FIDE CM Kingscrusher goes over the top 40 Funniest, Weirdest and most outrageously named chess openings. Funny named chess openings include: The Toilet Variation, The Monkey’s Bum, The Hillbilly Attack, The Frankenstein-Dracula Variations and many more!
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What are Chess openings?
A chess opening or simply an opening refers to the initial moves of a chess game. The term can refer to the initial moves by either side, White or Black, but an opening by Black may also be known as a defense. There are dozens of different openings, and hundreds of variants. The Oxford Companion to Chess lists 1,327 named openings and variants. These vary widely in character from quiet positional play to wild tactical play. In addition to referring to specific move sequences, the opening is the first phase of a chess game, the other phases being the middlegame and the endgame.
Opening moves that are considered standard (often catalogued in a reference work such as the Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings) are referred to as “book moves”, or simply “book”. Reference works often present move sequences in simple algebraic notation, opening trees, or theory tables. When a game begins to deviate from known opening theory, the players are said to be “out of book”. In some opening lines, the moves considered best for both sides have been worked out for twenty to twenty-five moves or more. Some analysis goes to thirty or thirty-five moves, as in the classical King’s Indian Defense and in the Sveshnikov and Najdorf variations of the Sicilian Defense. Professional chess players spend years studying openings, and continue doing so throughout their careers, as opening theory continues to evolve.
A new sequence of moves in the opening is referred to as a theoretical novelty. When kept secret until used in a competitive game it is often known as a prepared variation, a powerful weapon in top-class competition.[
Aims of the opening
Common aims in opening play
Whether they are trying to gain the upper hand as White, or to equalize as Black or to create dynamic imbalances, players generally devote a lot of attention in the opening stages to the following strategies:
Development: One of the main aims of the opening is to mobilize the pieces on useful squares where they will have impact on the game. To this end, knights are usually developed to f3, c3, f6 and c6 (or sometimes e2, d2, e7 or d7), and both players’ king and queen pawns are moved so the bishops can be developed (alternatively, the bishops may be fianchettoed with a maneuver such as g3 and Bg2). Rapid mobilization is the key. The queen, and to a lesser extent the rooks, are not usually played to a central position until later in the game, when many minor pieces and pawns are no longer present.
Control of the center: At the start of the game, it is not clear on which part of the board the pieces will be needed. However, control of the central squares allows pieces to be moved to any part of the board relatively easily, and can also have a cramping effect on the opponent. The classical view is that central control is best effected by placing pawns there, ideally establishing pawns on d4 and e4 (or d5 and e5 for Black). However, the hypermodern school showed that it was not always necessary or even desirable to occupy the center in this way, and that too broad a pawn front could be attacked and destroyed, leaving its architect vulnerable; an impressive-looking pawn center is worth little unless it can be maintained. The hypermoderns instead advocated controlling the center from a distance with pieces, breaking down one’s opponent’s center, and only taking over the center oneself later in the game. This leads to openings such as Alekhine’s Defense – in a line like 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 (the Four Pawns Attack), White has a formidable pawn center for the moment, but Black hopes to undermine it later in the game, leaving White’s position exposed.
King safety: The king is somewhat exposed in the middle of the board. Measures must be taken to reduce his vulnerability. It is therefore common for both players either to castle in the opening (simultaneously developing one of the rooks) or to otherwise bring the king to the side of the board via artificial castling.
Prevention of pawn weakness: Most openings strive to avoid the creation of pawn weaknesses such as isolated, doubled and backward pawns, pawn islands, etc. Some openings sacrifice endgame considerations for a quick attack on the opponent’s position.