Famous Opening Chess Moves

Chess is the Game of Kings

Chess is one of the oldest games that a person can play these days, and getting the upper hand against your opponents can begin with knowing several famous opening chess moves.

The Game of Kings

This game is a way to train your mind to think in very analytical ways. You learn how to look at the field of battle and discern possible movements in order to take your opponent's men and then to take the king to win the game. The game takes under a minute to setup, hours to play (potentially) and a lifetime to master.

The Importance of Opening Chess Moves

There may be no move in chess as important as the opening move. The opening move refers to the first initial move a player makes on his or her first turn. Playing white gives you an initial advantage, and playing black immediately puts you on defense. There are several things a player aims to achieve while performing his or her opening moves:

  1. Development-You want to move your pieces to useful positions on the board where they can have the most use to capturing the king.
  2. Center Control-The center of the board is the most important area of the board that opening chess moves will hope to exploit. From the center your pieces can move easier and can serve to stifle your opponents.
  3. Protect the King-The safety of the king is paramount in the game of chess. Many famous opening chess moves will involve castling to put the king in a safe zone while simultaneously setting up a rook or will involve artificial castling.
  4. Weakened Pawns-You want to avoid weak pawns, and many good openings will bait your opponent into taking your unneeded pawns as a distraction for your immediate attacking.
  5. Coordination-Opening moves will serve to set your pieces up to be most effective during the coming turns to make sure they all can work well together.
  6. Comfort Positioning-You strive to create a situation that keeps your opponent on his heels and uncomfortable.

As you begin your opening moves, you can also set yourself up for your middle game strategy.

Famous Opening Chess Moves

Learning about famousopening chess moves as a beginner can certainly give you an upper hand in your game play. Essentially, there are three types of openings or "opening groups":

  • White moves its king pawn (e4) 2 spaces forward which sets up center board control and frees the queen and bishop. Black is left with only two counter plays:
    • Black can mirror white to open for Spanish, King's Gambit and other openings or;
    • Something else entirely to open with a French Defense, Sicilian Defense, Center Counter and others.
  • White can move its queen pawn to "d4" which can lead to the Queen's Gambit opening and several others.
  • White can start with something other than queen or king pawn movement to do another opening such as the English.

The following diagram explains the letter and number calling used on the chessboard:

Chess Quadrants

Spanish Opening

This opening allows White to put pressure on Black's e-pawn while attempting to get ready for a pawn on d4. Black's best defense is to move to a6 on the 3rd move to attack White's bishop. When this is done, White can back up or exchange pieces.

Giuoco Piano

This opening is known as the "Quiet Game" and can have several variations. In this opening White mildly attacks with the bishop, but Black can quickly even the odds. The opening begins as such:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. Bc4 Bc5

If White responds with d3 then the opening is changed to the "Quietest game" which can be played very passively. If White were to respond with b4 you will create the "Evan's Gambit" opening where he offers a pawn in exchange for a strong central position and most likely opening up the queen's bishop.

King's Gambit

With this opening strategy White will sacrifice a pawn in order to achieve rapid development and was popular in the 1800s but is not seen much today. Black can create a good position without giving a thing for White's pawn.

  1. e4 e5
  2. f4

The most natural choice for a next move is exf4 thusly accepting the gambit.

Sicilian Defense

This is a very popular move at master chess level where Black goes right for the jugular to fight for the center but attacks from the c-file instead of simply mirroring White's movements. This defense will lead to complicated maneuvers. This begins with:

  1. e4 c5

Normally Black with go after White's e-pawn by using his knight at f6 and the bishop at b7 because Black wants to be able to take d5 without an immediate attack.

The "Dragon" is a variation of this opening:

  1. e4 c5
  2. Nf3 d6
  3. d4 cxd4
  4. Nxd5 Nf6
  5. Nc3 g6

With this Black finachettos a bishop on the diagonal at h8-a1 created a pawn structure that resembles a dragon. Another variant, Najdorf, begins like the dragon but changes on Black's 5th move:

  1. e4 c5
  2. Nf3 d6
  3. d4 cxd4
  4. Nxd4 Nf6
  5. Nc3 a6

White will often respond with Be2 which allows Black to take the center using e5.

French Defense

In this move Black allows White to control the center as he builds a wall of pawns.

  1. e4 e6
  2. d4 d5

Many games will find you competing for a good position. Here White will usually respond with e5, Black with c5 or f6 king Black's queen bishop useless and trapped.

Center Counter

This opening begins with:

  1. e4 d5
  2. often continued with exd5 Qxd5

Queen's Gambit

This opening begins with something other than e4 on the first turn:

  1. d4 d5
  2. c4

White gives a pawn away to build rapid development. Black can play dxc4 to accept the gambit, but this is a risky choice so Black can also choose Nc6 (Tchigoram Defense), e6 (leading to the Tarrasch Defense) or e6 (leading to the Orthodox Defense).

Famous Opening Chess Moves