stronger then being able to force your opponent to follow the pattern that you want gives you a huge advantage when it comes to the rest of the game. 
  • To stay away from traps of your opponent’s making: An opening trap is a disaster for a player to fall into. If an opponent is sneaky enough, they can quite literally ruin the game for you in just a few moves. The more openings that you know, the more you will understand how these traps might unfold on the board and how you can avoid them. This may leave you free to castle when you want or even to hold onto a major material advantage.
  • To prepare for the midgame: The less work you have to put into the openings on the board, the more of your mental energy that you can devote to the midgame. This is the point where you really start to shape the game and where decisive advantages can be won or lost. A good opening gives you the ability to take, if not material advantage, certainly the advantage of pace into this critical time for the outcome.
  • To stay out of trouble: The less work you put into openings, the better when playing the game. 
  • To have a better plan for the rest of the game: When you understand the shape that your openings create on the board, you can understand what kind of moves are going to help you best in the midgame and that means you will also be able to see if your opponent is deviating from the plans that might give them the biggest advantage too.

Some openings are direct, immediately attacking the center of the board while aggressively developing material, while others are more subtle, advancing along the sides of the board and taking many turns to develop. As with overall chess strategy, the best opening is the one you can play most confidently.

If you’re the kind of player who prefers to press the attack and set the momentum of the game, then a more aggressive opening may suit you better. Alternatively, if you prefer to set traps for your opponent and wait for them to make mistakes, then a more passive, flexible style of play might be your best bet.

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Types of Chess Openings

You would probably be shocked to learn that there are 1,327 openings(including variants which are minor changes to a more standard opening) with a name! Some of the most popular chess openings are:

Classical Openings

Classical openings are based on a very direct approach toward achieving the opening objectives, particularly with regard to placing and supporting pawns in the centre.

Classical Openings typically lead to positions where both sides use every move to fight for control of the centre. The classical approach to the opening is that it is best to fight for the centre right away, particularly by placing your pawns in the centre as soon as possible. In Hypermodern Openings, on the other hand, the strategy is to attack and undermine your opponent’s central pawns from a distance, mainly with pieces and flank-pawns.

Some of the classical openings are:

Ruy Lopez

The Ruy López also called the Spanish Opening or Spanish Game, is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bb5

The Ruy López is named after 16th-century Spanish priest Ruy López de Segura.

Chess Openings
Ruy López Chess Opening

Italian Game

The Italian Game is a family of chess openings beginning with the moves:

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bc4

Chess Openings
Italian Game Chess Opening

The opening is defined by the development of the white bishop to c4 (the so-called “Italian bishop”), where it attacks Black’s vulnerable f7-square. It is part of the large family of Open Games or Double King’s Pawn Games.

The Italian Game is one of the oldest recorded chess openings; it occurs in the Göttingen manuscript and was developed by players such as Damiano and Polerio in the 16th century, and later by Greco in 1620, who gave the game its main line. It has been extensively analyzed for more than 300 years.

Sicilian Defense

The Sicilian Defence is a chess opening that begins with the following moves:

1. e4 c5
The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White’s first move 1.e4. Opening 1.d4 is a statistically more successful opening for White because of the high success rate of the Sicilian defence against 1.e4.

Chess Openings
Sicilian Defense Chess Opening

French Defense

The French Defense is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. e4 e6
This is most commonly followed by 2.d4 d5, with Black intending …c5 at a later stage, attacking White’s pawn centre and gaining space on the queenside. The French has a reputation for solidity and resilience, although some lines such as the Winawer Variation can lead to sharp complications.

Chess Openings
French Defense Chess Opening

Black’s position is often somewhat cramped in the early game. In particular, the pawn on e6 can impede the development of the bishop on c8.

Caro-Kann Defense

The Caro–Kann Defence is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. e4 c6

The Caro–Kann is a common defence against the King’s Pawn Opening and is classified as a “Semi-Open Game” like the Sicilian Defence and French Defence, although it is thought to be more solid and less dynamic than either of those openings.

