Questions tagged [opening]

Questions relating to the first few moves in a game

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14
votes
7answers
8k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
5k 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. ...
14
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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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How should black meet the Halloween Gambit?

Although the Halloween Gambit is generally considered bad (and nearly losing for white), it is tricky to meet over the board, especially at the club level. How should black play in order to refute ...
14
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/...
14
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How many different ways are there to checkmate in the early game?

We all know the shortest possible checkmate is 4 ply: f3 e5 g4 Qh5# This isn't the only possible move order. In fact, there are 8, depending on whether white moves the f or g pawn first, ...
13
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8answers
3k views

Is pawns supporting pawns a good opening strategy?

For my opening strategy in most chess games I play, I usually move my pawns forward two, then one in an alternating strategy, until I have a sort of WWW shape with my pawns. That way, if anyone takes ...
13
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8answers
23k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Giving up Knight and Bishop for castled Rook and Pawn

The opening showed here is quite common. Is it generally a good or a bad idea to give up a Knight and a Bishop for the King-side castled Rook and the f-pawn? In terms of their "standard" value, both ...
13
votes
5answers
497 views

How can I deal with defenses I don't like?

I like to play 1. e4, as I favor open and dynamic positions, and feel comfortable with most black responses, but I there are some openings I don't like, e.g. Sicilian or French. My aversion might be ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

Is the Sicilian Defense a good opening for beginners?

Just discovered the chess section of this website. This is my first question here. I am a beginner chess player(rated about 1300 on the chess websites) and play mainly for recreation. For a long time,...
13
votes
4answers
681 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?
13
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4answers
888 views

Theoretical relationship between Caro-Kann exchange and Queen's Gambit exchange

Is there a book, or an article, which examines the relationship between these two openings? The Caro-Kann exchange (non-Panov) is 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5, and the Queen's Gambit exchange is 1.d4 ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the strategic significance of the English Opening?

I enjoy playing the English opening, pushing my pawn to c4, and trying to out flank my opponent. But I have a hard time, outside of playing normal lines, understanding the advantage it gives, and why ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Let's beat the Benko Gambit!

I play 1. d4 as White and I have success against almost all Black defences, except the Benko Gambit, where I score about 30%. My style is that I like solid, closed, positional games if I can, but I ...
13
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5answers
3k views

Software for opening repertoire practice

I am developing an opening repertoire for white based on d4 and c4. I think this is going all right, but what I am looking for is a chess program that can exercise my repertoire knowledge. ...
13
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3answers
1k views

How to best respond to an early black Qa5 in the Smith-Morra gambit?

I often play the Smith-Morra gambit. Recently I've been seeing black play an early Qa5, such as [fen ""] 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 Qa5 4. * or [fen ""] 1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. Nf3 Qa5+ 4. * It ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

King's Gambit, Fischer's Defence 6. Ng1. Wait, what?

I'd like to play the king's gambit without getting into piece sacrifices, but Fischer's Defence is unsettling me. This appears to be described as the "main line". [FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6 ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Opening book series with “complete” explanations

I am looking for opening books, preferably a series that explain different openings, where the opening is explained with a complete view: strategic plans for main variants, main tactical ideas, usual ...
12
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5answers
6k views

Database of every possible move in chess

Imagine that there is a chess database of every possible move and position. This database contains all possible moves from opening to end game. If I played using my intuition against a chess engine, ...
12
votes
5answers
10k views

How to blunt the Albin Counter Gambit?

I dislike open, highly tactical games. I wouldn't mind them so much if I won them, but that isn't what happens. I was recently destroyed by the Albin Counter Gambit. I'm curious if there is a known ...
12
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4answers
4k views

Are there good variations for White against the Sicilian that do not involve an early d4?

If White opens e4 and Black replies c5, that's the Sicilian defense. Typical next moves are 2. Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4, etc. Are there good variations for White where he DOESN'T play d4? I've heard ...
12
votes
3answers
707 views

How to reach an open position in the 4 Knights Game without exchanging too much material?

I believe that 4 knights opening is the most popular opening, especially among average players. I play it a lot, that's why I want to analyse it. I'm an average player, so I hope you can help me. ...
12
votes
3answers
544 views

Should I recapture the queen with my king or knight in the Scotch Game?

I watched the following video on the Scotch Game by NM Dereque Kelley, and he clearly points out that 3...d6 is not a good move on Black's part because it causes all sorts of problems, especially ...
12
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3answers
5k views

What are the common themes in the Catalan?

