Vishy Anand Explains Chess Opening Strategy
Who better than a former World Champion to reveal the principles behind a good chess opening strategy?
In this video, a free preview of Opening Tips from a World Champion, GM Vishy Anand explains what we should be trying to achieve in the opening. After all, if we don’t get a good position in the beginning of the game, everything afterwards becomes much tougher.
The first principle for Anand is to control the center. This can be done with pieces or pawns but usually one of the two central pawns is moved two squares forward on the first move. In the case of a pawn on e4, this covers the important d5 square and allows the Bishop and Queen to move.
The next piece of advice is to develop your minor pieces (Knight and Bishop) and to exert pressure on the center. After 1.e4 e5 (in the image above), moving the Knight to f3 attacks Black’s e5 pawn, forcing him to do something about it. In addition, White has improved his Knight – as it now controls more squares – and is one step closer to castling.
Vishy Anand shows how, after Black plays 2…Nc6, defending e5, 3.Bb5 is a good, principled move. Not only does it develop another minor piece and prepare castling, it also attacks the defender of e5, this renewing the threat.
We also see the consequences of a typical mistake, moving the same piece twice in the opening. As this would not develop another piece, Black isn’t improving his position. Instead, he’s just giving White a ‘free’ move, allowing him to get a superior position. In rare situations, normally when the move makes a threat or wins material, moving a piece twice can be justified. More often than not, it signals a mistake in chess opening strategy.
Next, Anand demonstrates why we shouldn’t bring the Queen out early. At this stage of the game, the Queen is unlikely to create any unstoppable threats but, by moving closer to the enemy forces, opens herself up to being attacked. While the Queen will probably not be lost, she will have to waste time escaping all these threats.
Vishy’s final recommendation for a good chess opening strategy is to castle as early as possible. Not only does this tuck the King in the corner, away from danger, it also allows other pieces to come to the center.
Another important tip: look out for your opponent’s threats! It’s no use developing a piece to a good square if you get checkmated on the next move or lose material.
Enjoy Vishy Anand’s guide to chess opening strategy and you can check out the complete course here.