How to Learn Chess Openings Fast and Effectively

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Here you will find how to learn chess openings fast and effectively using the material provided on this chess opening website In addition, you will find below the valuable chess information in Paras B, C, D: General Rules How to Play Chess Openings, How to Estimate Who is Better at Opening, How to Make a Plan for Chess Middlegame.

How to Learn Chess Openings

The currect chess opening website for beginners will provide you with the links to all chess opening lessons (including those to chess opening theory) -- click here to see all lessons on this chess opening website. To learn chess opening fast, skip the on-site theory lessons except Lesson 1 and read the rules and recommendations on learning openings, Step 1 through Step 3:

Step 1: Opening Strategies

Study Lesson 1 (Theory): Chess Openings and 3 Main Strategies
Lesson 1 will show you 3 chess opening strategies which are very important at playing openings: Development (Mobilization), Control of the Center, King Safety. Follow the above strategies in order to be successful at the beginning of a chess game. Lesson 1 will show you also the cases when you may not follow the above strategies (when playing a hypermodern opening, etc.).

Step 2: Opening Types and Opening Rules

After learning Lesson 1 in Step 1, you are now advised to learn paras A, B, C, D.

A. Chess Opening Types and Characteristics of Each Type

There are a few chess opening classifications including the professional one by the ECO codes, but we need the simplest one for chess beginners... And it is the 3-type chess opening classification by the first moves. According to this, all chess openings are divided into the following 3 types:

Open Game Chess Openings (they start with 1.e4 e5);
Semi-Open Game Chess Openings (1.e4 not e5);
Closed Game Chess Openings (1.not e4 ...).
The following is few examples of each chess openings type:

Open Game chess opening examples: Bishop's Opening (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4); King's Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.f4); Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5)... Semi-Open Game examples: Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5); French Defense (1.e4 e6); Caro-Kann Defense (1.e4 c6)... Closed Game examples: Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4); English Opening (1.c4).

Each chess opening type has its own characteristics. Open Games characteristics: - the oldest and most studied openings; - tense struggle from beginning; - combinations, attacks, sacrifices. Semi-Open Games characteristics: - slow and cautious struggle; - passive but strong defense for Black. Closed Games characteristics: - long positional play; - popular at highest levels of chess.

They always recommend to the beginner to begin to learn chess openings from the Open Game openings which start with 1.e4 e5 -- because their characteristics are the most suitable for chess beginners. As a chess beginner, at a later stage you should include few Semi-Open Games (1.e4 not e5) to your chess opening repertoire for Black -- because they are strong defense for Black.

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B. General Rules How to Play Chess Openings

- Try to follow 3 main chess opening strategies at the beginning of a chess game (you may not follow them if you are playing a hypermodern opening or hedgehog (special opening system when you play intentionally like a hedgehog)); - open with the king or queen pawn; - try to keep at least 1 pawn at the center of the board; - first develop minor pieces (knights and bishops);

- try to move the minor pieces to a best place in one move; - not bring the queen out too early (the queen may be easily attacked and you will lose a tempo in developing your pieces -- you may bring the queen early to the game if it is a designated move of a chess opening, or if your opponent is very weak and he or she does not know the Scholar's mate);

- at opening, do not run for material until the opponent makes a blunder; - keep a good flexible pawn structure and think about it (avoid isolated or double pawns or many pawn islands -- a weak pawn structure is bad for your endgame); - complete development before moving a piece twice or starting an attack (move or start only if the opponent made a blunder or your piece is being under attack);

- take the chess opening phase as your first 10-15 moves; - don't forget to make a castling move for king safety between the 5th-10th move; - at the end of the chess opening phase move your queen out at a decent strong position preferably not too far away from the main forces; - consider that you completed the chess opening phase successfully if you manage to do the following 6:

1. You have control of the center (physically or by attacking with your pieces the center from outside); 2. Your minor pieces are developed; 3. You made a castling move and your king is safe; 4. Your queen occupied a decent strong position not too far away from the main forces; 5. You built a strong pawn structure; 6. After the castling move, there are no any pieces between your rooks.

You may break the above chess opening recommendations if the opponent doesn't follow the above rules, is very weak in chess, or he or she did make a blunder. At the end of the chess opening phase, estimate your position "who is better" (see next para C) and -- depending on the estimation results -- make a plan for the middlegame (see para D).

C. How to Estimate Who is Better at the End of Chess Opening Phase

At the end of chess opening phase estimate who is better by the following 6 criteria: 1. Who is better By material (queen = 10 pawns, rook = 5 pawns, bishop = 3 pawns, knight = 3 pawns) 2. Who is better By king safety 3. Who is better By pawn structure 4. Who is better By open lines/diagonals 5. Who is better By other values (weak/strong squares, good/bad bishops/knights), the connections of the rooks (how they support each other), the positions of the queens).

6. By type of being better or worse: By position or by material. | Having estimated the position and type of being better, make a plan for the middlegame -- as shown next in para D... Notes: Many PGN files on this website have chess engine estimations at the end of chess opening phase. Using them, you can have a training to estimate chess opening positions using the above criteria -- comparing your estimation with that made by a chess engine...

D. How to Make a Plan for Middlegame and Endgame Depending on the Results of Chess Opening Play

Before making a plan for middlegame and endgame, you must estimate the results of the chess opening play. Your general plan for the middlegame must correspond to the criteria by which you have estimated who is better (see para C above). The following rules and practice will help you make good plans for middlegame to win many real chess games.

