Play The Best Chess Openings for White

Blog Post 1280x720 5 of the Best Openings for White

There are many excellent chess openings for White. Here are five of the most dependable chess openings you can play with White.

The Timeless Ruy Lopez

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5

The Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5) has long been considered one of the best chess openings for white.
The Ruy Lopez has been regarded as one of the best chess openings for white for many years.

The Ruy Lopez is an excellent chess opening for white because it uses many chess principles. Whether you enjoy a strategic battle or fighting game, the Ruy Lopez can cater to your playing style.

In the Closed Ruy Lopez, the Chigorin Defense is a popular choice.

Black drives the white bishop from the a2-g8 diagonal and seizes more space on the queenside with …c5.

The advanced pawns on the queenside will frequently become objects of attack. White will play against the knight on the rim and the queenside pawns.

The many plans white can adopt in the Ruy Lopez make it one of the best chess openings for white.

One of these plans involves moving the queenside knight to the kingside to join in the attack on the black king. Before rushing to launch this attack, White will take time to prepare the attack by bringing the pieces to active squares.

All that matters on the chessboard is good moves - Bobby Fischer

These squares do not need to be on the kingside. The bishop on c2 might appear passive, but from c2, it supports the e4 pawn, f5 square, and aims at h7.

Classic chess wisdom will remind you to make sure the center is closed before attacking on the flank. That is why one of the most popular moves for White against the Ruy Lopez Chigorin Defense is 12.d5.

Another chess principle White uses is the principle of two weaknesses. Attacking the black king is lots of fun and playing on the queenside draws valuable defenders away from the king.

It is crucial to play across the whole board In the Ruy Lopez. After you close the center, play on both flanks is possible, and if Black defends the king, you can often win the game by breaking through on the queenside.

One of the many reasons the Ruy Lopez is one of the favorite chess openings for White is that it allows you to show off your attacking and positional skills.

Alekseev, Evgeny – Akopian, Vladimir, 2010.05.17, 1-0, Astrakhan FIDE GP Round 7, Astrakhan

The Italian Game: Create Chaos in the Center

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4

Focussing on centralization and rapid development the Italian Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4) offers open positions and active piece play.
Quick development and open positions make the Italian Game one of the best chess openings for white.

What makes the Italian Game one of the best chess openings for White is the focus on development and centralization. White is ready to castle short and will continue playing in the center with c3 and d4.

Do not underestimate this simple strategy!

There is a good reason we are taught to develop towards the center when we start learning chess. The best plans are the most straightforward plans, and mastery of centralization can become the foundation on which you build all your other strategies.

The Italian Game with 3…Bc5 and 4.c3 is one of the best chess openings for White because it leads to exciting chess with attacks and counterattacks from both sides.

Black will attack the undefended e4 pawn with 4…Nf6, and White calmly ignores the threat and continues with 5.d4. White’s opening moves have focused on controlling or occupying the center squares.

If you enjoy playing open positions with easy piece development, you will soon be convinced this is one of the best chess openings for White.

For players who enjoy a more strategic battle, there is the option to enter the Quiet Italian Game with 5.d3 to defend the e4 pawn.

Whether you choose the Italian Game with 5.d4 or 5.d3, both variations have the same centralization theme.

Suitable for players of all levels, the Italian Game remains one of the best openings.

Nicolas Rossolimo – Paul Reissmann, 1967, 1-0, Puerto Rico

The Queen’s Gambit: A Strong Choice

1.d4 d5 2.c4

The Queen's Gambit (1.d4 and 2.c4) is a famous opening among world champions but can be played at lower levels as well. The variety it offers makes it one of the best chess openings for white.
The Queen’s Gambit was considered one of the best chess openings for white long before Netflix.

Chess players had played the Queen’s Gambit for over a hundred years before Netflix increased the popularity of this chess opening. The Queen’s Gambit is still going strong and will most likely remain one of the best chess openings for White for another hundred years.

White’s intention is to place as much pressure as possible on d5. Black will support the pawn with either 2…c6 (the Slav Defense) or 2…e6 (the Queen’s Gambit Declined).

Thirty-two of the thirty-four games between Alekhine and Capablanca featured the Queen’s Gambit Declined in their 1927 World Chess Championship Match.

Two of the most popular strategies for white in the Queen’s Gambit are the Carlsbad Formation and the Minority Attack. They arise within the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined after White plays cxd5.

