Questions tagged [opening]

Questions relating to the initial moves of the game and their aims

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164 votes
30 answers
185k views

What are examples of very aggressive openings?

One of my favorite openings is the King's Gambit. It is extremely aggressive, and makes for a sharp tactical game without sacrificing too much material. It isn't played much at the highest level at ...
51 votes
9 answers
73k views

Is there a good online opening training software?

There are a lot of websites to train your tactics, but I can't find any for opening repertoire. I am looking for something similar to 'Chess Position Trainer' but online, where I can import a pgn file ...
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48 votes
8 answers
11k views

What are pros and cons around banning castling?

Vladimir Kramnik has proposed on chess.com that castling be banned for the good of the game. What are the kinds of objective points that might be made for & against this idea? Based on these, do ...
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40 votes
15 answers
40k views

What is the worst opening move, and why?

Grouping of initial moves of a chess game are well known, though I've never seen analysis of the worst possible opening move, any thoughts? If so, please provide more than just a move, but the exact ...
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  • 4,053
39 votes
17 answers
39k views

Good openings for a beginner (for white)

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 ...
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39 votes
9 answers
6k views

How do I get a well-rounded understanding of chess openings?

So, it was inevitable. I am making progress in the middle-game. I understand positions better and my tactics continue to improve. My end games are still solid/superior for my skill level so I ...
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  • 1,714
37 votes
4 answers
6k views

What are the consequences of an early a6 in the Sicilian?

Once I encountered an opponent who used a very early a6 in his Sicilian Opening. [FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 a6 What could have been his objective with this move and how should I have have countered ...
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  • 473
37 votes
8 answers
46k views

What's a good way to learn opening theory?

I'm a hobbyist chess player and usually play online. While I've seen thousands of great chess games and win a fair number of games online, the one thing that I have struggle with is studying openings. ...
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36 votes
13 answers
10k views

Are there any gambits involving sacrificing a piece?

My impression of the word "gambit" is the sacrifice of a pawn or several pawns at the opening stage of a chess game. However, based on the definition on Wikipedia, a gambit (from ancient ...
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  • 7,715
36 votes
10 answers
32k views

What openings are good for the repertoire of a tactical player?

I'm preparing an opening repertoire for a small "open tournament" that will take place in a few weeks. I think I'm quite decent at tactical play, and I like situations that give me the initiative - ...
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  • 2,899
35 votes
5 answers
15k views

Why is the Ruy Lopez such a common opening?

The Ruy Lopez opening is characterized by the moves: [fen ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Why is this opening so popular? It does not appear to be particularly special/unique for white or black, so ...
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34 votes
17 answers
44k views

The London System: Can it be broken?

I've faced the London System several times so far, and just don't know what strategy to adapt against it (I exclusively play Nf6 in response to 1.d4). I'm a highly tactical player, so I try following ...
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31 votes
10 answers
6k views

How do chess openings work?

A recent question by xaisoft got me thinking about a problem I had as a novice player. When I first started to play chess, I thought that the moves in an opening were independent of the moves made by ...
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31 votes
6 answers
23k views

Why is the French defence not played at the highest level?

I am a French defence player and I enjoy playing almost all the lines (Tarrasch, Winawer, advance variation, ...) because I think the play that follows the opening suits my style and I feel very ...
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  • 1,537
31 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why is the Ruy Lopez a sensible opening for white?

As an amateur, I prefer the Scotch game as opposed to Ruy Lopez, since I feel that White loses tempo and Black seems to gain tempo with queenside counterplay in the main line. [title "Ruy Lopez"] [...
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  • 1,482
28 votes
8 answers
5k views

Does the first-move advantage for White have real meaning apart from the highest levels of play?

Most games that involve taking turns, with one player going first by lot or agreement, have some sort of advantage to going first. Tic-tac-toe, for instance, is a guaranteed draw for player 1, ...
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28 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why always 4...dxc6 and not 4...bxc6 in the Ruy Lopez Exchange?