Chess Openings
Caro–Kann Defense Chess Opening

It often leads to good endgames for Black, who has the better pawn structure. The Caro–Kann allows Black to circumvent enormous bodies of theory of various responses to 1.e4 such as the Ruy Lopez and the Sicilian Defence.

Pirc Defense

The Pirc Defence is a chess opening characterised by the response of Black to 1.e4 with 1…d6 and 2…Nf6, followed by …g6 and …Bg7, while allowing White to establish a centre with pawns on d4 and e4. It is named after the Slovenian grandmaster Vasja Pirc.

Chess Openings
Pirc Defense Chess Opening

The Pirc Defence is usually defined by the opening sequence

1. e4 d6

2. d4 Nf6

3. Nc3 g6

This is the most commonly played line after Black responds to 1.e4 with 1…d6. It has been claimed to give rise to somewhat interesting and exciting games, where Black will have counterplay but has to be cautious about playing too passively.

Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit is the chess opening that starts with the moves:

1. d4 d5

2. c4

It is one of the oldest openings and is still commonly played today. It is traditionally described as a gambit because White appears to sacrifice the c-pawn; however, this could be considered a misnomer as Black cannot retain the pawn without incurring a disadvantage.

Chess Openings
Queen’s Gambit Chess Opening

Indian Defenses

In the game of chess, Indian Defence or Indian Game is a broad term for a group of openings characterized by the moves:

1. d4 Nf6

They are all to varying degrees hypermodern defences, where Black invites White to establish an imposing presence in the centre with the plan of undermining and ultimately destroying it.

Chess Openings
Indian Defenses Chess Opening

Although the Indian defences were championed in the 1920s by players in the hypermodern school, they were not fully accepted until Russian players showed in the late 1940s that these systems are sound for Black. Since then, the Indian defences have become a popular way for Black to respond to 1.d4 because they often offer an unbalanced game with winning chances for both sides. 

Transpositions are important and many variations can be reached by several move orders. It is also possible to transpose back into classical openings such as the Queen’s Gambit and the Slav Defence; these are not considered “Indian” openings.

The usual White second move is 2.c4, grabbing a larger share of the centre and allowing the move Nc3, to prepare for moving the e-pawn to e4 without blocking the c-pawn with the knight. Black’s most popular replies are

2…e6, freeing the king’s bishop and leading into the Nimzo-Indian Defence, Queen’s Indian Defence, Bogo-Indian Defence, Modern Benoni, Catalan Opening, or regular lines of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, 2…g6, preparing a fianchetto of the king’s bishop and entering the King’s Indian Defence or Grünfeld Defence, and 2…c5, the Benoni Defense, with an immediate counter-punch in the centre, but other moves are played as detailed below.

Instead of 2.c4, White often plays 2.Nf3. Then Black may play 2…d5 which may transpose to a Queen’s Gambit after 3.c4. Or Black may play 2…e6 which retains possibilities of transposing to a Queen’s Gambit or Queen’s Indian Defence. 

Alternatively 2…g6 may transpose to a King’s Indian Defence or Grünfeld Defence, while 2…c5 invites transposition to a Benoni. White can deny Black any of these transpositions by refraining from c2–c4 over the next several moves.On the second move, White can also play 2.Bg5, the Trompowsky Attack. Black can respond 2…Ne4 , or 2…e6 , among other moves. A third alternative for White is the rarer 2.Nc3. Then Black may play 2…d5, after which 3.Bg5 is the Richter-Veresov Attack. Black may also play 2…g6.

English Opening

The English Opening is a chess opening that begins with the move:

1. c4
A flank opening, it is the fourth most popular and, according to various databases, anywhere from one of the two most successful to the fourth most successful of White’s twenty possible first moves.

Chess Openings
English Opening Chess Opening

White begins the fight for the centre by staking a claim to the d5-square from the wing, in hyper modern style. Although many lines of the English have a distinct character, the opening is often used as a transpositional device in much the same way as 1.Nf3 – to avoid such highly regarded responses to 1.d4 as the Nimzo-Indian and Grünfeld Defences — and is considered reliable and flexible.

The English derives its name from the English (unofficial) world champion Howard Staunton, who played it during his 1843 match with Saint-Amant and at London 1851, the first international tournament.

