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The Opening Principles

Here are some extremely useful notes that will ensure that you will win more Games and make fewer mistakes and blunders.

Since no one has perfect recall, the only way to insure that you will actual use this material to win games is to Print this out and Paste it on some hard stiff cardboard. Then put it on your desktop to view every day, until it is burned into your brain.

Remember that out of sight is out of mind!

And Proper Preparation prevents poor performance!

Put it on your desktop near your comp to look at so that in time you will remember all the advice. Remember that out of sight is out of mind! Do you really think that if you don't do this you are actually going to use this material? I Seriously doubt it and you know this is true, so just do it!

Every time you violate one of these opening principles unless your opponent is a real patzer of a chess player he is going to punish you in a violent and unmercifulness manner for doing so.

Time is of the essence
Time is of the essence and is the upper most basic underlying important factor in the opening. If you waste time in doing any of these 4 important things in the opening your game may be lost before you even get started playing in the Middlegame.

Putting off and delaying doing these 4 things will give your opponent a great advantage and a significant opportunity to gain in tempo and construct an attacking force against you and your king such that all you will be doing is defending yourself instead of attacking him and his king, as now in your negligence you have given your opponent a wonderful opportunity to put you on the defense to attack you and your poor defenseless un-castled king.

Many amateurs waste time in the opening with what they think are defensive pawn moves instead of concentrating on their development, they like to move out their end pawns. If you think this is good strategy then you have not studied the games of the masters.

The PURPOSE of the opening is to get a SAFE KING and an equal middle game.

The underlying GOAL for all openings and defenses is to control the center.

What are the Four General Principles of opening play?

The Opening Principles

1.The First Principle of Opening Play.
FAST DEVELOPMENT or Rapid Development
The first principle is FAST DEVELOPMENT of ALL your pieces is the basis of opening play. Develop all your pieces and castle and then refrain from making moves that will cause you to move a piece twice in the opening development phase. Moving pieces twice causes a loss in tempo. TIME is of the ESSENCE in the opening phase.

Development is the process of moving ones pieces from their starting posts to new positions where their activity and mobility are enhanced. It must be remembered that ones pieces should be developed to squares where they work with the rest of the army towards a particular goal. If an individual piece is providing a useful service on its original square, then there may be no reason to move it.

(Progressive Opening Training Page)

a) On each new move put a new piece into play, and pawns are not pieces, this is what is known as development. You should know that whoever brings out all of their pieces first and castles first is ahead in development, and being ahead in development gives you a really big advantage over your opponent.

Also do not move any pieces onto squares where you will be forced to move them again. Moving pieces twice, not only prevents you from moving out other pieces and heed your development, but it also puts you behind in tempo as well.

Tempo is Latin for time. It is defined as a unit of time of one move. For example if you move your Queen out early in your opening development to a square where it is immediately attacked and you must then move it again and given your opponent the opportunity to developed his knight attacking it as well you have in effect lost a unit of time and a tempi in development, or in effect lost a move and allowed your opponent to gain a move ahead of you and allowed him to gain in his development a move ahead of you as well. It is almost like letting your opponent move twice in a row. Keep that up and soon you will lose the game.

A general rule of thumb is that the loss of three tempi is equivelent of the loss of a pawn.

Another very important Basic Opening Principle is to never move out your Queen in your opening development where it will surly become a target for your opponent to attack it and gain in tempo. Always wait until you have developed all of your pieces and castled before you attempt to move out your Queen, the most important piece in your chess arsenal of pieces. Only weak patzers make such a foolish move in the opening. Loose your Queen in opening development and you may as well resign right there.

Actually if you think about it having to immediately move your Queen out of harms way gave your opponent a very significant advantage over you in that having to move your Queen could have been used to develop another one of your pieces, so you lost a tempo to your opponent, and also allowing your opponent to develop his knight at the same time allowed your opponent a significant advantage over you in development and time. Losing a tempo, in your opening development, means you now will have to spend a move more in your development than your opponent will.

You allowed him to gain on you in development and gain a move ahead of you. Also you now can expect even more attacking developmental moves against your Queen by your opponent that will most likely put you even further behind in development and time. That foolish move so early in the game will surely cost you plenty and may even be responsible for your loss of that game. It is really that important for you to observer all of the basic opening principles in opening play, especially against an opponent who does know and has studied the basic opening principles.

