Chess as a game is traditionally divided into three phases: the beginning, the middle game and the endgame. While all three are important, today I’m going to help you with the first step, because everything related to chess openings.
When I first learned to play chess, I played openings that didn’t really help me improve and more often than not made me start the game unsuccessfully. Eventually I mastered some of the openings I will show you in this article, and my rating rose rapidly.
Principles of Entrance
The first thing to understand is that there are certain principles that, if followed, will ensure that the initial phase of your business runs successfully. I like to break them down into three main principles (any other principle is really just a subset of these ideas).
The following are the three main principles:
1. Keep the center under control.
This was the very first chess lesson I ever received. Controlling the board’s center (the e4, e5, d4, and d5) helps your pieces to be more versatile and dominant. Placing pieces on the board’s edges restricts their movement and generally prevents them from participating in the game.
2. Lay out your pieces.
Without an army, you can’t wage a battle, so don’t leave your pieces at home! Getting your pieces off the rear rank not only aids your attack, but it also aids your defense. There’s no need to play chess passively. Take part in activities!
3. Get your king out of harm’s way.
You lose the game if the king is checkmated. As a result, king safety will always be at the top of your priority list. Castling and avoiding moving pawns on the side where your king is usually implies keeping the king safe. Leaving the king in the middle of the board almost always results in his demise.
For beginners, the best chess openings to learn are…
You should learn chess openings that closely follow the key opening principles as a beginner. These openings will not only help you improve your overall chess game, but they will also lead you to World Chess Champion status (a realistic goal for all of us). Some of the most well-known and effective beginnings are really logical and sound. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
1. The Ruy Lopez
This opening is named after a 16th century Spanish monk and was first written about in the Göttingen manuscript (the oldest book on modern chess). The Ruy Lopez is an opening based on a long-term plan to control the center, which is our initial opening premise. Every World Champion has used this opening at some point in their career.
The Ruy Lopez starts with the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5—after the light-squared bishop moves to the square b5, we have The Ruy Lopez on the board. The idea behind the bishop move is to attack the defender of the e5 pawn and sometimes if black isn’t careful, white can take the knight on c6, leaving the pawn on e5 defenseless.
2. The Queen’s Gambit
It’s not simply a Netflix series! The Queen’s Gambit is a center-controlling opening in which white will sacrifice one of their pawns (known as a gambit). Fun fact: during the World Championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine, this opening was used in 32 of the 34 games.
After the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4, white tempts black to win a pawn with 2…dxc4, allowing white to take complete control of the center of the board with the following move. 3.e4. A pawn sacrifice can be justified on occasion, and history has proved that the Queen’s Gambit is one of the best. With the move 2…e6 (also known as the Queen’s Gambit Declined), black frequently declines the offered piece. With 2…e6, black agrees that the center isn’t worth a pawn, and an intricate conflict ensues, with black on the defensive from the start.
3. Nimzo-Indian (Nimzo-Indian)
The Nimzo-Indian is perhaps black’s most powerful opening. This is owing to its adaptability and careful adherence to the principles of opening. The Nimzo-Indian, unlike the others on this list, is a relatively recent opening created by Aron Nimzowitsch in the early 1900s. The opening is a variation of Moheschunder Bannerjee’s and Mir Sultan Khan’s Indian Defense.
After the movements 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 we obtain a position that resembles the Ruy Lopez discussed earlier. With the bishop, black is placing indirect pressure on white, attempting to make the pawn to e4 move impossible. Instead of employing pawns, Black’s strategy involves using speedy development of their pieces to control the center. You may also note that black is poised to castle and get their king to safety after these actions (our 3rd principle).