chess openings for beginners

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Chess Openings for Beginners




    BY THE


    author of

    "thb modkkn chess primer," "half-hours with morphv/' etc.

    " I will lead forth my soldiers to the plain."'-Sluikespeare K. Rich, iii; Act v, sc. 3.

    LONDON :




    All ri^s resgrved.

  • K"^i'^5'/jr








    The object of this unpretentious little work is to

    give the beginner a short sketch of the various

    ways, more or less tried and approved, of starting

    a game of chess. Except in a few cases of par-ticular

    interest, the Opening has not been carried

    beyond the first six or seven moves on each side.

    Some of the Openings here given are very little

    practised at the present time ; but they may, at

    any later time, be brought into favour again, there

    being a fashion in these as in other matters. A

    pleasant though unsystematic way of learning

    something of the Openings may be found in

    working out games by eminent players. Or, if a

    more complete course of instruction be desired,

    the readermay. be recommended to consult

    Mn-James Mason's/'*^ Chess Openings^' or **" Chess

    Openings, Ancient and Modem," by Messrs. Free-

    borough and Ranken, the latter being the most

    complete English work on the subject.

    B 3

  • It preface.

    If in the following pages some of the notes

    seem trite and trivial, the writer's apology must

    be that he wished to smooth the path of the

    beginner, to whom at first all moves seem, and

    naturally, alike good or indifferent. And if he has

    at all succeeded in lightening the difficulties of

    such a one, and in giving him a helping hand into

    higher regions, this Uttle work will have met with

    all the success that he ever hoped


    The notation here employed is the shortest and most

    commonly used. (See "How to Play Chess,'' price 6d.,British Chess Handbook Series.) Ail squares named in

    describing a move are named from the mover's side of the

    board; "O"O" = Castles on K side; "O" O" 0" =

    CasUes on Q side ; " " " = to ; "X " = takes; "i. p." =in passing ; " ch." = check ; " sq." = square ; " Kt(K5) " =the Kt on King's 5th sq.; "Q X B(Q4)'* ss Q takes the B

    at ker player* s Q's 4th sq.; and so on.Where no remark is made, the variations are left at a

    point where neither player has any appreciable advantage.



    The Openings.

    The Best Ways to Start a Game.

    You have set up the men in order, and you areto pky with White (which always has first move).How are you to commence operations? Only

    a Kt or a P can mov^ \ experience shows that to

    start by moving the QKt is not good ; i. Kt " KB3is sometimes played, and will be mentioned later

    on. I. Kt " KR3 is simply bad " reasoHS are (i)it only commands two squares towards front (KB4,KKt5), instead of four (KR4, KKts, Q4, and K5),as at its B3 ; (2) it might be taken there by BlackQB, giving you two RPs (the weakest on the

    board). So move a Pawn ; but which of the eight ?It is best to move the K's or the Q's P (reason,

    sets free maximum of force, Q and a B) ; move ittwo squares (partly to free the Bs, one of whichwould be otherwise blocked

    " e,g, P " K3, blockingthe QB's outlet " and partly to command squaresin the enem/s ground). KP or QP moved two

    squares is thft best start, and you need never seek

    a third" no' that others are bad " except as being


    less good; the best of the others workmg intothese two.

    Now for a general idea of what you must aim atin the beginning of a game. At the start, yourpieces (except the Knights) are locked up and, forthe time being, useless. You have to releasethem, to get them out to the front, and so toarrange them that they may best work together foroffence and for defence ; to place them where theymay stand safely (not liable to be intercepted orsurprised)with lines of retreat, and also may havemost attacking power (most opportunity of doingeffectual work) againstthe enemy.

    George Walker's advice is excellent,and terselysums up what you should aim at {ue,have as aworking principle,though you may not always beable to carry it out rigidly)in opening your game :" Do not prematurely attack before your force istolerably developed in the field. Play up thecentre Ps, get out your Kts and Bs, have your Kcastlefl and your Rs in co-operation(this.impliesacareful advance of Q). Such is the outline of thebest directions to a beginner as to opening his game."

    Reason and experience have settled upon certainbest ways of commencing a game ; and it is betterto accept these results (tryingto understand theprinciplesunderlying them) than to try and strikeout fresh paths for yourself. Have a reason " goodor bad, as may be " stillsome sort of a reason for yourmove, otherwise how can you expect to improve ?

    But BOW, startingwith i. P " K4, let us supposethat Black answers with the same, i P " K4 ;you might like to play 2. Q" R5, attacking theund^f^nded KP, Black cannot iiffordto lose it,

  • 1. P" K4, P" K4 ; OPENING. 7

    SO must defend it in some way. He could play2.

    . . . .

