A great opening which throws a challenge is sometimes the only thing needed to catch your opponent off guard and score a quick victory.
A good opening game upfront will set the tone for the rest of the game. Keeping this in mind, it is crucial that you work on this aspect of your game.
A good opening move is not set in stone and as a beginner, you would need to find what works for you and keep on practising. That being said, there are a few moves which you could ace up your sleeve and build on further from them.
Let’s look at some of the best opening moves beginners can work with to take their game a notch above:
- Sicilian Defence
This is among the top moves for players playing with black pieces. It gives the black player an opportunity to stage a powerful response to the white’s opening moves.
This method gives the chance to neutralise any aggressive opening of the White player, which is precisely the reason behind its popularity today.
If the next moves are played right, the c5 is an effective response to e4 than any other move and can be used to black’s advantage.
Considered a not-so-great opening initially, it has made a dramatic comeback in modern-day chess and is widely used as a popular opening move, especially by beginners.
- Italian Game
Believed to have been discovered in the 15th century, the Italian Game or Giouco Piano is one of the oldest chess openings, and also one of the most frequently used ones.
One of the key ideas of this opening is to quickly control the centre. This is achieved by placing a pawn in the centre on the first move, a move which also liberates the White’s light-squared bishop and queen.
In this move, both white and black get an element of control of the centre and open up space for their queen and bishop with their e pawn push. Both develop their knights as black defends the e5 pawn that white is threatening.
This is a great offensive opening and should be considered by players new to the game.
- Ruy Lopez
Made popular by a Spanish priest of the same name who developed it in 1561, this move is also known as the Spanish Game.
As with many other moves developed early on, this move too was not quite appreciated or used. Over the years though, it has gained traction and has increased in popularity. Many of the grandmasters of today also use this as an opening move.
It is used as white’s best attempt in gaining an advantage after double king pawn formations. A major plus of this opening is that it gives the white player enough opportunity to develop a complex offensive strategy and also slows down the black’s pawn formation. It is easily regarded as one of the most effective and powerful chess openings.
- French Defence
This is one of the most strategic openings any beginner should try and learn. It’s a solid move for Black as it usually leads to closed positions in the mid-game. This move comes in handy when learning the game or playing against a higher rated opponent.
This is an opening which usually favours the players playing with the black pieces. Even though this opening gives way for the player with white pieces to get a hold of the centre, it forces the white pawn in the e line and pressurises the white player to play his next move wisely which is used to the advantage of the black player.
- The Queen’s Gambit
Made popular in recent times with a television series sharing the same nomenclature, the Queen’s Gambit is a very effective and popular opening move. It is a favourite not just among the beginners, but pros too.
This move is further divided into two:
- The Queen’s Gambit Accepted
This opening was first mentioned in the 15th century by chess writers and became a feature in the Steinitz-Zukertort match of 1886
This is one of the best chess openings for beginners who want to challenge white’s knowledge in this type of opening and try to win with the black pieces.
Here, black will accept the gambit pawn from the white but will be unable to hold onto it. By capturing away from the centre, would give white free control of the space in the centre. It is argued, however, that black will later play for some positional pluses by creating an isolated pawn for white.
- The Queen’s Gambit Declined
In this particular opening, black declines a pawn offered by white. This is known as the orthodox line of the Queen’s Gambit Declined.
The Queen’s Gambit Declined has a reputation of being one of black’s most reliable defences to 1.d4. In this situation, white will try to exploit the passivity of black’s light-squared bishop, and black will try to release it, trade it, or prove that, while passive, the bishop has a useful defensive role.
The Queen’s Gambit may seem a bit confusing to new players because of its complexities, however, this is easily one of the best moves a beginner could master.
Of the various moves above, none of them offers a guarantee that you would win for sure. What is certain is that a killer opening move will set you up for the rest of the game and therein lies your chances to aim for victory.
Practise all of the above moves and more on Square Off’s e-chess boards. With the latest in adaptive AI, it can be played by players sitting from anywhere in the world.