The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners

Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners

The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners

Which are the best chess openings for beginners? What is the best way to play in the opening? Probably you have thought about these questions before.

In this post we prepared a list of the Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners, always trying to pick openings with at least some of these characteristics: they are easy to play, they are easy to learn, and we can get sharp, dynamic and interesting positions with them.

It is very important to say, that, if you are a beginner, it is essential to know and use the three main principles for the opening:

Control the center (Mainly squares e4, d4, e5, d5)

Develop minor pieces (Knights and Bishops)

Castle (Secure your King)

Besides, you don’t need to learn 20 moves per line in your openings. In general, you are going to be fine just using the principles. But, obviously, you need to play something you enjoy and understand, and this is the reason why we bring this list with some great suggestions for both White and Black.


Sicilian Defense

ECO B20-B99 (ECO is the Code for this line in the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings)

1.e4 c5

This is one of the best options and the most popular move for Black against King’s Pawn. It’s an aggressive, dynamic, entertaining defense (or set of defenses, because Sicilian includes different variations, like Pelikan, Dragon or Najdorf). Black’s first move breaks the symmetry and still controls the center.


French Defense

ECO C00-C19

1.e4 e6

This defense is easy to play. In the first move (e6) Black seems not to care too much about the center, but actually they do, since in move 2 they will inevitably play d5, attacking the central pawn on e4. White can then pick one of the next 3 options: exchange on d5, advance to e5 or protect the e4 pawn.


The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners: Scandinavian and Ruy Lopez


Scandinavian Defense


1.e4 d5

Scandinavian is not very popular among Top-Masters, but still great for beginners and club players. The Queens goes out very early in the opening (after 2.exd5 Qxd5), which is not very good. However, very often black Queen goes to a5, where she is safe, and black’s position is fine, with a very solid pawn structure.


Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Game) 

ECO C60-C99

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5

This is a popular, highly recommended, and strong opening. Good for beginners, but also super studied and used by top-players.

In move 3.Bb5, White attacks the knight on c6, defender of the black central pawn on e5. This is not a big deal, because this threat doesn’t really exist at that point, since after Bxc6, dxc6 Nxe5, Black can play Qd4, attacking the knight on e5 and the pawn on e4, but still very annoying and tormenting for inexperienced players.


The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners: King's Indian Defense and London System


King’s Indian Defense

ECO E60-E99

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 (then Black plays Bg7, d6, etc)

We can say this Defense is aggressive, strong, and interesting. At first sight, Black seems not to care too much about the center. This is very common in Indian defenses, but they do control it with pieces in the opening (the Bishop on g7, the Knight on f6), and in the middlegame, there will be some typical break with pawns, like e5 or c5.

This defense has been frequently used by great masters like Garry Kasparov or Hikaru Nakamura, and also is a very nice option for beginners and young players.


London system

ECO D02, A46, A48

1.d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4

(Also White can use this order 1.d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. Nf3)

The Fantastic London System is very easy to learn and play. As it is stated in the name, this opening is a system, so the order of the moves is not essential. White pieces are developed in natural squares, and the plans for middlegame are simple and clear.  Best players in the world use it from time to time.

The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners

The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners: King's Indian Attack and Scotch Game


King's Indian Attack (KIA)

ECO A07-A08

This is a great system for White. They will develop pieces in a similar to King’s Indian Defense structure, like this: e4, d3, g3, Nf3, Bg2, Nbd2. Very often White will start a strong and interesting attack on the kingside, as Black does the same in the queenside. Learning this scheme could be very useful (especially for beginners), because it can be played against different defenses, like French, Sicilian or Caro-Kann.


Scotch Game 

ECO C44-C45

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4.

In this opening White fights very hard for the center since early. After d4, they are trading Black’s central pawn and also developing dark squares bishop. The game can be very dynamic and amusing. The Great Garry Kasparov used this opening in many games and got some very good results with it.

The Top 10 Best Chess Openings for Beginners: Italian Game and Queen's Gambit Declined


Italian Game

ECO C50-C59

1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4

Italian is definitely one of my favorite openings with White for beginners. Black can play several lines in move 3, but the two main options are: Nf6, which is called Two Knights Defense, and Bc5, Giuoco Piano.

In general White develops pieces in a very natural way, they fight for the center with d4 at some point during the middlegame, and almost always there is a nice plan to bring the queenside knight to the kingside with Nbd2-f1-g3.


Queen’s Gambit Declined

ECO D30-D69

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6

This is a classic option against Queen’s Pawn. Black does not accept the gambit, and develops pieces quietly, avoiding any kind of complication. It is very easy to play and learn. There is a small problem in this line with Black’s light squares bishop (it is inside the chain of pawns f7-e6-d5), so the second player has to solve this in the middlegame.

Sometimes they just develop it over the Fianchetto after b6, but also they can push in the center with e5, clearing the diagonal c8-h3. Sometimes White attacks in the queenside with a pawns storm, and then black should counterattack in the kingside.

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