The first moves a player makes in the game of chess is known as the opening moves. Opening moves are meant to:
Give the king adequate protection
Give the player the control over the centre area of the board
Enhanced mobility for pieces
Give players the chances of capturing opposing pawns and pieces.
The first moves are the most important moves a player can make. Our advice to players is not to memorise the opening moves, but rather, they should focus on understanding the principles governing good opening moves like developing their own pieces and controlling the centreboard.
As a player, you can learn the common opening moves as it helps you to establish your own plans, but, you should not rely totally on moves memorization as this can throw you into confusion when you’re up against an opponent who understands his onion.
Based on adequate research and experience by some of our highly talented players, here are some of the best moves you can learn and master the principles behind these moves.
The Italian Game
The principle behind the Italian game is to take control of the centre as fast as you can with your pawn and knight, and then establish your bishop on its most dangerous square. The Italian game also prepares you to castle safely and it starts with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4.
The Sicilian Defence
In the Sicilian Defence, white plays 2.Nf3 and 3.d4 to gain the central space, but also allows Black to gain by changing a central pawn for a bishop’s pawn. Most often, aggressive players would prefer to use the Sicilian defence in an opening.
Popular variations of the Sicilian Defence are Dragon and Najdorf. Dragon starts as: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6. While Najdorf starts as: 1.e4, c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6.
Grandmaster Daniel King White's postulate is that White will most time respond with Be2, letting the Black attack the centre with e5.
The French Defence
This is a very strategic opening you should be familiar with. In the French defence, Black gives white more control of the centre in the hope of building a safe wall of pawns. The opening moves made in French defence starts with 1.e4, e6 2.d4 d5.
The French defence involves trying to gain positions, closing the centre. Two competing chains arise with each player trying to outflank the other. White makes e5 moves while the black tries to make c5 or f6 moves. Sooner, the Black queen Bishop becomes trapped, when this happens, the queen Bishop will be referred to as the ‘French Bishop’. This is a big risk to the c8-bishop.
- The Roy-Lopez, also known as the Spanish opening.
This opening move was named after Roy Lopez, a 16th century Spanish Reverend devoted to the game of chess. The moves start as 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5. This move is favoured by Gary Kasparov and Bobby Fisher.
In Roy-Lopez, White mounts pressure on Black’s e-pawn and also prepares for a pawn on d4.
The King's Gambit starts as 1.e4 35 2.f4. The next natural following move accepting the gambit will be 3xf4. This is an old opening dating back to the 1800s. The opening offers a pawn to gain rapid development.
There are many more smart openings you can learn as a beginner. Some of these openings are Queen’s Gambit, King’s Indian Defence, Dutch Defence, English opening, Centre Counter, Pirc/Modern, etc.
The basics are to fight to gain control of the centre as White in the early stage of the game and active playing that does not allow you to give up your first mover advantage will go a long way in making you a formidable player.
If you’re a beginner, you can attend one of our regular lessons and special lectures where you get to learn some of these smart openings and how to use them effectively against your opponents to give you a leading advantage.