You Can’t Win in the Opening, But You Can Lose


Center of the board.


The first part of a chess game is called the opening.

Like in all parts of life, real success in the game requires hard work. Short-sighted tricks won’t work in the long run, unless you’re playing against beginners.

Chess opening has the same principle; the goal of the opening is to create the basis for the later game (to choose the street, where the fight happens), not win straight away with some reckless trap. You can set up traps, but you should only set up traps that don’t weaken your position too much. It’s very possible that your opponent won’t fall for the trap. Like the Ben Fineggold phrase goes, tricks are for kids.

The opening has typically 3 main objectives: center control, piece development and king safety usually by castling.

The center of the board is usually conquered with pawns at the first moves, because for example when you move the d- or e-pawn you open diagonals for the bishops and the queen. Battle for the center usually molds the characteristics of the game’s future.

The major and minor pieces are at start in horrible positions. A knight can move only to 2 squares. If a knight is at the center of the board, it can move to 8 squares. Other pieces also do better, if they are “developed” to better squares. One opening principle is that each minor piece (knights and bishops) should be developed before the major pieces. The player, who has more developed pieces, is ahead in development.

King safety done usually by castling is a third goal of an opening. The king is often more vulnerable in the center than after castling. It can get attacked, if the center lines are opened. A castled king however is in a safer place, because moving pawns to open side lines is rarer.

If you follow these 3 principals, you usually survive the opening or even gain an advantage.

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