As regards the opponent's moves, what things do you usually pay more attention to in the openings?

After learning how to move the pieces, after understanding how the game is divided into stages, and after finding that openings can provide a wide range of theoretical exercises, I come to ask myself some questions.

This question is part of a series of questions asked by players who have begun their study of chess, and have previously learned chess terms, and now seek knowledge of how great players think and how they make decisions on each move.

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  • I admit I wasn't sure what the OP is getting at when referring to "movements" in the real question. Guided by the (at present) one answer, I suppose the OP means to refer to the opponent's moves.
    – Rosie F
    Aug 16, 2022 at 4:59

2 Answers 2


In the opening every time my opponent makes a move the first thing I ask myself is "Was I expecting that move?". In other words, did my opponent make one of the standard replies in that opening or did they play something different.

If they played a standard move then normally I reply almost immediately with the next standard move in the opening.

If they played a move I don't recognize then I ask myself what the idea is behind their move. Maybe they are making an immediate threat which I must counter. Or maybe they are playing a move order trick to try and get me into a line I don't want which is better for them.

If I don't see a problem for me with their move I then ask myself if it was just a mistake and can I punish it. It could allow me to play a tactic. It could allow me to achieve one of the goals of my chosen opening which normally they should stop (e.g. e5 for black in the Classical Dutch or e4 for white in the same opening). It could introduce a new weakness which I can try to exploit by departing from the normal moves of the opening.


Primarily how it influences your strategy.

Secondarily to discover their playstyle and skill level - eg. Are their movements intentional blocks to your strategy or accidental? Do they like a closed or open state? Are they happy to simplify or leave things complicated?

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