Chess Game Types: Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

Chess Game Types

Jump to:
Open Game | Closed Game

[ A Quick Comparison ]

As a Game of Chess develops, during the Opening phase, you'll be faced with one of TWO distinct types of situations ...

Chess Game Types - Graphic

Both types need a slight tactical shift in your short-term plans, in order to give you the best chance of taking an advantage into the Middlegame phase.

The two situations we're talking about are:

  1. Open Games
  2. Closed Games

Chess Game Types 1
- Open Game -

An Open Game is defined by lots of space, in the middle of the Board, for the pieces to move around more freely.

If you imagine a real life battle, played out across vast stretches of open territory - such as on a large expanse of grassland - you can appreciate that the best weapons to have will be those that allow you fight effectively from a distance, where it's relatively safer to engage the enemy ...

Missiles are the ideal weapon, here! But, Chess doesn't have missiles, as such ... Instead, the (Open) game has Bishops!

Bishops are better suited to Open Games. The reason for this is they're able to work - guard and patrol - their long diagonals ...

Chess Game Types - Open Game

They can threaten the enemy from the relative safety of their own half of the Board and, should they find themselves in danger, in the enemy's half, the Bishops can quickly nip back down, along their diagonals and live to fight elsewhere.

In an Open Game situation, Knights are less influential on the Board, than Bishops ...

While a Knight takes 3-4 turns to cross from one side of the Board to the other; a Bishop, if its diagonal is totally clear, can sit at one end of the Board and threaten to capture any foe that steps into its line of sight - even at the furthest square away!

If you are in an Open Game situation - or recognize one developing; should it come to an exchange of pieces, your tactical plan will be to capture your opponent's Bishop(s), while at the same time, offloading your, now, less-influential Knight(s).

« Back to the Chess Glossary (Open Game)

Jump to one of the two Chess Game Types:
Open Game | Closed Game

[ A Quick Comparison ]

Chess Game Types 2
- Closed Game -

A Closed Game is defined by a lack of space, in the middle of the Board - the positioning of both armies is more claustrophobic, in nature.

Where the Open Game was likened to fighting on a large, open battlefield; Closed Games are more like wars fought in built-up, urban environments, where it's not possible to steamroller your way through and, instead, you need to be more agile, at close-quarters.

The Knight is a Chess player's answer to urban warfare ...

When your opponent closes off access routes and erects pickets (the Pawns stuck facing one another), such as the case is, on the Kingside of the Board (see video clip, above), it's your Knights that will find a way to pass into enemy territory, from where they can attack those dissident foot-soldiers from behind.

Note: Yes, White's Bishop CAN get into Black's territory, through that gaping hole on the Queenside, but it can't do much damage, with Black's current defensive setup; especially, once Black gets to further protect that side position ...

So, in effect, White's Bishop is currently a passive piece, contained safely within its own half and the same goes for Black's Bishop, too.

Both players will need an alternative option, to get at their enemy!

Knights are the better option; they're much more suited to Closed Games. With their ability to jump over obstacles - other pieces, that is - a Knight isn't hampered by Pawns and other pieces blocking the diagonals.

Chess Game Types - Closed Game

Where the Bishops can become totally useless, in effect, by a Closed Game situation; the Knights take full advantage of their unique L-shape pattern of movement and, allied to their jumping credentials, they are able to hurdle any blockages and set about clearing paths for their own side to attack through.

So, should you recognize a Closed Game situation developing - or if you're stuck right in the middle of one - IF YOU CANNOT UNBLOCK THE CONGESTION, by other means, then you should prepare to sacrifice either one or, if it's really dire, both of your Bishops ...

When attempting to offload your Bishop(s), due to a Closed Game situation, your best tactic is to kill them off in exchange for your opponent's Knight(s) - that way, your Knights give you the advantage; while your opponent's Bishop(s) will, if all goes to plan, be severely restricted to their blocked diagonal paths.

« Back to the Chess Glossary (Closed Game)

Jump to one of the two Chess Game Types:
Open Game | Closed Game

[ A Quick Comparison ]

A Quick Comparison
- Open vs. Closed -

If you've read the accounts of the two Chess Game Types, above, about both Open Games and Closed Game situations, you should be clearer about your options, as to how best to deal with the respective predicaments.

What we've got here, below, is a short video clip, which rotates between the two situations, so you can compare both from a single clip, rather than scrolling up and down the page to try and sort your mental images, for future recall ...

Oh and, before moving on to the next subject matter (in our Beginners Chess Guide), this is a cracking video that explains the difference between the two types - Open Game vs Closed Game.

Credit where it's due ... Kevin, of His website's fully endorsed by this one - there, you'll find other excellent videos that complement what you're learning here (, which is why we're pleased to recommend what Kevin's doing.

Jump to one of the two Chess Game Types:
Open Game | Closed Game

[ A Quick Comparison ]

From this guide about Chess Game Types,
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