Assuming a player knows the rules, are there any free, one-player simulations that will rapidly teach a single player on their own how to move beyond opening with nonsense moves.

5 Answers 5


The concept that caused me to stop making nonsense moves is control the center.

That meant moving out the d and e pawns, possibly with the c and f pawns, either abreast, or in support. More likely, I'd move a knight to c3 or f3 (c6 or f6 if Black), then a bishop or two. Castle as soon as possible, before undertaking activities on the wings.

That eliminated a lot of bad opening moves like b3, g3, and worse, a4 and h4.

  • While I agree about a4/h4 not being very good, b3/g3 are totally valid moves if you develop the bishops like that with controlling the center in mind. Jul 29, 2012 at 9:14
  • @AnonymousLurker: That's probably true for a very sophisticated player. But beginners, by definition, don't fall into that category.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 29, 2012 at 14:37

In the area of openings, I don't think a one-player simulation will serve you as well as a good read. For a start, I would suggest the Wikibook Chess Opening Theory, perhaps after reading the more basic version.

Of course, experience playing with others will strengthen your opening a good deal, once you have the principles down.


I'd be careful of the word 'nonsense' since it means different things to different people. Kasparov would consider nonsense things that you or I would consider totally groovy.

I think a player can learn the main lines of a few openings and learn the basic principles behind those moves (occupy the center, develop pieces...) in not too much time.

How long before you can find the correct response to the 10th move of a sharp variation of the Ruy Lopez? Perhaps a bit longer.


Open with 1. d4, 2. Nf3, 3. g3, 4. Bg2 and then do whatever you want. By that point, it's hard to find nonsense moves that aren't obviously nonsense. Finding the best move is very difficult, but if you're a beginner you don't need to worry about it.

  • About your 2nd sentence : would you imply in other openings, there are more nonsensical moves that are nonsense, but in an unobvious way ? I think your answer goes along the lines of “once you know how to recognize nonsense, you don't play it anymore”, which is not near answering the question. Also, your last 2 moves are bad : 1. d4 e5 2. Nf3 e4 3. g3 exf3 4. Bg2 fxg2 (Elephant Gambit). Dec 8, 2012 at 14:55
  • Yeah, like in the King's Indian, there are a lot of moves that look ok but are really nonsense. In a Catalan setup like the one I'm recommending, most moves that look ok in the opening probably are. Dec 8, 2012 at 17:51

Pick ONE opening and specialise in it. Do not worry about any other openings. For black that is a bit harder but you can find sound defenses to limit how much you need to know.

Play over GM games with that opening. Play every one you can find. Be totally familiar with all the usual variations and how the middle games turned out.

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