I am a beginner in chess and I like to play some of my friends who are basically at the same level. Usually who wins is based on who makes that one amazing (and lucky) move and quite frankly I want to gain an edge over my friends. I have noticed that I usually just open randomly and this is what happens most of the time:

  • One of the sides (or both) are neglected and both of my rooks are trapped for the entire duration of the game until most of my pawns are decimated and my rooks have some moving space. I have noticed that a lot of beginners/casual players have the same problem, since it seems to take a lot of moves to properly free up space for a rook.

  • Only the pieces which I gave space at the beginning (which usually are my queen, 1 bishop and both knights since they are never trapped by pawns and of course a couple of pawns) are used and the other pieces are totally neglected, kind of the same as the first point only more general.

Some my final question is:

Is there a simple opening for beginners which frees up a lot of space for the powerful pieces to be utilized, especially rooks?

p.s. - I am aware that there exists no perfect opening, but keep in mind this is very low level chess. So I'm looking for an opening which is usually enough to have a nice setup and is not countered easily by weak players.

17 Answers 17


I asked my chess teacher (rated 2100 USCF); she said "E4 games" (the Italian game, Ruy Lopez (Spanish), the Sicilian, the Vienna game or the Scotch). Her personal recommendation was the King's gambit.

I disagree; I like d4 and c4 openings, closed positions. Beginners don't know how to play against d4 or c4. There are these different openings like the Polish defense/Orangutan, the Nimzo-Larsen attack, and the Benkö, which I won't go into much detail.

1.e4 games

  • Open games
  • Open diagonals
  • Fluid or absent center pawns
  • Tactics
  • Attacks
  • Gambits
  • Combinations
  • Fast

Beginners usually like e4 games because they control the center, they develop quickly, and they get ready to castle (3 main rules in the opening) unlike in 1.d4 openings. A suggestion is to get knights out first, and bishops out next.

Italian (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4)

  • Giuoco Piano (Italian for quiet game):

    1. Bc5 4. c3 (preparing to push D4 to gain space)
  • Two Knights Defense

    1. Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 (black should not take the pawn)
  • Blackburne Schilling

    1. nd4 (Take the knight and not the pawn; otherwise lose a minor piece)
      1. nxe5 Qg5 5. nxf7 qxg2 6.Rf1 qxe4+ if 7.be2 Nf3# if 7. Qe2 Nf3#
        (So white will have to give up a minor piece eventually to not get checkmated)

Ruy lopez (1. e4 e5 2. nf3 nc6 3. bb5)

  • 3. a6 (Bobby Fischer likes 4.Bxc6, but the main line is 4. Ba5 b4 5. bb3)

  • 3. nd4 (The exchange variation either Be2 for white, or nxd4)

Vienna (1. e4 e5 2. nc3)

    1. Nc6
      1. nf3 nf6 (transforms into the 4 knights game)
      2. f4 (turns into a gambit so you can take away from the center)
    1. Nf6 3. f4±
      (the famous Vienna gambit. Varies on next move, but white is better)
    1. Bc5 3. f4
      (it is extremely common to play f4 as third move for white, if he doesn't take, play nf3 the next move)

Sicilian (1. e4 c5)

    1. c3
      (The Alapin variation, the most popular prepares to push d4 to white's advantage, by 2. nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4.cxd4, and white will have more space, so 2.e5 is an alternate, but leaves a hole for his knight on d4.)
    1. nf3
      (The king's knight variation, very popular)
    1. f4
      (Grand Prix attack, 2. d6 3.nf3; I like white's position more.)
    1. d4
      (The Smith-Morra gambit. 2. cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.nxc3. White literally sacrifices a pawn for attacking on the d and c files. or 2. cxd4 3.Qxd4 nc6 Black will gain a tempo on white's queen, I do not recommend to take.)

Scotch (1. e4 e5 2. nf3 nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. nxd4)

The center is broken quite early, but that does have advantages, I play 4. nf6 5. nxc6 bxc6 preparing to push d5, if 5. e5 then qe7 pinning the pawn.

Usually, though people play 4.Bc5 5. Nxc6 Bxc6. It's really a question of whether you want your bishop or knight out for black.

