Opening preparation is a very difficult task. You have to be patient to prepare an opening. Opening preparation can take anywhere between 1 to 3 years. Many times that time is also not enough. Now in this article, we will see some of the most popular openings which are used by many top players to play against e4. Now the opening selection completely depends on players’ style and liking.
1- king’s pawn opening
White immediately takes control of the center and opens lines of development for his pieces – it’s clear that 1. e4 is very much in line with opening principles. The King’s Pawn Opening has been the favorite move of many top-tier chess players. Here whites have many choices the main choices are Ruy Lopez, four knights, and guicco piano. These openings are covered in chapters C20–C99 in ECO.
2- Sicilian defense
the Sicilian Defence is in modern practice the most common continuation. The Sicilian Defence allows Black to fight for the center by preparing to meet a d2–d4 advance with …cxd4. The Sicilian is among the sharpest and most analysed openings in chess, and it has eighty chapters, B20–B99, set aside for it in ECO.
Here white has a lot of options to play and black has to prepared for these options. Now black has 4 main choices here in the mainline. let’s see 1 by 1
- Najdorf Variation – The Najdorf Variation is Black’s most popular system in the Sicilian Defence. Najdorf’s intention with 5…a6 was to prepare …e5 on the next move to gain space in the center. The immediate 5…e5?! is met by 6.Bb5+!, when Black must either play 6…Bd7 or 6…Nbd7. The former allows White to exchange off Black’s light-squared bishop, after which the d5-square becomes very weak; but the latter allows 7.Nf5 when Black can only save the d-pawn by playing the awkward 7…a6 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7. In both cases, White’s game is preferable.
- Dragon Variation – In the Dragon Variation, Black fianchetto a bishop on the h8–a1 diagonal. It was named by Fyodor Dus-Chotimirsky in 1901, who noticed a resemblance between Black’s kingside pawn structure (pawns on d6, e7, f7, g6, and h7) and the stars of the Draco constellation. White’s most dangerous try against the Dragon is the Yugoslav Attack, characterized by 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6, when 9.0-0-0, 9.Bc4 and 9.g4 are White’s most common moves. This variation leads to extremely sharp play and is ferociously complicated since the player’s castle on opposite wings and the game becomes a race between White’s kingside attack and Black’s queenside counterattack. White’s most important alternative to the Yugoslav Attack is 6.Be2, the Classical Variation.
- Scheveningen Variation – Black doest prefer this variation because of keres attack which white can play. Keres attack opening is one of the most dangerous openings in this variation. White wins in most of the games.
You can choose any opening from the above three variations. I will suggest starting with najdorf variation.
3- French Defence
It is a chess opening for the black and a counterattack against the white’s move 1.e4. If we take a look from the black’s first move, it looks directly at the black through the a2-g8 diagonal which is generally said to be one of the biggest weaknesses for black and it then advances to take direct control of the light squares in the center after 2.d5.
You can play french defense if you like passive positions.