List of chess openings facts for kids

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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.


1800–1900 1901–1935 modern
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

KP opening: 1.e4 e5
Start of chess board.
a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook
a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black pawn d7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn
e5 black pawn
e4 white pawn
a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn
a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook
End of chess board.

1...e5 replies

Asymmetric replies

  • 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

1...d5 replies

Asymmetric replies

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.

Other sources

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:

Related pages

List of chess openings Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.