In this article, you will learn about the top 5 best chess openings for white. These openings are played not only by club level players but also at top Grandmasters level regularly. Having the top quality openings in your repertoire is important if you want to get good positions in the initial phase of the game.
For complete opening repertoire: Also read Top 5 best chess openings for black.
5. Reti opening
It is a hyper modern and one of best chess openings for white that leads to unbalanced Pawn structure with complicated positions. It is the third most popular move from the white side 1.Nf3 is known for its flexibility and it is championed by Grandmaster Vladimir kramnik.
It transposes to many popular openings that starts with the move 1.d4.
1.Nf3 at the top level is mainly used as move order nuance where white player is trying to avoid certain opening variations that arises from 1.d4.
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 This is known as reti gambit, white is sacrificing a central Pawn temporarily and white wants to regain this pawn after the move 1.Na3. Then white will have two Central pawns and black will have only one Central pawn.
If you are looking for a complicated game then this is one of best openings for white.
King’s Indian attack:
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 4.0-0 Be7 5.d3
Many players use 1.Nf3 to play kings Indian attack where white wants to quickly develop his Kingside pieces and goes short castle and later attacks in the centre. For players who don’t want to study a lot of theory then this is one of best chess openings for white side.
Transposition to English opening:
After 1.Nf3 black can play 1…c5, 1…Nf6 and if white choses to play 2.c4 then the game can transpose to English opening.
Transposition to Queen’s gambit:
After 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 and here black can play 2…c6 or 2…e6 and if white decides to play 3.d4 then the game transposes to Queen’s gambit.
4. English opening
English opening is a flank opening and one of best openings for white that starts with the move 1.c4
white’s idea is to control d5 light square with the c-pawn and stay flexibile with the central pawns. It is one of best chess openings for white. Depending on black’s reply, this opening can become reversed sicilian, symmetrical English or it can transpose to Queen’s pawn opening.
Symmetrical English opening 1…c5
In this variation, black simply copies white’s moves. For the next few moves, symmetry will be maintained.
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Nc3 Nc6 and now you can break the symmetry with 7.d4 with good initiative in the centre.
Reversed sicilian 1…e5
This is the critical test of English opening, black immediately plays a central pawn and controls the important d4 square. In this variation, white plays on the light squares and black plays on the dark squares.
Transposition to Queen’s pawn opening:
After 1.c4 black can play 1…e6 to push the d7 pawn to d5 and after 2.Nf3 d5 if white decides to play 3.d4 then the game has been transposed to queen’s gambit opening which is also one of best chess openings for white.
3. London system
London system is an opening system that starts with the move 1. d4 and 2.Bf4
This opening has recently gain popularity thanks to the world champion Magnus Carlsen who has used this opening many times in top level tournaments with good results.
white strategy in this opening is very simple, white wants to build a pyramid in the centre by playing c3 and e3 and then develop his pieces.
Piece placement is also straight forward: g1 Knight goes to f3, f1 bishop goes to d3 and b1 Knight goes to d2.
This simple plan and piece placement gives white a good position and this plan is easy to implement in the game. That’s what makes this a best chess openings for white and also best chess openings for beginners.
There is a variation of London system which is known as Jobava London system where you developed your b1 knight to c3 and go for long castling, this variation has also gain good popularity in recent times.
2. Queen’s Gambit
Queen’s gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4) is the second most popular opening after king’s pawn opening. It is one of the best openings for white.
This opening leads to different kind of pawn structure and positions. you will get to see every kind of situation: from simple to complicated position and from strategical to aggressive positions.
Almost every top player has Queen’s gambit as part of their opening repertoire and this opening is equally popular at lower level also.
Black has different ways to play against this opening and you need to prepare against every black’s reply.
After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 black can play 2…dxc4 which leads to queen’s gambit accepted.
After 2…e6 it becomes Queen’s gambit declined.
After 2…c6 it becomes slav defense.
Black can also play 2…e6 and 2…c6 when it becomes semi slav defense.
Compared with king’s pawn opening, in Queen’s gambit the nature of the game becomes more strategical and slow manoeuvring of pieces is required. Many times you will get closed centre where you need to play on the flanks. With this opening you will improve strategical understanding of the game and that’s what makes it one of the best chess openings for white.
1. King’s Pawn opening: Best chess openings for white
King’s pawn opening (1.e4) is the most popular and best chess openings for white for all level of player.
This opening leads to mainly open positions where you can create tactical piece play and direct attack in the opponent territory. Black has many ways to play against it and let’s see how we can respond against black various defenses.
King’s pawn defense (1…e5):
This is most frequently use against 1.e4. After the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 you can play either 3.Bb5 which is ruy lopez or 3.Bc4 which is Italian opening. Both of these are one of the best chess openings for white.
Sicilian defense (1…c5):
This is most combative way to deal with 1.e4. if you want double edged positions then you can play sicilian defense. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 followed by 3.d4 leads to open sicilian. you need to learn a lot of theory to play open sicilian. if you don’t want to learn a lot of theory then you can play 1.e4 c5 2.c3 which leads to alapin sicilian; again one of the best chess openings for white to deal with the sicilian defense.
French defense (1…e6):
1…e6 is known as French defence. Against it, you can play 3.Nc3 which leads to complicated games or you can play 3.exd5 exchange variation which leads to simpler positions.
Caro-kann defense (1…c6):
1…c6 is known as caro-kann defense. Against this variation, you can play 3.exd5 exd5 4.c4 which leads to Panov botvinnik attack which is one of the best chess openings for white against the caro-kann defense.
Black and play 1…d5 leading to Scandinavian defence or 1…Nf6 leading to Alekhine’s defense. These are not so popular opening at top level because white usually get easy games against these openings.
If you are a beginner and you want to play the best chess openings for white then I suggest either the London system or 1.e4 for you because London system is easy to learn while 1.e4 needs little more preparation; you should keep it in your opening repertoire because you get to learn to play open and tactical positions.
once you are at intermediate or advance level then you can add Queen’s gambit to your opening repertoire also it is one of the best chess openings for white and it will deepen your understanding of the game.