As a new player you will want to learn some of the basic openings whether you’re playing white or black. As you progress you will learn to mix these openings with your own style and catch your opponent off guard.
Today we’re going to discuss 2 great openings for white, and 2 for black. These openings come with different variations, so watch your opponent closely.
2 Chess Openings for New Players Playing White
White is predominantly the attacking side. The quicker you can attack without allowing your opponent to defend, the better chance you have of winning!
Let’s look at 2 excellent openings that are easy to memorize and play.
The Fried Liver Attack
Let’s start with my favorite chess opening. It’s got a great name, and it’s a very effective opening if you want to learn to play aggressively.
The setup is as follows:
W: Pawn to e4
B: Pawn to e5
W: Knight to f3
B: Knight to c6
W: Bishop to c3
The game so far is called the Italian Opening, which is a common one. Black will usually play like this as it is one of the better—and most common—defenses. But now I’m going to show you how to break down black’s defense. You’ve already set the trap; now let’s do the Fried Liver attack. Pay close attention to black’s pawn on f7. This pawn is very vulnerable because in one move you can
move your knight to attack that square—which is already being eyed by your developed bishop. This is where the game will change in your favor.
Black now has two common moves that it will probably make. He will either move his bishop to c5—at which point you can move your pawn up to b4 (known as the Evan’s Gambit). This will lure your opponent’s bishop or knight out of their defensive positions which will work in your favor later on.
But more commonly, black will move his other knight to f6. This may see like a good defense, but as you can see, he has blocked his queen from covering the g5 square, which is where you want to move your knight next. (This for black is called the 2-Knight’s Defense)
Black will now try and relieve pressure by blocking your bishop with its pawn to d5. Use your developed pawn to take his pawn, at which point the second developed knight on black will usually take that pawn. This is fine. Black is falling into our trap perfectly.
Now you will sacrifice your knight by moving it to f7, taking black’s pawn stationed there. Black has no choice but to take your knight because you are forking the queen and the rook simultaneously. Once he does this, you can attack the king (who can now no longer castle) with your queen to f3. Black doesn’t have many options at this point.
He’s best move is to move the king out of danger to e6, thereby protecting the knight on d5. From here you can put more pressure on his knight by placing your own knight on c3. One of black’s best moves is now to move his other knight to b4, as this will protect his other knight which is unable to move right now because of your bishop directed at his king. (If he doesn’t make this move, check out variation 1 & 2 below)
Placing his knight here also threatens your king and rook, since he has the option to fork you on his next move. But guess what? That’s exactly what you want! Yes you heard right. It’s time to pretend as if you don’t see that attack. Move your far-left pawn to a3 as a distraction. Black will fork your king and rook.
Move your king out of danger to d1 and wait for black to capture your rook. Once that happens, the knight is out of the way and cannot defend your friend liver attack. Capture the knight on d5 with your own knight. You’re in a really good position now because black is forced to make one of several very detrimental moves.
The most common is to move his king to d6. if he doesn’t do this, you can easily gain material through many options. But if he does move his kinghere, here’s what you do. Move your king’s pawn to d4. Black will more than likely take that pawn, getting that annoying black pawn out of your way. You’ve also now opened up your black square bishop to further the attack on his black’s king. From here the win is easy. There are many possible moves after this, and most will win you the game. Brilliant!
Another variation is for black to move his knight from b5 to d4. This move isn’t common, but it is a better play from black because it attacks your queen. But by continually hammering the king, that knight will have to hold off capturing your queen for now. So move your white-square bishop and capture the black knight on d5, forcing black to protect his king.
Black’s best option is to move his king to d6. Here again you should open the dark squares for your black-square bishop by moving your king’s pawn to d3. This opens a whole lot of great options such as attacking the queen, and putting additional pressure on black’s king.
Remember that black may make ulterior defense moves. But overall, the two variations above are the most common. Whatever he does, if you have your initial setup, it’s hard to lose with the Fried Liver Attack. Play around with this opening and you’ll quickly see why it’s a favorite among chess players.
Again, this is an aggressive opening. If you prefer not to sacrifice pieces or would rather build up your defenses first, this opening might not be for you. But I have one many games with different endings by using this opening. If you’re playing someone who plays the Italian Game opening often, this is the best way to nail them!
The English Open
Another common opening you should learn as a beginner is the English Open. This opening is lesscommon because it starts with a flank opening (trying to dominate the centre using side pawns instead of centre pieces).
