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gibo 37 ( +1 | -1 )
what to play on the first move I wonder how many there are out there who always stick to the same first move as white. I for one used to vary but decided to learn one to a decent level. Now i have done that be to learn another move seems a very daunting task, so much to learn. Have others learned one move then gone on to learn the theory for others?
soikins 135 ( +1 | -1 )
Hard to learn new first move When I started to play chess I always openned with e4. Then I understood that d4 suited my style better. Then my chess understanding developed and I tended to play hypermodern openings as white, so I moved to Nf3 followed by c4. Then it turned out that my play had become too passive, I had to spice thing up, so I started to play e4 again. So now I can play e4, d4, Nf3 and c4. Thought, as black I play mainly French or QGD, not much change there, only occasionaly I play some sharper lines like Sicilian or KID.

It is hard to switch and it should be done only if you feel uncomfortable in the positions you play or whn you see that you can't get the required results with your openings. The way I got aquainted with the new openings was through blitz and correspondence chess. Playing correspondence chess I had (and still have) to analyse games in the variations I play and had to understand the types of positions that I had just started to play.

Blitz gives the "feeling" of the position, one quickly learns tha main problems of the opening. Then comes study again, you learn where others placed their pieces, what plans they used. Then you try it in your blitz games. You see what are the problems with the plans, study again. Play the line in OTB, learn from the game again. And here you are -- playing a new opening and studying it at the same time.
bonsai 41 ( +1 | -1 )
It makes a certain kind of sense to know some theory for different moves. I tend to play 1.d4, but occasionally I've played other moves. E.g. two weeks ago I played 1.c4 in order to frustrate an opponent, who was almost certainly hoping (and preparing) for the Chigorin or a Stonewall. But quite honestly non-professional chessplayers hardly have enough time to know enough theory to play too many different openings.
peppe_l 34 ( +1 | -1 )
Bonsai "But quite honestly non-professional chessplayers hardly have enough time to know enough theory to play too many different openings."

Then again non-professional chessplayers have no need to know lots of theory anyway :-)

There is a big difference between "enough" at professional level and "enough" at non-professional level...
premium_steve 39 ( +1 | -1 )
i mainly stick to e4 now (occasionally i'll play f4 e3 and Nf3). but i'd like to play as many as possible at some point. namely d4, all the other pawn pushes and Nc3. that's the only way to learn, i think, the only way to see as many different kinds of positions as possible - all the different kinds of positions that can come. i might not be comfortable in them right away, but the goal is *becoming* comfortable in them.... eventually ;)
tyekanyk 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Right when I started playing chess, I used to play exclusively 1.e4, because strategy wasn't my forte, but as I accumulated experience I also turned my attention towards 1.d4 which is more solid but also a little more boring than your typical Sicilian. I'm still not 100% comfortable with it, especially against certain defences, but in the long run I'll get it down and will become an ambidextrous player.
florinserban 37 ( +1 | -1 )
RE: what to play on the first move It looks like it is a big problem for professional chess players as well :-)

You will need Acrobat Reader in order to read the above text.

Best wishes,

bonsai 74 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe_l wrote: "Then again non-professional chessplayers have no need to know lots of theory anyway :-)
There is a big difference between "enough" at professional level and "enough" at non-professional level... "

True, of course. But I always feel more confident when I play something that I understand (I'd also like to believe that I play better in such positions) and when I have to face really strong opposition I don't want to have to worry too much about them winning the game just due to knowing their theory. In a limited area even non-serious chess players can have a really, really good idea about theory, typical middlegame strategies, etc...
gibo 33 ( +1 | -1 )
the problem i can have which perhaps some you dont have is i also play otb chess. and often players can prepare against me and therefor a predictable white repetoire can leave you very vulnerable for preparation. I can understand that those who play just corresponance probably dont have this problem.
superblunder 190 ( +1 | -1 )
lifelong dilemma for some I started as a beginner playing 1.e4 becasue this just semed the most logical and everyone played it. 1.d4 just seemed inferior until I discovered the beautiful Queen's gambit. Then I got tired of 1.e4 for two some postions were extremely difficult to break down (caro-kann, 1..e5,) and others were extremely complicated and sharp (open sicilians, pirc, etc.) I was getting frustrated and switched to 1.d4. At first I loved this opening, most weaker players have no idea how to handle the positions and I almost always got a huge advnatge in the opening. Then I found stronger players who could easily equalize agianst my 1.d4 and I also got jealous of guys who play 1.e4 and wipe out the competition with flashy attacks.
So I switched again to 1.e4 mainly because I wanted to get over my fear of the sharp 1.e4 defenses and learn how to attack in open positions, but also because I admired the way champions like Fischer and Kasparov dominated other masters with 1.e4.
Eventually after getting much better at chess in general I realized that I have a gift for positional strategy and a personal style leaning towards this part of the game. I noticed other great positional champions like Karpov doing wonders with 1.d4. WHen Kramnik beat Kasparov for the world title I was amazed at how much better Kramnik's 1.d4 performed than Kasparov's "aggressive" 1.e4 which never threatened Kramnik very much during the whole match.
SO I have switched back to 1.d4, but I will still return to 1.e4 sometimes to keep myself fresh and particularly if I feel the need to play for an open, aggressive position.