Reti Opening

The Réti Opening is a hypermodern chess opening whose traditional or classic method begins with the moves:

1. Nf3 d5

2. c4White attacks Black’s pawn from the flank, which may occasion 2…dxc4. White may couple this plan with a kingside fianchetto (g3 and Bg2) to create pressure on the light squares in the center.

Chess Openings
Reti Opening Chess Opening

The opening is named after Czechoslovakian Richard Réti (1889–1929). The opening is in the spirit of the hypermodernism movement that Réti championed, with the center being dominated from the wings rather than by direct occupation. If White fianchettoes both bishops, castles kingside, and refrains from occupying the center with pawns, the result may be described as the Réti system.

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Closed Games

A Closed Game (or Double Queen’s Pawn Opening) is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. d4 d5

The move 1.d4 offers the same benefits to development and center control as does 1.e4, but unlike with the King Pawn openings where the e4-pawn is undefended after the first move, the d4-pawn is protected by White’s queen. This slight difference has a tremendous effect on the opening. 

Chess Openings
Closed Games Chess Opening

For instance, whereas the King’s Gambit is rarely played today at the highest levels of chess, the Queen’s Gambit remains popular at all levels of play. Also, compared with the King Pawn openings, transpositions between variations are more common and important in the closed games.

Flank Openings

A flank opening is a chess opening played by White and typified by play on one or both flanks (the portion of the chess board outside the central d and e files). White often plays in a hyper modern style, attacking the center from the flanks with pieces rather than occupying it with pawns. These openings are played often, although more often by advanced players than beginners, and 1.Nf3 and 1.c4 trail only 1.e4 and 1.d4 in popularity as opening moves.

Some of the common flank openings are:

English Opening

The English Opening is a chess opening that begins with the move:

1. c4
A flank opening, it is the fourth most popular and, according to various databases, anywhere from one of the two most successful to the fourth most successful of White’s twenty possible first moves. White begins the fight for the centre by staking a claim to the d5-square from the wing, in hyper modern style.

Chess Openings

Although many lines of the English have a distinct character, the opening is often used as a transpositional device in much the same way as 1.Nf3 – to avoid such highly regarded responses to 1.d4 as the Nimzo-Indian and Grünfeld Defences — and is considered reliable and flexible.

Zukertort Opening

Characteristically followed by fianchettoed one or both bishops, and without an early d4, can lead to the Réti Opening. 

The Zukertort Opening is a chess opening named after Johannes Zukertort that begins with the move:

1. Nf3

Chess Openings

Sometimes the name “Réti Opening” is used for the opening move 1.Nf3, although most sources define the Réti more narrowly as the sequence 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4.

A flank opening, it is the third most popular of the twenty legal opening moves White has, behind only 1.e4 and 1.d4.

The move has been described by Edmar Mednis as a “perfect and flexible opening” and by others such as Aron Nimzowitsch as “certainly the most solid move, whereas moves such as 1.e4 and 1.d4 are both ‘committal’ and ‘compromising’.” The game can transpose into many other openings that usually start with 1.e4, 1.d4, or 1.c4

If Black is not careful, there is the risk of running unprepared into a highly theoretical opening, e.g. after 1.Nf3 c5 White can play 2.e4 leading to the mainline Sicilian Defense. Other common transpositions are to various lines of the Queen’s Gambit Declined (after e.g. 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4) or the Catalan Opening (after e.g. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 e6 4.0-0 Be7 5.c4).

The main independent lines which usually start with 1.Nf3 are the Réti Opening (1.Nf3 d5 2.c4) and the King’s Indian Attack (where White plays 1.Nf3, 2.g3, 3.Bg2, 4.0-0, and 5.d3, though not always in that order). By playing 1.Nf3 White has prevented Black from playing 1…e5, and many players who want to play the English Opening but avoid the reversed Sicilian lines beginning with 1.c4 e5 opt to start the game with 1.Nf3 instead.

Bird’s Opening

Bird’s Opening (or the Dutch Attack) is a chess opening characterized by the move:

1. f4
Bird’s is a standard flank opening. White’s strategic ideas involve control of the e5-square, offering good attacking chances at the expense of slightly weakening their own kingside.

