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Sunday, June 7, 2020

How to Open in Chess

How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess How to Open in Chess

The opening plays in chess are critical to setting up your strategy for the rest of the game. If you advantageously position more pieces earlier than your opponent does, you’ll have better control of the endgame and are more likely to win. As long as you memorize a few openings and pay close attention to your opponent’s moves, you can gain the upper hand!

Note: This article presumes your opponent’s plays based on known chess strategies. Your opponent may play differently than the moves that are listed here.


[Edit]Playing as White

  1. Use the Ruy Lopez opening to free up your bishop and knight. Start by advancing your king’s pawn 2 spaces forward to the e4 square to take control of the center. In the mainline variant, your opponent will mirror your play and move to e5. Develop your king’s knight to the f3 space to put pressure on your opponent’s pawn. Your opponent will usually move their queen’s knight to c6 in response. Then, move your king’s bishop diagonally to b5 so you can attack the knight next turn.[1]
    Open in Chess Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • Pawns can only advance 2 spaces the first time they move.
    • Development refers to moving your more powerful pieces out from the back row and toward the center of the board.
    • This opening allows you to easily maneuver across the board while freeing up the space between your rook and king so you can castle, which is when you move your king next to your rook and then put the rook on the opposite side. This helps protect your king.
  2. Open with the Fried Liver Attack line to draw out your opponent’s king. Start by moving your pawn to e4 and allow your opponent to advance their pawn to e5. Position your knight on f3 so your opponent moves their knight to c6. Then, develop your bishop to c4 to put pressure on your opponent’s king’s side. Your opponent will usually bring their other knight to f6 so you can move your knight to g5. Your opponent will typically advance their queen’s pawn to d5 so you can capture it with your pawn. Next, your opponent will capture your pawn with their knight, but you can capture f7 with your knight.[2]
    Open in Chess Step 2 Version 4.jpg
    • After that, your opponent will need to move their king to f7 to capture your knight, which will prevent them from building a strong defense. However, you will lose 1 knight early in the game.
  3. Try the London System to force the black player into defensive positions. If you don’t want to lose pieces right away, develop your queen’s pawn on your first turn to d4. Your opponent will typically mirror your movement and advance their pawn to d5. Bring your king’s knight to f3 to protect your pawn and control the e5 square. Your opponent will mirror your move and develop their knight to f6. Then, move your queen’s bishop to f4 so you have additional control over the board.[3]
    Open in Chess Step 3 Version 4.jpg
  4. Develop pawns on the queen’s side to attack with the Queen’s Gambit. Start by advancing your queen’s pawn 2 spaces forward to the d4 square to control the center. Your opponent will usually move their queen’s pawn to d5 in response. Then, move your pawn to c4 to put pressure on the pawn. Your opponent will usually capture the pawn on c4, but that’s okay. Advance your king’s pawn forward to e3 to free up your bishop. Your opponent will typically develop their knight to f6 so you can capture their pawn with your bishop.[4]
    Open in Chess Step 4 Version 4.jpg
    • The Queen’s Gambit refers to sacrificing the pawn that’s in front of your queen, which puts pressure on the black player to respond more defensively for the rest of the game.
  5. Play the King’s Gambit to free up your queen and the king’s bishop. Start by advancing your king’s pawn forward 2 spaces to the e4 square so you have control over the center. If your opponent moves a pawn to e5, then develop another pawn to f4 to put pressure on your opponent. Typically, your opponent will capture the pawn on f4 to “accept” the gambit.[5]
    Open in Chess Step 5 Version 4.jpg
    • Even though you lost a pawn, there aren’t any pieces blocking the way for your queen or bishop to move across the board diagonally.

