Welcome to the delightful world of chess problems and matches, chess queens, pawns, and all the rest of the soothing logic in the world of chaos. If anyone’s serious about advancing their skills and becoming a better player, constantly worrying about how to play chess even better, there’s a lot to be learned. But don’t be intimidated by complicated moves and combinations, and let’s start from the beginning.
Now, we assume our reader is already familiar with all the chess pieces, their moves, captures, and knows all the rules, basic and special. So this is the perfect time to talk about chess opening moves and how they fit into the chess strategy.
What are they, what are the best chess openings for beginners to lead with, and why they are important? These are some of the questions we’ll be discussing today.
Importance of opening chess moves
As we are all well aware, chess is a game of tactics and strategy, so the first sequence of moves you make on the board shouldn’t be random if you hope to win the match. Good chess players know what they’re doing, and plan ahead for at least the next few moves.
Plus, the whites have an advantage as they have the opening move. The blacks can hope to equalize the situation first and gain an advantage later. So what is the main purpose of structured chess opening moves and sequences?
- Development and impact. Development is basically introducing the chess pieces to the game. The pawns have to be moved strategically in order to give way to the more powerful pieces on the board, as they can impact the game and the whole outcome by gaining more favourable positions.
- Center control. This is a pivotal point for the outcome of the match. Gaining control of the centre portion of the board can make all the difference and become a big advantage throughout the whole match.
- King’s protection. The king is, no doubt, the most important piece to protect. You lose the king – you lose the match. But he can’t do much on his own, so he constantly needs to be protected, and as the game unfolds, there are more and more chances for the opponent’s army to corner him.
- Coordination. A chess board is first and foremost a battlefield, so all of the chess pieces should be working toward a common goal, and doing it in coordination with each other. If you hope to dominate the board, there are a few key positions that your chess pieces should take, and do so in a coordinated manner.
Now that we’ve established the significance of a chess opening move, we can finally move on and discuss the most common openings, and how to perform them.
Most common chess openings
- The Italian game
This opening is defined by the bishop’s development. Remember we talked about move sequences? Well, the Italian game openings typically begin with the following sequence:
- e4, e5. Meaning white and then black pawns move to e4 and e5 respectively.
- Nf3, Nc6. The white and the black knights respectively take the f3 and the c6 positions.
- Bc4. White bishop comes to c4 and gains control of a strategically important position.
The Italian game is one of the most analyzed groups of openings, as it was documented in the 15th century. It has many variations, but the main starting moves are similar.
- Sicilian Defense
The Sicilian defence is played toward the centre of the board, the most typical move being 1. e4 c5. By moving the pawn 2 squares, the battle for the centre of the board begins!
This is one of the best chess openings for white, as statistics show, it gives a better chance at final victory. Naturally, the Sicilian defence has plenty of different variations as to what happens after that initial move.
- French Defense
This is rather a chess defence strategy for Black than one of the classic chess openings for white. The first characteristic move is 1. e4 e6. The most common follow move is the 2. d4 d5.
Now, surely, there are other options, but this is the most widespread ‘reaction’ to the initial move for the french defence to be successful.
- The Ruy-Lopez opening
This opening is named after a Spanish priest, that gave a lot of thought and analysis to this opening. As it’s hard for Black to gain equality of power on the board after this opening, it is also known as the ‘Spanish torture’.
The signature moves are as follows
- e4 e5
- Nf3 Nc6
After the bishop occupies the b5 square, he basically blocks the knight, gaining better control of that sector of the board.
- Slav defence
The Slav Defense is very well-established in chess theory and has often been used by players of Slavic descent, hence the name. The first two moves are:
- d4 d5
- c4 c6
This sequence has many options to follow of course, but typically the White will then develop both knights, and Black can develop only one of them, hence there are some tough decisions to be made concerning the pawn structure.
- English opening
The English opening chess move is defined by the White playing c4. Now that’s weird, isn’t it?
We know, that it’s generally in the player’s best interests to play e4, or d4 first, thus developing the king pawn and the queen pawn early on, but the best thing English opening does, is it throws the opponent off.
Plus, it gives the chance to secure some positions, before you play the e4.
Obviously, each of the described openings has a lot of theory behind it and a lot of different variations too.
It’s quite hard to remember all possible outcomes, so the best way to advance skills is by combining these theoretical lessons with actual matches.
Practice with friends, join a chess club in your area and open new horizons for developing as a player!
Good luck in all the matches to come!