If you are playing chess for fun and looking for some solid openings that are easier to remember. This post is for you. I’m a 1700 rated chess player playing regularly online since 2017. And throughout this journey, there were many long instances, where the rating stopped growing.
If you are rated below me or even above me but curious to know my chess opening preferences, this thread is for you. You can also check my favourite chess content creators here.
My favorite Chess Opening
At the age of 5 when I first learned the rules of chess, I played The Scotch opening in every game with White pieces. At that time I didn’t know what an opening is.
Funnily, this opening is still my favorite with White pieces. And working quite well for me to play against players of my level. Consequently, I’ll put it on top of recommended list in favorite chess openings with white:
Top 5 Recommended Chess openings with White Pieces:
1. Scotch Opening
Scotch is played even in top-level chess and was one of the main repertoires of Grand Master Garry Kasparov. Who many believe is the greatest chess player of all times.
The openings starts with moves 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6 and 3. d4:
From here on there are many lines in Scotch game, but the most famous and main line is the exchange variation, in which everything in the center gets exchanged.
A small advantage in Scotch game can lead to winning positions and it’s a very easy to remember opening in most of it’s lines.
If you want to see the video content in this opening line, do check out the video below from the Saint Luis Chess Club demonstrated by Grand Master Jonathan Schrantz:
But my favorite game featuring Scotch is the one played by Ian Nepomniatchi against Ding Li Ren. You can watch it in a video link below. It’s quite a game.
2. Smith Morra Gambit
Smith Mora gambit starts with 1.e4 c5 2.d4:
A highly effective line against players rated 1500 to 1600 and around because players at this level are greedy to capture any material available to pick. What they won’t understand is while they are capturing pawns, your pieces are getting developed or ready to join attack in almost no time.
One thing you have to remember in this line is that although you are getting early development and space advantage, you can’t play this opening against players 2000 and above whatsoever, because it’s a refuted opening.
You can check out the details of Smith Morra gambit refutation in the video below:
3. The Vienna Game
e4 is the most commonly played 1st move in the game of chess, yet still there are moves like Knight to c3 on move 2, that can be a surprise to most of the players rated 1700 and below.
And if you know your openings, Vienna game is an opening weapon that can destroy many players, if you are going to launch it against under 2000 rated players.
International Master Levy Rozman, recommended this opening several times in his chess content, while demonstrating games with white pieces, and his video given below will give you a great sense of how the Vienna game works:
4. Ruy Lopez
Ruy Lopez in chess is as old as the modern chess itself is. It starts with moves 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bb5:
Although the oldest recorded game in the database is played using the Scandinavian defense, Ruy Lopez is the opening played quite frequently in every era and still is very famous in top level chess.
I’m recommending this opening for the dynamics it beings on the table. A very solid opening, where both parties can easily castle and beat the opponent purely on genuine chess skills.
But if you know the right squares to occupy and know your stronger pieces like the bishop pair in Ruy Lopez, you can outplay the opponent in 1700ish ratings.
Below is a video link, that can help you a lot to build a repertoire using the Ruy Lopez opening:
5. Italian Game
Italian game starts with the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc4 3.Bc4:
Italian opening is slightly different on move 3 from Ruy Lopez, where white moves the bishop from opening position to Bc4 instead of Bb5. But the thing most common between both these openings is that they both lead to very solid lines.
Much like Ruy Lopez, Italian opening is a line that tests your genuine chess skills and will suit you if you are more of a positional chess player.
You can work on this opening starting from the video link given below:
Chess Openings Recommended for 1700 rated players with Black Pieces
Scandinavian Defense is by far my favorite chess opening with black pieces. It begins with the moves e4 and d5.
And has many variations. The one most in fashion is the gubinsky-melts defense variation. A chess variation that is very much liked by Magnus Carlsen and Danil Dubov and they play it often in online chess.
Check out this famous Blitz game of Magnus Carlsen against Vishy Anand featuring the Scandinavian defense gubinsky-melts variation.
There is also another game of Scandinavian where Magnus was absolutely stunned by Brazilian Grandmaster Luis Paulo Supi.
In the end, the Norwegian genius and World Champion could only repeat the word wow several times for being checkmated so cruelly.
Check the game in the video below:
With black pieces, I’m also a big fan of Kings Indian Defense. An opening that I play very often in Bullets.
The thing is, at my level, bullets are almost always a race of beating your opponent on time. And there is no better strategy than to let your opponent grab the center and come up with a plan to checkmate your king.
And if their attack goes wrong, Kings Indian defense is known for ripping the white camp through and through. Not only a disaster in the center but also Kings Indian defense has the potential to give a quick checkmate to the white king.
You just have to take care of when to strike in the center.
**Disclaimer: Don’t play King’s Indian Defense against more advanced players. They know how to hold the center permanently and dig a slow suffocating death for the black king.
Final Verdict on Chess Openings
I believe getting good with openings is only one aspect of becoming better at chess. To be a good player, you have to play a lot of games. I will never recommend picking up all the boring books because that’s the chess of old times. In modern chess, we have players like GM Hikaru Nakamura, who never studied chess formally and he even admitted it in a live stream. Check it out in a video below:
I believe for being a good chess player, aspiring to get out of that 1200 range and go further up, you need to spot the tactics in the middle game. I mean 1200 are not that good even in openings and are very prone to blundering but still, they know their openings to some extent.
Solid openings and tactical awareness can take you to a 2000 rated player. And I’m qualified to say this because I have touched 1850 once. And I have no doubt that with my current knowledge I can reach that level by the end of 2021.
Is 1700 a Good Chess Rating?
I very well know that most of the people who are going to read this post are either 1700 rated players or the ones just below it trying to reach 1700 rating.
If you are already 1700 rated, I’m quite sure you don’t like your rating. Because this is a sort of top of the failure list rating. I mean you can’t finish top 10 in an open amateur tournament with 1700 rating. You will finish just outside the top 10, at least in our local tournaments… Situation can even be worse for a 1700 rated player in countries like US, China, Russia or India. The pool of chess talent there is even more stronger.
But for people who are aspiring to reach 1700, I will advice to make it a milestone and not a goal. The goal should be at least 2000 rating. Because this is where Gambits from opponents start failing, opening traps are caught easily and your overall repertoire is decent enough to go and try to win a local tournament.
Check out these chess strategies for beginners, they can help you get to 2000 rating in online chess.