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The three golden rules of the opening

Mar 19, 2014
Coach 2301

The three golden rules of the opening

As a chess coach, I never talk to players under 1600 elo rating on opening theory. The reason for this is that they need to learn how the pieces work together and this is done by looking at the endgame and of course to get all tactical stuff mastered first.

Yes, it is important to get through the opening. Therefore, I give my students the 'three golden rules of the opening'. The three points indicate the main objectives of the opening.

1. Control the center

2. Develop your pieces to good, relevant squares .

3. Bring your king to safety.

Control the center

In the opening, the center is the most important.


The center consists of the e4-e5 d4-d5-(green fields) and with this we can add the fields c4-c5-f4-f5-d3-e3-e6-d6 for 'comprehensive center' (yellow fields).
Your pawns and pieces development must concentrate around these fields.

Develop your pieces to good, relevant squares 

In developing the pieces we especially take the minor pieces, like knights and bishops into consideration.

Tarrasch rule of thumb: Knights should be developed before bishops.

This is important to remember. Still, against this rule is often sinned. .
Another common pattern is that the knight and bishop of the same side are developed first and then the knight and the bishop from the other side.

The minor pieces are to be developed to fields where they exert as much influence as possible with the opponent’s position taking into consideration.

The major pieces, rooks and queen, are brought into play after we have developed the light areas and have brought the king to safety.

Major pieces, because of their value, are an easy target for attack for the developed parts of the opponent. An early development of the queen or rooks can cause loss of pace and lag in development.

For example, if the white tries the fool’s mate, 1. e4 e5 2.Dh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 black can ward off the threat by 3. g6 ... and win some pace after 4. Qf3 Nf6 5. Ne2 d6


and black has no problems.

As a rule, the queen is developed after the minor pieces, so before the rooks. This is to free the back row so that the rooks are connected. But ensure to develop the queen to a field where it cannot be attacked immediately and where it can play a significant role.

The development of the rooks is more difficult because it is not always clear where they are best. A good rule of thumb is to place them on open rows or files that are presently not open but soon will be.

Bring your king to safety

The king is a fragile piece. It can only move one square at a time so it can be difficult to defend against being in check. So bring the king to safety. This is usually done by castling (0-0 or 0-0-0).

Back to Basics: Openings by Carsten Hansen
Steps Method by Rob Brunia and Cor van Wijgerden

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arunjchess 09:18 - 17 May 2014
Nice Blog post :) Thanks for sharing!

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