[FEN "r1bqkbnr/1ppp1ppp/p1B5/4p3/4P3/5N2/PPPP1PPP/RNBQK2R b - - 0 1"] In the Ruy Lopez Exchange, black always takes back the bishop with 4...dxc6. In Timothy Taylor's 2011 book Slay the Spanish, he ...
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28 votes
1 answer
2k views

What openings typify 21st century chess?

What openings are particularly typical of 21st century chess so far? To be more clear, which openings are particularly popular in the 21st century relative to the 20th century? For example, certain ...
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27 votes
3 answers
9k views

What is the worst opening move in Chess960 for White?

Is there a first move for white in Chess960 in which white can immediately blunder a piece or lose a significant advantage (say -2.0 or so)?
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27 votes
6 answers
10k views

What should you do when opponent opens with excessive pawn moves?

As a beginner I'm not spending much time studying openings (there are so many!) but trying to work on opening principles. One principle I've read is not to move too many pawns in your opening moves. ...
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  • 861
26 votes
7 answers
3k views

What proofs for refuted gambits are there?

I've stumbled upon this article a while ago, and I've also seen refutations for the Muzio Gambit (Joseph Kling & Bernard Horwitz - Chess Studies on Endings of Games). I'm wondering what other ...
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26 votes
3 answers
6k views

Can anyone tell me name of this opening where knight is sacrificed?

Is there any way to take knight and save rook at same time? Please do tell name, so I can search on YouTube. [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6 3. Nxe5 fxe5 4. Qh5+
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26 votes
7 answers
4k views

Which notable players in chess history successfully used dubious openings?

I am reminded of a famous game between Karpov and Tony Miles where Miles played 1...a6 against Karpov's 1. e4 and still won the game. [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR b KQkq -...
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  • 9,235
25 votes
8 answers
3k views

What should I do about the dilemma of castling early?

OK, it has been said that one of the opening fundamentals is to castle early, but I have a dilemma with this and it may very well be a natural dilemma that has to be dealt with or there may be signs ...
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25 votes
8 answers
6k views

Are computers destroying chess?

These days I have been watching the candidates tournament, and I couldn't avoid noticing that players are reeling/scared of computer home preparation "a little bit too much". For example: 1) In the ...
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  • 1,194
25 votes
9 answers
7k views

Systematic approach to learning opening/endgame theory?

Some relevant information: I've been playing chess for 4 years, and for 3 in tournaments, although I've only played in about 10 tournaments so far (3 big ones, like the Pan Ams and Chicago Open). My ...
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24 votes
10 answers
4k views

Is there value to learning openings as a new player?

Am a new player (had played before hadn't picked up a board for 3 years having never taken the game that seriously) and am going to try and commit to at least 1 rapid (10+5) game per day. Have made it ...
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  • 361
24 votes
15 answers
13k views

Is Colle-Zukertort a good way to improve beginner play?

I'm still trying to improve my repertoire and building more towards aggressive openings which I find to better fit my playing style. Colle-Zukertort seems like a popular one and I've seen it ...
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24 votes
7 answers
11k views

What is a good French-like defense against 1. d4?

I enjoy playing the French Defence as black against 1. e4, for the following reasons. It often creates a closed position without wild tactics It takes white away from the more familiar lines (1... e5 ...
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  • 1,247
24 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is black’s compensation in the main line of the Caro Kann?

After move 10 in the main line of Caro Kann, black has already moved its light-squared bishop four times, while white manages to develop quite a bit. What exactly is blacks compensation for the lack ...
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  • 1,135
24 votes
2 answers
60k views

What is the Bongcloud opening?

I have heard the Bongcloud opening mentioned on chess.com, but I have never heard of that. Is this a real opening, and if so, what is it?
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24 votes
3 answers
3k views

What are white's plans in this Scotch Gambit position?

I'll skip the long explanation, but it's not uncommon for me to reach the following position as White out of the opening: [FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 Bxb2 (...
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  • 3,186
23 votes
10 answers
34k views

Why is the Sicilian Defense considered hard to play?

