The principle to play a game of Chess is pretty straightforward, make all the best moves, and win the game. One slip and all your good moves so far will not matter anymore. But to play safe and ensure a comfortable and solid position, you need to have a solid foundation. And that is where the concept to learn Chess openings come into play.
Chess openings are the first few sets of moves that you play at the beginning of your game. These openings have to be carefully planned and studied to ensure that you have a counter move for every move that the opponent has to make. Hence every beginner has to learn them in the beginning of their Chess journey by either learning through books or taking up online Chess coaching for beginners.
Why Should You Learn Chess Openings?
- It helps you plan your first few moves
- It helps you understand your opponent’s moves
- It ensures you are never in immediate danger and always have a solid foundation
- It helps you take control of the game and gain some advantage
- It helps you avoid traps and tricks
- It helps you have a clear action plan
Terminologies In Chess Openings You Should Be Familiar With
- Development: Bringing the pieces in the game and into action
- Theory: Moves and positions already played by the players or explored by computers. This set of moves exists in databases.
- Novelty: The first move outside the theory. After a set of existing moves, if you play a new move, it is called a Novelty. It may be both good and bad for the position.
- Minor Pieces: Bishops and Knights
- Gambit: Sacrificing a Pawn or some other piece in the beginning for some other long-term advantage
Grandmasters and other titles players are familiar with most of the openings and all the deep lines within them.
As A Beginner, How Do You Learn Chess Openings? Let’s Have A Look
1.Figure Out Your Playing Style
Before you find your preferred opening, before you start delving deep into the kind of moves you will choose to play, figure out what kind of a player you are. There are various Chess-playing styles that include attacking, defensive, positional, technical, tricky, calculative, dynamic, practical, etc. Each playing style is characterized by how the player thinks and how he responds to the moves on the board.
Once you figure these out, it will be easy to narrow down a few sets of openings, which will make it easy for you to learn Chess openings.
2.Find Out A Few Openings You Are Comfortable With
Once that is sorted. It’s time to learn a few openings. And in the beginning, you really can’t expect to grasp all the hundreds of openings that exist. Just narrow down 2-3 openings as White and 2-3 openings as black, and start exploring.
Make sure the openings compliment your playing style and are comparatively simpler for beginners. The best way to approach it is to start playing whatever opening comes naturally to you, then stick to it and start exploring.
3.Trail And Error
Playing the opening again and again will tell you how differently your opening can branch out. And with trial and error, you can get better at it. Let’s say playing Knight at c3 didn’t work in one game. Then try finding an alternate move in the next game. Be consistent, and master the opening.
4.Refer Openings Books
There are a lot of great books that will take you through all the intricacies of all the major openings. This will teach you about the moves and different branches of those openings and how to tackle the same opening if your opponent plays it.
Some of The Best Books To Learn Openings Are
- Modern Chess Openings by Nick de Firmian
- Fundamental Chess Openings by Paul van der SterrenI
- Winning Chess Openings by Yasser Seirawan
5.Check Databases And Learn
If you want to undergo deep study about all the different lines of a particular opening, go for some trusted databases and powerful Chess engines. Databases contain all the games that were ever played, and they can bring up specific games and their results for every move played. This can show you which move has brought wins, draws, or losses.
On the other hand, Engines can analyze any given position and showcase the best possible move in that situation.
6.Have A Mentor Or A Coach Help You
A guide is of great assistance when you begin your Chess journey. They help you overcome any hiccups in any openings and teach the best lines for the counter moves. They can also help you in analyzing your games after matches and tell you what could’ve been better.
One of the best online Chess coachings for beginners is Kaabil Kids, which helps kids master openings and understand mid-games & endgames. They have a team of FIDE certified trainers and a curriculum prepared by Grandmaster Tejas Bakre to help kids get a holistic development in the game.
7.Follow Players And Their Games
Like the beginners, Grandmasters and professional players also have their preferred openings. So identify those players, watch their matches regularly, and watch them unfold your opening in the most creative way possible.
While you watch the game, one thing you can practice is to guess the Grandmaster’s next move and their thought process, and this will give you the practice of looking at every position professionally.
8.Implement What You Learn And Have Room For Improvment
If you think you know an opening by knowing a few sets of moves about them, then you are far from right. Don’t skip on any opening without playing it enough or exploring all the possible move combinations. If you start an opening, be completely thorough and comfortable before adopting a new one.
Chess is a game where players are always on thin ice. There have been games where a player has played an incredible opening, got a solid advantage, and lost a game by making just one bad move. A good opening doesn’t ensure a win, but it guarantees a good position, many opportunities to attack, and a safe way to approach the end of the game.