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Chess Openings: Chess First Move Strategy for Whites

A strong chess opening is like starting the game on a strong foot. Learning all the 20 first moves for whites in chess can be daunting for chess beginners or intermediate players. Unless you are playing against the world chess champions, you don’t need to learn all the moves. For a good game, the first four to five moves are the most important in chess for whites and blacks. Therefore, rather than learning the maximum opening moves, let’s focus on six opening moves for whites that can kickstart your game. The chess first move strategy for whites covers five moves starting with e4.

The most common opening strategy for white is e4 because white follows the strategy of attacking the center. The white prepares to develop the bishop in the light square to c4 and b5 position depending on the type of opening.

Also Read: Top Fastest Checkmate Moves for Winning More Chess Games

Ruy Lopez

Standard moves: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5

In the Ruy Lopez opening, the strategy for whites is to develop the knight and bishop. Through this opening, the white attempts to trade or threaten the black’s knight with a bishop on c6. Traditionally, the bishops are slightly more powerful than the knights in most situations as they can move long diagonals; however, they have less power in the opening.

The idea behind the Ruy Lopez move is to trade the white bishop for a black knight that is attacking the center. The move allows you to remove a black defender of the center and make it possible to capture e5 if black doesn’t defend it.

Ruy Lopez is one of the most common chess first move strategies played against new players as well against experienced players.

Italian Game

Standard moves: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4

The Italian Game is an excellent chess first move strategy for whites as it abides by all the opening principles of chess – attacking the center, knights before bishops, and not moving your queen.

The idea behind this move is to develop strongly while keeping an eye on the f7 square, which is the weakest square for blacks as the pawn is only protected by the King. Moreover, since the white moves first, they can capitalize on the position. If the black follows white’s moves with Nc6 and Bc5, the white can start the attack first with Giuoco Piano, Giuoco Pianissimo, or Evan’s Gambit, as and when they get the opportunity. 

Also Read: Chess Game Online – Basics to Know About Chess Openings

Giuoco Piano

Standard moves: 1. E4 e5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Bc4 Bc5  4. c3

With the Giuoco Piano move, the white takes advantage of the central position by backing up the d4 pawn push. The black cannot push c6 unless he moves his Knight first from the c6 position, which gives white an advantage for the central attack.

With Nf6, the blacks can slow down the whites and force them to reconsider pushing d4 right away with the black’s attacking knight on e4. In this variation, white opts to strengthen the d4 pawn push over, strengthening the defense on e4 with nc3. This may open the moves for the rook once castled.

Giuoco Pianissimo

Standard moves: 1. e4 e5  2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5  4. D3

The Giuoco Pianissimo is a quieter version of Giuoco Piano where the whites push d3 to first protect e4 pawn before c3. This quieter version of the d4 push allows black’s counterplay. The white tries to play on the queenside and gains space using the pawns. The white pushes c3 followed by b4 and a4 with a tempo on the bishop and knight. 

Eventually, black’s b5 can create weakness in the center, which the white knight is attacking. The black counters with a5 or a6 often to protect the knight while creating space for the bishop. The black bishop continues to threaten the f2 square as long as it is on g1-a7 diagonal.

The Giuoco Pianissimo moves make the game slow and can often lead to boring play. However, if you know the positions well, you can easily use this move to confuse your opponent.

The Fried Liver

Standard moves: 1. E4 e5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Bc4 Nf6  4. Ng5

After the black decides to play Bf6 and Bc4, the whites can follow up with the Fried Liver Attack. Rather than choosing the Italian Game or Giuoco Pianissimo move, the white can make an aggressive opening with Ng5 and attack f7.

According to the opening principles, playing Ng5 moves a piece twice, so this attack is not common at high levels. However, if your opponent (black) knows the Traxler Counterattack, the Fried Liver attack may be overpowered by the black’s counterattack. The fried liver move makes the white rely entirely on the weakness of f7 and act by looking to fork queen and rook with Nxf7.

Also Read: Master Chess Openings with Better Understanding of Pawn Structure

Scotch Game

Standard moves: 1. e4 e5  2. Nf3 Nc6  3. d4

The Scotch Game is a famous opening since the 19th century that focuses on pushing the d4 before developing other minor pieces. With this move, the whites attempt to open up the center, retake the pawn with a centralized queen. 

If the black decides against capturing the d4 pawn and instead protecting it with d6, the black would soon lose the game in a few moves by white. This is because d4 is played so early by the whites that the blacks don’t have time to recapture the queen sacrifice other than with their king. If they recapture the sacrifice with the knight on c6, the whites will capture a pawn in exchange at NXe5.

The Scotch Games is a great chess first move strategy for chess beginners playing white, as it prevents blacks from making quality moves in the beginning, giving whites a more open position.


Open up your chessboard and learn the positions of these moves to use them against your black opponent the next time you play chess. Be mindful that the blacks, too, have counter moves against the opening moves of whites. An experienced player can use the counter moves against you, which is why you should plan some moves in advance. The best way to devise your chess first move strategy, whether playing black or white, is by learning one opening move of each and perfecting it before moving to another move. This will allow you to understand the opening tactics better instead of memorizing them. Understanding the tactics will also help you use them faster in speed chess on MPL, where the players are given a short time limit to make their moves and win.

Vijaya Bharti
A postgraduate in accounting and finance, she embraced content writing as her full-time profession. She is a Gaming Writer but her endless desire to learn new things enables her to write about just anything that intrigues her. She enjoys learning in the process as she believes there is no end to gaining knowledge.


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