5 Openings To Learn In 2015

5 Openings To Learn In 2015

| 31 | Fun & Trivia

A new calendar year, for many people, means a chance for a new beginning.

January is a month to consider new possibilities, to improve yourself, and to make a fresh plan for the upcoming year.

In many ways, a new year is like a chessboard in the initial position: full of choices, interesting opportunities, and potential.

What better time, then, to learn some new openings?

So take the game explorer for a spin, and find some exciting new ideas to start off your favorite game...or just go with my suggestions below.

Here are five chess openings you might want to learn for the first time — or review what you already know — in the new year.

Let us know the openings you want to learn this year on Facebook or in the comments section. 

1. The Berlin Defense

This staunch defense, popular as ever at the super-GM level, won our award for opening of the year in the best chess of 2014 article

Currently considered the ultimate defense to 1. e4, the Berlin has ample ideas to learn for both sides.

The immensely solid opening often leads to quick endgames that were considered very drawish — at least until Magnus Carlsen won game 11 of the 2014 world championship match in it.

Dive right into top-level analysis of the opening's endgame with GM Daniel Naroditsky’s article on the secrets of the Berlin Wall.

You can also watch GM Ben Finegold's video on the Berlin Defense.

2. The Chigorin Defense

Chigorin via Wikipedia

GM Bryan Smith calls the Chigorin Defense to the Queen’s Gambit “an offbeat and frequently forgotten opening that nevertheless revolutionized the understanding of chess when it was first introduced.”

While it may not be in fashion at the super-GM level, the Chigorin will serve casual and club players just fine as an unexpected weapon against 1. d4.

Read GM Smith’s comprehensive history of the opening.

Before you start pushing pieces, watch GM Ben Finegold's instructive video series on how to win with the Chigorin.

3. The Sicilian Dragon

image via Game of Thrones Wiki


The great debate about the Sicilian Dragon seems not to be its ferocity, but its suitability for world-class play. One side seems to think it gives Black the best possible chance to win, and others think it loses by force.

The truth, of course, is somewhere in between those two extremes.

The Dragon is one of the most exciting Sicilians to play as either White or Black, and that alone should be reason enough for you to study this opening in 2015.

GM Ben Finegold did two informative videos recently on the Dragon Sicilian:

If you want to learn the White side of this opening, there’s no better response than the Yugoslav Attack. IM Keaton Kiewra's 5-part Dragon Sicilian series starts, appropriately, with the Yugoslav. 

FM Todd Andrews shows you how Fischer played the Yugoslav, and IM Daniel Rensch demonstrates how to take apart the Accelerated Dragon in real time during his Mind Games live session. 

If articles are more your thing, check out GM Serper's column on the "suicidal" pawn storm, where he analyzes how the legendary Anatoly Karpov played against the Dragon. 

4. The King’s Gambit

Even though Bobby Fischer considered this romantic opening gambit busted and refuted, there’s still plenty of play left for this classic gambit in the sub-GM levels.

GM Bryan Smith gives you the comprehensive history of the opening's development and heyday. 

GM Simon Williams recently authored a very well received five-part video series: How to Crush Your Opponent With The King's Gambit, which is absolutely required viewing for anyone looking to take up this bold opening.

5. The Dutch Defense

FM Mike Klein doesn’t let his students move their f-pawns without his written permission, but that doesn’t stop aggressive players like Hikaru Nakamura from playing 1…f5.

The Dutch Defense has been called unsound by many chess authors, but it continues to be played with success at nearly all levels of chess.

GM Simon Williams created an authoritative video series on the Classical Dutch with easy-to-understand games and explanations of the Dutch Defense on the GM level.

In his article, GM Serper calls the Dutch Defense an opening for tactical players, and quizzes you on the best moves.

GM Eugene Perelshteyn also recently did a video on how to attack in the Stonewall Defense, which often arises out of the Dutch. 

Which openings are you excited to learn this year? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments. 


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