Diagram: White Plays e4!
The main White openings are:
- 1. e4 … King Pawn Openings (very, very popular)
- 1. d4 … Queen Pawn Openings (very, very popular)
- 1. c4 … English Opening (not very popular but a good opening)
Some of the other less common but respectable and playable lines include:
- 1. Nf3 … Reti Opening (also not very popular, but also good)
- 1. g3 … Modern Attack or King’s Indian Attack
- 1. b3 … Playable (Larsen’s Opening)
Some rarely seen and obscure openings for White are:
- 1. d3 … A beginner move, but can become a King’s Indian Attack (d3 opening)
- 1. e3 … A beginner move, likely to become a French Defence Reversed (e3 opening)
- 1. f4 .. Bird Opening (playable but different) (f4 opening)
- 1. b4 … Orangutan Opening (playable but weird)
- 1. g4 .. Grob Opening (playable but odd and tricky)
- 1. Nc3 (unusual but strategically fine, often transposes) (Nc3 opening; Queen’s Knight Opening)
Some of the starting moves to avoid as White include:
- 1. Nh3 .. Amar Opening or “Nh3 opening” (not good, misplaced Knight)
- 1. Na3 .. (Na3 opening) Not good, “knight on edge of the board is bad”.
- 1. h3 … (h3 Opening) Not good, waste of time.
- 1. a3 … Anderssen's Opening (“a3 opening”). Not good, waste of time.
- 1. f3 … (f3 opening) Not good, waste of time, and weakens your King.
- 1. c3 … Saragossa Opening (c3 opening). Not good, waste of time. But might become a King’s Indian Attack.
- 1. h4 … (h4 Opening or “Bayonet Attack”) Odd king rook pawn line.
- 1. a4 … (a4 Opening) Odd queen rook pawn line.
One point to note is that none of these White first moves are truly bad in the sense that they’ll lose the game. If White wastes time with the first move, then it’s like you’re playing Black instead of White (i.e. a reversed opening), which isn’t the end of the world either. So you could actually play some of the above “bad” openings as White and you’re still in the game with about equal chances. The average statistical win rate for White is usually cited at about 55% versus 45% for Black (with draws included), so if you reverse that by wasting White’s first move advantage, you’ve worsened your chances by about 10%.
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