Sports & Games

Openings - Part 1

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 13:48 min

Garry played e4 as a child prodigy and stuck with that move as the under-18 chess champion of the USSR and under-20 champion of the world. Learn when and how he grew his repertoire.

Garry Kasparov
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And now, after we learned about a few tactical patterns in the middlegame, about some of the key motifs and positions in the endgames, talked about some general things in chess strategy, it's time to talk about the openings-- chess openings. But if you do expect me to share some secrets that will make you better players, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you. There are no big secrets to be revealed. I'll share my knowledge and you tell me whether it was helpful or not. I believe it will help you to understand better who you are and to improve your choice of the openings. There is no room, there is no time to talk about all the openings. Now, with millions and millions of games in the databases, you can do all this work by collecting games, looking at the games, analyzing the games. And every chess engine can offer you better advice, in certain positions, than Garry Kasparov or any other strong player. Where I can be helpful is to go through my own journey-- how I chose certain openings when I was a kid, a decent player, a strong player, a world champion, and so on. And we'll talk about general ideas behind the openings. Because at the end of the day, in the endgame, you have to follow certain patterns. There are rules. You know that you cannot move right or left, you have to go straight forward, stay in the center. In the openings, it's very much about your character. It's about your own preferences, tastes. That's why certain people play e4, many players play d4, some play c4, Nf3, b3, g3. Some of them-- often, strong players-- make all the moves, depending on the character, depending on the mettle of the opponent. Because you want to play an opening where you feel comfortable, but you also have to make sure that you can create most problems for your opponent. But before you go that far, you should think about your own choices. I started playing e4. And the reason why I played e4, playing six-year-olds, seven-year-olds, eight-year-olds, one of my first books that I read was David Bronstein's 200 Open Games. And open games-- e4. And then you have-- after e5, you have all sorts of gambits. Of course, King's Gambit. And then you can do Nc3, and then Vienna Gambit, and then you can play the Bishop's Opening-- Bc4. All sorts of gambits, open games. And of course, then classical Ruy Lopez. So this was Bb5. But then, of course, Bc4. And then Evans Gambit-- which, by the way, I played, as the world champion, quite successfully, quite a few times against players as strong as Vishy Anand. And I would say it's a natural choice for most of the young players. Because when you're young, you want to play something sharp, something interesting, something exciting. You are not afraid of sacrificing some material. But some players are not happy, even at an early age, to do that. They can play d4. They can even play c4, which, I think, is not as useful at an earl...

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At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I love to sacrifice pieces. This opens up a lot more of that. Loved it.

it was phenomenal Asa a 118 graded player at 11, i found it really helpful and inspiring.

This is the first masterclass of the 3 I’ve taken that I really loved. The theory combined with the excercises and examples and Garry’s stories are fun, interesting and ultimately do help to improve your game. Great class and a huge thank you to mr. Kasparov.

Kasparov is excellent. An experienced world champion. A legendary GM


A fellow student

Outstanding lessons , Although I would like for Mr. Kasparov to flip the board when he speaks about using black. I often do get confused on which color he mentions playing on in his ole' days.

Rob B.

Great lesson, however, an additional graphic titling the name of the opening that Garry is discussing - placed over the chess board - would be most helpful as the new chess player isn't familiar with the opening names (and given Garry's slight accent, hearing the pronunciation of the name is difficult). Even better would be a link to Wikipedia to that opening...

Thomas M.

I've used the Scicilian Dragon quite a few times, and for white i've just started using the Stonewall Variation of Queens Pawn Opening.

josh S.

What was his favorite open, i can.t seem to know it, he say;s it so fast. as a young player, he only played it.. anyone no??

Mike X.

I believed the saying that opening was on characterized. I still remember the chess game with my kid, who was 5 years old and just introduced to chess with some general rules, that I started with e4, and then I jumped out the table for his response and asked who taught you this, and replies was no one. He just responded with knight c6, not only defending the pawn advance, but paving the way for development and controlling the central. Though the response may not strange to experienced player, but as it for kid I was still wondering why so.

Karl S.

Why is he still upset about his defeat against Deep blue? The computer doesn't care, so why should he?

Erik B.

And for all you Sicilian dragon aficionados, check out these two games between Anand and Kasparov. (check out the finishing move!)

Erik B.

Here is the game between Kasparov and Anand featuring the Evangs gambit as was mentioned in the video. Quite interesing

David B.

So white chooses opening, but black chooses the defense , rocking back and forth, so it's a competitive / co-operative play that generates the actual opening. I'd like to here more on the principles and what wise choices are in this rocking back and forth. How does one detect mistakes in the opening and exploit them? Avoid mistakes? - for an advanced beginner I found Chess Openings for Dummies to be helpful, yet have not found a overall satisfactory source that leaves me with a sense of understanding. John Watson's 4 volume work is on my list, yet beyond me at this point. Is it more a matter of playing to get a feel for these opening dynamics?

Eric S.

It just makes a lot of sense that there would be different openings and lines to fit each individual chess character. One must know who they are though for a good repertoire.