I’ve played chess for some time now, but I’ve really started to get into it these past few months. The thing I need help on is openings. I know about the different ones, and even attempted one or two of them, but I either end up forgetting the opening, or having the opening completely backfire on me. So what I’m wondering is, is there any opening that’s simple to learn but effective?

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    With white or with black? What kind of positions do you like? Nov 7, 2016 at 9:57

3 Answers 3


It is hard to answer a repertoire question with little supporting information. On that basis, I would recommend 3 things:

  1. Complete the quiz on chesspersonality.com. At the end you will receive recommendations on openings, for White and Black, based on your answers
  2. To stick to one opening as White, and have 1 response as Black for 1. e4 and 1. d4. The other common opening moves, 1. c4 and 1. Nf3 are quite rare at a beginner level, and are chosen because they usually transpose into 1. e4 or 1. d4 openings anyway
  3. Look at some opening videos on YouTube, such as those by Dereque Kelley. If you like the look of an opening, try taking the main themes into your next game

There is only one answer to this question: Play what you like.

If you are a beginner, you should not be worried about "studying" an opening, but only correcting your opening mistakes by reviewing your losses regularly and finding better moves in the lines you play (i.e., review with a better player is best, or, look up better lines). This iterative process will teach you way more than "memorizing" opening lines or studying an opening, because you have attached this experience to a middle-game in one of your games, so you see the results. In the end, you will either get better in the opening or drop it for something else, and that is a very natural process.

I used to play the Dutch Defense as black against 1.d4 a long time ago, then migrated away from it into the Slav/Semi-Slav, but have returned to using the Dutch Defense again because I like the middle-games I get and I feel comfortable in them. I don't play 1.d4 because I don't feel comfortable in the positions I get, and that is a personal choice.

Comfort is king.

We slow down on the highways because we don't feel comfortable driving at high speeds.


There are certainly openings which are easier to learn, because they have fewer variations, and also there are certain systems (like Kings Indian Attack with white) which you can play basically independent of what your opponent does.

Still, it is well worth to invest some time in learning some proper opening. If you play the same opening over and over again and analyze where you went wrong, sooner or later you will remember the lines. Start with learning the main line and go from there to add side lines as you encounter them.

I find it useful to write down the lines that I am playing together with commentary (can be done in a chess database system or on paper). If you reach a certain level, I suggest to follow a Grandmaster who is playing your opening and see how they handle it.

Also it is very important to not only learn the lines by heart, but also to understand the typical plans of the opening, which differ from opening to opening. This will be helpful also in later phases (middlegame, endgame) of the game.

I would not base my decision on how easy an opening is to learn, but rather on what kind of positions you like and whether you prefer quiet positional play or lots of action/tactics in your games. I like open positions with tactics, so I play 1. e4 with white and Sicilian, Kings Indian/Grünfeld with black.Can't give a concrete suggestion for you as I don't know what kind of player you are.

BTW, I don't think there are really beginner or advanced openings. When I started to learn chess I was playing the Italian, which you could call "beginner" opening, because it is very easy and obvious where to put the minor pieces and also because it is symmetric. However the same Italian is played increasingly at the highest level, so it would also be an "adanced" opening.

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