Chess openings are listed and classified according to their first few moves. There are some interesting statistics on the frequency of chess openings, from chess data bases.
|e4–e5 64%||e4–e5 31%||e4–e5 15%|
|e4 other 23%||e4 other 20%||e4 other 35%|
|d4–d5 10%||d4–d5 28%||d4–d5 15%|
|d4 other||d4 other 16%||d4 other 23%|
|other 5%||other 12%|
These statistics show a movement away from symmetrical defences to asymmetrical defences. In particlular, in reply to 1.e4, the Sicilian and French defences, and to 1.d4 the Indian defences. Also, particularly amongst strong players, an increased use of the English Opening for White.
King's Pawn openings
- King's Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.f4
- Ruy Lopez 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5
- Vienna Game 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3
- Giuoco Piano 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5
- Evans Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4
- Petroff defence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6
- Philidor's defence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6
- Alekhine's defence 1.e4 Nf6
- Caro-Kann defence 1.e4 c6
- French defence 1.e4 e6
- Sicilian defence 1.e4 c5
- Open variations 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 followed by 3.d4
- Closed variations 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 not followed by d4
- Centre counter 1.e4 d5 (also called Scandinavian defence)
- Pirc defence 1.e4 d6 (may also be played against 1.d4)
- Modern defence 1.e4 g6 (may also be played against 1.d4)
Queen's Pawn openings
- Queen's Gambit accepted 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4
- Queen's Gambit declined 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6
- Slav defence 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6
- Dutch defence 1.d4 f5
- Benoni defence 1.d4 c5 or 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5
- Benko Gambit 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 Bxa6
- King's Indian defence 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3Nc3 Bg7
- Grünfeld defence 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5
- Nimzo-Indian defence 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4
- Queen's Indian defence 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6
Other opening moves
There is no opening book for real beginners. The reason is that some degree of understanding is needed before the details of an opening can be grasped. Books like the following show complete games with elementary explanations of the moves.
None of these are suitable for beginners, but might be used by chess teachers and players of intermediate strength. Tip for teachers: always check with book reviews.
- John Watson. Mastering the Chess Openings, Gambit Publications. Four volumes by a leading American author and chess coach.
- Openings reference works:
List of chess openings Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.