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ChessOps - Principles of DEVELOPMENT

There are many types of opening, but most obey the fundamental rule of developing the pieces from the back rank as soon as possible. To develop means "to bring one's pieces into play during the opening phase" (The Oxford Companion To Chess). The method and general order of development is as follows:
  1. Advance a pawn so as to give your pieces lines on which to develop. More
  2. Develop the minor pieces next - but bring out the knights before the bishops. More
  3. Castle, usually on the king's side of the board. It puts the king in a safer position and is the first step in rook development. More
  4. Finally, adjust the major pieces - centralise the rooks and improve the position of the queen. More

Also, never bring out the queen too early in the game, and do not move a piece twice early in the opening (losing a tempo) unless you really have no other choice. And finally, remember the strategy that he who controls the centre commands the game!

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