best chess openings

There are so many possible openings in the chess universe. Standard Game Annotation: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Bf4.

Black’s plan is to create pressure on the queenside since all of its forces are aimed in that direction. This is an attack the follows after black decides to play nf6 after Bc4. The bogo-Indian defense is a variation of the Queen’s pawn opening where white opts to play nf3 instead of nc3.

Just because these openings are the most common does not mean that other options aren't playable. I had this happen to me when I was 9 years old and learning chess.

Edward is a freelance writer with 8 years experience writing for The Spruce, and a first place winner of the World Open. Very flexible and able to be played in almost every game. It is considered more offensive than the Hungarian counterpart with g3. in which black copies white’s development with c5 in an attempt to create a black version of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted if white decides to take. You wouldn’t want to protect the e4 pawn with d3 because you would be giving up your castling position or a pawn after dxe5 and dxe5 then QxQ+. If you’re looking for a new opening to try you’ll find a great jumping off point here. Even in longer games where you have an hour and a half or more of time, you still don’t want to focus too long on the opening when you could have memorized basic chess openings and opening chess traps. After e3 or e4, and nc3, white will have multiple pieces able to move to b5, creating even more pressure on white’s queen side. The two knights is a pretty solid defense as your Queenside knight is unable to be kicked from its position right away and your kingside knight can be kept on its position defending the center after h6. Generally, the Queen’s Indian is played after Nf3 is played by white instead of nc3. This is because white follows the main principles of chess by attacking the center and preparing to develop the light squared bishop to squares such as c4 and b5, depending on the opening. However, the same can be true that symmetrical games can be more likely to draw. This opening is a bit of an irregular one.

In reality, black cannot expect to hold onto the pawn if the player chooses to capture it in exchange for a stronger center. Black allows white to build an imposing center, then attempts to turn that center into a target for attack. With a strong sight on the king side, this light squared bishop helps prep for long term strength and attacks.
The hyper-accelerated dragon speeds this process up even further, but can often be punished with the suffocating Maroczy Bind. The Benoni gives black a rather strong equalization effort and can lead to more victories for black. It should be noted that in this opening, your position as black is very cramped as your queen has nowhere to go, d5 cannot be pushed right away, and the light squared bishop is also two moves from development. The b4 pawn also does not always need to be defended.

Just be careful of the e5 gambit attempting to open your kingside wide open with the eventual Qh5! Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. In the more popular Three and Four Knights Openings, black defends the center with nc6, but cannot easily plan to move the c pawn to help attack the center or bring the queen out for an attack. The grob is even weirder as you directly open up your king side for an eventual attack on the center (g5 to kick the knight away) and Bg2 to attack the center.

Black even has a super strong counter attack known as the, The hyper-accelerated dragon speeds this process up even further, but can often be punished with the suffocating. The accelerated and hyper-accelerated dragon are where black looks to fianchetto their bishop quickly and more quickly, respectively. In the Ruy Lopez (shown below), I could play e4 first while black plays nc6 on their first move. Like the French defense, the Caro-Kann defense (1. e4, c6) prepares d5 on black's second move to challenge white's e4 pawn. While a lot was covered in this article, it is of course impossible to give an assessment of the best possible opening, or which you should study first.

There are some games where both bishops are fianchettoed, giving a strong sight of the board for both bishops and more protection. You will learn the role of material in chess. In the same respect, not taking the knight after a move like h6 means you waste more tempo with the same piece. Allowing white to take your knight means doubling up your pawns on the c-file and you will have to think about how to undouble those pawns (d5 comes to mind, but white doesn’t have to take back). The fianchetto’d bishop creates a different illusion of an always attacking bishop. It also allows for …b5 in which black can attack the c4 square while simultaneously developing the bishop to b7. A faster attack means a WIN! The c pawn is also used to attack the d4 square to create a semi open file for the rook on the c pawn. Someone who can understand these pawn structures could be at the master level, i.e. For me, starting off I played the Italian Game as white and the French Defense as black until I memorized most variations. This opening is for players who like to be quick on the attack as e5 will allow black’s knight to immediately be in the center with Nd5, but will usually be chased over to Nb6 after c4. If you know the positions and ideas, you can cause your opponent to spend more time in the opening if they are not prepared. Standard Game Annotation: 1. e4 e5 2. This opening could transpose into an English if they play c4. It’s important to note that just because you don’t play d4 right away, does not mean you might not end up in a queen pawn opening.

Bb5. Bc4. I would recommend this opening if you are starting out as it helps limit black’s quality of moves in the beginning of the game and gives white a more open position. Some high caliber players have used it in high level play to confuse their opponents, but they know advanced mechanics to turn it into something great. Moving the c pawn to attack the center rather than the e pawn leads to a better center in many cases.

