I have come across this question many times from my students. Hence, I have decided to contribute something to this area. Frankly speaking, the question is very hard to discuss in a single article.
First, let’s talk about general principles one should follow in the opening stage of any chess game. Many of you may wonder – what is a chess opening?
An opening is the group of initial moves of a chess game, normally the first 10-12 moves. First and foremost, the aim is to control the center and to develop pieces. What do those first 10-12 moves consist of?
- Two or three pawn moves in the center.
- Four to six moves with minor pieces (knight, bishop).
- King safety (castling).
- A queen move that ensures connectivity of the rooks.
Let us discuss these opening principles more deeply.
General opening rules in chess
1. The center
Control the center or attack the center. If you have control there, your pieces can attack on both sides of the board.
2. Develop your pieces
Now the next question is: what is development?
Development is “The act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger”. The knight placed on g1 controls only three squares, i.e. h3, f3 and e2.
However, when the knight is developed to f3, it controls eight squares.
This is development.
Likewise, the power of the bishop is also enhanced when it moves from its initial square. This is the same with the queen.
The power of the rook is the same whether it is on a1 or e4. It controls only 14 squares. The rook on a1 controls a1-a8 and a1-h1, while the rook on e4 controls e4-h4, e4-e8, e4-e1 and e4-a4.
Thus, a rook on a1 controls two directions but the rook on e4 controls four directions. That is why the power of the rook increases in direction and why we move the rooks in the later stages of the game.
Development best practice
- Develop your pieces without hindering the development of your other pieces.
Example: as White, placing your f1-bishop on d3. This move hinders the development of the bishop on c1. Instead, make moves which hinder the development of your opponent’s pieces.
- Find a suitable square for your piece once and for all.
- Do not try to bring your queen out early.
- Castle as early as possible.
- Try to prevent your opponent from castling.
After following the above rules, it’s now time for you to improve the position of your queen with a concrete plan. Move your queen and connect your rooks, and you will have successfully completed the opening.
The above diagram is a fine example of both finishing development and connecting the rooks.