The Basics of Chess Openings: How to Play Chess Games with the Right Strategy

basic chess openings

Chess openings are strategies involved in the first moves of a first games. Grandmasters devote a considerable amount of time to studying the opening and trying to come up with the best possible chess strategies. Here is a brief overview of this important phase of the chess game.

The First Move of the Chess Opening

The first two moves of the chess game largely define the possibilities of the chess opening. White always goes first, and the two most common moves are moving the pawn in front of the King two spaces forwards (known in algebraic notation as 1.e4) and moving the pawn in front of the King two spaces forwards (known in algebraic notation as 1.d4).

There are other possible first moves for White, but they are far less common. By choosing one of these two moves (or a third move), White is defining the possibilities of the opening for Black. Black can only play certain opening strategies to respond to certain moves by White because each opening depends on a certain sequence of moves.

The Second Move of the Chess Opening

Now that White has moved, Black has a chance to respond and steer the chess opening in his direction. If White has played 1.e4, Black can, for example, move the pawn in front of his Queen up two spaces (1…d5) and enter the Scandinavian defense. Black cannot play the Scandinavian against 1.d4 because the first move fundamentally changes the balance of the position.

Instead, if Black responded with 1.d4 with 1…d5, he would likely be entering into a Queen’s Gambit opening position, which contains very different strategies and possibilities than the Scandinavian.

The Next Moves of the Chess Opening

White and Black will continue to play moves, with each player restricting the possibilities. Both Black and White need to learn several different chess opening strategies if they hope to be prepared for every possibility.

Eventually, the game moves out of the realm of established opening theory and the players simply play chess, although exactly when this moment depends both on the chess opening and the relative knowledge of the players.

Studying Opening Theory

It can be very difficult for new players to decide which chess openings they would like to learn. One approach is to view a website of chess games and try to view games of grandmasters. Certain players have certain opening strategies, and these can be emulated if one feels admiration for a certain top player’s style of play.

The web site has both databases of games and details about the sequences of specific openings. If one wishes to take their studies to the next level, most chess opening strategies have books written about them by grandmasters. These can be invaluable tools for learning detailed information.

Chess openings are sequences of play largely defined by the first few moves of chess. From there, the game can enter complicated subsections of opening theory and strategy. If one wishes to be prepared for the beginning of a chess game, then they must become famliar with several strategies to cover all possibilities.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of reasources out there, many of them free, for the interested student of chess.

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