(Knights belong on outposts and key squares, preferably in your opponents camp, Bishops should take control of the long diagonals, Rooks belong on open or semi open files, The Queen away from opponent attacking pieces and enforcing, embellishing and giving support to other attacking pieces)

b) A player who has an advantage in his development should strive to open the position,

Mobilize All Of Your Pieces Quickly
To mobilize means to put into circulation, to assemble, to actuate and make ready or action.
This important principle means to MOBILIZE ALL OF YOUR PIECES as rapidly as possible.. And pawns are not pieces. Rapidly activate a different piece on each turn, gaining moves by attacks and threats and forcing your opponent to waste time defending himself. Rapid mobilizing means castling early and quickly to safeguard your king and to clear a path for your rooks and queen shifting along the fourth rank.
(Progressive Opening Training Page)

2. The Second Principle of Opening Play.
Here is the second most important factor from the very first moves. A battle for the center is fought and the center may be called the commanding summit of chess strategy; whoever gains control of it will afterwards have the better prospects.
Whoever GAINS CONTROL OF THE CENTER has a distinct advantage in the opening.
Always try to keep at least one pawn in the center and try to destroy your opponent's central pawns and control of the center.
(Progressive Opening Training Page)

3. The Third Principle of opening play
Try to STOP YOUR OPPONENT FROM GAINING CONTROL OF THE CENTER. Hamper your opponents development. Thus the third principle of opening play is to counteract your opponents intentions with a view to holding up his development and stopping him from gaining control of the center and castling to a safe position.
(Progressive Opening Training Page)

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4. The Fourth Principle of Opening Play.
Castle your King Early
Safety of the King
King's positioning is a very significant factor for correct assessment of a situation on the board. Neither material advantage nor positional benefits are important when your king is under a crushing attack. That is why in the opening both sides try to castle as soon as possible. Struggle for the center evolves from the very first moves, and if a player delays castling, his king may turn out to be in very serious danger.

Now think! Don't look. What are the four principles of opening play? If you can't repeat them right now with out looking, you don't know them!

So go back now and see what you could not remember, or you will suffer the slings and arrows of your opponents in opening play in your very next game.

As you bring out your own pieces in the opening, you should try to set problems for your opponent on each turn. The goal is to prevent him from completing his own development and from safely castling his king.

One strategy is to hound his king until real concessions are made or you win material.

This strategy is bound to work against an opponent who fragrantly and blatantly violates opening principles that he either does not know or that he willing and irresponsibly brushes aside with complete indifference if he does.

The true purpose of the opening is to create an IMBALANCE and develop your army in such a way that your pieces, working together, can take advantage of these imbalances.

The true purpose, of the opening is to create a difference or series of differences, in the respective positions and then develop your pieces around these facts so that, hopefully, these differences or imbalances will eventually favor you.

You should know that most imbalances are caused by pawn moves, either by you making them in your camp, or by you forcing your opponent to make them to favor your play. Remember that once a pawn moves forward it can never move back and therein lies a possible way to create an imbalance. Irresponsible and improper Pawn moves can result in causing a state of havoc that can cost the game to whoever does it. They can cause weak squares, and possible outposts for knights and Bishops. Pawn moves can create backward pawns, doubled pawns, isolated pawns, holes, opened files for rook attacks, weakened pawn chains, pawn islands, and weakened king safety. In short improper pawn moves to whoever makes them can easily make the difference between wining or losing the game. Causing your opponent to weaken his castled position with pawn moves is an excellent way to create an imbalance.

The true purpose of the opening is also to take control of WEAK SQUARES, FILES AND RANKS.

Each time your opponent moves one of his pawns he creates a weakness or imbalance in his position for you to exploit. Try to provoke your opponent to create weaknesses in his position with weakening pawn moves. If you are White, attacking Black's h7 pawn with a bishop backed up with your Queen may make him move his h7 pawn to h6 thus weakening his castled fortress. So now his g7 pawn is weak only protected by his King. Now you have a target, a imbalance to aim at. (See our training page)

(Mating the King for many examples)

Look over the board to see which squares or pawns are protected by one piece, and aim to take away the defender and take control over these weak squares and attack these weak pawns.

Principles of Rapid Development
You will be surprised how quickly the rigorous observation of the principle of rapid development will enable you to cope with any opening your opponent chooses to play. Naturally, you will have to learn how to weigh the advantages of one developing move over another. The proper choice is in most cases dictated mainly by the positions of the Pawns in the center files of the board.

