Chess Trivia: The best pawn move for opening?

Filed under Beginner Chess Tips, Chess Basics, Chess Opening, Chess Strategy
Tagged as

Beginners often ask about what opening move is best! It is like asking which of your legs should be put forward first when you start a walk! But from general principle of controlling the center, you should choose one of the four central pawns namely KP, QP, KBP, and QBP. Your choice depends on the style of play you like (more strategic or more tactical), the types of openings that go with it and so the first pawn move that is required by that opening theory! But since transposition is possible quite often, the first pawn move need not be a rigid requirement even for the opening strategy adopted by you.

In this respect, you may like to know opinions of some of the past masters. Emanuel Lasker, a world champion and one of the greatest chess players of all time, in talking about common sense in chess forbade using any opening move other than d4 and e4!

It seems that Paul Morphy, another all-time great and a chess genius, never used d4. On the other hand, Gruenfeld who was a GM and authority on opening play, used e4 only once in his tournament career (against Mark Taimanov in 1950 and lost the game)! When asked about the reason for not using e4, he stated that he never made a mistake in the opening! Probably once was enough!


  1. Tasneem says:

    I am new to playing chess so do you know of any famous players and openings that lead to a very open position? I am a bit of a safe player and like my position to allow a lot of room to maneuver. Thanks

  2. ChessMaster says:


    From what you said, I suggest you go through our three-part article 10 steps to raise your game to do a better self-analysis.

    We have said that K-pawn openings in general lead to open games with much tactical play and suits players who prefer attacking play with many combinations. Q-pawn openings in comparison give rise to more closed games requiring positional play with maneuvering.

    You said that you wanted to play safe by which we understand that you do not want to be subject to such attacks. In that case you should avoid open positions (at least initially). But you prefer a lot of space which becomes a contradictory requirement. So you see our point in suggesting self-analysis?

    Considering all above for your type of players, I have seen recommendation for using d4 when opening as White, in particular QGD, Stonewall Variation (ECO code D30). The variations of this type of opening had two world champions as practitioners viz. Alekhine and Karpov.

    When playing as Black, you do not know White’s intention. If he plays d4 or e4, your choice is clear. But if he plays something else, it will sooner or later come back to d4 or e4. If we know the moves that usually go with d4 or e4 and find White starting with one of those, that also gives you the clue.

    When playing as Black against White’s d4, you may choose Nimzo-Indian defense, Leningrad variation (ECO code E30) seems to give Black a strong fighting chance. As Black, Victor Korchnoi has scored many successes with it.

    When playing as Black against White’s e4, many masters who like to fight it out with White for supremacy choose Sicilian Defense. You may try Scheveningen variation (ECO code B80) which seems to give Black a fair chance to win. Or you can try the currently very popular Najdorf variation (ECO code B90) with which Boris Gelfand and Garry Kasparov have scored many successes as Black.

    For more details on the opening moves, visit Wikipedia for List of Chess Openings with their ECO codes.

    Whatever you adopt to start with, keep playing it repeatedly till you become thoroughly familiar with at least the major variations, the strategies you and your opponent should ideally have, and play to realize your strategic goals. When you feel confident, explore another type.

  3. kate says:

    what is eco codes

  4. ChessMaster says:


    ECO stands for Encyclopedia Of Chess Openings which has allotted codes for all types of openings including variations. You may visit relevant wiki site to see the codes with the names of the opening as also the moves that comprise that opening.