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Chess Openings for Beginners (Part 1)

Beginners at chess and even Novice chess players are today awash in a flood of books and software programs directed especially at them. New chess players risk drowning in a sea of advice about “courses” to take and “training” to do. In this circumstance even the strongest swimmers looks for a lifeline, so take hold of the following idea.

Don’t waste time on chess openings. It’s common knowledge that Dr. Tarrasch, after teaching the elementary checkmates, would then demonstrate chess endgames. After that came solid grounding in chess strategy and middlegame themes, tactics and piece coordination. Only then was there any discussion of the opening in chess, but only enough to illustrate the concept of rapid and fluid piece development.

We conclude, therefore, that Beginner and Novice chess players ought to look at the opening as something to be gotten past, to be survived in good enough condition to then pound one’s opponent. New chess players need a simple, plain and universal way to begin each chess game, devoting their time instead to tactics, strategy and chess endings. Far better to know the Lucena and Philidor Rook endgame than the latest wrinkle of Sicilian Defense opening theory.

Good. Then how do we do that? Suppose White plays 1.e4 and you have the Black pieces – what “simple system” gets you past the best chess opening move on earth? Or maybe White goes 1.d4 or any of a dozen reasonable first moves; or you get the White pieces yourself and what then? The choices seem limitless, and there’s no way to be ready for everything.

Perhaps not, but let’s find two or three universal chess openings for easy use by beginner and novice chess players. A chess opening “system” that allows us to live long enough to win with our acquired tactical and endgame skill. Next time we’ll offer some concrete examples…and meanwhile keep practicing that Bishop & Knight checkmate!


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