Chess Openings

Black may challenge White’s plan to control e5 immediately by playing From’s Gambit (1…e5); however, the From Gambit is notoriously double-edged and should only be played after significant study.

Larsen’s Opening

Larsen’s Opening (also called the Nimzo–Larsen Attack or Queen’s Fianchetto Opening) is a chess opening starting with the move:

1. b3

It is named after the Danish grandmaster Bent Larsen. Larsen was inspired by the example of the great Latvian-Danish player and theoretician Aron Nimzowitsch (1886–1935), who often played 1.Nf3 followed by 2.b3, which is sometimes called the Nimzowitsch–Larsen Attack. 

Chess Openings

The flank opening move 1.b3 prepares to fianchetto the queen’s bishop where it will help control the central squares in hypermodern fashion and put useful pressure on Black’s kingside. The b2-bishop is often a source of recurring irritation for Black, who should not treat it lightly.

King’s Fianchetto Opening

It is also known as Benko’s Opening. The King’s Fianchetto Opening or Benko’s Opening (also known as the Hungarian Opening, Barcza Opening, or Bilek Opening) is a chess opening characterized by the move:

1. g3

Chess Openings

White’s 1.g3 ranks as the fifth most popular opening move, but it is far less popular than 1.e4, 1.d4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3. It is usually followed by 2.Bg2, fianchettoed by the bishop. Nick de Firmian writes that 1.g3 “can, and usually does, transpose into almost any other opening in which White fianchetto his king’s bishop”.

In addition, some flank openings that are considered irregular Anderssen’s Opening, Ware Opening, Sokolsky Opening( also known as the Polish Opening or the Orangutan Opening), Saragossa Opening, Barnes Opening(also known as Gedult’s Opening), Grob’s Attack, Clemenz Opening(or Basman’s Attack), Desprez Opening( or Kadas Opening), Durkin Opening( also known as Durkin’s Attack or the Sodium Attack), Dunst Opening, Amar Opening( also known as Paris Opening).

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Gambit Openings

A gambit (from ancient Italian gambetto, the act of tipping someone with the leg to make them fall) is a chess opening in which a player sacrifices material with the aim of achieving a subsequent positional advantage. The word “gambit” is also sometimes used to describe similar tactics used by politicians or business people in a struggle with rivals in their respective fields, for example “The early election was a risky gambit by Theresa May”.

Some of the common Gambit openings are:

King’s Gambit

The King’s Gambit is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5

2. f4

White offers a pawn to divert the black e-pawn. If Black accepts the gambit, White has two main plans. The first is to play d4 and Bxf4, regaining the gambit pawn with central domination. 

Chess Openings

The alternative plan is to play Nf3 and Bc4 followed by 0-0, when the semi-open f-file created after a pawn push to g3 allows White to attack the weakest point in Black’s position, the pawn on f7

Theory has shown that, in order to maintain the gambit pawn, Black may well be forced to weaken the kingside with moves such as …g5 or odd piece placement (e.g. …Nf6–h5). A downside to the King’s Gambit is that it weakens White’s king’s position, exposing it to the latent threat of …Qh4+ (or …Be7–h4+). With a black pawn on f4, White cannot usually respond to the check with g3, but if the king is forced to move then it also loses the right to castle.

Queen’s Gambit

The Queen’s Gambit is the chess opening that starts with the moves:

1. d4 d5

2. c4

Chess Openings

It is one of the oldest openings and is still commonly played today. It is traditionally described as a gambit because White appears to sacrifice the c-pawn; however, this could be considered a misnomer as Black cannot retain the pawn without incurring a disadvantage.

Evans Gambit

The Evans Gambit is a chess opening characterized by the moves:

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bc4 Bc5

4. b4

Chess Openings

The Evans Gambit is an aggressive line of the Giuoco Piano. White offers a pawn to divert the black bishop on c5. If Black accepts, White can follow up with c3 and d4, ripping open the centre, while also opening diagonals to play Ba3 or Qb3 at some point, preventing Black from castling kingside and threatening the f7-pawn respectively. If Black declines, the b4-pawn stakes out space on the queenside, and White can follow up with a4 later in the game, potentially gaining a tempo by threatening to trap Black’s dark-square bishop.