In turn these Pawns must be placed in accordance with the Principles of Center Control ,which is as important as the principle of rapid development. It is intimately related to it, for it is through securing access to squares in the middle of the board, by establishing a Pawn on K4 or Q4, that a player best ensures adequate mobility for his pieces.

1. Try to take away control of the important key squares from your opponent.
2. Try to make key-squares for your pieces. See (Weak Squares and Outposts)
3. Make anti-knight moves to prevent your opponent from placing his knight into your camp or on key squares.
4. Try to wreck havoc on his pawn structure.
5. Pay attention to avoid weakening your pawn structure, and If possible at an early stage to provoke a weakening of your opponent's pawn structure.

Principles of Center Control
1. Avoid all Pawn moves, which neither advance your own development nor retard that of your adversary. Look for an opportunity to move one of your center Pawns up to the fourth rank and to maintain it there.

2. Don't move apiece twice before you have development all your pieces, unless compelled to by a threat of your opponent or justified by a weakness, which your opponent has created in his position.

3. Don't exchange a piece, which is developed for one that has not yet moved.

4. Don't place a piece so that it blocks the path of another piece or of a center Pawn.

5. Don't develop a piece to a square from which the opponent can drive it away with a move that furthers his own development and impedes yours.

Clearly, every time a player violates one of these rules, he loses a tempo; it takes him a move longer to complete the mobilization of his forces. Making an unnecessary Pawn move is a particularly bad habit. It not only loses a tempo but usually also increases the effectiveness of the adversary's pieces by giving them access to the square, which the Pawn controlled prior to advancing.

You can activate all your pieces without moving more than two or, at most, three Pawns. Getting the Knights into play, of course, requires no preparatory Pawn moves. Advancing one of the center Pawns frees the Queen and one of the Bishops, and the advance of the other center Pawn or a Knight Pawn can free the second Bishop.

With study and applying these principles of play you can rely on delicate maneuvers and subtle positional understanding, imbuing your games with clarity and depth and rendering each game with the artistic flair of a classical musician.

However the style that appears to be most appealing with people of little patience, players of lighting and fast blitz play is that of the crazed attacking maniac or as I like to call it the Berserker style. A playing style characterized by frenzied attacks with just one or two pieces. Named after ancient Scandinavian warriors who worked themselves up into battle frenzies and then charged their opponents with little regard for their safety, personal danger or any kind of strategy.

If you ever expect to have any chance of wining an advantage in opening play you must expect to have to know all that you can about the general basic opening principles of the opening.

Summarizing Opening Principles
1. Occupy the center with at least one pawn during the first two moves.

2. Rim pawns are not advanced past the third rank. Moving pawns to h4 or a4 (h5, a5) is only acceptable in standard openings in response to a specific tactical situation, and this is rarely the case in the first four moves of the game.

3. Rook pawns are only advanced to the third rank when attacking an enemy piece.
Advancing a rook pawn one square id usually reserved for an attack on an enemy piece, where it can be especially effective in breaking pins.
Even when there is no enemy invader to be confronted, the move can have a prophylactic value in preventing such a pin. Yet there is a penalty to be paid, in that the pawn structure is significantly damaged by that advance.

4. King Knight pawns are not advanced to the fourth rank.
When a Knight pawn leaves its home square it creates a weakness immediately. If it moves up just one square, and is replaced by the bishop in the fianchetto formation, the damage is minor, because the bishop covers the new weakness to the left and right of the advanced knight pawn. If however, the pawn advances two squares, the adjacent property cannot be so easily controlled, and the weakness can quickly become epidemic, growing in and attempt to support the advanced pawn. This problem is particularly important on the kingside. As it reduces the viability of kingside castling and in so doing also advises the opponent about the future of the king.

5. No pawns advance beyond the fifth rank without capturing at least two units of enemy force.
The reason being that with out support the pawn cannot inflict any serious damage.

6. The F-pawn remains in place.
The second square of the f-file is a particularly vulnerable point. It is guarded only by the King.. If the f-pawn advanced, the pawn itself is less vulnerable but a serious gap appears in the kingside pawn structure . The diagonals near the king are compromised, and the effects can be devastatingly rapid.

7. Two minor pieces must be developed.
In the normal scheme of development, each player develops two pawns and two minor pieces in the first four moves.

8. No piece should move twice except to capture an enemy piece.
This is a variant in the old chess maxim that no piece should move twice in the opening. The exception regarding capture is important because when you capture an enemy piece, the reply is usually forced.

