How many chess openings are there?

How many chess openings are there

As you gain knowledge about chess, you may become interested in its various aspects. Some people ask: “How many chess openings are there?”. The Oxford Companion to Chess includes 1,327 names.

But they’re not all. Lots of variations and less common sequences exist. Grandmasters spend years studying this aspect and keep doing it throughout their whole careers. We invite you to get familiar with different types of openings to see the diversity. Looking for chess clubs in Augusta, GA? Join now!

Hypermodern openings

  • Alekhine’s Defense. Being a typical Hypermodern opening, this one makes the opponent move toward the center. However, the rival’s captured territory exceeds his capacity to defend it.

1.e4 Nf6

Alekhine’s Defense

  • Reti Opening. The center is dominated by the flanks rather than directly.
  1. Nf3 d5
  2. c4

Reti Opening

Classical openings

  • French Defense (Steinitz Variation). It’s based on a straightforward approach. A player aims to place pawns in the center and support them. This is a characteristic of all classical sequences.

1.e4 e6

2.d4 d5

3.Nc3 Nf6


French Defense

  • Italian Game. This sequence belongs to the oldest openings recorded in history. The white bishop develops to c4 and then attacks f7.
  1. e4 e5
  2. Nf3 Nc6
  3. Bc4

Italian Game

How many chess openings are there? Summing up

With over 1000 documented sequences it seems impossible to keep them all in mind. And you don’t have to do that. Even professional chess players don’t memorize 100% of openings. It’s reasonable to choose a certain amount and intensively practice them. Mastering a few ones is better than knowing the theory of hundreds. The ability to implement them is essential.


We’ve given an all-around answer to the question “How many chess openings are there?”. Don’t be discouraged by a huge number. Practice regularly, and eventually, you’ll reach proficiency at chess.