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Questions tagged [opening]

Questions relating to the first few moves in a game

117
votes
26answers
123k views

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 at the highest level at ...
32
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
30
votes
17answers
30k 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
29
votes
9answers
7k 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 Italian ...
29
votes
9answers
23k 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 ...
27
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
4k 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"] [...
25
votes
8answers
22k 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 - ...
24
votes
12answers
20k 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 ...
24
votes
16answers
27k 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 ...
24
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
22
votes
14answers
8k 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
7k 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. ...
22
votes
8answers
12k 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 bit of games online, the one thing that I have been challenged with is studying ...
21
votes
6answers
1k 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 many be signs ...
20
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
20
votes
10answers
26k 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?
20
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
2k 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 (...
19
votes
7answers
3k 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, ...
19
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
18
votes
9answers
5k views

Opening with knight

I recently came across a game purportedly played by Napoleon (white) where he opened with 1. Nc3, and went on to win. I've never seen another game that did not open with a pawn. Does a knight opening ...
18
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
3k 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 -...
17
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
30k 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. ...
17
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

What are black's possible plans in the exchange variation of the Queen's Gambit?

I've reached this position, or something similar, a zillion times as both black and white (main line exchange queen's gambit): [fen ""] 1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 Be7 7.Bd3 ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the “stonewall formation”?

I use PyChess to play. It talks sometimes about how White or Black moved their pawns into "stonewall formation." How do they do that, and what are the position's advantages/disadvantages?
16
votes
5answers
9k views

How to deal with your opponent's queen if your opponent rejects any trades?

If my opponent brings out his/her queen early in the game, I usually attack it with my own queen. The opponent can either accept the trade or reject it. If he/she accepts, I have no questions at all. ...
16
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

How to play for a draw

In this video: Levon Aronian vs Magnus Carlsen Round 1 - 2013 Candidates Chess Tournament [FEN ""] 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 And now, Kevin said: "You can tell that the game is ...
16
votes
6answers
9k 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?
16
votes
4answers
4k views

What openings are recommendable for beginners to study?

I am a beginner. With reference to opening theory, which opening should I start learning? My friends are suggesting Ruy Lopez...
15
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the idea behind playing 6.a3 in the Sicilian Najdorf?

What is the idea behind playing 6.a3 in the Sicilian Najdorf? [FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. a3 This seems to be getting popular at the highest level (e.g. yesterday/...
15
votes
3answers
639 views

Willingly giving up castling rights in the opening?

[fen ""] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 e5 I've seen the Ukrainian/Old Indian Defence played in several GM games before 1970, and was wondering what black gained from willingly giving up castling rights ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Which gambits have been most successful?

Besides the Queen's Gambit (which isn't really a gambit anyway), which gambits have been most successful as far as winning percentage and usage at high levels of play?
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What influenced the development of the King's Indian Defense?

The King's Indian Defense is characterized by the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6. (As opposed to 2. . .e6, with the intention of developing the Bishop to the Queen-side.) Black aims for a strong King-side ...
15
votes
2answers
767 views

Position from the Dutch Defence / Blackmar-Diemer gambit

In the Dutch Defence, the following gambit isn't very popular anymore. [FEN ""] 1. d4 f5 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4 dxe4 (3... fxe4 4. Qh5+) The same position can arise from the Blackmar-Diemer gambit if black ...
14
votes
4answers
759 views

Which chess player has the most openings named after him?

I always thought it was interesting that chess players had openings named after them. The game of chess has only been popular and organized for about 150 years, yet all the most popular openings and ...
14
votes
11answers
6k views

What are some good books for chess openings?

I am not new to chess, I have been playing for around 6 years. But I don't know much about chess openings technically. What are some of the very good books to to learn important opening moves? Thank ...
14
votes
4answers
5k 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 (...
14
votes
4answers
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

Understanding vs. Memorization

Is memorization necessary in modern chess? Whenever I play chess, I always run out of time because I move slowly in the opening; unlike others who move fast in the opening because they have memorized ...