In the opening, the best strategy is to try to gain control of the center. There are many openings that have been researched and evaluated. The links section contains links to other sites that have a lot of information on opening moves and strategies. Here are my basic rules for the opening:
- Pawns: Move out the center pawns first. The c-pawn is also fine if you know what you're doing. The pawns in front of the knights are usually ok, if you plan on developing that bishop with a Fianchetto, but make sure to put the bishop there before you lose control of that diagonal, and your rook.
- Generally, bring out knights before bishops. Put knights in front of the bishops' pawns unless you have a good reason to do otherwise. The king's knight is generally less committal, because the queen's knight blocks in your c-pawn.
- Don't touch your queen until your other pieces are developed.
- Wait until you have all of your pieces developed before you attack.
- When exchanging with pawns, capture toward the center.
- Be extremely careful of the pawn in front of your king's bishop, it is very weak, and don't move it in the opening unless you know exactly what you're doing.
- Every move counts. Don't waste time moving the same piece around, or marching pawns, unless it's absolutely necessary.
- Don't panic when your opponent whips out their queen early. 1. e4 e5 2.Qh5 is known as the "terrorist attack." If you are black, a good response to the terrorist attack is to develop your queen's knight ( 2. Qh5 Nc6 protecting your threatened king pawn) and then develop your king's knight (3. ... Nf6) pushing the queen away. Doing this, you can steal white's initiative, his only advantage at the start of the game! If they sit it in front of their king's knight (2. Qf3) they will likely move out their light-square bishop on the next move, trying for the 4-move checkmate. 2. Qf3 Nf6 also blocks this for the time being, and allows you to develop your queen bishop on the next move, and start playing "chase the queen," which means you keep developing pieces and your opponent keeps having to move the queen.