  • Scotch Gambit My Personal E4 recommendation

    1. e4 e5 2. nf3 nc6 3. d4 exd4 4.Bc4 (a)4. Bb4+ loses for black because if 5.c3 then 5.dxc3 6.dxc3 if 7.Bc5 then 7.Bxf7+ 8.Kxf7 Qd5+ 9. king moves wherever Qxc5 +- Whites advantage. If Bd6 or Bf8, it either wastes a move and/ or messes up your position (undoes development/ blocks in pawns). Be7 is Game over, you might as well tip your king sideways due to Qd5!!.
  • King's Gambit 1. e4 e5 2. f4 white will try for the d4 square

Accepted 2.exf4 3.nf3 d5 and so on. This was Bobby Fischer's favorite line for black.

declined 2.e6 3.Nf3 Nc6

Falkerbeer 2.d5 3.exd5 d4 black sacrifices a pawn for a good centre and black has to cope with an annoying pawn

Interesting line 2.nc6 if 3. fxe5 Nxe5 4.d4 Qh4+ black is better. if 3.nf3 then f5 trying for equality.

  • French

    • "D4, C4, Nf3 Games" (I LIKE D4)

    • Closed Games

    • Blocked files

    • Blocked diagonals

    • Blocked Center

    • Positional Play

    • Strategy

    • Bind

    • Regrouping

    • Slow







    Albin Countergambit


  • King's Indian defense

  • Pirc

  • Benoni

  • Blackmar-Diemer Gambit


  • English opening
  • Reti

"Other Openings"

Open games

  • Polish

  • Nimzo-Larsen Attack

  • Benkö

I highly recommend the following books for openings: Chess Openings for Black, Explained: A Complete Repertoire (Revised and Updated), and Chess Openings for White, Explained: Winning with 1.e4, Second Revised and Updated Edition by 2 Gm's

*********************** Might not be finished, still be working on.....***********************

  • How's the King's gambit ever a good opening? :p – gented Dec 29 '16 at 20:36
  • 6
    That's... too many openings for a beginner... – Frenzy Li Apr 18 '17 at 14:41
  • I used to play E4 games until my coach recommended I play D4, which I chose the queen's gambit because I like the variety. I'm still very much a beginner. I find club level players tend to do well against both but online D4 does some real damage. The Sicilian lines are very theoretical from what I've been told, which are why a lot of people don't recommend them. I've been told the Ruy Lopez is very drawish in nature but I guess at the beginner level draws aren't very common. – user14142 Dec 12 '17 at 6:22

The Scotch Game is definitively an opening for beginners (playing as White).

It's opened game that permits to player having two bishops free easily (see behind). Moreover, theory is simple and this opening is not countered easily by weak players because few weak players know it.

Here's a diagram:

[fen ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4
  • I really like the Scotch opening myself as White and agree it is easy to learn for a beginner. but it's simplicity is a problem (with the quick direct d4 move to open the centre). The main problem is that logical play is fairly easy for Black too and Black can get good winning play chances quite easily. So White has to be a good mid and end game player with the Scotch and not too many beginners are! Nonetheless it is a great opening but to master it you may need to play like Kasparov! (it is one of his favourite openings). – rpd Aug 30 '17 at 9:28

Here is an excerpt from an excellent article by Grandmaster Gregory Serper:

It was very common in the countless chess clubs of the former Soviet Union that coaches taught their young students to play gambits, sharp openings like the Greco Attack and the Sicilian Dragon. My recommendation for all my readers whose rating is about USCF 1300 or below: try to play open sharp positions as much as possible. Even if you play 1.d4 or 1.Nf3 go for complications whenever possible! Only a chess player who is proficient in tactics can be a successful tournament player. Don't forget the popular saying that "chess is 99% tactics". Don't be discouraged if you lose a game or two, the most important thing is to learn how to calculate variations and visualize a position, and you learn it best in sharp open positions!


