5 simple tricks to improve the opening moves

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One of the most fascinating board games is Chess, played between two players with the intention of capturing the opposite member’s King through checkmate. Both the players start the game with equal amount of resources in terms of pieces and their notional values. There is no spatial advantage or disadvantage to the two players before the game starts. However, as soon as the first move is made by the white pieces, as is customary practice in the game of chess, there sets in an imbalance that needs to be rectified by the other player using black pieces.

In little over two or three moves, a player can defeat the other player by making the effective opening moves that expose the King of the opposite team. If you are a novice, you can easily fall into the trap and get defeated easily.

A typical game of chess has to have a minimum of three stages so that a meaningful and enterprising game can be had. It should be, in the same order, Opening Game, Middle Game and the End game.

The effectiveness of the opening moves or the Opening game will decide the course of action in the crucial middle part of the game and logically leads to the end game, where the result of the game such as victory, defeat or draw is decided.

In nutshell, opening moves or simply Opening shall comprise that part of the game in which the forces, such as the bishops, knights and rooks as well as pawns, are disposed for action.

As part of the latest development, controlling the centre is deemed a vital aspect. Of the 64 squares in the chessboard, the four squares in the middle, namely, d4, d5, e4 and e5 are the central squares, and any player who has effective control over these four squares at the centre will have an edge over the opponent. Considering your style of play, it is advisable that your first moves or opening moves aim to have control over the middle of the board or the central squares.

With this basic premise about the first aspect of the game, the Opening moves, let us discuss some of the useful tips that will pave way for an interesting middle game battle.

It is always advisable to open the game with the centre pawns – pawns in front of the king and the queen. The move, e4, moving the king pawn two steps forward, is the most popular one, for the simple reason that the move opens up both the queen and the bishop adjacent to the king to move, if required. The move of the pawn in front of the queen – to either d3 or d4 – will liberate the bishop adjacent to the queen. The moves may not be in the same order as I suggested. It can be otherwise as well. Once the two central pawns are moved from the original places, the queen is free to move in either of the two diagonals opened, and the bishops are opened to move in their respective squares diagonally.

The primary idea is to deploy all the available resources and place them in strategic places so that plans of attack, counter-attack or defense can be carried out effectively.

As knights are capable of jumping over the other pieces, knights should be considered for removal from the first rank and placed in such a way that it does not hamper the movement of the bishops or the queen that has been opened up. The Queen and the two bishops should also be moved out from the first rank. This will give an opportunity to do castling involving the king. By resorting to castling, the two rooks will come together. As part of the opening moves, it should be ensured that the King is safe and there is no lapse in safeguarding the king.

As part of the opening, it is but natural that both the players would like to have spatial control and in the process, few minor pieces might have to be sacrificed and/or captured. In this connection, I would suggest that while capturing pieces of the opposite player using pawn, you should always capture inward, or in other words, the pawn moves towards the central part of the board. In other words, if you have a pawn each at say b5 and d5, and one piece that can be captured is in c6, it is advisable that you use the pawn at b5 to capture c6, rather than the pawn at d5 to capture c6. By capturing the piece at c6 with b5, you are capturing inward – that means the pawn at b file is moved to the c file – that is moving inward. If the pawn at d5 is used to capture c6, then that move is outward one – moving away from central “d” rank to the “c” rank.

A typical opening can comprise of a minimum of eight moves whereby all the forces are deployed at strategic points to plan an interesting middle game.

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