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# Black vs. White

• #1

Just wondering, is it advantageous to be playing as black or as white in a game of chess? Logically, it would seem that white would have the advantage since white has the first move. However, I have won a good part of my games playing as black. Is there an advantage to playing as black or white?

• #2

Though White logically has the advantage and can always "dictate" the opening to some extent, it really comes down to how much you need opening theory to win chess games at your level.

The lower you are rated, the less you really need to depend on openings to win and consequently, the choice of colors really doesn't matter all that much.

Titled players are almost on par tactically so they rely on preparation a whole lot more.

I'd be brave enough to say that if you are not a Federation rated expert or above,  tactics decide games a whole lot more than openings or even what colors you get assigned in a game.

• #3

a) This is the very opposite of a question that concerns chess endgames.

b) Yes, the first move is an advantage. A look at chess databases will show that white has an overall higher winning percentage.

The players decide the winner. In lower level play, having black or white means next to nothing. Sooner or later, someone will perform the first mistake, or even inaccuracy, that will either cancel out or dwarf the first move advantage.

• #4

The first move is an advantage, but what if it is revealing of strategy. The person as black will have somewhat of an advantage in reaction. Also, is there a difference if the queen is on a black or white square?

• #5

In tic-tac-toe, the first move "reveals" a strategy you can act on => given the finite number of possibilities and that an average human can "book up" all the ideas needed to play it perfectly in less than 5 minutes.

In chess, not so likely.  :)

Chances are, the only people who book up enough about all "black" responses to the first move of white and know all the strategies and lines decently well beyond 5-10 moves are ... guess what ... titled players!

Which goes back to my first response as well as the comment by Silfir =>  Who gets Black or White is nearly irrelevant for most amateurs. White gets a tempo and should he use it well, he can preserve it as far into the game as possible. End of story!

What helps is for a good player to have a repertoire of systems for both White and Black so that he doesn't walk into a tournament and burn his clock during the first 5-10 moves. That is all!

Is there a difference on what square the queen is? Not at all.

• #6
ostrich321 wrote:

The first move is an advantage, but what if it is revealing of strategy. The person as black will have somewhat of an advantage in reaction. Also, is there a difference if the queen is on a black or white square?

Yes this is the other side of it.  Information theory stuff that says black's advantage is knowing white's last move before having to play his own.  By having more info he can make better choices.  Through the whole game black will have a 1 move advantage in information

But in practical play the control of squares and lasting formations you can build such as pawn in the center give a player a much greater advantage than this kind of knowledge (1 move).  So it's an interesting counter-thought, but in practice white does have a small advantage with the first move -- with best play it shouldn't be enough to force a win though, best play by both sides is considered to result in a draw.

• #7

White acts, black reacts, but black can never be faster than white. Besides, white playing e4 in the first move, for instance, only tells you "white intends to improve his control on the centre as well as free his bishop and queen". There is no secret master plan he's "giving away" by having to make the first move. He has already improved his position.

Chess is not a game of hidden information. The pieces are on the board. True, you can never know what your opponent is thinking, but you see the pieces on the board, so you can definitely know what his plans could be, and should be.

Black might have all sorts of advantages - maybe he just likes playing with the black pieces more and is more confident (which is a psychological advantage), or maybe he has studied a number of black openings (such as the Sicilian) very well. Black does not have a positional, strategic, or tactical advantage, and neither does he have an advantage of information.

• #8

If the pieces on the board can reveal strategy, then shouldn't black have the reaction advantage?

Also, many of my strategies involve using the black square bishop, which can be supported by the queen on the black square, although a smililar thing can be said about playing as white.

• #9
ostrich321 wrote:

If the pieces on the board can reveal strategy, then shouldn't black have the reaction advantage?

Also, many of my strategies involve using the black square bishop, which can be supported by the queen on the black square, although a smililar thing can be said about playing as white.

Yes he does have a reaction advantage, but like silfir pointed out an advantage in information like this is blunted by chess being a game with no hidden information, that is the entire board is visible to both players at all times -- so you may look at it like I know each of the 64 squares + 1 (your last move) where you only know each of the squares.  Although not very scientific, you can think of it as having a 65/65 to 64/65 advantage... which is very small (1/65) where white's advantage in speed (being 1 move ahead) more than offsets it.

Even though, like silfir pointed out, a player may be better with the black pieces than the white pieces for a few reasons such as opening knowledge or psychologically because of a personal preference.

• #10

It is true that both players know all 64 squares of the board at any given time, but strategies and intentions behind conspicuous moves may not be as clear. Being the first to move means unraveling a strategy.

• #11

to chess (with beer in hand ready to chug or shot if so prefered) one of the few games where the playing field is equal

• #12

Maybe Not...

• #13

White is better, it can do a lot of openings

#KINGSGAMBIT!!!!!!

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