There are several different Chess openings any beginning Chess player needs to learn, and many hundreds of variants for each single sequence of movements. It does seem overwhelming to learn all of these at once. In fact, trying to remember so many different movements without even understanding the principle behind them could prove to be disastrous for your game.
Instead of attempting to memorize all the various specific Chess openings, aim to get a grasp of general opening theory by familiarizing yourself with these four basic principles.
- Control the center. Good openings are those that get hold of the center of the Chessboard early on during the game. Chess players like to refer to this location as the sweet center. It comprises e4, e5, d4 and d5.
- Once your pieces occupy the center, you have more advantage because you have open access to all other parts of the board and your pieces enjoy more mobility in their attacks. On the other hand, if your opponent gains central control, you waste a lot of moves trying to get around the occupied center to lay out your strategy.
- Place your king in safety. Several techniques, such as Ruy Lopez and the King’s Indian Variation of Reti’s Opening, are concerned primarily with getting your king safe. Usually, this means castling your king early, or moving the king two squares toward the rook, while the rook jumps over the king.
- Moving off the center of the rank makes the king less vulnerable to early attacks and prevents sacrificing other pieces to avoid an early checkmate. If possible, keep all the pieces around the king intact.
- Advance a pawn. Allow freedom of movement for your pieces by advancing a pawn as an opening move. Moving the king or queen’s pawn opens lines of movement for the king or queen’s bishop. However, move your knights first before your bishops take a step. Knights are the only back rank pieces that can make a move during Chess openings.
- They have limited movements but are very powerful when they take hold of the center. Bishops, on the other hand, have more movement and are more useful during the later part of the game, when there’s more space for them to move around in.
- Achieve the initiative early on. In Chess, having the initiative means you take control of the direction of the game. Your opponent will have to react to your movements by defending his pieces instead of laying out his own game plan. Develop your minor pieces first, namely the knights and bishops, before you touch the rooks and queen, the major pieces.
- However, keep in mind not to move the queen too early because exposing it to possible threats makes it more vulnerable. Chess openings such as Centre Counter-Defence, Queen’s Gambit and the Nimzowitsch Attack, are examples where the queen is played out too early in the game, resulting in lost tempo or two.
These building blocks will help you to get off to a great start, providing you with a foundation for a great grasp of winning Chess openings.