Basic Opening Principles

Basic Opening Principles

Apr 25, 2017, 11:55 PM |

There are potentially three parts of a chess game, the opening, the middlegame, and the endgame. The opening tends to cover the period of the game while you and your opponent begin to get your pieces into the game, perhaps the first 10 to 15 moves.  The middlegame is the part of the game after the opening and before the endgame. The endgame is everything after the middlegame. You know what those two parts of the game are simply based off their prefix. 

Opening principles are a blend of chess strategy and potentially tactics that applies early on in a chess game.  

1. Don't give away material. 

Note what your opponent is attacking. You'll probably find this as the only opening guide in existence that starts off with this, but it's super true. Example below of when you fail to do this.

Here is another example of someone failing to do this.
Below is an example of a player correctly following this rule.
2. Take material when it's offered to you.

Your opponent may legitimately make a mistake early on in the game. When your opponent gives you material, take it unless you see an obvious repercussion such as a recapture or tactical trick. Example below.

3. Pretend to Care About the Center

Some beginner's freak out about central control. It's not really necessary. Just it can be bothersome when you completely disregard the center and your pieces can often be harassed easily and it's harder to develop your pieces.

For example...

4. Develop your pieces

Getting them off the back rank and into the game is how you develop your pieces. Make sure you put them on safe squares. 

5. King Safety
This is related to development. You want to castle early on so that your king is not in the center. (I suggest on kingside as it's slightly safer as it's closer to the edge of the board). Make sure not to castle into danger though.

Below are some games in which players develop well at the beginner level.

Some Other Tips
-You are generally done with developing when your knights and bishops are off the last rank and your king is castled.
-Pay attention to threats, some bad stuff can happen early on. Scholar's Mate is just one of many possible opening traps.
-Don't get your Queen out too early, it can become a threat for your opponent to easily attack, unless of course you are attempting Scholar's Mate. However even if it failed I suggest moving your Queen back to safety on your side of the board.