King Pawn Openings

King Pawn Openings 


King’s Gambit 

The kings Gambit moves are
1. e4 e5
2. f4

White offers a pawn to divert the Black e-pawn and wants to build a stronger center with d2-d4. Theory has shown that in order for Black to maintain the one pawn advantage, moves must be made that seriously weaken the position of the black pieces.

King’s Gambit is one of the oldest documented openings as it was examined by the 17th century Italian chess player Giulio Polerio and most popular openings for over 300 years. Francois-Andr Danican Philidor (1726-95), the greatest player and theorist of his day, wrote that the King’s Gambit should end in a draw with best play by both sides, stating that “a gambit equally well attacked and defended is never a decisive game, either on one side or the other.”


1. Kings Gambit Declined (Although considered best for the Black to accept the gambit, still it can refuse the offered f-pawn or offer a counter gambit.)

Other Variation:
1.1 Falkbeer Countergambit
1.2 Nimzowitch Countergambit
1.3 Classical Defence

2.Kings Gambit Accepted.White has two continuations after Black accepts with 2… exf4: 3.Nf3, called the King’s Gambit, which develops the Knight and the Bishops Gambit 3.Bc4, where White’s development will rapidly increase after 3…Qh4+!? 4.Kf1 followed by 5. Nf3, driving the queen away and gaining the tempo.

Other Variations:
2.1 Classical Variation
2.2 Becker Defense
2.3 Bonsch-Osmolovsky Defense
2.4 Cunningham Defense
2.5 Schallopp Defense
2.6 Modern Defense
2.7 Fischer Defense

This Openings has been used by World Champion Bobby Fisher, Boris Spassky and players like Joseph Gallagher, Nigel Short, Alexei Fedorov, Alexander Morozevich and more.


Giuoco Piano (or Italian Opening) 

The moves for this Opening are:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Bc5

In this opening, the White’s bishop at c4 prevents Black from advancing in the center with..d5 and attacks the vulnerable f7 square. To attack the Black King white plans to dominate the center with d2-d4 while Black aims to free his game by exchanging pieces and playing the pawn break d5 or to hold his center pawn at e5.

This Opening is also called Italian Game or a quite game and is one of the oldest recorded opening. Played first in the 16th century by Portuguese Damiano and the Italian Greco played it at the beginning of 17th century. Modern refinements in defensive play have led most masters to openings like Ruy Lopez which offers the White greater chances for long term initiative.


1. Main Line:
This is the main continuation of the White’s forth move with 4. c3, in preparing for a central advance, d2-d4. Meanwhile Black can hold a central strong point at e5 with 4…Qe7 or he can counterattack with 4…Nf6.

2. Giuoco Pianissimo:
In Italian this is called, very quiet game. When the white plays its forth move with 4.d3, which aims at preventing early release of tension though exchanges and enters a positional maneuvering game by avoiding an immediate central confrontation.

The other variations are Evans Gambit (4. b4), where white offers a pawn to speed up the development and Italian Gambit (4 .d4) where White opens up the center.


Ruy Lopez 

The Ruy Lopez (also called the “Spanish” opening) starts out as

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5

The Ruy Lopez is an old opening; it is named after Ruy Lopez, a 16th Century Spanish clergyman and chess enthusiast. He made a systematic study of this and other chess openings, which he recorded in a 150 page book. However, although it is named after him, this particular opening was known earlier; it is included in the Gottengen manuscript, which dates from 1490. Popular use of the Ruy Lopez opening did not develop, however, until the mid 1800’s when Jaenisch, a Russian theoretician, “rediscovered” its potential. The opening is still in active use; it is a favorite of Gary Kasparov and Bobby Fischer. In it, White creates a potential pin of the d-pawn or Knight and starts an attack immediately, while simultaneously preparing to castle.

White generally directs pressure on Black’s e-pawn and tries to prepare for a pawn on d4. It’s known that Black’s best reply on move 3 is a6, which attacks White’s attacking bishop. After that, White can back up (Ba4) or exchange pieces (Bxc6).


Sicilian Defense 

The Sicilian starts as:
1. e4 c5

The Sicilian is popular at the master level. Black immediately fights for the center, but by attacking from the c-file (instead of mirroring White’s move) he creates an asymmetrical position that leads to lots of complicated positions. Black tries to attack White’s e-pawn, often through a Knight at f6 and Bishop at b7. Black would like to make the move “d5” without retribution.






The Sicilian has been extensively studied, and there are many variations. 

A popular variation is the “Dragon” variation, which starts as:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6

In this variation, Black finachettos a bishop on the h8-a1 diagonal. This is called the “Dragon” variation because Black’s pawn structure is supposed to look like a dragon.






Another variation that’s quite popular is the “Najdorf” variation. 

It starts just like the Dragon, and diverges on Black’s move 5:
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4
4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6

According to Grandmaster Daniel King White often responds with “Be2”, permitting Black to attack the center with “e5!”.







French Defense 

In the French Defense, Black lets White have more control over the center, in exchange for which he builds a (hopefully) safe wall of pawns. The French Defense starts as:

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5

Games generally involve jockeying for position. The center usually becomes closed, two competing pawn chains arise, and each player tries to outflank the other. White generally tries to play e5; Black tries to play c5 or f6. Black’s queen Bishop often becomes trapped and useless, and it’s known as the “French Bishop”.





Caro – Kann 

The Caro-Kann is like the French defense – Black lets White build control of the center, and Black tries to get a pawn at d5. It looks like a “wimpy Sicilian”. The Caro-Kann starts out as:

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5

The main line of the Caro-Kann is

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4

Black gets to eliminate one of White’s central pawns and can get his pieces developed, which is an advantage over the French Defense. However, Black’s pieces end up with more of a passive defensive role, so players of this opening are often looking for White to make a mistake (however slight).



Center Counter 

The Center Counter starts out as:

1. e4 d5

This opening is also called the “Scandinavian” opening. A common continuation is exd5 Qxd5.







Pirc/Modern Defense 

This opening goes by various names, such as “Pirc” and “Modern”. It starts:

1. e4 d6


1. e4 g6

Keene labels the “Modern Defense” as the sequence:

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7

This is a relatively new opening. In the 1930s this was considered inferior, but by the 1960s it was found to be quite playable. Black lets White take the center with the view to undermining and ruining White’s “wonderful” position. This opening is tricky to play and correct play of it is counter-intuitive (immediate center control is not a goal, since Black is trying to undermine that control).