Total Chess: Opening Mistakes

Total Chess: Opening Mistakes

There are three things you should try not to do in the opening.

They will hurt your game rather than help it.

There are some exceptions, but generally these are mistakes you should avoid.

1) Do not make too many pawn moves: You will need to make some pawn moves to develop your pieces and control the center. But how many is too many?

1 or 2 pawn moves – probably not enough

3 or 4 pawn moves – usually about right

5 or 6 pawn moves – generally too much

If a pawn move does not help you develop a piece, or it does not control the center, or it does not stop the opponent from developing a piece or controlling the center, then you probably should not do it. It wastes time. Do not waste time. Also, try not to make too many pawn moves in front of your castled king.

2) Do not move the same piece twice: This is not an absolute rule, but a good general principle. You should pick the best square for each piece and move it there once. Then do not move it again until after the opening. If you are not sure where the best square is, then develop another piece first to wait and see. Sometimes you have to move the same piece twice. If you develop a piece and the opponent attacks it, you will have to either move it or defend it. If the opponent attacks it with a pawn, you will probably have to move it. Move it or lose it.

3) Do not bring out your queen too early: If you bring out your queen too early, then the opponent can develop his pieces and attack your queen at the same time. An exposed queen is an easy target to attack, especially in the opening. This wastes time for you and gains time for the opponent. Do not waste time. It is best to keep your queen back where it is safe in the opening. You should usually develop your queen last, and when you do develop it, do not bring it out too far.


From the book, “TOTAL CHESS: Learn, Teach and Play the Easy 1-2-3 Way,” by John Herron

total chess book

TOTAL CHESS is your complete guide to chess. It covers everything: rules, strategies, tactics and checkmates.

Everything in chess comes in threes. Three simple strategies are presented for the opening, midgame, endgame, etc. Each lesson is brief and covers one concept in simple language that everyone can read and understand.

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Updated 04.07.2023


Zainu Abideen Rahman:
It's so far the best and straight forward. One would hardly lose it with these invaluable tips.