I'm somewhat new to playing chess on a regular basis, but have begun playing for a team and definitely want to get better. As black, I typically play the French Defense, but as white I still have not decided on an opening to focus on, but I like to be aggressive. Any suggestions?
Any of the gambits are quite aggressive, Scotch Gambit, King's Gambit etc.
Which do you think is best to start with?
Morra Gambit against Sicilians.
Which do you think is best to start with?
No idea, have never played either. Why not play them and see what you like. There's not often a right and wrong answer in openings.
Very true, thank you for your advice!
i usually play the ponziani but the scotch is more sound and more aggresive
Or the Danish Gambit? Here's an example:
Two pawns for two quite agressive placed bishops.
I found the Danish quite comfortable as black after giving back a pawn:
The Evans gambit is also good and can be very hard to defend, I would look at that
Nice game Bird vs. Lasker!
About your game: I think white can continue agresssive play if he captures with the knight instead of the queen on move 8. Does not make much sense to offer a queen exchange when yo play for a quick attack, I suppose.
No beginner should ever be starting with the King's Gambit and Morra Gambit.
Like it or not, if you are ever going to be any good at the game, start with the basics. That means, openings that don't violate the general principles of chess. That means Ruy Lopez and Queen's Gambit. You should study nothing else in terms of openings (do of course study Middlegames, Tactics, Strategy, and Endgames) until you understand both of these, as White and Black.
While studying these, you will have to of course deal with other defenses as White. As Black, you have the d4-systems, like the Colle and London, or other 1.e4 e5 lines, like the Scotch, but apply general opening principles, and you should be fine. Especially given that if you are a beginner, you'll be facing other players with a low rating, and they don't know the 35 moves of Scotch Theory, for example.
I'd say good would be stuff that is sound, doesn't violate the general principles of chess (as ThrillerFan has said), but also doesn't have tons and tons of theory associated with it, and is also fun to play.
I'd say the Closed Sicilian is a good weapon against the Sicilian, because it's both solid and agressive, fun to play, and the same principles and plans apply (almost) no matter what Black plays (characteristic of a "system"...White sets up his pieces similarily against everything, in this case, e4, Nc3, g3, Bg2, d3, Be3, Qd2, Nge2, and there are the plans of Be3-h6 weakening the dark squares, and the K-side pawn storm with f4, h3, g4, f5, etc.)
If you don't mind playing an endgame, the Scotch might be a good thing to look into, although it can also be sharp (i.e., the 4...Qh4?! lines where White sacrifices the e-pawn for play against Black's King in the center.) If you prefer something a bit more agressive, the Bishop's opening is a fun, agressive, and relatively non theoretical way to play, plus it's also a system, and the same ideas apply against a lot of Black tries. It often transposes to a KGD after White goes f2-f4 and opens the f-file.
Although you can play the King's Indian Attack against virtually anything, it's generally recognized as being most effective against the French, where Black doesn't have the option of establishing pawns on d5 and e5, because he's already commited to ...e6. This is also a system, and White often gets play against Black's King, and it can frequently turn into a race attack position (like a KID) where White is attacking the Kingside, and Black is pawn storming the Queenside.
All of those three are systems, in which the plans and ideas are most important (good for beginners). Precise theoretical knowledge isn't necessary, and they're also logical and sound. Coverage of those three can be found in "Attacking with 1.e4" by John Emms.
Against the Caro-Kann, an interesting, and relatively rare and untheoretical (and one which your opponents won't be likely to know) is the 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 de 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nge2!? approach, followed by Nf4 and h4-h5. It's interesting, fun, and precise knowledge is not required.
The four defenses from Black which I mentioned are the main ones that people play,and that you will likely face. Anything else you should probably just stick to the main lines. (the main lines of the minor defenses obviously will have less theory than the main lines of the major defenses, e.g, the Open Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Winawer, etc.)
Hope this helped :)
At your level, you need practice more than anything else. In between games, perhaps a little tactics training or puzzles to begin to learn basic tactical patterns.
The ONLY "opening" knowledge you need is the basic principles of opening development. Anything else is just wasting your time.
I disagree. As an absolute beginner I started out by having a look at every opening I could, figured out a system I liked, and have gone along with that until this day. (I took a look at the Ruy, the QG, and the Scotch, and wasn't and still aren't a fan of any of them!)
For a beginner, study as many gambits as you can. I have to say that the KG, the Evan's, and the SMG are probably good because they show you the exceptions to the rules. Any 800 player knows the basic, concrete rules, it's learning the exceptions to the rules that takes you further.
For a beginner, suggesting either the Ruy Lopez or the QG is a mistake, period.
"Just following basic principles," as somebody above said, is the best way to go by far. When that becomes insufficient, the classic style Italian becomes the body of theory that best follows those principles.
Slow, positional openings with waiting moves and subtleties that appear on the face of them to be apositional (even if they're not, really), are best left for 2000+.
I would suggest buying "Action Chess" by Cecil Purdy. Amazon has new or used copies around $10.00. His goal is to get you to a playable middlegame. Keep your openings simple, you're not ready for complex, aggressive openings. I'm sure you will not listen to my advice, but I believe I'm right.