Questions tagged [opening]

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

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33
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
31
votes
14answers
26k 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 ...
23
votes
15answers
10k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
9k 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?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What are some advantages/disadvantages of accepting/declining gambits?

Most of the time I see gambits are declined, but what are the advantages or disadvantages of accepting or declining gambits? I know this depends on the type of gambit, but I am looking for a more ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

In the Classical Variation of the Caro-Kann, what is the most positional, strategic, quiet, slow, closed, boring, dry and solid variation for Black?

I am not sure what to play as Black in the Classical Variation of the Caro-Kann, after 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 [...
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 -...
16
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 ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Top sources for opening theory

Can anyone recommend any good sources such as periodicals, websites, or what not to stay up to date on the latest opening theory? I am willing to pay if the source requires such. How do the top ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

Should Black avoid the Two Knights Defense because of the Fried Liver Attack?

It seems like the Fried Liver Attack is too much for black to handle, so it seems it is best to avoid the Two Knights Defense as Black. An example of the Fried Liver Attack is below and Black just ...
23
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 ...
19
votes
6answers
36k 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. ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does 6.Bg5 prevent 6…e5 in the Sicilian Najdorf?

In Gufeld's book, after 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5!, [FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5! he writes: "In this way White solves three ...
11
votes
2answers
12k views

What are the main ideas and goals in the Queen's Indian Defense?

There's no real surprise when it comes to the strategy for the King's Indian Defence: storm white's king side, maybe sac a few things, and mate (ideally). But what does a practitioner of the QID hope ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Uncovering the Accelerated Dragon opening

I had previously heard and seen in commentaries about the Dragon opening where black plays an early g6 to develop the bishop on g7 after the typical open Sicilian starting moves c5 cxd d6. But how ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the theoretical consensus on the Roscher Gambit?

Edit: My mind played a trick on me after the fact. As Akavall notes in a comment, the Chadaev-Carlsen blitz game that I mention below actually proceeded 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nf3, a different gambit ...
17
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 ...
15
votes
10answers
26k views

Looking for an aggressive opening for black vs 1. d4

I like the King's Gambit a lot, and even the Latvian Gambit as black (with dubious results), so my style is very aggressive openings with potentially sharp lines and hack n' slash type of tactical ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

What are the ideas behind the Blackmar-Diemer gambit?

I have a new chess student who likes risky openings. We conducted an exercise where we played the first 4 or 5 moves to see which openings come naturally to him. He chose the Scandinavian Defence and ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Opening Moves: Pawn Chains and Countering Attacks

What is it called when your opponent opens with their pawns in a zigzag formation, leaving the front line defended by the back? (Pawn Chain) Also what is the best way to counter this move?
5
votes
1answer
825 views

Comprehensive list of ECO codes together with the list of moves

I am looking for a comprehensive list of ECO codes with various variations together with a corresponding list of moves. Basically something like: B01 Scandinavian (centre counter) defence 1. e4 d5 ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

How to create your own opening book for your own chess engine?

I am currently working on a chess engine in Java. I am using the minimax algorithm with alpha-beta pruning to select the best move. However, it is inefficient to use the algorithm for selecting ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the Reversed Sicilian / King's English 1. c4 e5 more of a positional and quiet opening or a wild and tactical opening?

The only thing that deters me from playing 1. c4 followed by a Kingside Fianchetto is 1...e5 the Reversed Sicilian (also called the King's English). I like quiet, positional, strategic and ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Can White play e4 followed by f3?

We know that 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f6 is a disaster for Black (Damiano Opening). But White has an extra move. Can he therefore play 1. e4 e5 2. f3 ? If Black replies 2... Nf6, White has 3. Ne2 (followed ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Has the King's Indian Defense been refuted at the Grandmaster level?

I know about b4 in the bayonet and the Kramnik-Kasparov games of course. I also know that Mr. Radjabov has been unhealthy (hope he gets better soon) lately. Thanks in advance, your site is awesome, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is 1. Nf3 not nearly as popular as 1.e4 and 1.d4?

The opening move 1. Nf3 is considered as a perfectly sound opening and it is popular, but not nearly as popular as 1.e4 and 1.d4. Here are my thoughts about this: In most openings, white will make ...
15
votes
4answers
738 views

What are openings which were once thought good, but are now shown to be inferior?