Black will likely make the moves below—even though not in this particular order; so you can still play this opening despite many variations. As white, you can play this opening by starting off with the following set up:
W: Pawn to c4
B: Pawn to e5
W: Knight to b3
B: Knight to f6
W: Pawn to g3
B: Knight to c6
This is what the opening looks like. From here you have a few options that will all serve you well later on in the game. I’ll go through all of these variations in detail.
You could be aggressive and irritate black with a bishop move to g2. This puts pressure on the knight because if you take the knight, black will be forced to break open his defensive pawns—something your opponent will loathe to do. Later on you can move your knight to f3 which will attack the lonely pawn on e5. Black will be forced to continually defend which will put you in a good position overall.
A better option is to leave your bishop on g2. The bishop plays an important role here because it keeps pressure on black’s defences—especially is he decides to castle queen side. From here you can begin to move your centre pawn upward because you already have several pieces sitting pretty on the side which whose role will be to defend and attack at the same time. This is a strong opening and one your opponent won’t expect, because it’s a little less common thanothers.
2 Chess Openings for New Players Playing Black
Playing black seems to be a less desirable side because you’ll be expected to defend at the start of the game. But there are some very good strategies that will catch your opponent off guard while he or she is attacking.
Here are three openings that put you in a defensive position while still putting pressure on white.
The Modern Benoni Defense
If white decides to move his queen pawn two spaces forward as first move, it means they are planning to play aggressively. For times like these it’s wise to play the Benoni Defense, because it protects your king throughout the start of the game.
Here is the setup for a Benoni Defense Game:
W: Pawn to d4
B: Knight to f6
W: Pawn to c4
B: Pawn to c5
At this point your opponent may capture the pawn on c5. If he does this he’s pretty much written his own pawn off because it’s nearly impossible to defend that pawn against your black-square bishop. So if this does happen, just keep playing. You’re already at an advantage.
Most times however, the setup will continue as follows:
W: Pawn to d5
B: Pawn to e6
By doing this you are attacking the white pawn on d5. This is important because white is trying to control the white squares—and you must stop that from happening.
If white moves his pawn from d5 to d6, simply bring your queen out to b6. White won’t like this because now you have your black-square bishop and your queen attacking that pawn. In addition to that you will be putting a lot of pressure on white’s queen side, because his black-square bishop cannot abandon the pawn on b2 to join the fight.
More often than not, white will capture your e6 pawn. This is also fine because you can simply trade off by recapturing with your pawn situated on f7. Don’t make the mistake of using your queen’s pawn to recapture, as this will result in white trading off queens with you, thereby rendering your king unable to castle.
Another common move from white will be to not capture at all, but instead to develop his queen- side knight to c3. This adds additional defense to the pawn you have just threatened.
If this happens, here’s what you need to do.
Capture the white pawn on d5 with your own pawn. White has no lost some control over the centre, which is good news for you. White will then recapture your pawn, leaving you with seemingly very limited options. But even though your defense looks a bit broken, you can still gain the advantage because you’ve blocked the other white pawn from moving forward. Make sure you continue to block this pawn, as it is a threat to your defenses.
Again, if white plays his queen pawn two spaces forward as a first move, you have the chance to try out one of the most effective defenses for black.
Here’s the setup:
W: Pawn to d4
B: Pawn to e6
W: Pawn to c4
B: Knight to g6
W: Knight to c3
B: Bishop to b4
You’re already playing aggressively here. Even though you are defending, you’re also showing some offense with your knight. White has a few options here.
White may move his pawn to e3, because he’s in no immediate danger yet. At this point the game is still pretty neutral, so take this opportunity to castle. White will most likely move his white-square bishop to d3.
You can now move your queen’s pawn up two spaces and attack the off-centre development taking place from white. You have more pieces covering your pawn than what white has, putting you in a great position to break open his defenses.
White could also move his queen to c2, which adds additional protection to the knight on c3. So if you capture the knight, white won’t be forced to break open its defending pawns. Use your next move to castle king side.
White will probably try and develop more pieces—the most common of which is pawn to a3 as an attempt to frighten off your bishop. But you don’t scare away that easily. Capture the knight with your bishop and allow the queen to recapture it.Your next move is a subtle one. Move your pawn to b6 (you’ll see why later).
White’s best move from here is to attack your knight on f6 by bringing his bishop to g5. As you can see, white has yet to castle, so you’re in a much better position in terms of defense. White’s king side is also completely undeveloped, where as yours is a much more open game.
White might decide to simply move his king-side knight to f3. But this blocks the pawn on f2, making it harder to defend if you move your knight up to e4. If this happens you’re likely to have a better game than white.
These openings for black are meant to protect you against aggressive openings from white. So if you like building up your defenses subtly, both of these openings will serve you well.