Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

This article will supply you with various popular chess openings that will help you understand the game better and give you a promising chance to win.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 16, 2023
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The first moves you make in every chess opening determine whether the game will end in your favor or not. Most of the best chess openings have been analyzed and named for hundreds of years. If you want to be successful in playing chess, you must be familiar with the best chess openings and understand the technique behind the moves.

Every chess player needs to figure out the best strategy they like to play and the chess opening that constitutes an advantage for them. Each chess opening has a very different play style. Therefore, you need to be familiar with all to know how to position yourself against your opponent’s travel chess sets. Now, first things first, you need to determine the chess opening style you love to play. Once you have achieved that, it becomes easy to learn other openings.

Basic openings

Using a reliable and time-tested chess opening strategy can increase your chances of winning and improve your gameplay. Understanding and recognizing the best chess opening suitable for you can boost your confidence at the beginning of the game. There are many chess openings but, in this post, we will consider the top 10. Here are the best chess openings you can easily learn.

Italian Game

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

Italian game chess opening is probably the oldest chess opening. It was developed in 1600 and is also fondly called the giuoco piano. To reach the quiet game in Italian, players must use the following moves: 3. Bc4, 2. Nf3, Nc6, and 1. e4, e5. The Italian game remained popular throughout the 19th century where other chess openings emerged.

In the Italian Game opening, Bc4 eyes black’s potentially weak f7 pawn. However, over the years, improved defensive strategies show that it is less dangerous to Black than Bb5.

The Italian Game opening still leads to aggressive opening positions. It is widely used at all levels and is popular among club chess players.

Sicilian Defense

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

The Sicilian Defense is the best and most popular defense against White’s Opening 1.e4. It is extensively used at top-level games. The Sicilian Defense is very aggressive, and usually stakes claim at the middle, denying white the double pawns on d4 and e4.

Many chess professional players love to start with 1.d4 because of how excellently the Sicilian Defense plays against 1.e4. The Black c-pawn is eventually exchanged, making way by the opening of the semi-open c file for Black to bring his rook or queen and pressurize the queenside attack.

In the long run, the White will not only have to worry about Black’s defense but also about the massive counterattack the Sicilian Defense presents.

If you’re a chess player that plays against the 1.e4 Opening frequently, the Sicilian Defense is the perfect chess opening you should spend enough time mastering. There are different variations associated with the Sicilian Defense, and each is specifically designed for different categories of players.

French Defense

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

French Defense is the best and most popular chess opening for the Black and a reliable counterattack strategy against White’s move 1.e4. The a2-g8 diagonal is black’s biggest weakness, but the French Defense advances to take direct control of the light squares in the middle after 2.d5.

The only limitation with this move is that it blocks the Bishop in the queen’s side (your strongest pieces). You might see it as a setback if you don’t plan to overcome it. One thing about the chess game is that it requires foresight. You need to have an idea of what is coming ahead, then stage the defense, keeping in mind that your Bishop is immovable. At this point, you know your weakness and need to be extra careful with the second part of the game.

Generally, in the French Defense opening, the White tries to disrupt the Black from the king’s side, and the Black tries to counterattack on the queen’s side.

The French defense has gained popularity right from its development up till this moment. Grand Chess masters like Wolfgang Uhlmann, Viktor Korchnoi, Wesley So, and Tigran Petrosian are Famous French Defense players.

French defense is the best for beginners because it improves your chances of winning. Unlike other chess openings, with the French Defense, you don’t need to have theoretical knowledge about thousands of alternatives; you just need to focus on the Defense strategy that would lead you to win the game.

Ruy Lopez

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

The Ruy Lopez opening is also popularly known as the Spanish Opening.  The Ruy Lopez is the standard play in chess. It has many more variations than any other chess openings.  The Opening was named after a Spanish Priest, Ruy López de Segura, in the 16th century. He published his first book on chess called Libro del Ajedrez (Book of Chess) in 1561. Since then, it has become one of the first chess openings beginners learn.

