Friday, August 29, 2008

Chess 101- Opening

At last, now I can start to share some information about the game that I really love. I would like to emphasize that my blog will not be all about chess, I know not all of us will be interested on it, because you simply don’t have a mind of a mongoloids like me. It will still be about anything funny, serious, informative and sometimes nonsense.

To give you a brief background, I learned this game from my father, he showed me the basic moves and simple strategies to mate an opponent. My father has some kumpare who noticed my interest on the game and they started to teach me some advance moves. One special thing that I learned from them are basic opening moves, which later on, turn out to be, one of the most important thing to know in chess.

I played on small chess competitions before, one major reason why I was struggling at the start of the game is that I don’t have good opening. Your opponent might even mate you easier if you have poor opening. Too late for me to know the important part of the game. I realized that my father’s kumpare has thought me inferior opening moves, but then, I still have to thank them for sharing to me what they know. I was still able to win some of my game on those non-rated competitions before, but it’s a bit late for me to realize one serious flaw on my strategy. That’s why now, I am just a chess lover not a chess player. I hope beginners in chess will stumble upon this post.

Below is a shortened information about chess opening that I got from Wikipedia. I also added a brief chess opening sample which I got from at the end of this article.

Common aims in opening play

Irrespective of whether they are trying to gain the upper hand as White and equalize as Black or to create dynamic imbalances, players generally devote a lot of attention in the opening stages to

  1. Development: One of the main aims of the opening is to mobilize the pieces on useful squares where they will have impact on the game. To this end, knights are usually developed to f3, c3, f6 and c6 (or sometimes e2, d2, e7 or d7), and both player's King and Queen pawns are moved so the bishops can be developed (alternatively, the bishops may be fianchettoed with a manoeuvre such as g3 and Bg2.
  2. Control of the center: At the start of the game, it is not clear on which part of the board the pieces will be needed. However, control of the central squares allows pieces to be moved to any part of the board relatively easily, and can also have a cramping effect on the opponent.
  3. King safety: The king is somewhat exposed in the middle of the board. Measures must be taken to reduce his vulnerability. It is therefore common for both players to either castle in the opening
  4. Prevention of pawn weakness: Most openings strive to avoid the creation of pawn weaknesses such as isolated, doubled and backward pawns, pawn islands, etc
  5. Piece coordination: As each player mobilizes his or her pieces, each attempts to assure that they are working harmoniously towards the control of key squares.
  6. Create positions in which the player is more comfortable than the opponent:

Major changes in the rules of chess in the late fifteenth century increased the speed of the game, consequently emphasizing the importance of opening study. Thus, early chess books, such as the 1497 text of Luis Ramirez de Lucena presents opening analysis, as does Pedro Damiano (1512), and Ruy López de Segura (1561). Ruy Lopez's disagreement with Damiano regarding the merits of 2...Nc6 led to 3.Bb5 (after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6) being named for him as the Ruy Lopez or Spanish Opening.[7] Opening theory was studied more scientifically from the 1840s on, and many opening variations were discovered and named in this period and later. Opening nomenclature developed haphazardly, and most names are historical accidents not based on systematic principles.

The oldest openings tend to be named for geographic places and people. Many openings are named after nationalities, for example Indian, English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Scotch, Russian, Italian, Scandinavian, and Sicilian. Cities are also used, such as Vienna, Berlin, and Wilkes-Barre. The Catalan System is named after the Catalonia region of Spain.

Chess players' names are the most common sources of opening names. The name given to an opening is not always that of the first player to adopt it; often an opening is named for the player who was the first to popularize it or to publish analysis of it. Eponymic openings include the Ruy Lopez, Alekhine's Defense, Morphy Defense, and the Réti System. Some opening names honor two people, such as with the Caro-Kann.

A few opening names are descriptive, such as Giuoco Piano (Italian: "quiet game"). More prosaic descriptions include Two Knights and Four Knights. Descriptive names are less common than openings named for places and people.

Some openings have been given fanciful names, often names of animals. This practice became more common in the 20th century. By then, most of the more common and traditional sequences of opening moves had already been named, so these tend to be unusual or recently developed openings like the Orangutan, Hippopotamus, Elephant, and Hedgehog.

Many terms are used for the opening as well. In addition to Opening, common terms include Game, Defense, Gambit, and Variation; less common terms are System, Attack, Counterattack, Countergambit, Reversed, and Inverted. To make matters more confusing, these terms are used very inconsistently. Consider some of the openings named for nationalities: Scotch Game, English Opening, French Defense, and Russian Game — the Scotch Game and the English Opening are both White openings (White chooses to play), the French is indeed a defense but so is the Russian Game.

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