Rule 1. If you have more material after the chess opening phase, go directly for exchange and simplify the middlegame position -- run quickly for endgame. If you have less material after an opening, try to complicate the middlegame and make the position sharper -- postpone the endgame.
Rule 2. It is about the kings' safety: If the king of your opponent is not safe, you may build up your forces and plan an attack. If the position of your own king is weak, it is better to defend.

Rule 3. It is about the pawn structure: If your pawn structure is better -- run for endgame. If not, try to complicate and run for a sharp position -- avoid and postpone the endgame.
Rule 4. Exchange your bad bishop for good bishop of the opponent -- if no success, place your bad bishop behind your pawns at least. Do not exchange your good bishop.

Rule 5. Fight for open lines and diagonals and occupy them with your rooks, queen, and bishops -- this domination may help you learn the game.
Rule 6. Specifications of the position must show you where to go -- to attack a weak square, to block a weak opponent piece, to get more space, to put your pawns on one color, etc.

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Rule 7. If you are better by material -- go for the endgame. If you are better by position -- do not simplify and try to build up and better your position.
To make a proper plan for middlegame is not easy. But try to make your own plans in each chess game according to the above rules, and you must succeed!

Step 3: Learning Chess Openings on This Site provides material for chess beginners to learn chess openings effectively and fast (as soon as possible). Below is how to use and what to do:

- Finally, you should build up your chess opening repertoire which may include 3-5 Open Game chess openings (they start with 1.e4 e5), 2-3 Semi-Open Games (1.e4 other than e5), and 1-2 Closed Games (1.other than e4). Prepare some openings for White, prepare some openings for Black.
- Good choice for opening variation or chess opening for Black may include the word "Defense" in its names (examples: French Defense, the Berlin Defense Variation of the Bishop's Opening).

- First study the Open Game chess openings (they start with 1.e4 e5) because they are the most suitable for chess beginners with their tense struggle, combinations, and attacks. The chess beginner should pay special attention to the Gambit openings from the Open Game chess opening list (see below).
-- The following link will help you study 17 Open Game chess openings:
17 Open Game Chess Openings -- Bishop's Opening to Ruy Lopez

Note. The above link will help you study the following 17 main Open Game chess openings (with opening lesson numbers): Bishop's Opening (Lesson 22), King's Gambit 23, Latvian Gambit 24, Center Game 25, Danish Gambit 26, Vienna Game 27, Philidor Defense 28, Petroff Defense 29, Ponziani Opening 30, Scotch Game 31, Scotch Gambit 32, Italian Game 33, Evans Gambit 34, Hungarian Defense 35, Two Knights Defense 36, Four Knights Game 37, Ruy Lopez 38.

- The Semi-Open Game chess openings (they start 1.e4 other than e5) should be your second step in learning chess openings -- try to use them as chess openings for Black (they are usually passive but strong defense for Black, and all of them have in their names the word "Defense").
-- The following link will help you study 5 Semi-Open Game chess openings:
5 Semi-Open Games -- Caro-Kann Defense to Scandinavian Defense

Note. The above link will help you study the following 5 main Semi-Open Game chess openings (with opening lesson numbers): Caro-Kann Defense (Lesson 40), French Defense 41, Sicilian Defense 42, Alekhine's Defense 43, Scandinavian Defense 44.
- Later, you may include in your chess opening repertoire 1-2 Close Game chess openings.
- Scan and study all the openings from the above lists (17 and 5) and try to select the best for you...

- Before scanning all the chess openings on this website for beginners, you can find in Lesson 8 and download the Free PDF eBook Chess Opening Puzzles (128 KB): the above ebook will present the pictures of the first designated moves of 32 main chess openings -- and you will have an openings' reference to choose from (for scanning, studying, or learning openings).

- First scan the openings on this chess opening website for beginners, study them, choose the best for you, and learn trying them in real games... Only real games will prove the openings which are the most comfortable for you... the openings and variations which show your best statistics to play as White and Black... You can play chess online on ^ (the best online resource).

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- When you study an opening on this chess opening website, use the presented videos only for getting a feel of the opening being learned, and don't use the video to learn how to play... To seriously learn how to play the opening, its variation or its line on this website, use the How to Play links (the next is an example of such a link: How to Play the Classical Variation of the Bishop's Opening).

- You should pay special attention to the answering statistics of a chess opening which will help you understand which lines and variations are the most common and important to learn (for example, the answering statistics to the Scandinavian Defense 1.e4 d5 show that the most common white respond to the Scandinavian Defense is 2.exd5 with 95%).

- The serious method of learning chess openings is using PGN files which are presented on-site with chess engine evaluations (to read PGN files you need a PGN viewer, preferably a profecional one with chess engine and opening database and explorer -- a simple free PGN viewer for Windows PC is available via Lesson 16)... You can get the best PGN files here via Lesson 19.

- For learning chess openings you will need the following recourses: online chess opening explorer on ^ (using it, you will have chess opening statistics move by move, best lines, possible opening moves, etc.) and online chess engine on ^ to find 3 best moves in a position (using it, you will always know the best opening moves without asking the grandmaster).

Get Free-Licensed Professional Chess Software as Benefit to 350 Endgame Puzzles

- For learning openings use the how to play links on and try to remember and understand the ideas of the typical moves of the openings and variations (for examples, the unusual "returning" black move Nb8 may be a best move in an opening when the black knight, just being developed on c6, has been attacked by the white d-pawn via d5).

To be continued ...