The players under consideration here, the so-called "beginners", are players who are below 1100 Elo, players who do not yet know what openings to play, players who do not know anything about openings.

"Best" here means best for them to improve quickly and eventually become strong players. Only the long term improvement matters. The short term improvement is irrelevant.

  • I'm quite exceptic on the idea that some openings have magic properties that make your game improve more than others. In all honesty people just tend to recomment their favorite openings
    – David
    May 31 at 10:15
  • @David I think for fast improvement also choice of opening is important - for example IM Andras Toth on his youtube channel suggests to begineers to choose complex and varied openings. Playing similiar systems all the time (London, French, ...) all the time is according to him detrimental for development. However I think this applies to begineers between 1400 and 2000 lets say, for 1100 its enough to learn to put some pawns into center and try not to hang too much material. May 31 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


If we follow the same logic that sustends the "play 1...e5" advice, beginners should play 1...Nc6 :

  • It is a simpler move to explain logically: the Pe5 is under attack, we protect it while developing. Good, sound reasonning that will be helpful even when the beginner will have to think by themselves in an unknown position.

  • By leaving more choice of opening to White (Ruy Lopez, Italian, Scotch, Ponziani...) rather than imposing our scheme (Petroff), we can reach a wider variety of positions and thus develop our chess experience.

  • Hopefully, slighlty less specific knowledge would be needed at once: in the Petroff, we have to know, at least, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6! 4.Nf3 Nxe4 and how to avoid trouble on the e-file. After 2...Nc6, even without knowing anything by heart, we expect to reach a playable position with natural moves (...Bc5 or ...Be7, ...Nf6, ...0-0, ...d6, etc.). But this is more or less true given the need to look after f7 in the Italian or after e5 in the Ruy Lopez.

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