The Ruy Lopez opening is essential to the development of any promising chess player. Its typical tactics, strategic nature, and the fact that it leads to both closed and open positions make it suitable for a deeper understanding of the chess game.

The Ruy Lopez opening begins with the following moves: 1. e4, e5, 2. Nf3, Nc6, and 3. Bb5

One of White’s key goals in the Ruy Lopez opening is to control the middle. This is actualized by placing a pawn in the middle on the first move (1.e4); this move liberates the White’s light-squared Queen and Bishop.

By playing the move 2.Nf3, White immediately attacks the Black central pawn on e5. White then moves his Bishop to b5 from where it threatens the Knight on c6. With these three moves, White launches an attack from the center.

With the Ruy Lopez opening, White achieves its three main goals in any chess opening: rapid development, control of the center, and preparation for castling to safety.

Slav Defense

The Slav Defense is another top chess opening most players choose to utilize as their main defense strategy against the Queen’s Gambit. The main concept behind the Slav Defense is that Black tries to gather his pieces together while supporting the center by playing c7-c6. In the Queen’s Gambit main lines, the Black’s light-squared Bishop stays locked in by Black’s pawn on e6. However, with the Slav Defense strategy, this Bishop can be freely developed to g4 or f5.

The Slav Defense is divided into three main variations based on how the Black defines the pawn structure. The first option is to play with e7-e6, create a triangle of pawns in the center of the board as a defense strategy. It is the most solid variation, and it is called the Semi-Slav. A more daring variation (Chebanenko Variation) is to play the Slav defense with a7-a6. The goal is to break through with b7-b5 and play for activity.

The third variation of the Slav defense involves taking the pawn on c4 and then bringing out the Bishop to the f5 position.

The Slav defense has proven to be one of the perfect chess openings played against the Queen’s Gambit (1.d4 and 2.c4). In this defense, Black supports the central pawn with the c7-c6 move instead of the more common e7-e6.


Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

The Carol-Kann chess opening is characterized by the moves 1.e4 c6 when Black will follow soon by playing d5. It is named after two German chess players Marcus Kann and Horatio Caro. The defense is a resilient and solid opening played by many professional chess players. It is a popular chess opening for Blacks and prides itself in being the most solid response to 1.e4.

It is also a favorite opening of World Champions like Karpov, Petrosian, Botvinnik, and Capablanca throughout history and has gained widespread popularity in recent times, played by modern supper chess champions like Leko, Adams, and Anand.

The Caro Kann defense is classified among the semi-open chess openings for Blacks and mostly occur after the 1.e4 c6.

In this defense strategy, the Black begins to fight for the middle from the very onset of the game and creates a very compacted c6-d5 pawn chain.

In contrast to other chess openings like the Scandinavian Defense, in the Caro-Kann defense, the Black does not go for …d5 on one move. He first supports the d-pawn with the …c6 move. Therefore, if White captures on d5, Black can capture with c-pawn and protect his queen in the early stage of the game.

This defense operates on similar principles to the French Defense and Slav Defense, in that the pawns are placed principally on one color (in the Caro-Kann Defense, the light-squares c6, d5, e6), and the pieces will exert control of the dark squares in the middle (c5, d6, e5, etc.).

Pirc Defense

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

The Pirc Defense is named after Yugoslav Vasja Pirc and is one of the best “hypermodern” defenses because rather than focusing on occupying the center, it focuses on controlling the center. The Black tries to control the center early enough with his pawns to prevent the White from dominating the center. This chess opening begins with moves 1.e4 d6, where the Black is seeking to develop his pieces as quickly as possible and keep the center protected and restrained. Later he plans a counterattack against the middle. The play usually continues with the following moves: 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6

The White creates a pawn center, and the Black strives to disrupt it. Although the direct central confrontation is delayed at first, the first opening moves determine the extent to which the direct confrontation occurs.

There are two main attacks that White has to play against the Pirc defense. The most aggressive is the Austrian Attack, where the White pushes his f fawn to f4, thus exposing a weakness on his kingside while mounting pressure on the Black’s kingside.

