5 Opening Strategies and When Best to Use Them

Chess is a strategy game in which the choice you make will determine the outcome. Every move is important, but the opening strategies may define the outcome of the match.

No matter if you use the same opening move or change it every time, its objective will be to fight for control over the center of the board. 

Amateur players memorize the most popular opening moves in chess (e4 or d4 for white, e5 or c5 for black), a key element to be successful in your chess career. Due to a large number of possible openings,  it can be difficult to choose or learn which chess openings match your needs. 

How can you choose the correct one? Make sure you enjoy playing it. Together with that consider how much time you can spend studying openings. If you have a limited amount of time to learn chess openings, it would not be a good idea to study high-theory openings, e.g. Najdorf Variation. 

If you are determined to spend a good amount of time learning chess openings and have a good memory, a complicated opening will benefit you because it will allow you to overcome your opponent. Analyze strong players’ games and see which openings they use. If you don’t have a lot of time to learn chess openings, this is an effective technique because you can create your repertoire.

Another way to select your preferred open style is matching or studying your opening according to your Elo Level. Here you will find opening strategies for different types of players in the form of a 5 level-based opening strategies for you to choose from. We also include a bonus level 6 type of opening for those determined to become grandmasters! 

Level – 1 (800 – 1200): Mate Pastor 

The goal of the Mate Pastor opening is to control the center with e4 – e5 and d4 – d5. This is the most famous way to win with Whites at this level is the shepherd mate. This system was first used in a game at Mar del Plata, 1972; Jesus Amillano vs Arthur G. Loeffler. The Mate Pastor opening is still active and some elite Grandmasters implement this in their matches from time to time.  

Level – 2 (1200 – 1500): Scottish Opening

 The Scottish opening starts with the moves: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4. The goal is to have an open center with active pieces. The opening got its name from a correspondence match in 1824, between Edinburgh and London. Garry Kasparov re-popularized the Scottish opening in the twentieth century. When Garry left professional chess, it gradually ceased to be played in professional matches. 

Level – 3 (1500 – 2000): The Sicilian Defense

The Sicilian Defense starts with these moves: 1. e4 c5. The goal is to play gambits. This is the most popular and best-performing response facing White’s first move 1.e4. This is an excellent opening because Blacks do not just play to equalize but also seek the advantage. 

Level – 4 (2000 – 2300): Spanish Opening or Ruy López Opening

This opening gets its name from the 16th-century Spanish priest, Ruy López de Segura. One of the most popular openings, it has a vast number of variants aiming at achieving a stable center. This gambit is very popular to this day. You will create a solid repertoire. You will not face any surprises using this opening. It allows for healthier pawn structures and great flexibility to direct the course of the game.

Level – 5 (2300 – 2500): Opening Novelty

“Novelty” is a very common term in the chess world. Derived from the Latin “Novus,” meaning new, original, or unusual. When someone plays a novelty in a game, they usually win the game because of their training. Opponents cannot properly defend all the new threats they have to face.

Level 6 (2600 – 2800): Create Your Own

No specific opening is referred to here. It will all depend on you. Have you heard the expression “infinite wisdom”? This is the case. At this level, you can master chess openings so you have enough ammo against anything your opponent may throw at you.

Now, Which opening should you choose? 

See where you stand Elo-wise and start there. Some openings are recommended for a certain level, although you can use them anytime you want.

Good openings lead to good positions.

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