To me it looks like you need to focus on the opening principles instead of particular openings. Openings will come in time, but if you stick to the fundamental opening principles, you will actually find yourself naturally playing openings without even thinking of it. Some opening principles include:

  1. Control the center
  2. Develop your pieces (Knights, Bishops, etc)
  3. Castle early (this should connect your rooks)
  4. Try not to move the same piece twice in a row
  5. Try not to move more than 3 pawns in the first 8 moves

By sticking to the principles above, you will notice that you are in fact playing an opening and you don't even have to think about it, for now, at least.

Let's use the Ruy Lopez as an example:

1. e4 - controls the center and opens the diagonal for the Queen and the Bishop 1... e5 - fights for center control and opens the diagonal for the Queen and the Bishop 2. Nf3 - Gets a piece out and controls a center square, plus attacking blacks e5 pawn. 2... Nc6 - Black gets a piece out and protects his e5 pawn 3. Bb5 - Puts a pin on Black's c3 Knight.

A possible continuation for White and Black might be to castle, although with the Ruy Lopez, this can wait a few more moves.

I would also recommend if possible and this is only if you want to try and practice e4 openings, to either ask your friends if you can play as White or seek games and play as White for a while. I did this with the Scotch, Italian, and Evans Gambit and became much better after playing them from White's perspective for a while.

You're gonna get moves from Black that don't follow 1. e4 e5 openings, but to illustrate an example from my own experience, just stick to the principles and you should be fine, no matter if you lose or win, you will learn something. I will use the Sicilian as an example. I am not an expert in the Sicilian, so when I play against it, I have no idea if I am playing an opening or not.

1. e4 - I want control of the center. 1... c5 - Sicilian 2. Nf3 - I want to develop a piece 2... d6 3. d4 - I make this move because I want to break up the center and open the game up. It kind of reminds me of the Scotch a bit, but others might disagree. 3... cxd4 4. Nxd4 4... Nf6- Attack e4 pawn and develop a piece 5. Nc3 - Protect e4 pawn and develop a piece

If you looked at the board now, you would notice that White is close to castling, he has a pawn in the center, and both Knights are developed and there are open lines for his Queen and Bishops. Black's next move is an important strategic choice, but I wouldn't worry too much about it, I would just play. My main point above is that I had no idea how to play against the Sicilian, I just played the moves that felt natural at the time and came to find out, this is called the Open Sicilian.

  • 1
    As a beginner, if you play this way, you just need to be aware of the most common traps. A sharp opponent, who knows his opening traps, can cause you a lot of pain if you just play moves that seem to follow these rules. – jm. Jan 3 '16 at 23:24

The best first move for a new player in my opinion is e4. It results in the most open game with less emphasis on theory. A specific opening to look up would be the Ruy Lopez or the Spanish opening.

Also follow these general opening rules:

  • Make only as many pawn moves as are necessary to get your minor pieces out.
  • Knights work better when placed near the center (Nf3, Nc3)
  • Avoid moving the same piece multiple times (it is a waste of move or tempo)
  • Take control of the central squares (e4, d4) and try to ensure the opponent doesn't.
  • Ruy Lopez is not so easy to play. – Zistoloen Feb 4 '13 at 21:04
  • @Zistoloen : agreed that there are lots of variations in it, but I was trying to focus on the main line - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 – sidprasher Feb 4 '13 at 21:10
  • 3
    Ruy is easy to play, hard to master. It yields a good game for players of similar skill. – Tony Ennis Feb 5 '13 at 2:57

Yasser Seirwan's Winning Chess series recommend a Kings Indian Attack structure (Nf3, g3, Bg2, 0-0, d3, e4) because it is quite sound against almost anything your opponent can throw against you... and it has the analogous Kings Indian Defense as Black.

Its been solid enough that even Kasparov and Fischer have been known to play it, and doesn't require memorization.

  • 2
    I don't think it is a great choice for a beginner because you get the same kind of position over and over again and fail to develop your intuition for various structures. Reaching a great variety of structures should be one of the goals of a beginner's repertoire. – Evargalo Dec 12 '17 at 8:47

Regarding the development of rooks...

