My friend and I have been playing chess every Sunday for the last 3 years. We have hosted the odd friendly chess tournament here and there, and try to play whenever we can against new people.
We have realised that one part of our game that is lacking is openings.
I have been studying chess openings this Decemeber and would like to select a few white and a few black openings to focus on (for a start at least). I like to play d4(2...c4) if I am white and would also like some general openings against e4 (as well as d4). I like a more positional game if I had to pick.
I have looked all over the web and have chessmaster, and to be honest the amount of options is quite intimidating.
What do you guys recommend?
Caro-Kann against e4 and d4
I respond to e4 with the Caro also. Against d4 I swing the knight out to f6 and wait to see what's coming next. As white I play the Ruy Lopez if I can, although I have Italian game ideas with c3 and d4 pawn advances. Against the Sicilian I'll counter with c3, the Alapin. If someone uses the Caro or French against my e4 then I use the advance variation with e5. Yep, that's pretty much the sum total of my opening knowledge although thanks to the rules of correspondence chess and the opening explorer here, I was once able to go 16 moves deep into a poisoned pawn Najdorf variation without leaving book.
You're recommending the Caro-Kann to a complete novice?
Starting out, you should play 1.e4 and as Black play 1...e5
If you want to vary things a bit, 1.d4 d5 is also good.
The three main goals of every good opening are:
The weakest square on the board at the start of the game is f2/f7. Aim for that with your pieces and you will cause your opponent problems. The earliest opening many people learn is the Scholars mate (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qh5 Nf6 4.Qxf7#). It's not a good opening because the Q is developed too early and Black has defenses. BUT it does show the weakness of f7. A good opening for White to learn as a novice is the Italian Game. Take a look at this classic game. There were some mistakes by both sides, but White really aimed at f7 and the e-file. This is an excellent example of how to attack an uncastled king.
Although I don't play it there's nothing wrong with the Caro-Kahn, and the moves are very easy to remember: if 1.e4,c6 2.d4,d5 3.Nc3,dxe4 4.Nxe4,Bf5 5.Ng3,Bg6 6.h4,h6 7.Nf3,Nd7 8.h5,Bh7 is one such line. The thing is, I never studied this line but remember playing it against the computer. It seems like a straightforward enough opening.
For a complete novice I'd recommend meeting e4 with e5 and d4 with d5, but the OP has been playing for at least 3 years. There are other good approaches. The whole Italian game 2 Knight defense Fried Liver Lolli Traxler complex could keep you busy for years with sharp tactics. It's a regular rite of passage some say. There must have been dozens of threads and hundreds of posts on this already. When you realize openings are a moving target and that your needs change with your skill level then you begin to understand why titled players discourage beginners from obsessing over openings.
I wouldnt say I am I complete novice ... At openings yes...I played a guy that use to play nationally when he was younger (it was a while back but none the less). I beat him once and drew once. He beat me twice. I recommended we start looking into openings since I guess he could see we were giving up the game in the beginning phases of the game.
"you begin to understand why titled players discourage beginners from obsessing over openings"I guess I am obsessing over it now since it is the thing holding me back right now.
I will look into the Caro-kahn. Keep it coming guys. It is much appreciated.
Starting out, you should play 1.e4 and as Black play 1...e5If you want to vary things a bit, 1.d4 d5 is also good.
I dont think e4-e5 would be so good. Ok, I am not saying that is not good, it allows you to develop your pieces and castle soon, but this is not everything. When you play e5 with black against e4, you allow to play a lot of gambit lines, opened, tactical games. So have to know a lot of gambit lines, and one mistake, and you lose. It can be good at low level, but chess is a strategy game! You should play positional openings. Of course firstly better to play opened games with e4-e5, (to understand the importance of leading in development, the importance of king safety, and so on.) but it should not be your main repertoire. For beginners, the best is the e4-e5, opened lines. (Such like italian game, gambits) But when you are stronger in chess (for example 1600-1700 FIDE points) you should begin to play strategical openings, like queen's gambit lines, ruy lopez closed, king's indian attack and so on. A lot of people have problem with strategical positions, because they are dont know what to do, when there is no direct attacking chance. But first you have to play opened positions, learn tactics, engames, etc.But I see you are already want to play positionally this is good. I recommend you the french defense, caro-kann, or even 1. b6 against e4, and against d4, well...I still have problem with d4 as black, but such like QGA, slav, semi slav is more solid (but a little bit passive) and in the indian defenses you have more counter play. (In the highest level King's indian defense, Queen's indian defense, and Nimzo indian defense are popular as I saw it.)
As white, I've always found that the Italian Opening is most effective against beginners.
How FIDE know my rank
Really? he said he wanted to play positional. He didn't say he wanted to start a dubious attack on move 4
This "dubious" attack has been played repeatedly, in slow time controls, by John Nunn, Gary Kasparov, Nigel Short, Evgeny Sveshnikov and numerous other strong grandmasters. The Evans Gambit is not really dubious. And it's a great way to learn how to attack and defend, both as white and as black!
The Italian game is recommended to novices by coaches far more often than the Caro-Kann is.
Btw, I use the term "novice" not just to mean someone who is new to chess, but to denote a level of play. If two people play only each other for three years without any outside study, they are effectively novices at the game.
Also, Open games (games where the central pawns tend to disappear fairly quickly, such as the Evans Gambit) are positional games. The requirements of open games are different from closed games, but they are still positional. Tactics are part of positional chess.
For Black, I usually recommend the Two Knights Defense to my students. Again, the title of this thread is "What openings to start out with".
four knights its alot more natural than all these recomendations
My favorite opening as black is Fool's Mate :)
My favorite opening at the moment is Queen's Gambit. Other suitable beginner openings are Two Knights Defense and the Ruy Lopez.
I sometimes play the Pirc Defense as Black. It's an opening that can be used against anything except 1.c4. Other openings for Black that I'd recommend are the French Defense and Sicilian Defense, though Sicilian may be a bit advanced with all its different variations.
Hope this helps!
caro kann is not for novices there are many traps that people can play and you can fall into if you are serious about playing the caro kann you must learn ALL the traps that occur within the lines and you must also be ready to face the advance variation for example did you know about this trap