I am beginner in chess but in my mind one question overcome, Does white have an advantage with the first move?


5 Answers 5


It really depends on what level of chess you're looking at. At the amateur level (<2200), I would hypothesize that white's supposed "first-move advantage" is relatively insignificant. However, it's quite evident at the higher levels that white has an advantage when playing mainstream openings - please reference the Shredder Opening Database for the details of individual moves. For example, out of the 242,221 Grandmaster games where White has played 1. e4, he has scored 54.5%.

Chess players and theorists generally agree that White has a certain first-move advantage. The page on Wikipedia is certainly a fascinating read.


Generally white is considered to have a slight advantage, and black needs to "equalize". However there are also voices (e.g. András Adorján with his "Black is OK" books) who challenge this view and attribute the results of black to a mix of inferior, too passive openings ("defences") for black and the power of "self-fulfilling prophecies".

Personally I think the truth lies in the middle: White has a slight edge, but it would be smaller if players with black would be more confident and aggressive.


The advantage of the first move gets more significant as you go up the rating scale. At the GM level, white typically scores about 56% to black's 44%.

I would expect as you go down the rating tree the advantage of the first move would disappear, as lower rated players typically need a larger advantage in order to convert it to a win, and also lower rated players are more prone to making mistakes that give away the advantage (or the game).

By the time you reach "normal" club-level players, I'd be surprised if the advantage of the first move was more significant than the probability of a an error giving away the game.


White enjoys a first move advantage i chess that can be translated to about a 6% probability of winning the game. This advantage is a universal constant independent of the level of play. The first move advantage is of course easily squandered and in lower levels of play. The details of this estimate may be found in the appendix of the article on pairwise comparison of chess opening variations. here is the link http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2472783 your comments greatly appreciated.

  • 6% probability of winning is not very good is it? Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 9:38

In high level games, white wins 30 percent and black wins 20 percent.

  • 2
    Do you have any evidence for this? If so, please cite it. If not, what is this based on? Commented Sep 18, 2014 at 23:10
  • My evidence is based on chesstempo.com database. Also, comments above me shows a 10% difference between black and white. It might not be the best numbers, but it should be close to truth. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 17:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.