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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
a b c d e f g h
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
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h

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.

  • Chernev, Irving 1998. Logical chess: move by move. London:Batsford. ISBN: 0-7134-8464-0
  • Chandler, Murray 2004. Chess for children. London:Gambit. ISBN: 978-1904600060
  • King, Daniel 2000. Chess: from first moves to checkmate. London:Kingfisher. Illustrated, 64 pages. ISBN: 0-7534-0447-8
  • Pritchard, David Brine 2008. The right way to play chess. 8th ed, Right Way. ISBN: 978-0716021995
  • Wolff, Patrick 2005. The complete idiot’s guide to chess. 3rd ed, New York:Alpha. ISBN: 0-02-861736-3

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.
    • Volume 1 (1. e4): ISBN: 1-904600-60-3 (2006)
    • Volume 2 (1. d4): ISBN: 1-904600-69-7 (2007)
    • Volume 3 (1. c4): ISBN: 1-904600-98-0 (2009)
    • Volume 4: a wide-ranging discussion of general opening topics. ISBN: 978-1-906454-19-7 (2010)
  • Openings reference works:
    • Nick deFirmian et al. 2008. Modern chess openings, 15th ed, Random House N.Y. ISBN: 0-8129-3682-5 (these two versions are almost identical)
    • John Nunn et al. 1999. Nunn's chess openings. Everyman, London. ISBN: 1-85744-221-0

Related pages

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anexo:Aperturas de ajedrez para niños

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