Are there any openings that were once often played, but are now known to be very bad moves?
15
votes
5answers
6k views

What are good openings for bullet chess?

It is evident that bullet chess has a different set of strategies from regular chess. It follows, therefore, that certain openings will be better or worse relative to their normal chess counterparts. ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I build my opening repertoire and memorization?

I have been playing chess for the last two years. I am trying techniques like controlling the center, not allowing weak pawn structure, etc. Now I am trying to build up an opening repertoire. My ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Which openings give a winning pawn-structure in the endgame?

For example in the Exchange Variation of the Spanish 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6, White gives Black the Bishop pair, but gains a potentially winning pawns-only endgame. Are there other ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What to do when your opponent doesn't play along in the opening?

I looked around and could not find an answer for this. I've studied a pretty good amount of opening theory and so I know the "correct" moves for some basic lines. Most e4 openings and a fair amount ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

If 1. e4 c6 is considered as a sound defense for black, why is 1. c3 so rare?

At 365chess.com, 1.c3 is ranked as the 14th most common first move for white. If the Caro-Kann defense is considered as a sound defense, why is the Saragossa opening so rare for white? After all, ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Can black play the London system?

After 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3, Black usually plays Nf6 or e6 (which blocks his light-square bishop) and I wonder if it is possible for him to adopt the ideas from the London System and play Bf5 ...
9
votes
7answers
1k views

For Black, against the Caro-Kann Advance Shirov variation 4. Nc3 which move tends to lead to the most positional, slow, solid and strategic positions?

I'm a 1800 Elo player that likes positional, quiet, drawish, slow, boring and strategic openings. As Black against 1. e4 I play the Caro-Kann. But there is one variation of the Caro-Kann that I ...
9
votes
5answers
5k views

Countering the Wayward Queen Attack

I'm a really new Chess player - I just started playing again after an over 10 year hiatus. I'm (sadly) in the 600s. I've been studying openings and I seem to do better in games where I can use the ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Why Anand and Carlsen insisted on playing the same opening/defense

They played the Berlin defense and Ruy Lopez. Well the question is more like: why Anand insisted to play Ruy Lopez again and again. wouldn't be better if he had tried najdorf and nimzo indian earlier? ...
9
votes
9answers
11k views

How to play against the Grob attack 1.g4

I am looking for resources/ideas (i.e. ECO doesn't seem to have a lot on this opening) to play against the Grob attack. (Both for facing it and to prepare to play it as White). So far what I have ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What are good openings for White during a blitz game?

It seems as though White can easily dominate the tempo in a blitz game through a strong, aggressive opening. Is this the case? What openings are strong for White when there is a short time limit (e.g.,...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

Does this opening have a name? 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4

I've stumbled upon this opening a few times, and I'm pretty sure it must be known, but I couldn't find the name of it in my book: [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 ... Is someone familiar with ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

A Consistent Grunfeld Repertoire

I'm starting to play against stronger competition who know how to play their openings, so I'm trying to figure out my repertoire. I have recently decided to stick to playing the Grunfeld against 1.d4, ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the ideas behind the Short variation in Advance Caro-Kann?

What are the main strategic and tactical ideas behind the so-called Short variation in Advance Caro-Kann? I mean this line: [FEN ""] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nf3 e6 5. Be2 Isn't White's ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How to test the quality of an opening book?

Over the years I manually maintained an opening repertoire in a PGN file (with several "games" per ECO index on average), and now realized I can generate different opening "books" from it - for SCID, ...
7
votes
7answers
2k views

Are there known opening gambit lines for black in the French defence?

I play the French defence with both colours (white and black) and generally play any of the orthodox main line openings (there are many eg Advance, Exchange, Classical,Tarrasch etc giving rise to many ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Against Alekhine's defense, can White avoid 2. e5?

An opponent I have heretofore easily beaten has started playing Alekhine's defense against me. I am no longer easily beating my opponent, and indeed would be repeatedly losing to him, if only he had ...
6
votes
2answers
297 views

What Is Controlling The Center?

I keep reading about the importance of controlling the center in an opening, however (and forgive me my ignorance), I'm unsure if control means to occupy the center squares or to position pieces such ...