Chess Opening Principles

Chess Opening Principles


Vlastimil Hort (born 12 January 1944) is a chess Grandmaster of Czech nationality. During the 1960s and 1970s he was one of the world's strongest players and reached the Candidates stage of competition for the world chess championship, but was never able to compete for the actual title.

Hort was born in Kladno, Czechoslovakia and was a citizen of Czechoslovakia for the first part of his chess career, winning national championships in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975, and 1977. He achieved the Grandmaster title in 1965 as a Czechoslovak citizen. While playing for Czechoslovakia he won a number of major tournaments (Hastings 1967-8, Skopje 1969, etc.), gaining recognition as one of the strongest non-Soviet players in the world. This led to him representing the "World" team in the great "USSR vs. Rest of the World" match of 1970, where he occupied fourth board and had a commendable +1 score against the formidable Soviet Grandmaster Lev Polugaevsky—in some regards his greatest result. He defected to the West after the 1985 Tunis Interzonal, moving to West Germany and winning the national championship of his new homeland in 1987, 1989, and 1991.

Despite advancing age he has remained an active tournament competitor, representing the unified Germany and playing inter alia on "Veterans" teams in Scheveningen system matches against teams of Woman Grandmasters.   SOURCE: Wikipedia


Dr. Emmanuel Lasker's rules for the opening        (from Common Sense In Chess)
   1. Do not move any pawns in the opening of a game but the King and Queen pawns.
   2. Do not move any piece twice in the opening, but put it at once on the right square.
   3. Bring out your knights before developing your bishops, especially the Queen's Bishop.
   4. Do not pin the adverse King Knight (ie. by Bg5) before your opponent has castled

GM Reuben Fine on the opening:
   1. In the initial position White, because of the extra move, has a slight advantage. Consequently:
   2. White's problem in the opening is to secure the better position, while...
   3. Black's problem is to secure equality.

Fine's rules for the opening
   1. Open with either the e-pawn or the d-pawn.
   2. Wherever possible, make a good developing move which threatens something or adds to the pressure on the center.
   3. Develop knights before bishops.   
   4. Pick the most suitable square for a piece and develop it there once and for all.
   5. Make one or two pawn moves in the opening, not more.
   6. Do not bring your queen out too early.     
   7. Castle as soon as possible, preferably on the king's side.
   8. Play to get control of the center.         
   9. Always try to maintain at least one pawn in the center.
  10. Do not sacrifice without a clear and adequate reason, eg.:
          * it secures a tangible advantage in development              * it deflects the opponent's queen
          * it prevents the opponent from castling    * it enables a strong attack to be developed
            Fine's two last questions to be asked before a move is made:
          * How does it affect the center?   
          * How does it fit in with the development of my other pieces and pawns?

Nimzovitch's Seven Axioms                (from My System)
          * Development is to be understood as the strategic advance of the troops toward the      frontier line (the line between the fourth and fifth ranks).
          * A pawn move must not in itself be regarded as a developing move, but merely as an aid to   development.
          * To be ahead in development is the ideal to be aimed for.
          * Exchange with resulting gain of tempo.   
          * Liquidation, with consequent development or disembarrassment.
          * The pawn center must be mobile. 
          * There is no time for pawn hunting in the opening, except for center pawns.

GM Suetin's four principles for advanced players
          * The fight for control of the center               
          * The striving for the quickest and most active development.
          * The creation of conditions that permit early castling.
          * The formation of an advantageous pawn structure

GM Hort's 13 rules for all players
          * Take advantage of every tempo.      

          * Develop flexibly!
          * Do not make pawn moves without careful planning.
          * Begin the game with a center pawn, and develop the minor pieces so that they influence  the center   
           * Develop harmoniously! Play with all your pieces
          * Do not make aimless moves. Each move must be part of a definite plan.
          * Do not be eager for material gain. The fight for time is much more important than the fight    for material, especially in open positions.
          * A weakening of your own pawns may be accepted only if it is compensated by a more active placement of your pieces.
          * With the help of your pawns, try to get an advantage in space and weaken your opponent's pawn position.
          * Do not obstruct your pawns by grouping your pieces directly in front of them; pawns and pieces must work together.
          * During the first few moves, pay special attention to the vulnerable KB2 square on both    sides.
          * Remember that the poor placement of even a single piece may destroy the coordination of the other pieces.
          * With White, exploit the advantage of having the first move and try to gain the initiative. With Black, try to organize counterplay.

 GM Portisch on forming a repertoire:
            "Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame."