If you have ever had a chess mentor, they will almost always tell you not to play rook pawn openings, but rather play for the center. Many early chess engines give a higher weighted value to pawns and pieces that occupy the center rather than the pieces that occupy the sides or the corners of the board. This is entirely logical since the most action and possibilities lay in the center 8 or 16 squares of the board.
As a rule of thumb, not a hard rule it is generally acceptable to open with a center pawn, either the king pawn (the pawn in front of the king), or the queen pawn (the d2 pawn that starts infront of the queen). Usually 2 squares. From there you will want to develop your pieces and castle (or put the king on a long term safe square). That is usually the goal of the opening, to control the center develop two pieces then hide your king by castling it out of the center of the board, which is especially important in open positions, an open position is when one pair of pawns are traded off, the more pawns off the board the more open the positions are. Another very acceptable opening first move is to develop the knight to f3, ie Nf3 or Nf6 (black). Another acceptable pawn opening is the queen bishop pawn. Usually you want to move your pawns two squares.
Most openings fall under 1. e4 (king pawn opening), 1.d4 (queen pawn opening), 1. c4 (queen bishop pawn opening) or Nf3 (The king’s knight opening)
Many opening’s have names! Let’s learn those chess opening names!
Here is whites first move in all King Pawn openings! 1. e4
White may choose e4 on the first move but on the reply black is doing the steering!
Black may reply 1 .. e5, which is called the king pawns opening, inside the king pawns opening white can steer the game towards the Ruy Lopez but once he has commited to e5 he cannot easily turn the game into a Sicilian because the Sicilian is 1. e4 c5! and is entirely a different position.
1. The King Pawns Game
The King’s pawn opening will be further characterized by the next few moves whether it be 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 The Vienna 1. e4 e5 d2. d4 – The Scotch, 1.e4 e5 2. Bc4 – The Bishops opening, 1.e4 e5 2. f4 – The King’s Gambit, 1. e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 – The Ruy Lopez (Bobby Fischer’s favorite), 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 Bc4 Bc5 – The Classical.
But even on the first reply black can change the entire game away from any of the King Pawns game Openings discarding all of the study that white did for 1. e4 e5, by simply playing anything different! All the theory that white studied for the Scotch is now thrown out the window along with the king’s gambit and all the opening’s I listed above!
The Sicilian 1. e4 c5!
In master chess the Sicilian is blacks best reply, statistically against 1. e4 with the best results for black stealing back the steering wheel of the opening and winning the best against white. (Or rather losing the least and getting draws).
The Pirc Defense 1 e4 d6!
Another thing black may have up his sleeve is the Pirc Defense Bobby Fischer used this in one of his games in the world chess championship against Boris Spassky, and he did very well with it. That goes to show the importance of having a broad opening repertoire in chess. I have a whole book dedicated to the Pirc Defense and I have skimmed through it a few times.
The Scandinavian 1. e4 d5!
Black may have more nasty tricks up his sleeve if you see this! This opening has been annoying white kings pawn opening players for hundreds of years! If white captures e4xd5 it is instantly an open position and it draws blacks queen out to attack white right away with no perfect refutation that traps the queen on the open board! But bringing the queen out early is considered a ‘nono’ but not completely forbidden, white must now be careful of checks and more aware not to hang the g2 pawn in some variations leading to losing positions or even losing the h1 rook. Although the reason it can be good for white is that white will gain a few piece development tempi by attacking the queen with knights and bishops which is good in theory. ie 2. Nc3!
The French Defense 1. e4 e6!
If white plays e4 one of your best bets as black is the French defense which starts e6, then typically continues 2. d4 d5! and black is pretty well equal with good chances to steer the game in his favor if white plays carelessly.
The Alekhine Defense1. e4 Nc6!?
One of the more dubious looking openings, black can play his knight and attack the pawn on e4 white white might want to save his pawn by moving it and putting the black knight on the run! But there’s no obvious way to win the knight as it has quite a few safe squares to fall back on, it just wont be able to go back to f6 very easily, which is kind of bad because for most black players the f6 square is a good home for the black knight fending off the white queen from h5 and controlling the center delightfully usually unabated but not for this move!
The Caro Kann 1. e4 c6!
One of Anatoly Karpov’s favorite reply’s against 1. e4 was the multifaceted Caro-Kann opening, with the Caro-Kann black will play defensively but unlike the Sicilian it’s not easy to trade off the d4 pawn for the c-file pawn! Black can choose to play closed and long drawn out games making white have to wait to win! Black can choose an open game if white plays 1 e4 c6 2. d4! d5! or keep thing’s closed and play 2.. d6.