The English often transposes into openings normally seen after 1. d4, either exactly or with slight variations due to move order. It clears the kingside pieces for castling. Standard Game Annotation: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. The Hungarian revolves around the immediate fianchetto of your kingside bishop (light squared bishop).
The Scotch game focuses on white pushing d4 before developing all of their minor pieces in an attempt to open up the center and retake the pawn with a centralized queen. The Smith-Morra was my first gambit I even played and I used it in tournaments because I was taught the basics of the attack and I was able to maximize my time against opponents quickly, often not using more than a second of my time before move 8, which allowed me more time to think about variations that came up later.

It remained popular through the 19th century but today has been supplanted by the Ruy Lopez as white's favorite choice on the third move. Black has several options: the queen's gambit accepted, queen's gambit declined, and the Slav defense. Nf3 b6. For this reason it becomes a race to castle for white to protect their king and put a strong attack on f7 with ideas such as Bc4, Ng5 and d4 (to take out the black knight if it decides to move to h6 to protect f7). Nf3 g6. Fianchettoing your bishop is a risky venture that can pay off by giving your bishop longer sight of the board. Some chess openings are better than others. The risk is white can potentially push e5 if black develops their kingside knight too soon. While a bit of a strange opening, the dutch is not without its advantages. This will prove stronger if white has castled queenside. Qb6 against the castled king for check if the angle is clear, and Qa5 for the un-castled king. Perhaps these players have solved the chess riddle but haven’t shared it with us. I know it has certainly thrown me off when I was first starting off, but by following the basics of the opening, you will be prepared.

I recently learned that a specific chess master I have met and played against, Leroy Dubeck, prefers the Smith-Morra. It is worth noting, like other openings, just because white gains the ideal squares of e4 and d4, black still has many opportunities to challenge the center immediately, especially with 1 or 2 fianchetto’d bishops. Some common variations of the Pirc defense include the classical system and Austrian attack. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3. Illustration: The Spruce / Catherine Song, The Ruy Lopez —also known as the Spanish game—is named after Rodrigo (Ruy) Lopez de Segura, a Spanish bishop who analyzed this opening in his 1561 work, "Libro de la Invencion Liberal y Arte del Juego del Axedrez," the "Book of the Liberal Invention and Art of the Game of Chess.". Because your mission is to attack the center, both of these openings do so strongly and provide strength to castling in either direction. E4. Let me know in the comments if there is anything you’d like me to shed more info on: Studying chess openings is important is because it will help you understand what your plans are, what your opponent wants to accomplish and it will give you more time to think later in the game. This classical approach pretends to offer a pawn. Black can slow down white’s tempo with nf6 to cause white to consider if they are ready to push d4 right away knowing that black has an attacking piece on e4 with his knight. The idea behind the Hungarian and Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack are to expedite the action of fianchettoing your bishop. In your games, you will be relaxed and will have more time on the clock. Instead of b6, black opts to gain a tempo by developing their dark squared bishop with check to Bb4. Generally, the knight, if developed to nc3 allows for a discover attack should the knight move, often on the black kingside rook on h8. Nc3 Bb4. Nf3 Nc6 3. That being said, I don’t want you to get the idea that you should memorize every opening 10 moves deep, at least not if you are under 2000 elo. Black can choose the queen’s indian, or the Bogo-indian. Bg5. When you first start playing, you may find your opponents using the same openings over and over. After c3, white will push b4 and a4 with tempo on the knight and bishop. Often black prefers to bring the knight to d7 and link it up with the knight on c6 for a stronger hold on the center. This helps defend the d5 square while also allowing the kingside dark squared bishop to develop when ready. The Sicilian defense (1. e4, c5) is black's most popular response to e4, especially at the highest levels of chess. It really doesn’t follow any main ideas of chess opening theory and instead opts to confuse your opponent. Most players start with the queens gambit of c4, while the Ryder Gambit takes the opposite side with 2. However, most variations can end up in perfect symmetry (like below) or end up opening the center with black playing for a draw over counter play. The advanced variation for white (e5) is often played, but f6 allows for black the chance to have an open file for the kingside castled rook. This immediately gives up a pawn if black accepts the king’s gambit, but it also allows white to capitalize on the f7 pawn, similarly to the Italian game, except in this case white can more easily get his rook on the F file and attack f7 by castling thanks to the semi open file. You get the idea that there are a ton of positions to think about. Because e6 has not been played, black can open up the center should white take the b file pawn. Since white can move first, white has the better starting position to capitalize on that position first. The name of the opening makes sense as all four knights are developed before anything else. If playing against either of these variations as black, remember to defend the center and keep the bishop’s long line of sight in mind when defending.

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