What are the Best Chess Opening Moves? – The Definitive Guide

What are the Best Chess Opening Moves?

Best Chess Opening Move

Examining the starting position of the game of chess, White has twenty legal chess moves at his disposal. However, some chess opening moves like 1.e4 or 1.d4 are far more popular than opening moves like 1.a3 or 1.g4.

If you’re a complete beginner who is new to how chess pieces move, it might be difficult to understand why we regard certain chess opening moves as sound, whilst others seem to be quite poor.

Many amateurs memorize the first few most popular opening moves in chess, but they don’t know why these moves are frequently played. It’s important to understand that whenever a player makes a move, they are gaining or losing control over certain critical areas of the board.

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In order to figure out the best chess opening moves, we put the cart before the horse. First of all, we will take a close look at some bad and dubious opening moves and try to understand the different downsides of these moves. After that, we can analyze better approaches to start the game.

In the following article, we investigate the moves from White’s perspective. The article discusses three categories of chess moves, starting with White’s weird first moves and building up to rare or semi-mainstream options. The aim of this article is to help you learn theoretical sound chess opening chess moves. Of course, if you are completely new to chess, you should first check out our guide on how to set up the chessboard. 

Bad Chess Opening Moves

One of the worst first moves for White to play is 1.g4. With this move, White does not fight for the center – an important concept in chess – and gives Black a clear target to attack. If Black responds to 1.g4 with 1…d5! he occupies the center and directly attacks White’s loose pawn on g4 with his bishop on c8.

If White, for example, defends his pawn with a move like 2.f3, this can lead to a quick mate. The move 2…e6 looks harmless but threatens a deadly checkmate on h4 with the queen.

White can defend by playing 3.h4, but with 3…Bd6 Black renews the threat of mating White on the e1-h4 diagonal. The move 4.Rh3 (defending against …Bg3++) results in a beautiful mate in two. Black can sacrifice his queen with …Qxh4 and after White takes the queen with 5.Rxh4 (there is no alternative), Black ends the game with 5…Bg3++.

Admittedly, this example might be a rare occurrence in practice, but it illustrates that Black can take advantage of these bad opening moves by playing the most simple of moves in response.

Another bad chess opening move is 1.f3 as it irrevocably weakens white’s king position without doing anything useful.

Moreover, bad moves include 1.Na3 and 1.Nh3. These chess moves ignore two basic rules at the same time – not only that “a knight on the rim is dim” but also they force White to move the same piece a second time in the opening, losing valuable tempo, after Black plays 1…e5 or 1…d5 threatening to double White’s pawns by capturing the knight with his bishop.

Dubious Chess Opening Moves

1.h4, for example, is a dubious move. The move is not as bad as 1.g4, but it does nothing to assist in gaining control over the important central squares. Furthermore, castling kingside is less attractive after the move h4 as the kingside is already weakened. Thus, the move is rarely seen among serious chess players.

Obviously, White can’t fight for an advantage with this move, but it shouldn’t be too bad as it doesn’t create any weaknesses.

Chess moves such as 1.e3, 1.d3 or 1.c3 are playable and do not weaken White’s position, but there is no particular point to play them except for avoiding theory and your opponent’s preparation. Due to the fact, however, that we’re looking at all the moves from a beginner’s perspective, we don’t need to fear preparation at an amateur level at all.

Thus, such chess moves waste time, get in the way of developing all of your pieces into useful squares and they don’t fight for control over the center.

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1.g3, for instance, is not a bad move at all and it can transpose to other openings such as the English. The main drawback of this move, however, is that it enables Black to occupy the center with any moves they wish to play.

In essence, it is recommendable for any beginner to avoid the mentioned weird chess opening moves right from the beginning of their training because they can lead to quick losses and disadvantageous positions from the very start of the game.

Strong Chess Opening Moves

As we’ve seen, if White does not occupy the center with their pawns, Black has the opportunity to do it! Therefore, it is recommended that White plays active, space-gaining chess moves right from the start.

Best Chess Openings 1.d4

White can begin by moving the Queen’s pawn to “d4” which leads to openings such as the Queen’s Gambit, King’s Indian Defense, Nimzo-Indian, Bogo-Indian, Queen’s Indian Defense, and Dutch Defense. The move 1.d4 contains numerous strengths.

It not only contributes to the control of the center immediately but also it frees two pieces on the back rank with just one move.

What Are The Best Chess Opening Moves? - The Definitive Guide

1.e4 is the most common opening move in chess. One of the key ideas of this move is to control the center quickly with the pawn which is placed in the center by the first move, also liberating White’s light-squared bishop as well as the White Queen. White can follow up by playing Nf3 and moving his bishop to the dangerous c4 square. From there, it eyes Black’s potentially weak pawn on f7. By bringing the bishop into play, White prepares to castle in the next move.

Finally, it has to be mentioned that 1.c4 (English Opening) and 1.Nf3 (Reti Opening) are also strong chess opening moves which lead to solid and sound chess openings for White.