Most importantly, I think your personal style is very important. Since discovering my gift for positional strategy and switching to 1.d4 I find myself winning much more games as white!!!
anaxagoras 50 ( +1 | -1 )
I think it is plainly false to say that one opening tends to lead to open, sharp positions and another to closed, strategic positions (not directed at any individuals here, just a general comment). After playing both openings I have found so many counterexamples and transpositions that I can hardly understand any such "open vs strategic" opposition. Rather, the one thing I can pin down is that with 1 e4 the d4 break happens a little earlier because the queen is behind it, and that's about it!
tyekanyk 9 ( +1 | -1 )
to anaxagoras That quite a prosaic observation, but like all prosaic observations very true.
reggiesharpe 242 ( +1 | -1 )
A matter of style, as suggested. If you are aggressive in nature, you don't really need to play any one opening; you'll always find a way to attack. The thing that matters, however, is the approach you take in attacking.

1.e4 almost always leads to equality for black, but so does 1.d4 or anything not so far off the deepend as an outright blunder or 'inferior opening.' The whole key is to understand what it is you want out of the opening and what the opening aims are. You will always be surprised over the board (OTB), by what your opponent plays, because everybody is different... and if you are asking this question because you are afraid of losing, then why play chess at all? Chess is 'easy to learn, but takes a lifetime to master.' Consider any world champion and you'll understand this is true. Chess takes at least 10-20 years to move through the ranks just to become world champion. Hence, there is no quick solution. The best solution is to know yourself first, then find an opening book (MCO) and go through all the openings and variations (there are, again agressive or passive lines in almost every opening system). Select which ones suit your temperment (your style, your taste...not something recommend by the outside world.) and practice them constantly... and try to understand the ideas behind them (most important). The opening manuals provide little verbal insite into the real nature of their selection; it would be wise to look for books that have less move analysis and more explaination on the ideas behind them. Also, ask yourself why certain moves weren't made.

If you play 1.e4 there is no answer to the Sicilian that wins or to the Caro-Kann for that matter... thank anaxagoras for pointing the way. Play anything you want to as long as it fits your temperment (your true nature) and you'll be fine.

Since the choice for white in the opening is so limited (1.e4 1.d4 1.Nf3 etc.) play them all! If you're worried about an opening innovation by your opponent knowing multiple ways to start as white has the advantage of throwing that fresh opponent off as transposition might become a factor.

A world champion or expert has to know them all. The advice, learn one opening first and learn it well is true; but after you learn one, broaden your horizons. This helps especially, because an idea (or strategy) in one opening may work well in other openings with similar pawn-structures.
tulkos 22 ( +1 | -1 )
I am aggressive, and I play e4 as white almost exclusively, as black against e4 I'll play e5, or if white plays d4 or c5 I will play f5---the dutch defense. I always try to play in the center, hardly ever play any kind of hipermodem defense.
ketchuplover 5 ( +1 | -1 )
I just play what I'm in the mood to play :)
premium_steve 40 ( +1 | -1 )
i'm thinking about playing Nc3 now. but i'm a bit worried about transposing into silly sicilians with 2...c5. i'd have to think of something i could play that i would feel comfortable with since i normally only play c3-sicilians. but i guess there's a big difference with 1.Nc3 since you wouldn't be *forced* to play 2.e4 or anything after c5. there are probably other decent moves.
i_play_slowly 191 ( +1 | -1 )
Openings Everyone should know one opening for White and two for Black (so that you can respond to both e4 and d4). You only need to know more openings if you are such a big time tournament contender that your opponents study your games before they play you. In that event, you will want a wide repertoire of openings in order to keep them guessing. For us mere mortals, however, there are better ways to spend your time, like studying games collections, tactics, strategy, pawn structure, the middle game, the endgame...