Rousseau Gambit

The Rousseau Gambit (or Ponziani Countergambit) is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bc4 f5

Chess Openings

The gambit is named after French chess master Eugène Rousseau. White can decline the gambit by supporting the e-pawn with 4.d3. The resulting position is similar to a King’s Gambit Declined with colours reversed, and White’s king bishop aiming at Black’s weakened kingside. Black will have trouble castling kingside and Ng5 is a likely threat. White’s position is better, but still requires careful play.

Key themes for White are to attack Black’s kingside and to avoid attempts by Black to simplify the position. Exchanges involving White’s light-square bishop are particularly suspect.

Smith–Morra Gambit

The Smith–Morra Gambit (or simply Morra Gambit) is an opening gambit against the Sicilian Defence distinguished by the moves:

1. e4 c5

2. d4 cxd4

3. c3

Chess Openings

White sacrifices a pawn to develop quickly and create attacking chances. In exchange for the gambit pawn, White has a piece developed after 4.Nxc3 and a pawn in the center, while Black has an extra pawn and a central pawn majority. The plan for White is straightforward and consists of placing his bishop on c4 to attack the f7-square, and controlling both the c- and d-files with rooks, taking advantage of the fact that Black can hardly find a suitable place to post his queen.

Two Knights Defence

The Two Knights Defense is a chess opening that begins with the moves:

1. e4 e5

2. Nf3 Nc6

3. Bc4 Nf6

Chess Openings

First recorded by Giulio Cesare Polerio(c. 1550 – c. 1610) in the late 16th century, this line of the Italian Game was extensively developed in the 19th century. Black’s third move is a more aggressive defense than the Giuoco Piano (3…Bc5).

Black invites White to attack his f7-pawn with 4.Ng5. If White accepts the offer, the game quickly takes on a tactical character: Black is practically forced to give up a pawn for the initiative. The complications are such that David Bronstein suggested that the term “defense” does not fit, and that the name “Chigorin Counterattack” would be more appropriate.

Some other gambit openings are Blackmar–Diemer Gambit (BDG), From’s Gambit, Staunton Gambit, Budapest Gambit, Scotch Gambit, Latvian Gambit, Danish Gambit, Blackburne Shilling Gambit, Elephant Gambit, Englund Gambit, Italian Gambit, Fried Liver Attack, Albin Countergambit, Benko Gambit, Milner Barry Gambit.

Hypermodern Openings

The Hypermodernists demonstrated their new ideas with games and victories. Aron Nimzowitsch, considered the founder and leading practitioner of hypermodernism, showed that games could be won through indirect control of the centre, breaking with Tarrasch’s view that the centre must be occupied by pawns. Nimzowitsch advocated controlling the centre with distant pieces rather than with pawns, thus inviting the opponent to occupy the centre with pawns, which can then become targets of attack. 

This was part of the hypermodern framework, which Nimzowitsch encapsulated in his seminal book My System, which greatly influenced many chess players. It introduced and formalised concepts of the pawn chain, overprotection, undermining, prophylaxis, restraint, rook on the seventh rank, knight outposts, the dynamics of the isolated queen’s pawn, and other areas of chess.

Although none of the primary exponents of the Hypermodern school ever achieved the title of World Chess Champion, they were among the world’s strongest players. World Champion Alexander Alekhine was associated with hypermodernism, but his style was more of a blend with the Classical school.

In practice, hypermodernism has not replaced the classical theory of Steinitz and Tarrasch. Instead, modern chess textbooks describe hypermodernism as an addition, or extension, to classical theory.

Hypermodern openings include the Réti Opening, King’s Indian Defence, Queen’s Indian Defence, Nimzo-Indian Defence, Nimzowitsch Defence, Grünfeld Defence, Bogo-Indian Defence, Old Indian Defence, Catalan Opening, King’s Indian Attack, Alekhine’s Defence, Modern Defence, Pirc Defence, Larsen’s Opening, and to a lesser degree the English Opening. Openings such as 1.a3 do not constitute hypermodern openings since, although they delay the occupation of the centre with pawns, they also delay piece development.