Following these ideas, White achieves 3 main goals of any opening: control of the center, develop pieces rapidly, and prepares for castling the king into safety.

Conclusion

The explained fundamental concepts are here to help any beginner improve their chess game and start their games with an appropriate chess opening. If you keep these strategies in the forefront of your mind and refresh and deepen your knowledge from time to time, nothing will stand in your way of advancing at chess.

Don’t forget the basics of chess openings: fight for the centre right from the beginning as White (if you don’t, the best you can get out of your opening is an equal position), don’t give up your first mover advantage – (play actively), 1.e4 or 1.d4 are good chess opening moves!

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52 comments on “What are the Best Chess Opening Moves? – The Definitive Guide

  1. Smith says:

    i am a pro too … i beat all the children around the neighbor.

  2. buzie b says:

    I agree with annie hall-buz
    i shall now be a pro as well

  3. John says:

    Would like to know how to play chess.

  4. Annie Hall says:

    I am a pro amateur.
    Or… an amateur pro?
    After a 40 year break I played 3 games and only won once. Upon reflection my next course of action was determined: research assisted by The Internet Gods, and asking pros for a few hints.
    Well!
    Would ya just look at the goldmine of pros I’ve stumbled upon!
    Good Lord, with all these pros here, I’ve got it made!
    OH, THE LUCK I ENJOY!
    I SHALL BE A WINNER NOW!
    😀

  5. PAUL says:

    I am shocked at how many “pros” are on this site! Really amazing. I want to be pro too.

  6. Jim says:

    My two cents
    I am a pro
    More pro than yo

    A pros pro

  7. Agraz says:

    Thank you

  8. Benko gambit says:

    Am I an d4, e4 pro now? I feel like I must be

  9. Dissanayake Nisitha Jayaneeth says:

    I am trying to practice some good openings for the chess open tournament in SriLanka. I hope these would work.I am trying so hard to open rating.

  10. ANSHID ANU says:

    I AM mr.PRO

  11. Tammy E sassoon says:

    no their not

  12. Tafadzwa says:

    its actually helpful.

    1. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

      thanks

  13. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

    that help you man and woman?

  14. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

    you know what is the key to be master or improve solving chess,playing chess online,watching videos of chess and reading chess books.

  15. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

    3 years because im a student

  16. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

    yes

  17. Brianlu3642 says:

    How long did you guy play chess for?

  18. Jack Bloem says:

    I was a pro once like many of you. Sadly for me, I woke up.

    1. Brianlu3642 says:

      Me too. 🙁

  19. Koray says:

    I’m the only beginner here.

    1. Rommel says:

      I don’t even want to begin. At 59.5 years, maybe I am too old to play serious chess games. I just want to know a meaningful and delightful computer game. Humans deride me each time I lose.

      1. Carl Liming says:

        You know computer chess moves are made by humans
        right?

        1. Top pro of the chess says:

          Hello fellow pros, nice to see we sre keeping up with the basics.

    2. rommel says:

      And lose I always do.

      1. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

        dont be sad that a part of chess player me to always same times 0 in game and 3 in round 7 sad but lets study hard to master.

  20. lordkezban says:

    Pro openings, in my countless days of chess as a pro, i have never seen one opening such as these.

    1. J says:

      really???????

  21. ThePro-iestPro says:

    As a current pro, I concur.

  22. Amol Jadhav says:

    I going to be pro soon

  23. Killer Queen says:

    It’s about more than just openings though

  24. Logical says:

    good info

  25. White Knight says:

    As a real chess pro it gives me pleasure to see so many pros learning chess basics.

    1. tony says:

      nice one

  26. Prof. E. Ssional says:

    Can confirm, I am pro too.

    1. Rajendra Shrestha says:

      Great!

  27. nope says:

    another pro 😀

  28. Thabang ernest says:

    I tried your tips on how to start chess openings and to learn about many chess openings but yet the computer still beat me with those openings, I don’t know what to do,please help.

    1. Michael Grady says:

      The problem is you need to annotate the games and learn from how the computer is beating you and see what you can do to counteract the computer’s moves. Once I was asked to play on a computer to evaluate it. I beat it on easy, medium and hard within a thirty minute span. I told him to take it back and get his money back 😜😝🤣!!!

  29. Charles says:

    I am a pro chess player. thx for the tips.

    1. Matthew Sulistyo says:

      yeah bra im pro as well

      1. Henrik says:

        Yes me too. very pro

        1. Ahmet says:

          i think i am the proest.

          1. bob says:

            I am the mostest of all proers

          2. Jeff says:

            People generally consider me the protagonist of every good story

    2. Joel Trinidad says:

      I want learn more
      i want some magic tricks and attack

      1. FILIPINO AKO says:

        It’s not magic it’s called physics and learning.

        1. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

          hi filipino ako me to

      2. Benedict Nino A. Crio says:

        if you want learn more you study hard in chess and magic is cheating and magic is bad.

        🙂

        1. Jeff Rana says:

          Ako din po, just learning the basics, just practicing with my son all the time.

    3. dorothy says:

      you have not met me yet

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