If you do decide to discard some opening that you have mastered in favour of a new one, several things are likely to happen. Firstly, your game will suffer until you have mastered the new opening. Everything that you had learned about your old opening will probably not help you with the new one. You will have to start at zero, and all the time and energy you invested in the old opening will simply have been for nothing. Secondly, you might find that the new opening does not fit your style of play, so you will have to try another, and perhaps another... You might even develop a bad habit of dropping your opening every time you lose a game with it, instead of working to make it better. Meanwhile, the rest of your game will STILL continue to suffer. Thirdly, your skill with the old opening will be growing rusty, or fading altogether. If you try returning to it, you might find yourself playing it poorly, at least for a while. Fourthly, you will be neglecting all the entirely different aspects of chess that you might be studying, again, like games collections, tactics, strategy, pawn structure, the middle game, the endgame... Unless your name strikes terror at the tounaments, one opening for White and two for Black should last you a lifetime.
spurtus 46 ( +1 | -1 )
My journey...

As white : e4 -> e3 -> d4 -> nf3 -> e4

As black against e4 : e5 -> d6 -> e6 -> d5

As black against d4 : d5 -> nf6

I took a real dislike to playing e4 before but now I'm coming back to it, with my experience of playing against it I feel more comfortable about playing it.

I think this is a good thing to do... experiment with your black game mostly and then through your learning of the black lines play a more experienced white game. If you catch my drift?

basti1981 104 ( +1 | -1 )
personally prefer d4, but I dunno why. I started like 99% of all beginners with 1.e4 as white but somehow I later on moved to 1. d4 and now I'm playing from time to time 1. Nf3 (and sometimes 1. c4 but that's rather seldom)
as black it depends on, my main opening against 1. d4 is usually the kings indian defence, but there I'm currently thinking of giving other openings a shot, like the nimzo-indian or the beko-gambit (but I'm still "a little afraid" of trying the benko gambit), the idea is just to broaden my repertoire again. I used to play the dutch defence as an alternative against 1. d4 but I recently had some not so great experiences with it, and therefore I'm looking for a new alternate opening on 1. d4. Against 1. e4 I used to play the pirc defence, but since I'm not as fond of that opening (anymore) I'm currently changing it towards the sicilian.

My advice: just look up some lines, which seem to be interesting to you and take a closer look at them. CC is a nice way to give your new lines a shot, because you are allowed to use databases and books, which can help you a lot to "get closer" to your new opening.
loreta 5 ( +1 | -1 )
My selection My first move always is by a pawn or a Knight.... ....
frodan 6 ( +1 | -1 )
.... ..Nf3 as white.
...c5 or nf6 as black.... does the trick most of the time!
paulberg 185 ( +1 | -1 )
What to do? Lots of ideas and opinions here. I somewhat agree with i_play_slowly. Everyone does have to have at least a small repertoire of opening moves. 1. e4 is very popular, so everyone would at least have to have a black opening for that. 1. d4 is the next logical opening so likewise everyone needs to know a response to that as well.

What I did was started out with 1. e4 and only played white for a few months. During that time I noticed what everyone was playing against it. I noticed that most people play either 1...e5 or 1...c5. Naturally these were the first black defenses I started learning. Most 1...e5 responses in my experience followed either with 2...Nc6 or 2...d6. I learned what I saw everyone else playing. Consequently, my most comfortable systems are Italian and Sicilian.

Since then I have experiemented with other systems; Two Knight, Philidor, Scotch, King's Gambit, Petrov, French, Pirc, Caro-Kann, Center, Center Counter, Qween's Gambit and others. Now, keep in mind.. my game only suffered little. I only experiemented with these as I was forced to play against them from time to time. This way I was already somewhat familiar with them. The one mistake I did make though was I tried experiementing with King's Gambit having only played against it one time. This cost me as it took a considerable amount to time to get comfortable with it. In fact, to this day I still hesitate to use or play that system against a stronger opponent.

My recommmendation: Learn e4e5, e4c5 and d4d5 as these are the most common openings. As you are forced to play against other systems, slowly start experiementing with other common openings.

Good luck and God bless.