Chess Openings

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A Guide to Chess Openings

“When you see a good move, wait – look for a better one.” – Emanuel Lasker, 2nd World Chess Champion

Because of different chess strategic and tactical patterns, chess game is divided into three phases: the chess openings, the middlegame, and the endgame.

The chess openings contain the first moves, when both sides endeavor to develop their forces into the sphere of action where they will exercise the greatest power against the opponent´s defenses.

The middlegame is the developed phase of the game and then comes the endgame, when most of the pieces are gone and kings start to take an active part in the struggle.

There are dozens of different chess openings, varying widely in character from quiet positional play to very aggressive. In some opening lines, the exact sequence considered best for both sides has been worked out to 30–35 moves or more. Professional players spend years studying openings, and continue doing so throughout their careers, as opening theory continues to evolve

Fundamental Strategic Aims of Chess Openings

For most chess openings, the fundamental chess strategic aims are similar:

  • Development : To place (develop) the pieces (particularly bishops and knights) on useful squares where they will have an impact on the game.
  • Control of the center : Control of the central squares allows pieces to be moved to any part of the board relatively easily, and can also have a cramping effect on the opponent.
  • King safety : Correct timing of castling can enhance this.
  • Pawn structure : Players strive to avoid the creation of pawn weaknesses such as isolated, doubled or backward pawns, and pawn islands.
  • Piece coordination: As each player mobilizes his or her pieces, each attempts to assure that they are working harmoniously towards the control of key squares.

Apart from these fundamentals of chess openings, other strategic plans or tactical sequences may be employed in the openings.

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