Questions tagged [opening]

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

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149
votes
28answers
170k 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 ...
40
votes
8answers
10k 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 ...
35
votes
10answers
8k 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 ...
35
votes
15answers
27k 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 ...
35
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
35
votes
9answers
37k 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 ...
35
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
33
votes
17answers
32k 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 ...
33
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
31
votes
10answers
26k 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 - ...
31
votes
8answers
22k 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. ...
30
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 ...
30
votes
3answers
5k 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"] [...
27
votes
16answers
35k 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 ...
25
votes
8answers
4k 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, ...
25
votes
6answers
8k 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. ...
25
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
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 ...
24
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
24
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
24
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
8k 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)?
24
votes
3answers
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+
23
votes
15answers
11k 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 ...
23
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 (...
22
votes
8answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
22
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 ...
21
votes
8answers
11k 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 ...
21
votes
10answers
29k 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?
21
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
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 ...
20
votes
10answers
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 ...
20
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 -...
20
votes
6answers
37k 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. ...
20
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
19
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. ...
19
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
14k 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 ...
19
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
6k 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 (...
18
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
11k 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?
18
votes
2answers
3k 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
4answers
8k views

Carlsen beat a high ranking GM with 1 Nh3. Conclusions?

In 2018, Magnus Carlsen played a rapid game on chess.com agaisnt Grandmaster Aleksey Dreev in which his opening move was 1. Nh3. [Title "Magnus Carlsen-Alexey Dreev, Pro Chess League, chess.com INT, ...
17
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 ...
17
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
17
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...

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