Rooks usually come into their own later in the game, don't worry if they don't seem to have a starring role early on. In the opening:

  1. Focus on getting the minors (Bishop and Knights) developed first
  2. Castle as early as possible
  3. Move the Queen off the back rank

Now the back rank is cleared and your rooks should be connected (i.e. they can "see" each other). At this point you can think about how to position your rooks most effectively:

  1. Is there an open file (a vertical line cleared of pawns)? Move a rook to that file!
  2. Is there a half-open file (none of your pawns are obstructing the file) ? Move rook to that file and it will exert pressure along the line.
  3. Is there a file that is likely to be open soon (say the pawn in front is likely to be exchanged)? This is a good spot.
  4. A rook that is "x-raying" (i.e. attacking though other pieces are blocking the line of attack) the enemy King or Queen often lead to advantageous tactics

If one rook is good, two lined up can be even stronger!


If you want to go e4:

The ruy lopez is complicated, but it won't baby you. I recommend it for all levels; anyone between a FIDE rating of 100 and 9999. The scotch is also an acceptable choice i guess, but i recently learned that at the top level it's actually just a draw. The ruy lopez secures an initiative for white.

Against the sicilian, either the open sicilian or the c3/alapin sicilian is a great choice. c3 sicilian leads to isolated queen's pawn positions, which are very good for understanding more about the game of chess. The c3 sicilian doesn't require a massive amount of theory either.

Against the french, just play the tarrasch I guess. The tarrasch is the most solid line against the french at the top top top level (in which almost nobody plays the french at the supergrandmaster level because it's passive and doesn't 'play for a win').

Against the caro kann, u can try 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 Bd3 which is pretty easy to play if you do a little of homework, though it might be kind of dry. The absolute best response against the caro kann is the advanced variation where you play e5, but it's actually hard to play and hard to get used to because black gets easy moves, and the pawn on e5 and d4 feels kind of over extended and loose. And playing c3 to hold the pawn chain together is never a good move in the main lines.

Against the pirc, 150-attack or Classical system are good. Look them up if you ever face the pirc at ur level. It's rare. You can also try f4 (austrian attack), g3, and Bc4, though I don't actually recommend the austrian attack. It's about dead equal but not very drawish at the same time.

Against the scandinavian, just the main lines. The scandinavian is also rare. Qd6 and Qa5 are two different systems and completely different.

If you want to go d4:

You can try the london system or just the main lines (d4 c4 Nc3 e4 setup). The London system is about equal (white wants to be slightly above equal), but it's super impervious, solid, and you'll broaden your understanding about chess, and there are a several grandmasters who play the london system.

London System = d4 Bf4 e3 Nf3 c3 Nbd2 h3 setup.

Whether you play the london system or the mainline d4 with c4, you are going to have to watch out for:

The grunfeld. The grunfeld is actually the best best best absolute best opening against the d4 if you go for the Nc3 mainline (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5). The grunfeld is very sharp and a lot of grandmasters are facing a little trouble against the grunfeld. But, hey, grandmasters play d4 c4 setup, so it must be promising. The grunfeld's endgames are always superior to white's in the main lines because of the 2-to-1 pawn majority on the queenside.

The nimzo indian defense is also very solid and good for black, just right behind the grunfeld by a millionth of an inch.

The slav is right behind the nimzo indian defense in soundness. The slav can both be sharp and solid. Also the semi-slav botvinnik is the sharpest opening in all of chess openings. The najdorf and the grunfeld are just a lil behind in sharpness but still super sharp.

In conclusion:

I recommend one of the following: -Mainline e4 -Mainline d4 -London System

Alternates -You can look at the English (c4) -You can look at the catalan -You can look at the Reti, but you really have to like it to be good with it.

Extra notes: -Generally you want tactical and sharp openings if you're a beginner, because playing out their middle games will improve your tactics. e4 is sharper and more tactical than d4.