I have looked over some of the main lines of the Catalan in MCO-15 and feel pretty lost as to what's going on in them. What are some of the key positions and goals for either side? Or is the opening ...
12
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3answers
8k 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?
12
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2answers
1k views

What are some lines of the Queen's Gambit symmetrical variation for white?

Some people who I play always play the symmetrical variation, and I don't know how to play it for white. [fen ""] 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5
12
votes
3answers
828 views

How to decide when is a3/h3 needed?

a3/h3 are frequently used to prevent the bishops from pinning the knights. I always have a hard time deciding whether to play them or not. Playing them loses moves and tempo while not playing can ...
12
votes
3answers
347 views

How do chess openings officially get recognized?

With so many combinations of moves possible, how do openings get recognized? For example, what is to prevent me from playing a series of moves and declaring it the xaisoft gambit or xaisoft heart-...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is an isolated queen pawn so special?

Various articles and books mention the following advantages of having an isolani: Better development Outposts on e5 and c5 Constrained Black position What I don't understand is how are the above ...
12
votes
3answers
527 views

Early-game Principles

I am a novice player who is trying to brush up on the core principles for successful chess. Instead of focusing on specific openings in the beginnings of a game, I am trying to play to certain ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How to deal with the Cochrane Gambit

[fen ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nxf7 ?! I'm pretty sure the Cochrane Gambit isn't correct. However, I find it difficult to defend against, as some "natural" moves don't seem to work. Can ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Examples of harmony?

Recently my chess tutor used a word which in hindsight is very interesting: harmony. He mentioned I should not just develop my pieces in the opening, but develop them harmoniously. Since then, I've ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Understanding the Tarrasch defence to the Queen's gambit

I do not understand the diagrammed position. Do you? [fen ""] [title "A. Grischuk vs. V. Kramnik, FIDE Candidates 2018"] [startply "8"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nf3 c5 5. e3 dxc4 6. Bxc4 a6 7....
12
votes
3answers
421 views

What's the point of early a2-a4 in the Modern Italian?

It seems that just every top GM is now playing the modern interpretation of the Italian Game (with c3 and d3) with an early a2 to a4 Pawn move, something that only a few years back was considered a ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

How should I defend against this sacrifice in the Two Knights Defense?

I often get to play this opening : [fen ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. Nc3 Bg4 (5... Be7 6. Be3 Bg4) (4... Bc5 5. Nc3 d6 6. O-O Bg4) Sometimes there may be other moves or ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the Alekhine Defense named after Alekhine?

Alekhine, a world champion, has his name on the defense Nf6 in response to White's e4. But after e.g. 2. e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4. d4, White seems to have a good game. Did Alekhine win any notable games (...
11
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8answers
2k views

(For training purposes) Are there any openings with rook pawns that are more effective than others (and if so, what are they)?

(Originally I hoped a lengthy prologue would not be needed here, but some of the answers and comments have led me to write one so that the purpose of the question is clear, thus this is now much ...
11
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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 ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Equalize - What does it really mean?

We often read or hear in books or video tutorials the following: "With this move, Black can equalize!". Some authors give 15-move or 20-move variations of some openings (e.g. Caro-Kann, Slav, Semi-...
11
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3answers
2k views

Why do some players play bizarre openings?

I saw blitz games on the Internet (http://en.chessbase.com) between very high Elo rated players (above 2700) that played bizarre openings like: 1. a4 x 2. h4 xx 3. Ra3(or Rh3) xxx 4. Rae3 xxxx. The ...
11
votes
2answers
419 views

Wrong lines of play to illuminate right lines

De Firmian's Modern Chess Openings is a good book. I like it. However, the book teaches right lines of play. It teaches few wrong lines. Should one not also study wrong lines—the blunders, the ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

How should I play against the Philidor defense?

As white, I often encounter the Philidor defense by black: [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 I usually play Nc3 or d4 on the next move, but is this the best move? What are some lines (advantages or ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What are White's advantages against the Greco Defense?

After the first two moves of the Greco Defense [fen ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Qf6 what should White's agenda be? I see that the wikibook Chess Opening Theory suggests 3. Bc4, but it doesn't go into ...
11
votes
4answers
3k 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
3k views

Is the Ulvestad variation playable for black?

The Ulvestad variation starts with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 b5 Now white's best is 6.Bf1 Nd4 7.c3 leading to this position: [FEN ""] [StartPly "13"] 1.e4 e5 2....
11
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How should white continue after 5…Qf6 in the Scotch Game?

I have been playing the Scotch main line every chance I get. I have had a pretty good success rate with it, but I feel this is due to the my opponent not having a complete understanding of the Scotch....