3 Best Chess Openings for Beginners
“Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame.“, GM Lajos Portisch
In today’s free video, FM Sebastian Fell will share with you 3 of the best openings for beginners.
He starts the video with a very important introduction:
“As a trainer, I always discourage my beginner students to study openings. For your level, the opening should only help you to get a good middlegame position, so there is no need to memorize or spend lots of hours studying openings. It’s better to simply know what to do and next to study the middlegame and the endgame, as they are the most important stages of the game.”
With this simply paragraph, FM Fell declare his intentions with the openings he suggests: simple openings, with clear plans. He promises that with these openings you won’t get winning positions by move 10, but, instead, you will get good middlegame positions with a lot of ideas to outplay your opponents!
There are 3 important rules in the opening that you should always keep in mind:
- To control the center.
- To develop your pieces.
- To put your king into safety, which can be done castling.
With this rules in mind, he suggest 3 openings, 2 to play with White, and 1 opening scheme to play with Black.
With White, he advice you to play 1.e4, after which he analyzes the 2 most popular responses.
The 4 Knights Opening
After 1…e5, the Four Knights Opening is a very good choice for the beginner. You develop your knights to the center, and you get it! After the main moves, you reach this critical position:
Here, White should take his opportunity to pin the knight with 7.Bg5 (he is now threatening to play 8.Nd5, with a killing pressure), which is usually answered with 7…Ne7, which has many ideas in mind.
First, the knight can go to g6, and then f4, which is a weak square on White’s position (more of this later). Also, Black is trying to play …c6 and …d5, controlling the center.
FM Fell followed with 2 Capablanca’s games which are very illustrative of White’s play. But there is a very important move to remember if you like to play this position with White.
After …Ne7, White usually plays immediately 8.Nh4!, which also has many ideas. First, the black knight can-t go to f4 now, as it will be taken on g6, damaging the black’s kingside pawn structure. But, also, White is now trying to push f2-f4, to open the f-file and put more pressure over the f6-knight and the f7-pawn (which be targeted after White plays Bc4).
With these ideas in mind, Capablanca won tons of games, two of which are analyzed in the video.
The Grand Prix Attack
The Sicilian Defense (1…c5) is the most popular move, from beginners to GMs, so it’s very important to know how to play against it. Again, the beginner should avoid the main paths, as they require lot of memorization.
FM Fell advice you to play the Gran Prix Attack, which can be reached after 2.Nc3, 3.f4 and 4.Bc4.
White has many ideas with this opening, but the main one is to create a powerful attack over the black king. An important attacking device can be seen in the next position:
Here, White has a easy to follow plan to attack the enemy king.
White should continue with 8.Qe1, followed by f5-Qh4-Bh6-Ng5 and the attack over h7 and f7 will be decisive. The attack is very easy to play, and very difficult to defend of!
The …Bc5 Scheme
With the Black pieces, after 1.e4 the beginners should play 1…e5, as is the best way to keep improving your game. The only problem is that White has many good openings to choose from!
So, Sebastian Fell suggest you a scheme that can be played against any opening White plays. And it’s so easy to understand and play that you will always feel comfortable!
His idea is to play 2…Nc6 and 3…Bc5 against almost anything.
For example, in the Ruy Lopez Opening (also known as the Spanish Opening) Black can play 3…Bc5 (see the next diagram).
Black’s idea is to develop easily with …Nf6, …d6 and …0-0, and to defend with all his pieces the important e5-pawn, the only central pawn in his position. If you don’t forget about this important issue, then you will get good middlegame positions almost every time!
The middlegame is pretty similar to the Four Knights Opening, as can be seen in the game analyzed, so you just need to copy the ideas.
This scheme can be also be played against the King’s Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5), the Scotch Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5) and the Italian Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5), so you have a complete repertoire against 1.e4!
FM Fell presented you 3 excellent options to get the most from the opening without having to spend hours studying. He obviously recommends you to analyze more games, but without doubt this brief video will give you the basic weapons to start your search.
Start playing them, winning games, and comment us how well are you doing with them!