Basic opening strategy
Basic opening strategy

"Certainly as a beginning player, open with one of the two center pawns, the pawns in front of your king and queen"

Basic opening strategy


Here are a few basic strategies: Certainly as a beginning player, open with one of the two center pawns, the pawns in front of your king and queen. By moving that center pawn forward two square, you take control over a part of the center and you actually have a threat... to move the other center pawn forward two squares! The idea is simple. Every early move should try to take better control over the center of the board.


Control the center

All of your early moves should aim to take control over the center (the d4,e4,d5, and e5-squares) ... usually by develop a piece, preferably in a way that threatens something... perhaps an opponent's piece or to take firm control over the center.


Knights before Bishops

As my uncle used to say, "Knights before Bishops, Knights before Bishops, Knights before Bishops." Most of the time, it is fairly clear where the knights ought to be developed. The best squares for the bishops become apparent only a bit later. So make my uncle happy and move your knights before you move your bishops!


Develop before you attack

Try not to move a piece more than once in the opening... unless you can capture something or gain something important. In other words, don't start attacking until all or at least most of your pieces are developed.


Don't bring your queen out early

Make sure that you do not bring your queen out early. If you do, you may lose it or at best lose time moving it around when your opponent attacks it. Wait with your queen until you are sure you know where it's going.


King safety

This should be obvious, but many beginners forget about safeguarding their king. Lose your king, and you lose the game! So make it a priority to castle early unless you have a very good reason to do something else. In most games, players castle kingside because it's easier to defend. Castling queenside leaeves the king a bit more exposed. If you do castle queenside, you will often want to take time to move the king from c1 to b1 for added safety. Even on the kingside, it is often a good idea to make the king safer by moving it from g1 to h1.


And do not sacrifice material until you know you are getting something valuable for it! If someone take one of your pawns, or pieces, most of the time... TAKE BACK!


The following diagram shows a powerful setup for all of white's pieces. You are unlikely to achieve such a fine position against a strong opponent, but it is very useful to have a plan!