I have been told never to play the Sicilian. It is a very complicated opening that even grandmasters aren't ever able to analyze and play well enough. But why, I ask?
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  • 341
23 votes
4 answers
17k views

Opening tree graph

I found this tree and found it an excellent visualisation: Could anyone provide me with a graph that includes all common chess openings but to a lesser depth?
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  • 455
23 votes
8 answers
12k views

Is learning opening theory necessary?

I have never studied opening theory. The closest I've gotten was briefly reading about several openings in books, but never memorizing or using any. While I haven't ever played in tournaments I have ...
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  • 887
23 votes
4 answers
8k views

Playing the French Defense Exchange Variation

In the French Defense Advance Variation, 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 ..., there are some clear game plans for both sides, areas where you want a pawn break, where you want to attack, etc. However, in the ...
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  • 2,373
22 votes
3 answers
9k views

What is a tabiya and what is their importance?

I've heard the term Tabiya used online though I've never really run into it in any chess book I've read. I have an idea of what the term means but I'm not sure I'm correct, so first I'll say what I ...
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22 votes
5 answers
6k views

What is 'space' on a chessboard?

I know, I know, this sounds like a ridiculous question, but bear with me. As an example of my lack of understanding, let's take the advanced variation of the French defense. [title "Advanced ...
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  • 589
22 votes
5 answers
11k views

Why do masters open 1.d4 more often than 1.c4?

Why do masters open 1.d4 more often than they open with the English 1.c4? STATISTICS According to 365chess.com, 1.d4 is five times as common. Moreover, even if one admits Réti's 1.Nf3 as an ...
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  • 4,431
21 votes
7 answers
18k views

How should rooks be developed in the opening?

The opening is definitely a weak area in my chess game and I always feel like my rooks sit unused until well into the middle game (?). Is that just how things go, or is there a strategy that allows ...
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21 votes
7 answers
19k views

Openings - e4 vs d4

In more than 90% of chess games I play in, the first move is either d4 or e4. When I am black, I try to counter e4 with Caro-Kann and Sicilian, and against d4 I usually just play d5 and see where ...
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21 votes
6 answers
10k views

Why do some openings have Indian in their name?

Why are a few chess openings named King's Indian Defense, Queen's Indian Defense, Nimzo-Indian defense, and so on? What is the significance of Indian in all these opening names? What's India's ...
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  • 711
21 votes
6 answers
52k views

What is a good, aggressive response against the Sicilian Defense?

I would like to learn a good response against the Sicilian defense (in your opinion), for both blitz and slower games. I am looking for a more aggressive response, since it fits best my style. ...
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  • 1,194
20 votes
7 answers
20k views

Why does the London System have the reputation it has?

After being out of chess for many years, I became interested again. While I never studied in my earlier playing days, I always played e4 openings when white. That was partly due to that being ...
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  • 2,414
20 votes
6 answers
3k views

How do I learn a new opening?

Often times, when I find myself going through the lines of a new opening, one that I would like to start using in my games I hit the concrete wall after a couple of days of studying it. Due to the ...
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  • 1,481
20 votes
6 answers
15k views

Why is the King's Gambit not played often?

I have observed that the King's Gambit is usually not played at international level. Is there any specific reason for this?
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  • 3,293
20 votes
5 answers
7k views

Bird's Opening and the Dutch Defense

A naturally positional class-C player (c. Elo 1500), I have learned in recent years to push my f-pawn two squares early in the opening, to force myself to play tactical chess. The King's Gambit (...
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  • 4,431
20 votes
4 answers
2k views

Alekhine's Defense variation, understanding white's overextended pawns, black's multiple early knight moves

I'm a casual, semi-serious chess player and have been an active player for over 10 years. In my time playing, one of the most unusual openings I have had the pleasure of playing against is known as ...
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  • 1,247
20 votes
3 answers
13k views

Can the Scotch Game really give White chances to get an opening advantage?

If I remember well, Kasparov once said that, besides the Ruy Lopez, the Scotch Game is the only serious attempt for White to get an early advantage in the opening after 1.e4 e5. Is that true? The ...
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  • 2,899
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Trading queens in the opening

Which standard openings in chess usually pave the way for an early queen trade in the game? In other words, which opening has a high probability of exchanging the queens in the opening itself? Does ...
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