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First Chess Openings for Black

FM Eric Schiller Avg Rating: 1475 Openings

This course for beginners provides advice for all the openings you are likely to have to deal with as Black. You'll find out how to avoid the dreaded Fried Liver Attack, cope with the Spanish Inquisition, deal with a variety of gambits and gain an all-purpose defense against all moves other than 1.e4. The suggested lines are not necessarily the ones you'll want to play when you are a more advanced player. We're not going to look at very complicated tactical lines where it is easy to make a fatal error. So some of these variations are not often seen in professional play. When you are a better player you'll want to replace them with some o the alternatives we'll see along the way. The material is based on my book First Chess Openings, published by Cardoza. I also use this in my school courses and private lessons.

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  • Don't Fall for Scholar's Mate!

    When you start to play, your scholastic opponents will probably try to checkmate you using the Scholars Mate. You must not allow this devilish plan to succeed! Once you learn the recommended plan for Black you won't have to worry about it ever again!
  • Fried Liver Defense

    Some of the openings beginners play involve complicated positions. It is easy to make a mistake that will prove fatal to your game. The Fried Liver Attack (*1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 with 4...d5 5.exd5 Nxd5? 6.Nxf7) appears frequently in school competitions. You need to know the correct defense!
  • The Quiet Attack

    Although most beginners attack with Ng5, others are content to simply develop and support the center with d3. This puts less pressure on Black, and as long as you keep the safety of the pawn at f7 in mind, any sensible moves will do.
  • Italian Four Knights

    There are many varieties of the Four Knights Opening. Much depends on where the light square bishop goes and what White does with the d-pawn. It is a rather slow opening that can be reached by many move orders. Here we will look at the Italian formation with Bc4. This can be reached via 2.Nf3, 2.Nc3 or 2.Bc4.
  • The Spanish Inquisition

    The Spanish Game (3.Bb5) has been a powerful weapon for White for almost 500 years. Advanced players usually choose 3...Nf6 or 3...a6, allowing the bishop to capture at c6 and mess up Black's pawn structure. That's not a problem for advanced players but beginners might wish to avoid that.
  • Handling the Scotch

    The Scotch Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4) is a logical and popular opening, seen at all levels of competition. Black can best handle it by following the opening guidelines and getting castled quickly, but there is one line that requires special handling. We'll look at it in this lesson.
  • The Scotch Gambit

    White often employs the Scotch Gambit, which can be reached by several move orders. Black should avoid falling into a passive position, but will need to play carefully and avoid tactical traps.
  • Goering Gambit

    White sometimes offers up the Goering Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.c3) but Black has a simple and reliable defense based on the usual central break.
  • Danish Gambit

    Our approach to the Danish Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3) is the same as our handling of the Goering Gambit. We'll aim to reach the same position.
  • The King's Gambit Refused!

    The King's Gambit is an ancient attacking method that still has a few followers. If you are willing to spend many hours preparing for this rare opening, you can grab the pawn and hold on. But there is a much easier path to a comfortable game, and that's the one we'll look at.
  • Tarrasch against the world!

    Most of the time beginners will play 1.e4, but sometimes you see other moves. The Tarrasch Defense is a good reply to everything but 1.e4. You bring out your pieces quickly and have good chances to attack, The key to the Tarrasch is the isolated d-pawn. You won't be able to defend your pawn at d5 with other pawns once the pawn is isolated, but you will get good attacking lines and in a beginner game, even if you lose the pawn, you can probably draw the endgame. This lesson is just a brief introduction...
  • Tarrasch Main Line

    It isn't likely that you'll run into the main line of the Tarrasch in a beginner's game, but if you do here's how to play.

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