3 Important Opening Principles in Chess

In our chess coaching classes, we teach kids important opening principles. We’ve found that teaching principles is most effective when you explain the underlying logic. Blindly asking a kid to memorize the principles doesn’t do them any good.

Here we will discuss 3 very important opening principles & explain the logic behind them. Also, there’s a common mistake beginners make when it comes to following these principles.

What is that?

It’s covered towards the end of the article. Let’s begin, one step at a time.

The 3 Opening Principles

1. Control the Center

Ever wondered why top players start by pus

hing their queen-pawn or king-pawn? Why don’t they push their rook-pawn? What are they trying to achieve There are two simple reasons for it – They aim to follow the opening principle of controlling the centre and developing their pieces.

But first of all, what exactly is a centre in chess?

The 4 central squares – e4, d4, e5, d5 are termed as the centre. They are the most important squares on the chessboard.

A piece that’s in the centre controls more squares than if it were on the edge of the board. This makes a centralized piece more powerful.

That’s why you should always try to open the game by trying to push your central pawns, which are the king-pawn or the queen-pawn. This allows you to start fighting for the most important squares from move 1!
This brings us to the next opening principle.

2. Develop Your Pieces

Would any country fight a battle without mobilizing their forces? Obviously not!

The same applies in chess. You cannot fight a battle until and unless your pieces are ready. This is the main role of development in chess – to bring your pieces into the battle.

Okay, now you know why to develop the pieces. But where should you develop them?

Always try to develop your pieces towards the centre!

The logic behind this is similar to the previous point. A piece in the centre controls more squares than if the same piece were placed on the edge of the board.

So you know why and where to develop your pieces. Is there any specific order to follow? Yes, there is.

The order looks like this –

  • First develop knights.
  • After that develop your bishops.
  • Then you can castle, safeguard your king and bring your rook into the game
  • Eventually you’ll develop the queen and the rook at the very end.


Do you always have to follow this order? Not always but this is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind.

You might wonder why to develop in this order? There could be different reasons and this is just a basic guideline. Each opening has a different strategy.

In our chess coaching classes, we teach the opening principles behind each move. This way, a child grasps the openings and understands the logic behind the moves.

For more information on coaching you can connect with us. We have online chess coaches for kids who make learning fun and easy.
Moving on…

3. Make your king safe – Castling

Keeping your king safe is the most important thing in chess! A checkmate will finish the game. In our online chess training sessions, we see kids playing recklessly because they didn’t learn this important rule.

They keep grabbing the opponent’s pieces, even if it exposes their king! This is the common mistake with beginners we talked about earlier. Unfortunately it’s the wrong approach!

The number one goal in chess is checkmate, not finishing off the opponent’s army. Hence, the number one priority should be to put your king to safety. How to do that? A very common method of doing this is castling. Castling is a special rule that allows one to secure their king and bring their rook into the game.

There are many conditions to castling, which we’ll discuss in a future article. For now, just remember that it allows a king to feel safe. That’s why strong chess players often prioritize it. We hope you found these insights useful. Teaching opening principles is only half the job. To really understand its importance, practice is equally important.

Our online chess tutors are especially trained to work with kids. We give training exercises which’ll actually help children grasp chess knowledge better.

To book your chess lesson, get in touch with us.

- Mohit