Everyone plays or has played 1. e4, and everyone has played against it. It's the move I started out playing, because I saw most others play it and I understood it. The move 1. d4 was still a mystery and I considered no other starting move at this point. I remember my first tournaments in middle school, where nearly every game began with 1. e4. To this day, two years out of college, I still play 1. e4 as my main opening. Nowadays I have been accustomed to other opening moves, such as 1. d4, 1. c4, 1. Nf3, and 1. g3. Still, I can find no other move as successful (for me) as 1. e4. I lose many of these games, for sure, but the majority are wins and draws.
I'd like to show you the evolution of my chess thinking based on the notations I've archived in a folder here at the house. Let's begin with a ditty from my middle school days, from the Maximeet tournament. During this tournament I felt the horror of getting my knights pinned in the opening, so much so that I adopted early h3's and a3's and so on. I soon figured out that pins were part of the game and that I had to deal with them instead of trying to avoid them at all costs!
Here is the first game, which was played in probably February of 2000. This game introduced me to 1. g3 and I was... threatened?
Now we'll look at the same tournament, a few games later in which I had the white pieces and I met the Sicilian defense to my 1. e4. The game lasted 22 moves and my scoresheet includes a few notes on how it should have gone. Let's take a look.
I shall take you to a tournament in 2005, in which I met an opponent who enjoyed the King's Gambit. Since I played 1... e5 all the time I had no way of avoiding it. His name was Sam and I believe we met at the same tournament several times over the years. Maybe even four times! Every game he had white and every game was King's Gambit.
In that same tournament in 2005 I played my coveted Bishop's Opening. I know you've all been waiting for this one. I won this game in 27 moves and I won it thanks to one of those wonderful beginner's mistakes: nabbing a pawn just because it's a pawn.
I shall take you now to my first Nationals tournament, which was played in 2006 in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was still unrated at this point, having just renewed my membership and having only played 14 games. In this tournament I started with a soft rating of 1000 or so, and I finished with a 1300!!! Here is the first round in which I had the white pieces and I got into the Bishop's Opening. i was playing a player with a 1300 rated player and I was, ignorantly and embarrassingly, scared to play him. His name was Slobodan and he was from New York. My chess knowledge at the time told me that Russians and New York and Chess go together like Ham, Eggs and Cheese. I came out with a victory in 56 moves! We played a very tense game and both of us had to take bathroom breaks. This is the last game featured in this post, so as to not exhaust the reader.
Thank you for reading this blog. I enjoy writing about chess and sharing my ideas about the game. In part two of this blog, which will come later this week, I will show you the rest of the 1. e4 games in that 2006 Nationals tournament, including one game against the St. George opening, which I despised and still despise to this day. Thank you again and please feel free to comment.