    B" Q3 ; but this is bad on principle (it

    obstructs his QP and consequently his QB " ue,hinders his men from coming into the field). Orhe might play 2 Kt " QB3, to which replymight be 3. B " Kt5 {threatens4, B X Kt, andthen 5. Q X KP ch.,winning a Pawn), followed by3 P" Q3, "c. The move 2 Q" K2has only this against it,that the block of Black'sKB might possiblylose a little time. Black mayplay 2 P " Q3, then 3. B " B4 (threatens4. Q X BP mate !),and 3 P " KKt3 stopsmate and drives off Q " say Q " B3 (threateningsame mate),and Black can stop it by

    ... .

    B" K3,

    or... .

    Kt-" KB3. White Q has now spent twomoves on an attadc leading to nothing,and is at asquare where she has no particularfuture before her.

    However, to go a move farther, after 4Kt" KB3, suppose 5. Q" QKt3 (threatensB X BPcheck); Blac^ develops his Q to K2 (defendingBP)-while his KB has a good square ready for himat KKt2. White's Q moves are waste of time " awaste which may be fatal ; his second move is not

    good " ^is a premature sallyof Q, which must losevaluable time in retreating,having a little helpedto develop the opponent's forces. Principleandexperience are against the move. Do not ignorethese two factors. As to

    Other Second Moves of White^

    2. P " KB3 is bad, as having no other particulareffect than to block up outlet for Q which yourfirstmove had made, and to take from your KKt


    his best square. P " QB3 is playdbk {i,e,a fairlygood move) as giving another outlet to Q ; othermoves of Pawns (except 2. P " Q4, or P " KB4,which are approved moves) are weak, as nothelping to develop your forces " i.e. as spendingtime aimlessly (or nearly so).

    There is not much harm in 2. P " KKt3 (orP" QKta), to place the K (or Q) B at its Kt'ssecond square " ^but not much good. There arebetter ways of spending the time so occupied.2. Q " B3 is bad (forabout the same reasons as is2. Q " Rs). 2. Q " Kt4 is even worse; Blackanswers by 2 P " Q4, unmasking his QB,and so drivingoff the Q; either she must stay outsomewhere, running chances of being trapped byBlack's minor pieces, or must go back to Q sq.(betterthan to K2, which obstructs KB), losingvaluable time. 2. B " B4 is good, and will betreated later on; so is 2. Kt " QB3. But mostimportant is 2. Kt " KB3, giving rise to the" King's Knight's Opening," which (according tothe sequel) branches off into several good andrecognised " Openings."


    [i.P" K4, P" K4; 2. Kt" KB3.]Before going further,we will dispose of several

    bad answers of Black. Either he mus^t defend his

    KP or attack White's (gettingPawn for Pawn). Amove like 2 B-" B4, leaving the KP unde-fended,

    simply throws away a valmible P for a veryslightgain in development.



    2 P " KB3 is a weak move here. It laysBlack K's flank dangerously open. White maysafelyplay 3. Kt X P, bringingabout the DamianoGambit. Suppose Black to seize the Kt ; we get

    3 P X Kt; 4. Q~R5 ch., P" KKta; 5. QX KP ch., followed by 6. Q X R, spellingruin forBlack. But, after 4. Q " R5 ch., try 4 K "K2, 5. Q X KP ch., K" B2 (forced); 6. B" B4ch., P" Q4 (best); 7. B x P ch., K" Kt3. It isnot hard to see that Black is in a bad way " the

    three Ps = the Kt; then look at the exposed,helpless,position of Black K. The sequel mightbe, 8. P" KR4 (threatens P" Rs mate), P" R4(best); 9. B X KtP, B x B (tosave R) ; 10. Q" Bsch., K " R3 ; II. P " Q4 dis. ch., P " Kt4 (forced);12. B X P ch.,forkingK and Q. Of course Blackneed not take the Kt ; his best is 3 Q " K2 ;then 4, Kt" KB3, Q X KP ch., with a tolerablegame; in fact, White's best course (unless hetrusts to Black's ignorance) is to let the KP aloneand play 3. B " B4 (stopping castlingK side),anddevelop his pieces as quickly as he can.

    Other weak defences of Black's KP are 2. ".. . .

    Q " K2, 2 B " Q3 (obstructingthe develop-mentof other pieces by blocking the QP) ; 2

    Q " B3 places the Q badly ; this might follow for abeginner; 3. B " B4, Q " KKt3 (attackingKP andKKtP). But White may safely leave either ex-posed

    (Diag.); suppose (a) 4. Castles, and thatBlack grabs the KP ; 5. B X P ch., K" K2 (forby

    .. . .

    K X B ; 6. Kt " Kt5 ch.. Black