The Colorful World of Chess Openings

What better way to start a Chess game but with a meme


Source: Eugene Chystiakov

A chess set laid out in the streets of Kyiv

By: Christopher Yang, Journalist


In the game of Chess, openings serve as the beginning of a game and a display of knowledge and experience. There have been a variety of chess openings developed over the years, all studied and played with millions of games displaying each. While some are indeed better than others, the term “different, but equal” is a fitting term for the vast selection of openings. There are 1327 named openings in the world of Chess, and any one of them can be achieved. In my opinion, Chess openings can be classified into three categories, a standard opening, a gambit opening, and a joke opening (the most favored and worst of the three).


The first official chess opening was the Ponziani which was first described in Chess literature by Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani as early as 1497. The artistic nature of Chess carried over into the medieval ages and set itself in stone as a way to express one’s emotions and display intelligence/social status. Multiple artworks and pieces were dedicated towards the representation of Chess through the 12th and 15th century. It was only in the heat of the Cold War did the professionalism of Chess truly emerge. The two superpowers at the time, Russia and US, were in the race to develop Chess masterminds, with the USSR emerging as the victor with their champion, Garry Kasparov.

Standardized Openings:

The most commonly played openings are the ones under the standard category, those that have been studied for centuries upon end. Professionally and casually, all openings are based on “theory.” Theory is the thought process that every chess player uses, essentially, the players predict each other’s moves and play their own moves in anticipation. For the purpose of openings, theory is utilized to create an opening that gives a player an advantage or suits their specific style of play. In statistics, the most common opening is the Sicilian Defense: Open Variation, having been played in nearly 150,000 games.

Gambit Openings:

Gambits are a direct translation from gambles, where you sacrifice pieces and material for an advantage over your opponent. As the name suggests, gambit’s are extremely risky and are only ever useable when your opponent doesn’t respond to the opening moves correctly. However, from the words of world-champion Garry Kasparov: “I don’t think gambits are just offering you an advantage against the world.” As such, you would likely never see the use of a gambit in a professional match nor a casual one too.

Meme Openings:

These openings are so stupefying that if you were to win with one, it would be a direct insult to your opponent and cause them to immediately realize the vast . The idea of theory is nonexistent when using these openings and the most favored upon this category is the King’s Pawn Opening: The Bongcloud Variation. Surprisingly enough, there have been instances where even professional players utilize these openings.

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