Opening Principles

What’s the best way to approach the opening, to learn exact moves or rely on principles and common sense? Actually the question should probably be rephrased so as to get a better answer; everyone needs to have a good grasp of opening principles whilst at higher levels the preparation of specific lines becomes increasingly important.

What about amateurs and juniors, do they need to know some book openings? Well given that their games tend to leave theoretical lines after just a few moves the answer has to be ‘no’, and very often there’s still a great need to acquire a deeper appreciation of the ideas.

In the following game we see Black’s violation of opening principles drastically punished. Did a top Grandmaster like Efim Geller really not know that 8…Qf6 is a dubious looking move? I’m sure that he did but he probably thought he could get away with it. And it needed Fischer’s superhuman play to show otherwise:


Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: