5 Solid Openings/Defenses For Beginners


When I was just starting out in chess, I was barely able to beat people rated 900 on this chess site. 900! Thats very very low. But slowly, and with much practice, after about 1000 games of chess with little opening/defense knowledge, I was able to reach the mid 1200's quite easily. To make the new transition over to the 1300's, I had to try even harder to remember openings and tactics. The self training took me months, and plenty of hours out of my spare time, but I learned enough opening knowledge and pawn tricks to improve way over 1300.

Currently I am about to surpass 1600, and looking back now, I wondered what the best types of openings and defences would have helped me the most along the way. Well, after careful analysis, I have concluded that 5 different openings were the best for me to use during my "beginner" days. Be aware that ALL of the openings below have been used and tested by many GM's, and are in use in today's most serious of tournaments. Below are the openings, and the reasons why beginners should use them =]


B00: King's Pawn 

Kings Pawn Opening is the most widely used opening in chess, because of the feature to open up both the light square bishop and the queen at the same time. Also, the pawn grabs for the center, causing tension for black. After moving e4, just develop your minor pieces and you should do fine.


A45: Indian Game

When playing as black, if white should make their first move d4 (queen's pawn) then you should try to use this move fairly often. In most games, the knight moving to Nf6 is inevitable most times, so doing it first will save you time in the long run. Don't try this when white plays e4, because that would transition to the Alekhine defense, a much more advanced defense ;)


C60: Ruy Lopez

Considered one of the strongest chess openings for white, black now has to face multiple challenges to defend against white's onslaught of powerful moves. White now has the power to castle, and already has a fairly strong control on the board. If you play white and your game goes "e4,e5,Nf3,Nc6" then I recommend bringing that bishop out and doing the bold Ruy Lopez.


B20: Sicilian Defense

As black, you will have the disadvantage of moving second, but the Sicilian Defense tries to turn that into an advantage. For black, using the Sicilian is a perfect way to throw white off guard. I always hated seeing it whenever I played white, because it always made me ponder ways on how to actually beat it! This is the most used defence when dealing with white's e4 move, and even in Grandmaster games. Do not be afraid to use the Sicilian, it's a very versatile and flexible defence for black.


A00: Hungarian Opening / A07: King's Indian Attack

Considered an unorthodox move by some, this opening has a very impressive win rate for white. Almost as powerful as the King's Pawn opening itself, if your opponent is not careful, they can wind up in a world of pain. The next obvious move is to fianchetto the light squared bishop to g2, and then perhaps developing the g1 knight to f3 so you can castle. This opening is also good whenever trying to take down much higher rated opponents, since most are quite unready to deal with the setup. You can easily change the order in which you play this setup. or instance, move Nf3 as your first move, followed by the pawn moving to g2. Or the other way around. It's however you want the game to progress.

 Hope you guys enjoyed this segment. Please be aware, this is only a recommended read for those under 1200 in rating, and basically only just starting out in chess. Of course, those above 1200 can read this and learn something new, but those of you above 1200 should seek Intermediate opening guides that are recommended for those between 1250-1400.

Hope you all enjoy this small article on strong chess openings! :]


1.e4 you say.

This changes everything.



I'm not good enough to even have a rating yet.  I've already tried the first two of your suggestions, but I'm certainly going to look into the others.  Posts like yours are always welcome to beginners.  Thanks.


Im only a beginner with chess too but when reading some opening articles I was warned about the alekhine defence so studied the moves in case i got the chance to use it. Have it going in a game going on at the moment. It works a treat!! the moves so far are 

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ne4 3.d3 Nc5 4.d4 Ne4 5.f3

This allows me to take the Knight no matter where it moves and have 3 pawns developed while my opponent has spent his time bouncing his knight around the board.

Definitly worth studying. Here is an article's_Defence

No comments on my ongoing game please as it is ongoing



most openings are good for beginners. i dont suggest hypermodern ones, though. beginners dont really know much about controlling space


Maybe a few more words on each openings - the main goals? Otherwise nice thread.

