Classification of Openings Part B


Part A covered the three most commonly played opening classifications. The list included the common open games category that covers openings such as the King’s Gambit, the semi open games category covering the Sicilian defences and the closed opening category covering the infamous Queen’s Gambit.

Detailed coordinates of the first three moves were shared with multiple variation and possible responses for black. We continue with different classification of the openings this week and we move into less common and more complex ones. Most classification that follow tend to create most exciting and interesting middle games but I less played in professional settings because of their inherent weakness.

Flank openings

This category covers openings where the initial moves neither begin on the e nor d file for both black or white. The first moves for can be anything between “b”, “c”, “f” and “g” even but rarely “h” and “a” file. The main idea of the classification is to control the centre for a distance in the first phase of the game.

Typically, the first attempt to control the centre by occupation is delayed with the primary objective being to exchange a flank pawn for the opponent’s central pawn. By doing this a player can indirectly increase potential control in the centre because of an extra pawn. Most hypermodern are showcased in this category.

The most common flank openings include:

  • Reti Opening 1.Nf3 d5

Also known as the Reti- System. The opening’s first moves are 1. Nf3 d5 and white attacks the Black pawn from the flank. By that move white would have developed a knight, prepared well for castling and prevented black from occupying the centre a a 1…e5. White maintains flexibility by not committing to a particular central pawn structure while waiting to see what Black will do.


  • King’s Indian Attack

Also known as the Barcza System, it is a chess opening system for white characterised by several moves. The centre pawns are developed to e4 and d3, the knights are developed to d2 and f3, the king’s bishop fianchettoes at g2 following the g-pawns movement to g3, and White castles kingside. Unlike other openings the King’s Indian Attack is not a specific sequence of moves but rather a system for white.

  • English Opening 1.c4

The fourth ranked flank opening in terms or popularity and is the one of the most successful openings according to various databases. White begins the fight for the centre by staking claim to the d5 square from the wing, in hypermodern style. The English opening frequently transposes into a d4 opening but can take on an independent character as well including symmetrical variations (1.c4 c5). Although many lines of the English have a distinct character, the opening is often used a transpositional device in much the same way as 1.Nf3.


  • Bird’s Opening(1.f4)

With Bird’s opening White tries to get a strong grip on the e5 square. The opening can resemble a Dutch defences in reverse after 1.f4 d5 or Black may try to disrupt white by playing 1…e5!. The strategic ideas not only involve control of the e5 square but offers a good attacking chance at the expense of slightly weakening their kingside.

Black may challenge white’s plan to control e5 by playing From’s gambit( 1…e5) however, the From Gambit is notoriously double edged and should only be played after significant study.

  • Polish Game/Orangutan 1.b4

Made famous by Thabang Mapena in Lesotho, the Polish is an uncommon chess opening where white plays 1.b4. The opening has never been popular at the top level though a number of prominent players have employed it in occasion. The opening is largely based upon tactics on the queenside. Black can respond in a variety of ways but white’s most likely second move is a pawn push to b5 on a quest of taking advantage of black’s weak queen side.





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