14 The right way to open a game

14.1 Tutorial

The first moves of a chess game are called the opening. There are more legal positions on the chess board than there are atoms in the universe. At the start of a game, however, the sensible moves for both sides are limited. So over the course of the history of chess so-called opening variations have been formed which are followed by rote by stronger players.  There are thousands of textbooks about these openings. With their beautiful names such as  Sicilian, King’s Indian, Dragon Variation or Volga Gambit they form an important part of chess culture.

In the opening we should as far as possible act according to the following rules of thumb. Otherwise one can be caught unawares by an experienced player.
  • Occupy the centre with pawns. Whoever occupies the centre with pawns controls the middle of the board. From the middle you can quickly deploy your pieces on both flanks. The pieces too should have the centre as their goal.
  • Develop your pieces. All pieces should be rapidly brought into play. That is critical in terms of time because the side which develops its pieces more quickly can be the first to attack.  So in the opening avoid moving a piece twice. Do not move the queen too soon so that it is not harried with time-wasting attacks.
  • Get your king into safety by castling. As soon as many pieces are developed the king is in danger on its starting square. There are sacrifices the sole purpose of which is to keep the king in the middle and attack it there. So you should castle quicjky. Moreover that brings a rook into play. Castling is a valuable developing move which beginners generally underestimate.

14.2 Exercises

Move directly on the board to input a solution. Either click first on the start square and then on the target square. Or click on the piece, hold on to it, move it tot he target square and let go of it. The button ‘Left arrow’ takes back the move.
Start again

When opening a game of chess you develop your pieces to occupy then centre and castle with the king. The rooks go on to the opened files. The queen should not move too soon.