1. Nf3 is my personal all-time favourite as white  ;)

RoseQueen1985 wrote:

^ i wasn't flaming him I just thought it was funny he just said "here is a great opening for white, 1.e4" and left it at that. It's hilarious because recently, I was reading an article about the supposed "advantage" that white has with his first move. In the article, it explained how strong chess engines evalute the postion after 1.e4 to be a quarter of a pawn in white's favor.

The artilcle then went on about how certain masters insist that 1.e4 leads to a force win for white, while other masters claimed that 1.d4 was even better.  The fact that the article left it at 1.e4 and 1.d4, with out going into any other details, made me LOL. Then i read this, and he does the same. He just says "1.e4" is great.

The coincidence made me LOL so hard. I think he is on to something. Coincently, I have never been able to beat Frtiz on sparring or rated games with anything BUT 1.e4. I have yet to win a Queen pawn game or a 1.Nf3 game against Fritz on those settings. Maybe 1.e4 IS the strongest move. 

lol sounds like somebody hasent had a gf in quite a while. 


spend some time with ur mom u potty mouth and get off the internet! lmfaoo


Always have a plan! Even a wrong plan is fine for a start. If you want to attack the enemy King with 1.g4! 2.b3 3.Bb2, that's also fine (chess is logic). You will learn how to improve your plan along the way.

Hey, try this simple plan: position your pieces such that they control each other (well coordinated), keep pawns structure sterile (not over extended), exchange pieces, and test your endgame skill. Or...

Anything, as long as you have a plan. Simple one is to go after the enemy King.


Thanks for posting this.  As a beginning player, this is very helpful and not even e4 is obvious to someone just getting started.  I'm sure a lot of new players will find this useful.


Wow, thanks for this post, this is so instructive and inspiring for a beginner like me. (I've been a beginner for quite a while now, gets on my nerves...) Rarely anyone talks about "being able to surpass 1200" on this site, so it's always comforting to know I'm not alone here.




im about 1700-1800 in rating here falling up and down and i can say i have never won a game because of the opening despite trying to. i won all my games from tacticstrainer


Thanks for taking the time to put this together.  Paying it forward is good.





U mentioned the ruy lopez opening, surely the imediate reaction to this opening is pawn to h6 which threaterns the bishop. to save the bishop you have to move it back which is surely wasting a move, why? Im a novice so please explain to me?


You can take the knight if you want. However most ppl like to back the bishop because

1. Bishops are generaly stronger.

2. The bishop pair is almost always stronger (which you give black if u take the horse)

3. In general you should never take a piece unless you have a reason for it (like winning material, gaining the bishop pair or destroying pawn structure). It waste tempo and helps your opponent.

4. A bishop hitting a knight might enable you tactics in the future. You can take the knight whenever you want but the knight cant take your bishop. For example if the knight protects a pawn, you may take the knight with the bishop and win a pawn. Your opponent constantly have to calculate that you can take his knight whenever you want to, wasting time and makes it easier for your opponent to blunder.


Besides you are not really losing a tempo by retreating since black used a tempo to play h6. Also the bishop is often going to c2 which is a good place for your bishop.


Petroff and QGD Lasker variation, 1.c4 e6 as Black.

1.e4 and Italian or Four Knights against 1...e5, Alapin against the Sicilian. Or anyway, something with little theory and simple ideas.


Instructive. Thanks for beginner chess opening instruction. I've seen some of these opening names in commentary but did'nt know what they represented. Thanks for the introduction. I should probably consider studying openings if I want to improve my game. Overall, how important would you say studying openings is to improving ones win rate? "Not so much" or "Mandatory" or something in between? Thanks for your comments. And thanks for taking the time to post these openings and sharing your insight on their meanings.



Brilliant post, thank you very much!


Thanks a lot!