For beginners, I generally recommend to begin from the end and start by learning endgames. Having said this, I can recommend a general plan of developing your pieces and securing your king that you can follow in every game, with both colors. For example, you can try a setup with 1.Nf3, 2.g3, 3.Bg2, 4.0-0, 5.d3, 6.e4, 7.Re1, 8.Nbd2, 9.c3, 10.Qc2, 11.a4 followed by Nd2-c4 or Nd2-f1-e3 and developing the dark squared bishop to d2 and the rook Ra1-d1. For instance, the game could start with

[FEN ""]
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.O-O Nf6 5.d3 O-O 6.Nbd2 c5 7.c3 Nc6 8.Qc2 Qc7 9.e4 Rd8 10.Re1 a6 11.a4 Rb8 12.Nf1 etc.
  • I do not agree with yor first statement, that beginners should learn endgames first. This is not logical and so does not make sense. Chess games start with opening positions and unless a beginner understands opening play, they will lose in the opening and never see or get to play an endgame ever! It makes better sense to start to learn opening play first, then mid game play and lastly endgame play. Better players know that openings can affect and shape the mid and end games. 1.Nf3 is a fine basic opening for a beginner :-) – rpd Aug 30 '17 at 9:41
  • 1
    @rpd It makes the MOST sense to study all aspects of the game simultaneously. When in doubt (study time might be precious), mid game and endgame are more important to study than openings though. Basically, a beginner only needs to know the importance of development and maybe how to avoid some common traps (and blunders, of course), and he's good to go. – Annatar Aug 30 '17 at 12:04
  • I find it a little bit disturbing that at the end of your example opening line White is already slightly worse. – Evargalo Dec 12 '17 at 8:52
  • @rpd: I do agree with the first statement. Some beginners should indeed learn a little about endgames first. Reason: not understanding how to finish a victory is demotivating. To checkmate a king blocked by his own men during the midgame is fine, but many games don't end like that. Some beginners would like to understand how to promote pawns and deliver mate on the open board. And if an understanding of pawn structures and types of endgame begins to emerge from this study, so much the better. – thb May 14 '18 at 17:46

Danish Gambit.

Don't be afraid to crush them. They won't play precisely enough to counter you, and you'll have tons of space. Develop fast, rush towards f7, gain material if you can, just don't lose time going after pawns.

[fen ""]

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2

Usually, you push e5 at some point, and sometimes it's yet another sacrifice.

Common themes :

  • if black plays Bb4 (moving your king to f1 is acceptable and then) Bxf7+ Kxf7 Qb3+ wins the bishop back, a pawn, opponent can't castle anymore and files e and f are open for heavy pieces
  • if black plays Nf6, e5 dislodges it (even if d6 has been played, and if dxe6, Bxf7+ before taking the queen) and it has a hard time finding a good square
  • Qb3 comes in handy in a lot of variations, especially if black moves the Bc8 and doesn't defend b7, which is also a target. e.g. 5... d6 6. Nf3 Be6 7. Bxe6 fxe6 8. Qb3, and 8... Qc8 might save the day, but Nd4 or Ng5 keep piling up the pressure.
  • against c6/d6/Nc6 and otherwise passive play, get out with Nf3, O-O, bring your rook to e1 and pound on the king and weak white squares before he gets his pieces out.
  • the best defense for black in a lot of lines is to play d5, giving it back to relieve the pressure and get out faster, possibly trading the Ng8 for the Bd5, or blocking the white open lines if exd5.
  • Just started playing this. Very fun whether you lose or win, but better to win :) – xaisoft Feb 8 '13 at 15:33
  • So I basically sacrifice 3 pawns for a lot of space? My I ask why you placed the first bishop at c4 and not for example b5? – OmnipresentAbsence Feb 8 '13 at 17:01
  • 2
    @OmnipresentAbsence: 2 pawns only, but basically, yes. ♗c4 threatems f7, which is a lot weaker than… d7? Also if ♗b5, Black could gain a tempo by pushing ♟c6 (helping ♟d5). – Nikana Reklawyks Feb 8 '13 at 18:17
  • I love taking all 3 pawns as black lol. I also see no compensation for white. sacrificing the 2nd kinda makes sense so u could move more freely but the 3rd is definately a blunder. – dogs10099 Oct 19 '13 at 16:08

For White, the Ruy Lopez is your e4 opening. It allows for rapid development, early castling, and a nice tactical game. For your d opening, a good ole Queens Gambit is hard to beat.

You'll also need to learn 2 openings for the Black side. I like a King's Indian in response to 1. d4 and a Robatsch for 1. e4.

They're all good in the beginning, however, so read up on some and learn the points of a few openings. Try them to see if you enjoy the positions that result.

