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Opening Tips For Beginning Chess Players

For many beginners, the opening stage of the game can be intimidating. What pieces do you move? What should be your plan? There is also confusion because there are so many openings and variations to study. Opening study is important, but not nearly as important as many beginners think. Nonetheless, it is important to understand the basics of opening play. Let’s face it if you can’t start a game, how do you expect to win one! Here are some opening principles for beginning chess players. Keep in mind that these are general rules; of course there are exceptions.

1) Start the game with either 1. e4 or 1. d4. These are the most popular opening moves for a reason. It’s not enough to just play these moves, you have to understand why you are playing these moves. 1.e4 or 1. d4 immediately fight for central control.  1. e4 also opens the diagonals for the white queen on d1 and the white bishop on f1. The move 1. d4 has similar goals by controlling the center and opening up a key diagonal.

2) Move each piece only once in the opening. In chess there is a concept of time or tempo. If you move a piece more than once you are losing time that could be used to develop other pieces.

3) Fight for control of the center. The four central squares e4, e5, d4, and d5 are the most important squares on the board. The reason is that when most pieces are placed on one of these squares they control the most territory on the board.

4) Don’t bring out the queen too early. Since the queen is your most valuable piece, if you move her too early your opponent can gain time by attacking her. Although there are famous openings where this principle is violated(i.e. The Scandanavian Defense), it is a wise rule to follow for beginning players.

5) In general develop knights before bishops. The reason for this is that the best squares for the knights in the opening are usually f3,c3,f6,or c6. A knight placed on one of these squares controls the important central square. The best squares for your bishops are dependent on what is happening in the opening, and that may take a few moves to unfold.

We hope these guidelines help you in your opening play!

 

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