Statistically, what opening has white won with the most?

Such as, 1.e4 e5 2?

What is the move that white makes that has won the most games?

  • 1
    What are you looking for? An absolute number of games won, or the percentage of won games? Only after the first/second white move, or after longer/deeper variations? Or 1. e4 e5 2. ? specifically? Master games or any games a database might contain? Jan 7, 2016 at 13:36
  • Any games. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by the percentage/absolute number. And only after the second move,
    – Mithical
    Jan 7, 2016 at 13:39
  • @Mithrandir: Percentage vs. absolute number means: if Variation A has 1000 games with a 60% win ratio for White, this is better as a percentage than Variation B, with 10,000 games with a 50% win ratio for White. But in absolute terms, variation B has 5000 wins for White compared to just 600 in variation A
    – user1108
    Jan 7, 2016 at 13:54
  • The lower the level, the less important the opening move is. At the absolute lowest levels of chess, all openings score 50%. So it matters what level you look at. Jan 7, 2016 at 13:58

4 Answers 4


Here is a tongue-in-cheek answer. The 4 move checkmate (1. e4 e5 2.Qf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5?? 4.Qxf7#) is an opening where White has won 100% of the time.

The reason why I post this answer is to highlight a few flaws in the question you asked:

  1. Maybe if you find an opening with a high win ratio, you will build your reportaire around it? This is flawed logic as Black can sidestep your preparation, which may lead you into a bad line. Instead, play the openings that feel right for your playing style
  2. What is an opening? Ultimately the opening are just the first few moves in the game. Crucially for a statistical question, you didn't say how many moves you are looking at. The first? The first 10? Assuming best play with Black? In most chess games, there are many moves other than those in the opening stage that determine the outcome of the game. I'd suggest you concentrate more on the middle and endgame than the opening

This article says there are 5,362 possible positions after White's second move, so are you asking which of those positions ends in the highest percentage of won games for White? Choosing that move seems a little arbitrary as the cut-off point for the "opening".

On the other hand if you were to look just at the first move, you should be able to find that out quite easily for any given database of games, but you quickly run into problems with sample size. For example, in the Chessgames.com database (over 750,000 games) you can see that the most successful first move by this definition is 1.Na3, with which White wins 78.3% of the time! Unfortunately this is from a sample of 23 games...


Due to the fact that opponents are not all consistent in the moves, it is impossible for there to be a 'best' move, but there can be the most appropriate move for a set circumstance.

Although simple, I generally like to open my getting my knights and bishops out first, and then going on to force the game in order to bring about victory.

  • 1
    Really nice, kitten :-)
    – ferit
    Jan 7, 2016 at 16:59

Hard to say, as opening trees are biased as number of games played and player strengths are different. And the score difference between best scoring openings is very little, we can say statistically insignificant. So it's really hard to say.

Therefore, if you ask this for building an opening repertoire, don't do it. But if ask this just for curiosity, then you have the answer.

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