Thumb-rules for the opening stage

Thumb-rules for the opening stage –

(also called – 90% rule-)

Thumb-rules for the opening stageMany chess beginners want to simplify chess principles in a way that can be easily understood and retained in memory. Having seen the puzzled looks on some of the older kids when they lose to someone much younger than them, I felt it was a gross injustice to the elder newbies who were lost in the intricacies of chess principles. I believe Chess must be first taught in chunks and only then can the full picture be slowly understood. So here are my Thumb-rules for the opening stage.

Memorize them and see your game improve or atleast achieve some decent amount of coherence.

But before memorizing them, remember that they are also called as 90% rules. That is because they are applicable only for 90% of the times and depend on the position.

So take these rules with a pinch of salt and follow them with discretion.


Thumb-rules for the opening stage

  • The simplest way to start the game is to occupy the centre of the board with a pawn.
  • Develop your Knights and Bishops as quickly as possible (usually Knights before Bishops).
  • Castle early, usually on the King side, to make your King safe.
  • Don t move pieces twice in the opening except to make or evade a capture.
  • Don’t bring the Queen out too soon, unless you can win something (or get checkmate) by doing so.
  • The Rooks are the last pieces to be developed, usually only moving to occupy files vacated by pawns.
  • Don t develop pieces by blocking your other pieces, instead try for a harmonious development of all your pieces.
  • Don t make too many pawn moves at the start of the game. Move your two central pawns, and sometimes also your c-pawn to fight for the centre.
  • Don t move your f-, g- and h-pawns in the opening – you will need those to remain unmoved to defend your King when you castle.
  • Be careful about grabbing pawns in the opening, when you are yet to develop pieces, fully.

I cannot stress how important it is to adhere to these Thumb-rules for the opening stage atleast till you have a decent rating of say 1500. Till then these thumb-rules will serve as guideposts and will help you navigate you through the black and white jungle. After that you are free to do what you deem fit 🙂

Suggested reading:

The Tao Of Chess: 200 Principles to Transform Your Game and Your Life

Thumb-rules for the opening stage

Thumb-rules for the opening stage

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