First Move Statistics

Charlie91
Charlie91
Jan 31, 2008, 7:20 AM |
3

Sometimes I come across people who ask about the best openings in chess.  The following 2 tables are taken from a large database of games (5,025,077 total).  There are 20 different first moves as seen in the first column.  Table 1 is sorted as to frequency, the most common go first, and so on.  The most common first move is e4, then d4, Nf3, c4, g3, f4, and so on.  e4 is used 50.3% of the time, and d4 is very far at 31.8%.  The least common is Na3.

Table 2 might be more interesting, sorted to outcome or scores.  100% score means White always wins, while 0% means Black always wins.  A score of 50% demonstrates equal chances.  Not surprisingly, White has more wins (53.9%).  Not counting the unusual openings (because Na3 scores 65%), Nf3 gives the best outcome for White, followed by d4, c4, g3, e4, Nc3, etc.

In summary, while e4 is the most common first move, Nf3 gives the best chances for White.

Table 1 - Sorted by Frequency:
    Move   ECO       Frequency    Score  AvElo Perf AvYear %Draws
 1: e4     B00a  2532612: 50.3%   53.3%  2240  2264   297   29%
 2: d4     A40a  1600063: 31.8%   54.8%  2284  2314  1993   32%
 3: Nf3    A04    393112:  7.8%   55.2%  2309  2334  1993   35%
 4: c4     A10    355488:  7.0%   54.5%  2282  2308  1992   33%
 5: g3     A00t    36390:  0.7%   54.3%  2315  2328  1993   33%
 6: f4     A02     33585:  0.6%   48.0%  2094  2119  1993   25%
 7: b4     A00p    22332:  0.4%   49.4%  2027  2066  1993   23%
 8: b3     A01     19943:  0.3%   50.6%  2231  2241  1995   29%
 9: Nc3    A00l    16144:  0.3%   51.5%  2144  2176  1996   26%
10: e3     A00k     4154:  0.0%   42.9%  2049  2049  1992   21%
11: d3     A00j     3023:  0.0%   47.0%  2141  2135  1996   25%
12: g4     A00n     2989:  0.0%   49.0%  2007  2034  1993   16%
13: a3     A00f     2433:  0.0%   47.7%  2122  2132  1994   24%
14: c3     A00i     1480:  0.0%   48.0%  2153  2173  1994   25%
15: h3     A00d      399:  0.0%   45.2%  2193  2212  1996   24%
16: h4     A00c      292:  0.0%   52.0%  2047  2047  1997   21%
17: Nh3    A00g      256:  0.0%   42.1%  1995  2015  1995   19%
18: f3     A00b      174:  0.0%   47.1%  2048  2008  1997   14%
19: a4     A00e      139:  0.0%   44.2%  2048  1894  1993   35%
20: Na3    A00h       68:  0.0%   65.4%  2109  2151  1993   13%
21: [end]  A00a        1:  0.0%  100.0%              2002    0%
_______________________________________________________________
TOTAL:           5025077:100.0%   53.9%   967   988   284   31%

Table 2 - Sorted by Score:
    Move   ECO       Frequency    Score  AvElo Perf AvYear %Draws
 1: [end]  A00a        1:  0.0%  100.0%              2002    0%
 2: Na3    A00h       68:  0.0%   65.4%  2109  2151  1993   13%
 3: Nf3    A04    393112:  7.8%   55.2%  2309  2334  1993   35%
 4: d4     A40a  1600063: 31.8%   54.8%  2284  2314  1993   32%
 5: c4     A10    355488:  7.0%   54.5%  2282  2308  1992   33%
 6: g3     A00t    36390:  0.7%   54.3%  2315  2328  1993   33%
 7: e4     B00a  2532612: 50.3%   53.3%  2240  2264   297   29%
 8: h4     A00c      292:  0.0%   52.0%  2047  2047  1997   21%
 9: Nc3    A00l    16144:  0.3%   51.5%  2144  2176  1996   26%
10: b3     A01     19943:  0.3%   50.6%  2231  2241  1995   29%
11: b4     A00p    22332:  0.4%   49.4%  2027  2066  1993   23%
12: g4     A00n     2989:  0.0%   49.0%  2007  2034  1993   16%
13: c3     A00i     1480:  0.0%   48.0%  2153  2173  1994   25%
14: f4     A02     33585:  0.6%   48.0%  2094  2119  1993   25%
15: a3     A00f     2433:  0.0%   47.7%  2122  2132  1994   24%
16: f3     A00b      174:  0.0%   47.1%  2048  2008  1997   14%
17: d3     A00j     3023:  0.0%   47.0%  2141  2135  1996   25%
18: h3     A00d      399:  0.0%   45.2%  2193  2212  1996   24%
19: a4     A00e      139:  0.0%   44.2%  2048  1894  1993   35%
20: e3     A00k     4154:  0.0%   42.9%  2049  2049  1992   21%
21: Nh3    A00g      256:  0.0%   42.1%  1995  2015  1995   19%
_______________________________________________________________
TOTAL:           5025077:100.0%   53.9%   967   988   284   31%