There's really no such thing as a simple opening in chess. All are loaded with gotchas or nasty traps, ready to snare the complacent.

  • +1 for the King's Indian. It may not be light on theory, but none of the 1. d4 openings really are, and it avoids the bad light-square Bishop better than the other Indian defenses. I'm also intrigued by your recommendation of the Robatsch. I wouldn't have thought of that family of openings as simple beginner ground, but there's a good case to be made for it. – Jonathan Garber Feb 5 '13 at 15:46
  • The Robatsch is flexible and lets people get pieces in play. And against beginners, that sneaky g7 Bishop will probably eat its share of rooks ;-) – Tony Ennis Feb 6 '13 at 0:00
  • Ahh, the long diagonal, of course. I sort of overlooked that aspect because it's "too obvious". – Jonathan Garber Feb 6 '13 at 14:00
  • It will also teach the beginner about the long diagonal, exerting force on the center, and how a Bishop can assert itself. – Tony Ennis Feb 7 '13 at 2:19

I firmly think beginners should try all the 5 main common opening moves and try to understand the basic chess principles associated with these (eg 1.e4/1.d4/1.c4/1.Nf3/1.f4). Then they can pick their favourite opening move that suits their style (1.e4 for full on attackers, 1.d4 for more cautious attackers,1.c4 for any broad style, 1.Nf3 for systemised play and 1.f4 for the adventurous but less mainstream attackers!?) and specialise with those (or go ahead and even learn other openings once they understand the basics eg 1.b4/1.b3/1.g3).

Anyway, you must play any of these opening moves with good chess opening principles in mind and then you will be in position to play for winning advantages.

General opening principles: Control the centre Develop pieces and pawns effectively (to good squares and quickly) Castle for king safety After castling, aim to have pieces developed with connected rooks Do not bring the Queen out early in the game Do not move the same piece or pawn twice or more in the opening

Specific opening principles depend on each specific opening. Here is a very quick and very brief introduction to some opening recommendations for White (with some illustrative game examples):

1.e4 c5 Open Sicilian (see Fischer vs Sherwin 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 1-0) or Bb5 anti Sicilian (see Fischer vs Olaffson 2..d6 3...Bd7 5.0-0 Nc6 6.Qe2 1-0) 1.e4 e6 French defence (see Fischer vs Uhlmann French Winawer C15 1-0) 1.e4 e5 Guioco Piano (Italian game... see Fischer vs Rouse 2 Knights Lolli attack (d4) 1-0)

1.e4 OTHER.....so many 1.e4 openings. Follow opening principles!

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Colle opening (see Colle vs O'Hanlon 1-0) 1.d4 Nf6 Colle opening! 1.d4 OTHER.....so many 1.d4 openings. Follow opening pinciples

1.c4 c5 English Symmetrical (see Fischer vs Spassky 1972 WChmp rd8_1-0) 1.c4 e5 Reversed Sicilian (see Botvinnik vs Portisch English 2 Knights 1-0)

1.c4 OTHER...so many. Follow opening principles....

1.Nf3 d5 (see Reti vs Rubinstein 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 1-0) 1.Nf3 Nf6 (see Fischer vs Lapiken_1956 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 1-0)

1.Nf3 OTHER ..so many..Follow opening principles

1.f4 e5 Birds opening From Gambit (accepted or declined... see Larsen vs From From gambit accepted 1-0) 1.f4 d5 (see Lasker vs Bauer 1.f4 d5 2.e3 1-0)

1.f4 OTHERS....so many.Follow opening principles

Hope this helps a little. Happy and good chess play :-)


I recommend trying for the following setup for a solid opening as white against weak players: Nf3, g3, Bg2, O-O with a subsequent Re1

This will protect your king early. You can play these moves against a lot of different openings. Be careful though about Black pushing their e pawn to attack your knight. You'll want to prevent them from doing so.

I looked at the moves of a bunch of Bobby Fischer's games one time and noticed that he very often castled before his opponent. Why not do it very early in the game so you can do it before your opponent? Now it is not so simple that this will win the game for you. In fact, it takes skill to be able to find good lines where you can castle earlier than your opponent in many openings. But you could definitely do it quickly in the opening and it may just bring similar benefits. It is such a simple idea and I believe it could be a good strategy against weak players. This is the best thing I can come up with for an opening idea that will give you an edge over your friends.