[Edit]Defending as Black

  1. Use the Sicilian Defense to take the offensive early in the game. If the white player opens by moving their king’s pawn to the e4 square, move a pawn to c5 to control the d4 space. Your opponent will typically respond by developing their knight to f3. Move your queen’s pawn forward 1 space to d6 for control over the e5 space. If the white player advances their pawn to d4, capture it with the pawn from c5. Even though your opponent will probably capture your pawn with their knight, you still have good control over the board.[6]
    Open in Chess Step 6 Version 4.jpg
    • Even though you lose a pawn in this opening, you’re still able to move your queen and bishop easily if you need to use them.
  2. Open with the Nimzo-Indian Defense to build a wall of pawns around your king. White will usually open by moving their queen’s pawn to d4 so they can control the center. Rather than mirroring their play, develop your knight to f6 so you can potentially capture on d5 and e4. If your opponent follows up by moving a pawn to c4, advance your king’s pawn to e6 to free up your bishop. When your opponent develops their knight to c3, move your king’s bishop to b4 to put pressure on your opponent’s pieces.[7]
    Open in Chess Step 7 Version 4.jpg
    • Leave your king’s rook and king in their starting squares so you can castle.
    • If your opponent attacks your bishop on a3 with a pawn, attack their knight on c3 to put them in check, which means you can capture their king on your next turn. They will attack your bishop during on their turn with a pawn, but the pawn will be stuck behind another one of their pieces and won’t be able to move freely.
  3. Play the French Defense to put pressure on the queen’s side of the board. If your opponent opens by moving their king’s pawn to e4, advance your king’s pawn 1 space to e6 to immediately free up your bishop. Your opponent will usually respond by advancing their queen’s pawn to d4 so they have more control of the center. Mirror their play and move your pawn to the d5 square. While your opponent may be tempted to capture your pawn, you’ll be able to retake it right away.[8]
    Open in Chess Step 8 Version 4.jpg
    • In the French Defense, it will seem like you’re giving more control of the center to the white player, but you’ll be able to build a strong wall of pawns that defend your pieces.
  4. Try the Caro-Kann Defense to set up a strong pawn structure for the late game. Much like the Sicilian Defense, if your opponent opens by moving a pawn to e4, position one of your pawns in c6 to put some pressure on the d5 space. If your opponent follows up by moving a pawn to d4, respond by advancing a pawn to d5. The white player will typically move their knight to c3 for added defense. You can respond by capturing the pawn on e4 so you regain control of the center.[9]
    Open in Chess Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • The diagonal wall of pawns on the queen’s side will help protect you later in the game and it frees up your bishop to attack the king’s side.

[Edit]Learning General Strategy

  1. Aim to control the center squares of the board. If you have pieces in the center 4 squares (d4, d5, e4, and e5), then your opponent will have a difficult time maneuvering their pieces without putting them at risk. Try to move either your king or queen’s pawn into the center and set up your other pieces so they can capture on those squares. The longer that you can maintain control of the center, the more likely you are to win the entire game.[10]
    Open in Chess Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if you’re the white player and you move your knight to f3, you can still capture pieces on d4 and e5.
  2. Develop your knights and bishops forward to free them up. Rather than trying to move all of your pawns right away, bring out at least 1 bishop and knight from the back row so they’re closer to the middle of the board. This helps you gain mobility around the board and puts more pressure on your opponent’s pieces.[11]
    Open in Chess Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • Remember, knights can jump over other pieces so you can advance them without moving a pawn out of the way.
  3. Try to move different pieces with each turn. While you’re moving the same piece, your opponent may develop more of their pieces to the center and take control of the board. As you start your game, switch between which pieces you move until you have a strong board presence. Get as many pieces off of their starting squares as you can so it’s easier for you to get around the board.[12]
    Open in Chess Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • If you can capture an enemy piece other than a pawn, it’s okay to use a piece you already moved. Otherwise, you can continue developing other pieces.
  4. Save your queen for big plays later in the game. It can be really tempting to move your queen early in the game since it’s so powerful, but don’t risk losing it just yet. Keep your queen near the back row and protected by your other pieces so it doesn’t get attacked right away. That way, you can use it during the endgame to maneuver around the board quickly and put pressure on a lot of squares.[13]
    Open in Chess Step 13 Version 3.jpg
    • If you do lose your queen early in the game, you may still be able to get it back if you’re able to move a pawn all the way to the other side of the board.
  5. Castle as soon as you can to protect your king. Try to clear out all the pieces between one of your rooks and your king within the first few turns of the game. As long as you haven’t moved your king or rook, you can slide the king so it’s in the square next to your rook. Then lift up your rook and put it on the opposite side of the king so your king is protected in the corner. This will make it more difficult for your opponent to attack.[14]
    Open in Chess Step 14 Version 3.jpg
    • You can castle with either the king’s or queen’s rook.
    • Even though you’re moving 2 pieces, castling still only counts as 1 turn.
  6. Clear the spaces between your rooks so they can guard each other. After you castle, work to move all of the pieces between your rooks out of the back row. That way, if your opponent captures a rook with one of their pieces, you can immediately capture that piece with your second rook.[15]
    Open in Chess Step 15 Version 3.jpg
    • If you can, try to line up one of your rooks with your opponent’s queen across the board to put pressure on it.


  • There are many variations on chess openings, so study additional plays so you can learn how to react to any situation during a game.


  • Try not to play the same opening every time since your opponent will be able to predict your moves and counter them.

[Edit]Related wikiHows


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