Open Games

An Open Game (or Double King’s Pawn Opening) is a chess opening that begins with the following moves:

1. e4 e5

White has moved the king’s pawn two squares and Black has replied in kind. The result is an Open Game. Other responses to 1.e4 are termed Semi-Open Games or Single King’s Pawn Games.

Chess Openings

It should not be confused with the term “open game” (lowercase), referring to a chess position where ranks, files and diagonals are open, and tending to more tactical gameplay.

Semi-Open Games

A Semi-Open Game is a chess opening in which White plays 1.e4 and Black breaks symmetry immediately by replying with a move other than 1…e5. The Semi-Open Games are also called Single King Pawn, Asymmetrical King Pawn, or Half-Open Games (or Openings), and are the complement of the Open Games or Double King Pawn Games which begin 1.e4 e5.

Semi-Closed Openings

A Semi-Closed Game (or Semi-Closed Opening) is a chess opening in which White plays 1.d4 but Black does not make the symmetrical reply 1…d5. (The openings starting 1.d4 d5 are the Closed Games.)

Chess Openings

By far the most important category of the semi-closed openings are the Indian systems, which begin 1.d4 Nf6..

The third most common response to 1.d4 (after 1…Nf6 and 1…d5) is 1…e6. 1…e6 rarely has independent significance, usually transposing to another opening, e.g. the Dutch Defense (2.c4 f5 or 2.Nf3 f5), French Defense (2.e4 d5), or Queen’s Gambit Declined (2.c4 d5). 

Another possibility is 2.c4. 2…Bb4+ is the Keres Defence (also known as the Kangaroo Defence), which is fully playable, but also little independent significance, since it often transposes into the Dutch, Nimzo-Indian, or Bogo-Indian. 2…b6 is the English Defense. 

As well, 1…e6 is sometimes used by players wishing to play the Dutch Defense (1.d4 f5) without allowing White the option of 2.e4!?, the Staunton Gambit.

Other important responses to 1.d4 include the Dutch (1…f5) and the Benoni Defense (1…c5). 

1…d6 is reasonable, and may transpose to the King’s Indian Defense (e.g. after 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6), Grünfeld Defence (e.g. after 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5), Old Indian Defense (e.g. after 2.Nf3 Nbd7 3.c4 e5 4.Nc3 Be7), Pirc Defense (2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6), or even Philidor’s Defense (e.g. 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.Nf3 e5). 
The Wade Defence, a slightly offbeat but fully playable line, arises after 1…d6 2.Nf3 Bg4. The plausible 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5?! dxe5 4.Qxd8+ Kxd8 scores less than 50% for White.

Tips for Improving Chess Openings

Improving your chess opening can lead to improvements in your overall strategy and playing style.

1. Control the center

Though there are positional styles of play that control the center from the outside, for beginners it’s important to learn the value of attacking and holding the middle of the board.

2. Focus on developing your minor pieces

This means your knights and bishops. If the game looks relatively open, bishops will be your best bet. If there are lots of pawns clogging up the center, then you’ll want to rely more on knights.

3. Protect the King

Part of the early game is finding a way to get your king to safety. Ignoring the King can force you to sacrifice pieces or delay development due to a quick attack. For a good example of what can happen to an undefended King, look at the Scholar’s Mate.

4. Move each piece only once

Remember, every time you move a piece you’ve already moved, you’re not developing another piece. It’s nearly always better to have more material in the center of the board than to focus on two or three pieces.

5. Don’t bring the Queen out too early

It may be tempting to get your Queen into the center of the board as soon as possible, but the more you rely on the Queen to mix it up with minor pieces, the more opportunities for trouble you create.


It is essential that a chess player knows the different chess openings. It is absolutely necessary to know them because you will have to play them at some point in your chess career. By having an understanding of chess openings, you will be able to recognize them and know how to respond to each one. Without this knowledge, it would be very difficult to play competitively.

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