9. Bishops should not advance beyond the fourth rank except to give check or attack an enemy piece.
Bishops should not swing in the air. If they advance to the fifth rank without a clear mission, then an advance of an enemy pawn will force them to beat a hasty retreat.

10. The rooks do not move except to castle, occupy a central file, or attack, an enemy piece.
Deciding where rooks should eventually be placed is one of the trickiest questions. Rooks belong on open files, but who can predict which file will be opened early in the game. For this reason,, rooks are generally left in place except when it is time to castle.
Keep in mind that if a rook moves before the king is castled, then there is one less option for the king, since castling on the side of the board where a rook has departed its home square is illegal. After the king, queen and all minor pieces have been developed, the rooks will have a great deal of freedom in choosing their home for the early Middlegame.

11. The Queen should remain on the first three ranks early in the game.
It may be acceptable to go all the way to the fourth rank, but this is usually justified only when the queen has to capture a pawn at c4 (c5).

12. Castle Kingside.
Getting the king to safety before the real battle begins is obviously wise. Usually this is not a particular problem for White, who only castles on the other side of the board if Black is also clearly going to do so, or if opposite wing pawn storms are planned. A pawnstorm is much more effective on the opposite side of the board from the King's castled home, because in any storm things tend to fly about and there is little protection from the elements. Black rarely castles queenside unless the kingside pawn structure has already been compromised, or if White has castled queenside.

Summary and How to follow up:

At our clubs home page are a number of chess training pages on opening principles that go in depth in just that kind of opening training that you will have to have. If you choose not to read them then your opponents who do have this knowledge will most decidedly have the upper hand against you.

If you feel that instead of reading this material and instead you feel that your strength will improve if you study just the openings then you are indeed very nave in your thinking, because that is exactly how most amateurs think, and the results are usually disastrous in their games.

After their memorized opening moves have been used up they are at a loss of what to do next, so they just try to rely on their tactical skills, which usually are not enough to win a game against a player that did have the sense not to learn how to play chess that way.

If you went to law school and only studied logic and nothing else, would you expect to graduate as a attorney who was well prepared in law? Of course not and it is the same in chess. You need a well rounded education in many areas besides the openings. The Russian chess schools are well aware of what is needed to make good chess players and for years have turned out good chess players by first training their students in End Game principles not the openings.

If you dont want to learn about the basic principles of opening play by reading and studying our opening study materials, you may as well resign your self to the fact that you are going to lose a lot of games and just be a low ranking mediocre player for ever.

If you think that Grand Masters win games by studying the openings and if they are successful in doing that so should you, then you are not considering what they did study before they became Grand Masters.

On the other hand if you want to take my good advice based on what I have seen what can happen for those who do study them, then this is what I recommend you look at.

However given a choice most people don't usually take on more complex subjects unless they have a very disciplined personality.

If your personality is more disciplined than is your opponent and you decide to take on more complex subjects, it will be you not your opponents who will have the decided advantages in your games.

The study of these subjects can be decisive in whether or not you will gain a decidedly significant advantage in your games.

1. Basic Ideas in the opening
2. Progressive Opening Training
3. Making Plans
4. Winning with the point count system
5. Weak Squares and Outposts
6. Mating the King
7. My Method
8. The Opening Solution Secret.
9. Choosing Candidate Moves
10. The Secrets of Calculation

You must consider this fact that your love of chess can not start until you have been given good reasons to want to love it. And those reasons lie in the understanding of the basic chess principles that are at the roots of understanding chess

The foundation and platform you must first achieve before you can go on to more advanced principles and ideas of complex opening theory.

Many of your opponents are not going to follow the above opening principles that have been outlined in complete detail here for you to follow. If they don't follow them, they will be at a substantial disadvantaged to those who do. If you really want to win more games don't you follow in their footsteps and be like them, because they were too lazy and don't' have the patience to study and use them, and maybe are just to inapt and incompetent to even know that they even exist and probably would not even care to know about them as well. These types usually just want to play chess for fun and are not really serious about increasing their chess skills.

So let me remind you that the only way to prove that you are serious about improving your chess skills to actual use this material to win games is to Print this out and Paste or staple it on some stiff heavy cardboard.

I can absolutely positively guarantee that observing all of these opening principles and actually putting them into use will win more games for you, or I'll eat your shorts.

Put it on your desktop near your comp to look at so that in time you will remember all this good advice.

Remember that out of sight is out of mind!

Do you really think that if you don't do this you are actually going to use this material? I Seriously doubt it and you know this is true, so just do it!

Proper preparation prevents poor performance!