So what constitutes the end of the opening and the start of the middle game?


I was looking at a post by Billium where he was asking what is the longest opening ever accomplished here on and someone made mention of the idea that his example was "clearly" into the middle game.  So my question is what actually signals the end of the opening?  I understand Billium's point that he's considering all of the moves with all of the variations as an opening is this correct thinking?




For popular lines, as soon as you are out of book, you are in the middle game.

rigamagician wrote:

For popular lines, as soon as you are out of book, you are in the middle game.


True, many "opening" lines have been analyzed well into the middlegame, which is possible when the reasonable moves on each side are limited or forced.

To me, the "middlegame" has begun once both sides have set their central pawn structure (or plan), completed their development of minor pieces and Queen, castled if they intend to, and deployed their Rooks whereever they intend for the initial stages.  The position may well still be "in book," but it's a middlegame from then on.


I read in a book once that you have reached the middlegame once you start looking where best to deploy your rooks and I think that , in general, this is the best definition I have seen as to when the middlegame is entered and the opening finished. Ofcourse there is no hard and fast rule that wont have exceptions. You can be out of book and still be in the opening and still be in book and be in a middlegame. Many openings now are analyzed well into the middlegames of that particular opening.


Some (slightly contentious) definitions here.


For the endgame, I've read somewhere that it is when both you and your opponent have two pieces or less left, regardless of how many pawns there are.


Just listen for the chime.


Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow.  Don't we hear the chimes at midnight?