The second move that the White makes is the Classical System which develops the second Knight to f3 and builds a stronger center control.

The second move that White has is the Classical System which develops the second Knight to f3 and looks to build up a stronger center control before white looks to attack.

In both variations and defense mechanisms, the Black will have counterplay but has to be very careful. If Black is not cautious, he will find himself in lots of danger. Black has a great chance of winning if he attacks the center before White has the chance to mount pressure.

English Opening

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

The English Opening is one of the best openings for White. Although the Opening has its own unique style, it is very flexible and many times reorders into other opening lines. The main objective of this Opening is to mount pressure on the center d5 square without committing the king pawn or queen pawn. Due to the fact that the move is a side move, most players love the English Opening because of its hypermodern style of play (that is, using pieces from the sides with minor pieces to apply pressure and control the center).

The English Opening is a white chess opening that occurs after the 1.c4. move. It is called English Opening because it was first introduced and regularly played by the English unofficial World Chess Champion Howard Staunton in the 1840s and 1850s. it is a unique opening because it starts by pushing the c-pawns instead of the d and e-pawns.

There are many reasons why chess players like the English Opening. First, because it is considered to be one of the most successful chess openings, this means that you automatically stand a chance of winning each time you adopt the English opening strategy.

Secondly, the English Opening is the best alternative for all 1.e4- and 1.d4-players who are tired of repeatedly entering the highly theoretical terrain of all the main lines Black can choose from.  Also, the English Opening leads to hundreds of unforced variations. Moreover, the English Opening is flexible and supports you to be a versatile player.

Alekhine Defense

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

The Alekhine Defense is a King’s Pawn Opening beginning with the 1. e4 Nf6 moves. It was named after the Chess World Champion Alexander Alekhine. Although it is an unpopular chess opening strategy, when used smartly, it can attract more wins.

The defense begins when white plays 1.e4 as his first move. This instigates Black to attach the e4 with his Knight, giving White the opportunity to mobilize his central pawns to chase Black’s Knight away.

The main goal of this Opening is that Black seeks to lure White to chase his Knight all over while taking advantage to control the center of the board with his pawns. In response to the Attack, black destabilizes the overextended pawns from White.

One thing black needs to take into consideration is the fact that after his Knight has been chased, he no longer needs to play passively. He needs to aggressively attack the center that the White has built up, or he will be crushed by the pressure white will mount on him from the center.

White has three main variations and moves to choose from, beginning with 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6. Things begin to change from this point, and each variation takes on its own unique feature.

Dutch Defense

Best Chess Openings to Begin the Game with!

Dutch Defense is a chess opening for Black against Queen pawn opening. It is mostly characterized by the 1.d4 f5 moves. The Dutch defense was recommended as the best response to 1.d4 in a book published by Elias Stein in 1789 in the Hague, Netherlands, hence the Opening’s name. It has been played by several chess world champions like Ian Nepomniachtchi, Magnus Carlsen, and Hikaru Nakamura.

In this defense strategy, the Black seeks to control the e4-square while completely destabilizing the position. The strategy is that the Black’s weak f7 becomes a tempting target for White, and many times he will try to capitalize on this weakness to launch an attack. The black then uses his active pieces that are not cramped to withstand the attacks and eventually overpower the white.

Final thoughts

Here we have them- the top 10 best chess openings. It is important to note that you need to be familiar with most if not all of these openings to be an outstanding and professional chess player. There are still many more chess openings available, but we believe the information we have provided about each chess opening featured in this post will help you understand the strategy surrounding other chess set openings you might come across.

If you’re looking for the best chess set to buy, we strongly recommend the Classic Game Collection Metal Chess Set and the House of Staunton US Chess Quiver Chess Set (a product created by theUS Chess Federation). These two chess sets were made of the best materials and suitable for club, tournament, and academic chess players. Moreover, they surpassed all the requirements demanded by World Chess Federation (FIDE) and the United States Chess Federation. They came with a complete chessboard and accessories and are widely used by beginners and professional players. We encourage you to leave feedback in the comment section below. Let us know your best chess opening strategy.

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