One of the earliest openings I remember reading about and playing was the Reti Opening. It starts out with 1. Nf3. It's a bit different since many people play 1.e4 or 1.d4. I stopped playing it pretty early on as I got caught up in 1.e4 openings. But when the game is fresh and new, there is a certain pleasure in playing more unusual openings. Plus there is less to focus on as it is a single opening instead of say the vast family of 1.e4 openings.

Another idea is 1.e3 - this is a bit sneaky because it looks like it does not do much but it opens diagonals for the queen and bishop. Of course 1.e4 does the same thing and is likely better because it controls the center but just starting out you could take it slow and also quickly get your opponent and you out of book where you can come up with your own moves after 1.e3 instead of following the moves from a book. Okay, maybe 1.e3 won't give you an edge because it cedes space to Black but it will get you thinking on your own.

Finally, two book recommendations for you are Play Winning Chess by Jeremy Silman and Yasser Seirawan and The Art of The Checkmate by Georges Renaud and Victor Kahn. The first goes over general concepts like space and time. The second book covers concrete examples of tactics. These two books will help give you an edge over weak players.


For White, I would recommend the Ruy Lopez. 1. E4 (opens lines for queen and bishop). 2. Nf3 (develops knight). 3. Bb5 (develops bishop). Black usually plays 3. ...a6, forcing 4. Ba4. Black might play Nf6, and White can play O-O, developing a rook through castling (which is what castling is for). If Black takes the e pawn, 5... Nxe4, White plays 6. Re1 and regains Black's king pawn. Then "rinse and repeat on the queen side: Nc3, Bg5 (or elsewhere, Qe2, and Rd1).

If you follow this sequence, taking "time out" only to defend or move attacked pieces, you will rise above the level of beginner.


I prefer the Italian Game, as it is what I played when I was a beginner. I used to won many games with that, especially when other beginners play the 2 knights game and doesn't know what they're doing.


First, I would start with moving to e4. Next, just to free my rook, I would move my pawn on a2 to a4. After that, if your opponent has their bishop aiming for a2, move your pawn up to a5. Now your rook should be safe from being killed while moving to a3. The way I would move my rook on h1 would be to first move my pawn to g3. After that, I would move my bishop to g2. Then, move your knight to h3. Finally, castle! That way, you have freed your Bishop, Rook, and Queen; taken over the middle; and protected your king and kept your rook not trapped.

  • 1
    Idk how serious you are, but this is very bad advice for beginners. This setup is just very against anyone with at least a tiny bit advanced skill. – Annatar May 11 '18 at 7:20
  • 1
    First, your pawn on a5 is too far advanced, it will become an easy attack mark for your opponent, who you handed the opportunity to grab the centre for free. If you try to defend a5 (e.g. by playing b4, you waste even more tempo with non-developing moves while creating even more holes in your pawn structure. And what is that pawn doing on a5 anyway? Attacking b6? Your opponent can is fine without control of that square if he can get the centre and the initiative instead. – Annatar May 11 '18 at 7:28
  • 1
    Second, rooks should be developed by opening a file (i.e., trade away your own pawn on that file) so they can attack vertically, from the safety of your back rank towards your opponent's camp. "Developing" to a3 while you still have a pawn on a5 is very ineffective, the pawn will block your rook as if it still was on a1. The horizontal range on the third rank isn't all that great either, your rook will need at least one other move to join an attack, and chances are that most of the third rank is blocked by your own pieces, too (e.g. knight or pawn on c3). – Annatar May 11 '18 at 7:33
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    Last, developing your bishop to g2 and castling on that side actually is a very sound idea. But why place the knight on h3? Knights want to be close to the centre because they lack range. On h3, your knight has minimal effect. On f3 instead, it attacks two centre squares. – Annatar May 11 '18 at 7:35
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[fen ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bb4 4. Qe2
  • 5
    3...Bb4 is not a common move for black. – Dag Oskar Madsen Nov 23 '13 at 10:30

protected by SmallChess May 13 '18 at 10:54

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