7 Reasons to Play Sharp Openings

Yury Markushin
7 Reasons to Play Sharp Openings

Sharp Openings and 7 Reasons to Play them. Many chess players are unsure about what kind of openings they should play. These players prefer to stay on the safe side and to play “safe-looking”, quiet positions, which lead to similar continuations time after time. While staying in the comfort zone is good, if you want to improve your game, you must be able to step out of it.

If you are an improving chess player, playing sharp openings will accelerate your progress and will allow you to learn many critical elements of chess. Here are the seven reasons to play sharp opening lines:

1. You will improve your tactics skills

Playing sharp opening lines generally involves a lot of tactics. Not only do you need to find the strongest attacking combination, but at the same time, you need to counter the opponent’s threats. Whether you like it or not, you will improve your tactical skills if you play sharp openings on regular basis (warning: you may and will lose some games in the process, but that should not bother you, as long as you improve your chess skill).

You may ask if playing sharp positions is a more effective method than simply solving tactics. These are both equally important for improving your tactical skills. The truth is, that most chess players already have enough “puzzle-solving” experience, but not enough real-game tactics finding experience. Playing sharp openings, which in turn lead to sharp middle games should take care of that gap.

2. Sharp Openings – You will learn to calculate variations deeper

In sharp positions, a player who can calculate deeper and evaluate the final position more precisely has an enormous advantage. By exposing yourself to sharp opening lines, you will force yourself to calculate more often, which would naturally lead to improvement in your calculation skills.

Many novice chess players prefer to play “positional chess” simply because their tactical skills and calculation ability are not developed enough.


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3. You will build a habit of not wasting tempos

In the sharp opening positions, every single tempo is priceless. A tempo can make a difference between checkmating your opponent’s king and getting checkmated yourself.

By playing sharp opening lines you will learn to value each and every tempo, develop pieces correctly, and attack efficiently.

4. Sharp Openings – You will always think about safety

Playing attacking openings does not mean that you will always be the one on the offense. Sometimes, maybe quite often, your opponent will have an upper hand and the initiative. That would be the times when you will need to play tight defense and look for an opportunity to counter-attack.

Those players who play the attacking openings, generally perform much better under strong pressure. They are also able to stay in the game even when they are down in material or under devastating attack.

5. You will avoid the early draws

Another advantage of playing sharp openings is that it dramatically reduces the possibility of draws. I’m not saying that you will win all these games, you will definitely lose some as well. Keep in mind though that by losing a good game, you will learn an important lesson and will win 10 more in the long run. Isn’t it worth it?

Magnus Carlsen is a good example of that concept. He stays away from drawing as hard as he can, and as we can see it works pretty well for him.

6. Sharp Openings – You will learn to plan your game

Playing sharp opening lines and positions well has to do a lot with precise planning. If you cannot plan the attack, the chances are you cannot execute it efficiently. Once you come up with a plan and calculate all necessary variations, the rest should be easy.

7. You will improve your overall chess level

Playing sharp openings, getting yourself in trouble, and especially getting yourself out of trouble will make all the difference in the world for your chess. Taking calculated risks, planning and executing attacks as well as playing strong defense will make you grow as a chess player. Don’t be afraid of playing attacking chess, choose sharper opening lines, play no compromise chess, and you will see yourself as a stronger player in no time.

We also recommend reviewing 10 Reasons to Play the Sicilian Dragon as well as Najdorf Sicilian: Why You Should Play It.


If you want to learn how to attack more efficiently, I suggest you enroll in our comprehensive training program. The completion of the entire course will only take you about 35-40 days. And, you will learn many important aspects of chess that will directly translate into your playing strength and ELO rating.

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Updated 12.22.2023


Sam Anthony Ilagan:
what is your definition of a "sharp opening"?
Hi Prakash, you can sign up for the training by following one of the link at the end of the article. Here it is for you: http://www.thechessworld.com/supercharge
prakash Nepal:
how can I get your trainings????