In the Carlsbad Formation, the knight on g1 goes to f3 instead of e2. From f3, the knight helps control the e5-square; however, it means the e4 advance cannot get supported with f3.

The modern approach is to play Ne2-g3 allowing f3 and using the knight on g3 to add more support to the e4 advance. Both of these approaches are playable and lead to complex middlegames.

Nowadays, the dynamic element is more important in chess - players more often sacrifice material to get dynamic compensation - Boris Spassky

In the minority attack, White seeks to create a weakness on c6 by attacking the black queenside pawn majority with b4-b5 and capturing on c6. Black after cxd5 …exd5, the only way to support the d5 pawn with another pawn is …c6.

Creating a pawn weakness on c6 allows White to make excellent use of the semi-open c-file that cx-d5 created. The minority attack is an excellent strategy you can employ in other openings where black gets a queenside pawn majority.

No matter what your playing style is, the Queen’s Gambit has got you covered.

The Queen’s Gambit is one of the best chess openings for white because you are sure to find middlegame positions that you enjoy playing.

Bobby Fischer transposed from the English Opening (1.c4) into the Queen’s Gambit Declined in his World Chess Championship Match against Boris Spassky.

Robert James Fischer – Boris Spassky, 1972.07.23, 1-0, Spassky – Fischer World Championship Match Round 6, Reykjavik ISL

London System: More Dangerous Than it Appears

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4

The London System (1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bf4) is an easy-to-learn opening system offering winning chances aplenty.
The London System remains one of the best chess openings for white today.

The current World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, frequently plays this modest-looking but dangerous chess opening.

The London System is easy to learn no matter your level and offers excellent attacking chances.

In the London System with 1…d5, White is not playing for a central breakthrough. Instead, the intention is to prevent Black from gaining counterplay in the center and launch a kingside attack.

The pawn pyramid b2, c3, d4, e3, and f2 ensure a stable center and allows White the opportunity to attack the kingside.

The knight will often go to e5, which allows the queen to join the attack via f3.

Although the London system is playable against almost every defense, it is most dangerous against 1…d5. Many games won by white involved a direct attack against the king.

Enjoy this game between two 2800-rated players that shows the attacking potential of the London System at the highest levels!

Carlsen, M. (2832) – So, W. (2815), 2017.11.18, 1-0, Speed 5m+2spm 2017 Round 2.12, INT

The English Opening: Taking Control of d5


The English Opening (1.c4) is regarded by many positional players as one of the best chess openings for white.
Many positional players regard the English Opening as one of the best chess openings for white.

The English Opening is one of the best chess openings for White if you enjoy playing positional chess. Once again, White seeks to control the d5 square, as in the Queen’s Gambit.

Control of the d5 square gets reinforced with moves like Nc3, Bg2, and e4. The c4 and e4 pawns will get supported by d3.

A knight on e2 will keep an eye on the hole on d4 and supports f4.

Developing a bishop to e3 helps keep control of the d4 square while threatening to play d4 and open the center.

Do not rush to play d4 because the threat of playing a move can be stronger than making a move.

Before placing the bishop on e3, it is often a good idea to play the prophylactic h3 to prevent …Ng4.

This formation is known as the Botvinnik Variation and is named after World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik.

The Botvinnik setup is easy to achieve and is a dangerous attacking weapon in the English Opening.

Once you have the center firmly under control, it is safe to begin expanding on the flanks. White can play for a kingside attack or expand on the queenside.

In many variations, Black will need to watch out for the opening of the center with d4!

The English Opening has a relatively light theoretical workload and makes transitioning to an opening repertoire based on 1.d4 and 2.c4 easier.

These alone are two excellent reasons to consider the English Opening one of the best chess openings for White.

Mikhail Botvinnik – Laszlo Szabo, 1956.10.30, 1-0, Alekhine Memorial Round 13, Moscow URS

Final Thoughts on the Best Chess Openings for White

Please let us know in the comments what your best chess opening for White is and why? Attacking players are sure to enjoy playing gambits, while positional players will enjoy openings like the Reti or 1.b3.

The wide range of openings and playing styles ensure chess remains a rich and fascinating game.

If you are looking for openings to play now, with either color, while you learn an opening repertoire, IM Irina Bulmaga can help you become a titled player.

In her excellent Master Method course, Irina shares her insights into the openings she played to become an International Master.

You will get 15 hours of chess opening instruction and learn how to play against all the main opening moves by white.

Let go of the stress of putting together an opening repertoire and grab your copy of “How I Became an IM” today! Get instant access and save 50%!

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