The Most active 1st move

The Most active 1st move

May 22, 2015, 8:19 AM |

What is the most active first move in chess? What is the second move active move in chess? People have been asked these questions for over 500 years. These questions even today still possess a problem.

Well let me tell you a story lady's and gentlemen. A story about me on a mission.

One day I woke up and I was feeling really good. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. Everything felt right. I logged into and I noticed a forum page that was open with people talking in it.

The title of the post said something like

"What is the best move 1.d4 or 1.e4?"

Well after reading the title of the post and seeing some comments. For some reason I said to myself. I'm going to solve that question. The question that has been asked for over 500 years was going to be solved by me. I convinced myself into solving it. I told my chess friends. They said I was crazy. They said how on earth are you going to solve a question that people haven't solved in over 500 years. I responded with well I have not been here in those 500 years. I only started playing chess. An now I'm going to solve it! I was going to solve the answer that people have been dieing for. They looked at me and laugh. Some where worryed thinking I lost my mind. I told them I would have a solution for them tomorrow.

True story ladys and gentlemen this happened.

An you might think I am crazy but I did a scientific approach. I did graphs all kinds of analysis. I will show you the approach I did as well. So you can see it. Maybe you will find it amusing.

I looked at the chess position at move 0.

I counted how many squares are being influenced. Not occupyed just influenced.

Which is shown in the below diagram

The total I came up to was 8.

Those 8 squares are being attacked by white pieces and pawns some way. An the white pieces/pawns are not occupying(standing on the square) those squares.

That was the base line I used.

In chess you have the option of playing 20 different moves at move 1.

So what I did was bascially play each chess first move. To see how many squares were being influenced after the move. I than wrote down how many squares were being controled after every first move in chess. I got the following numbers below.


A pawn

1.a3  = 9 squares

1.a4  = 10 squares


B pawn

1.b3  = 10 squares

1.b4  = 11 squares


C pawn

1.c3  = 11 squares

1.c4  = 12 squares

D pawn

1.d3  = 13 squares

1.d4  = 14 squares

E pawn

1.e3  = 15 squares

1.e4  = 16 squares

F pawn

1.f3  = 10 squares

1.f4  = 11 squares

G pawn

1.g3  = 10 squares

1.g4  = 11 squares


H pawn

1.h3  = 9 squares

1.h4  = 10 squares


Knight B1

1.Na3  = 9 squares

1.Nc3  = 11 squares

Knight G1

1.Nh3  = 9 squares

1.Nf3  = 11 squares

Those are the numbers for the 20 alternative first moves which can be played at move 1.

Now if you rememeber what I said from up above. I said from move 0 the position had a base of 8.

When I subtract the number values of each one of the 20 moves minus the base of 8. I get the amount of activity.

For example:

The move (1.a3 = 9 squares) - (the base number of 8) = 1 activity.

So by playing the move 1.a3 you have influenced 1 new square from your starting position. Which might be why alot of players don't play 1.a3 lol.

When I subtract all of the number values of each of the 20 alternative first moves by the base.

I got a Scale of Activity from 1 to 8.

1 being the lowest and 8 being the highest.

1 Activity

1.a3, 1.h3, 1.Na3, 1.Nh3


2 Activity

1.a4, 1.b3, 1.f3, 1.g3, 1.h4


3 Activity

1.b4, 1.c3, 1.f4, 1.g4, 1.Nc3, 1.Nf3


4 Activity



5 Activity



6 Activity



7 Activity



8 Activity


If I was to label the moves from the strongest first move according to my scale of activity to the lowest ones. It would go in the following order.

(1) - 1.e4

(2) - 1.e3

(3) - 1.d4

(4) - 1.d3

(5) - 1.c4

(6) - 1.b4, 1.c3, 1.f4, 1.g4, 1.Nc3, 1.Nf3

(7) - 1.a4, 1.b3, 1.f3, 1.g3, 1.h4

(8) - 1.a3, 1.h3, 1.Na3, 1.Nh3

An with that information ladys and gentlemen I was off to see my friends. I was like a bird spreading my wings and flying away. I told them it was done. It took me a few hours to do it. However, The question which has been holding people back for over 500 years has been solved.

If only it ended there. However, We both know it didn't end there Laughing. I told my online friends how I was planning to publish a book with the new solution I found. Which shows the strongest move in chess at move 1 is 1.e4 and second strongest move 1.e3 with the move 1.d4 coming in 3rd. I said "1.e3 is even more stronger than 1.d4."

