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Hi my name is Rebecca Taxmen and I’m with Chess NYC. I’m going to talk to you today about the three principles to opening strategy. So when we get to the game we’re always like, ‘Uh, what do I do? There’s so many pieces. I don’t know how to start.” Well I’m going to give you three steps that are going to help you create a strong, confident opening.
First thing that we need to understand is these four center squares. These are considered a super square because this is where the center of the board is, the control center. For example, if I have my knight in the center of the board, my knight can control up to eight different squares, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. We can see that this is a very strong place for my knight. If I have my knight on the side of the board it can only control up to four squares, 1, 2, 3, 4.
Therefore, my knight is stronger in the center whereas most pieces are stronger in the center of the board. So at the beginning of the game you want to think about center control. First thing we can try and do is get our pawns into the center. Very important to try to get our pawns to control the center. The next important step that we want to focus on is piece development.
Now I like to think about my pieces as they are working for me. I want to give my pieces a job. If they’re sitting back here they’re not happy and they’re not doing anything. So my next step is to bring my pieces out and have them working for me. Usually we bring out the knights before the bishops. So I can bring my knight to F-3 and my other knight to C-3 and then I’m bringing them towards the center. Notice how I did not bring my knight to H-3, that would not be a good choice. Towards the center.
Next, I want to bring my bishops out, again towards the center controlling the center squares. The next step that we always want to consider is king safety, very important. I like to consider the king like a baby. The reason I consider the king a baby is because we always want to protect our babies just like we always want to protect our king. Therefore, the best way to protect your king at the beginning of the game is to castle. Now we have two places, two ways that we can castle. You can either castle on the king’s side or on the queen’s side.
Right away I can see that I can castle on the king’s side. To castle I move my king two spaces and then bring my rook to the other side and now my king is stuck behind a little fortress or, to keep with the theme of a baby, a crib and it is protected and safe. Just to review, the three important principles are controlling the center, piece development, and king safety. Those are the three things that we can do at the beginning of the game to go into the middle game confidently.
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