Chess Openings

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IntroductionGo to top
The objective for both White and Black in the opening phase of a chess game is to quickly develop your pieces into a positional structure that maximizes attacking capabilities, and at the same time provides a solid defense. If at some point, you are not sure what to do next, see what piece still needs to be developed and where it best belongs.

Dr. Emmanuel Lasker’s principles for the opening (from his book Common Sense In Chess):

  • Do not move any pawns in the opening of a game but the King and Queen pawns.
  • Do not move any piece twice in the opening, but put it at once on the right square.
  • Bring out your knights before developing your bishops, especially the Queen’s Bishop.
  • Do not pin your opponent’s King Knight [against the Queen] before your opponent has castled.

We can expand upon these principles by adding:

  • Develop all your minor pieces as quickly as possible.
  • Develop your pieces in such a way as to control / attack the central squares.
  • Avoid moving a pawn or a piece twice until after the tenth or twelfth move.
  • Castle as soon as possible, typically before the tenth or twelfth move.
  • Connect the Rooks.

When it is your turn to move, always do a threat assessment first. I.e., ask yourself, “what would my opponent do now it was their turn (instead of mine)?” If that extra move by your opponent results in an immediate threat, figure out how to neutralize it. Remember, that Chess is highly situational, you must always play the position at hand.

Survey of OpeningsGo to top

Openings for White:

Defenses for Black:

Games I’ve played can be found here.
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