This page contains the most important information about Chess openings for beginners to start with. Below is the set of opening principles that should be followed for nearly every opening you play.
Important: Like any principle or rule in Chess, they shouldn’t be followed 100% of the time and there are exceptions to all of them. However, they should be followed in general especially for novices. If you’re a Grandmaster, you can do what you want.
Let’s get started.
1. Control The Center
The best way to do this is to immediately place a pawn in the center of the board.
This is why the most common first move for White is e4. The second most common is d4. Which is also why Black commonly responds with e5 to e4 and d5 to d4.
As White or Black, if you can safely place another pawn in the center of the board, you should do it.
2. Develop Pieces
Developing and activating all of your pieces is often neglected by novices. The goal of development is to connect your Rooks which you cannot do until all of the other minor pieces are developed.
Develop minor pieces before major pieces. The minor pieces include Knights and Bishops. There is also a saying in the Chess community to follow in regards to activating your pieces is, Knights before Bishops.
Give every piece a turn before moving the same piece again. Don’t move the same piece twice.
3. Get King To Safety
Removing the King out of the center of the board is crucial and should be done early in the game. You do this through castling. Castling is how to protect your King in Chess.
Getting the King out of the center of the board is of utmost importance. Meeting the criteria to be able to castle comes naturally as you follow the other principles of the opening. You need to move both the Bishop and a Knight on either side of the board, which happens naturally as you follow the other opening principles like developing your minor pieces.
In general, you want to castle as soon as possible. However, determining whether to castle kingside or queenside isn’t so simple to determine. For more information, see the guide on castling in Chess.
4. Don’t Bring Queen Out Early
Before developing a major piece, develop minor pieces first. Always remember Bishops and Knights and Knights before Bishops.
Bringing your Queen out early in the game during the first few moves is generally not a good idea because your Queen can simply be attacked by your opponent. This does three things that work against you.
- You’ll have to move your Queen again simply to not be captured.
- By having to move your Queen again, possibly multiple times, you’re helping your opponent develop pieces while you are not developing at all, you’re just moving your Queen around.
- You’re “wasting” valuable moves by moving your Queen instead of developing your other pieces so you can have a better position overall.
The fourth point is a good segue to our next principle.
5. Make Few Pawn Moves
Pawns should be moved simply to make it possible to develop your other pieces, especially the minor pieces like the Bishops.
Move two or maybe three pawns at the most and activate your other pieces before moving more pawns. Every move is so critical in the opening that just one move not being maximized could destroy any advantage you could have developed early in the game.
6. Don’t Move Same Piece Twice
Ideally, you want to move each piece you develop just once. This is so you can develop a new undeveloped piece on every move.
7. Keep All Pieces Defended
Defending in chess is one of the hardest lessons for beginners to grasp. While you’re developing pieces in the opening, every piece that’s moved to move to a square that also defends another one of your pieces while ideally attacking an opposing piece.
Develop a Knight to defend a pawn and attack an enemy pawn. Develop a Bishop to defend another pawn and attack an enemy piece, and so on.
Before making another move, make sure every piece that has already been developed is also defended.
That concludes the principles for openings that are important to practice until perfected.
Now what? Are there are factors that make up good Chess openings? Of course, but these are the three main principles that should be followed in the vast majority of games.
I hope these guidelines of the opening principles in Chess helped you. This is one of the most important posts that beginner players should reference frequently. Consider bookmarking this page to remind yourself of these daily.