At this point they laughed and some of them cryed. They said it was just so sad that they had to cry. Than they asked me how on earth was the move 1.e3 the strongest move. I told them No No 1.e4 is the strongest 1.e3 is the second strongest. Obviously, 1.e3 is a very crushing move with 7 activity points which is second highest on the activity scale.

Than one of my friends asked me well if 1.e3 is so crushing why don't GM's play it. I told them becuase its obvious there idiots. Sheep following other sheep that is all they are doing. Obviously, the 1.e3 is a crushing move here on the scale of activity.

At this point half my online friends deleted me and said I was deluded. The other half said they laughed so hard they fell out of there chair and had to get back up from the floor. My one friend than said how did you come to this amazing discovery player. I than told him my very sophisticated method of finding the best move by measuring the amount of influence beening applyed on squares after every given first move. Very high tech operation if you ask me.

Obviously my above method I showed you seems easy but its not easy. It just looks easy becuase of the way I presented it. I'm a good presenter which makes it seem so easy. It is a very sophisticated operation with out a doubt. I did my best to explain that to my friend.

Than my one friend asked me a question the baster. Obviously, He was upset he didn't solve the first move. He tryed to prove me wrong. He asked me a tough question. It really is sad lady's and gentlemen. I was on the verge of solving the first move. I was very close. My friend than give me a tough question. Which I have not been able to figure out. Which messes up my whole approach.

My Friend said " Chess is based on moving 1 piece/pawn at a time."

My Friend said " Your theory is only applying to the short term activity and not the long term activity."

Bascially what my friend was saying was. The move 1.e3 gives white alot of activity at move 1 which is true 7+ activity squares. However, after several more moves the 1.e3 move starts to hinder further activity of other pieces.

For example:

If you was to compare 1.e3 vs 1.d4

At move 1 e3 is stronger than d4 with (7) vs (6) score

At move 1 e3 has 1 more activity so it is better.

Now here comes the problem my friend idea was suggesting.

The picture to the left shows the activity with the move 1.e3. Now the problem my friend was suggesting happens after black makes a move. I will give black a token move like the move e6.
The picture to the left shows the activity with the move 1.d4. Now the problem my friend was suggesting happens after black makes a move. I will give black a token move like the move e6.



An now you see the problem don't you?

1.e3  = 15 squares

1.d4  = 20 squares

In the beginning 1.e3 was ahead but now after more moves have been played it has back fired and as began hindering the development of other pieces.

This whole idea/question my friend gave. Does give huge problems to my approach here. The short term gain has resulted in a long term loss. It also causes doubt on other moves. If 1.e3's activity is actually worse than 1.d4 activity long term. What is to say about other moves I showed? How can they be trusted to be correct. How can one measure the long term activity of the position. This seems to be the huge issue I have of yet. Yeah that is how my amazing solution to the question of the first move came crumbling down like a stack of cards.

How to address this issue. In a long term prospective. It doesn't seem possible as of yet. The only thing I could think of would be to try and play out the moves to show if any long term gain is possible.

I will say 1 thing though. The questions which have been asked for over 500 years were not very specific.

Most of the questions looked like the below questions.

What is the most active first move in chess?

What is the second move active move in chess?

What is the best move 1.d4 or 1.e4?

It might sound crazy; however, I do feel as if I answered half of these questions. These questions did not specifically give preference to short term or long term. I believe my activity scale is justified in answering these questions on a short term bases. Obviously I have not figured out which ones are the best in a long term bases. However, If someone asked you to only play 1 move which is the most active etc. I believe the activity level would go as my scale shows. It seems accurate. 

Activity Scale

(1) - 1.e4

(2) - 1.e3

(3) - 1.d4

(4) - 1.d3

(5) - 1.c4

(6) - 1.b4, 1.c3, 1.f4, 1.g4, 1.Nc3, 1.Nf3

(7) - 1.a4, 1.b3, 1.f3, 1.g3, 1.h4

(8) - 1.a3, 1.h3, 1.Na3, 1.Nh3


One thing which should be pointed out is Notice from the above scale. The closer to the center your first move is the more active your position is. It is really amazing how we can see that happen on the chess board.

I am open for discussion about this if anyone wants to share there thoughts on the matter. I don't mind getting different view points. I will admit I do feel my answer is sufficent in a sense. It seems justified to me. I feel as if I woke up felt like solving the chess question which has been asked for over 500 years and I feel as if I solved half of it. I think it seems interesting.

Thank you very much for reading and Happy Checking Mating