Beginners Chess Opening TIER LIST with Hikaru and Levy | Part 1

GM Hikaru Nakamura and IM Levy Rozman use @tiermaker to rank chess openings from the point of view of a beginner (800-1300). (We will rank openings for club level players later)

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0:00 Intro
1:00 Accelerated Dragon
2:29 Advanced Caro-Kann
4:22 Nc3 g4 Ng2 var
4:30 Regular var
5:45 Advanced French
7:45 Alapin Sicilian
9:10 Alekhine’s Defense
10:26 Benko Gambit
11:35 Benoni
13:21 Berlin Defense
16:20 Bird’s Opening
16:55 Fool’s Mate Kindergarten Nationals Story
19:03 BongCloud
20:07 Budapest Gambit
21:13 Caro-Kann
23:13 Catalan
24:51 Closed Sicilian
26:28 Danish Gambit
30:04 Dragdorf
31:45 Dutch Defense
34:39 English
37:03 Englund Gambit
39:28 Evan’s Gambit

#gmhikaru #chess #gothamchess


  1. Thanks, now I know where to start I think xD 👍

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  3. Funny, Benoni isn’t great as a beginner but the old Benoni actually is excellent because no one has any idea how to play against it. Sub 1050 I played it against d4 and it just blows people off the board.

  4. i am a 600 rated rapid player and against d4 the dutch is my go to opening ive always loved it on aim chess it says my win rate is 73% with 10% draw. beginners learn your dutch!

  5. ‘Are you really gonna play Rb4 b4 b5’ me when I was at 800 thinking about this

  6. Levi: should we teach them how to defend it?

    Hikaru: Of course not

    Me: ….unsubscribe 🤣

  7. Btw be careful with that Catalan flag. That one (with a star) is the flag of Catalan Independence movement. Not the official flag of Catalonia.

  8. Bongcloud is garbage but I'll play it for the sake of the meme in friendly matches. As a beginner it's too risky and meme to be used for people at my level.

  9. I would rate the content as legit and the chat as legendary

  10. POV: they played chess without playing chess, while ranking chess.

  11. Kinda wish they went through these moves a bit more of a breakdown seeing it says for beginner in the title. I understand it all, but am not familiar enough for any of it to stick.

  12. lmao who plays From's Gambit like that he should have just played Nf3 after Be7.

  13. Seems more useful to discuss the openings in a more logical order instead of alphabetically. Go by family or similarity, popularity. eg.1 e4 and most frequently black reponses in order and such.

  14. Levy is not going to like any opening for beginners! 😄

  15. Anyone else find their entire soul crushed when Levy said anyone under 1200 is a beginner ….

  16. Dude thinks more about moves on the list, than those on the board.

  17. Repent, repent, for the kingdom of heaven Is near! Seek Jesus Christ while there's still time! For Christ died on the cross for our sins, and by believing in Jesus Christ, you will be saved! It is also stated by Jesus Christ in Matthew 7:1, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." By believing in the gospel of Christ, you can be forgiven for your sins and start a new life!!!

  18. Levi, now I see why you can't get stronger than 2300, even though you've essentially dedicated your life to chess. For starters, little fella, 1.f4 is perfectly fine. After 1…d5 it's a Dutch Defense with an extra tempo. Unless you can demonstrate that somehow White is in zugzwang, the extra move can only be an improvement. And Grandmasters, you know, people who actually have some ability at chess, unlike yourself, still regularly play the Dutch Defense to this day. So this move is an improvement over an opening that Grandmasters play to this day. And in fact many GM's, including Carlsen and Kasparov, occasionally play 1.f4 proper. Yet somehow an annoying little dwarf who has to beg people to get on their podcasts, with a paltry 2300 rating, knows better than Grandmasters. Every other reply by Black is even better for White. 1…e5 2.fxe5 is a very healthy +/= at a minimum. Only a student of yours would misplay an opening so badly as to allow a scholar's mate.

  19. The truth is, anyone of reasonable intelligence can get well over 1800 with nothing other than decent tactics. You don't even need to start looking at openings until you are over 2000. The games at the lower rating levels are not won in the opening or the endgame. They go back and forth as a result of one tactical blunder after another.

  20. I've literally just started studying chess yesterday and it's so wild to me that chess is 'this is really great but only if your opponent does a very, very specific set of moves otherwise it's garbage'

  21. I just watched a vid of Levy saying the English opening is really good, now he’s saying it’s really bro 🙇‍♂️🙇‍♂️

  22. “You can let them through”.

    Guy is living in a real life rook tower surrounded by pawns.

  23. My favorite opening is "really bro"

    No, I will not explain lol

  24. If I was Levy I would be intimidated by Hikaru and I think he was

  25. I don’t see the Botez Gambit? That’s I’m my repertoire!!

  26. Just chiming in that, as a 2200, I basically only play Alekhine's Defence (whenever responding to e4 – which is most black games) and The Whale variation of The English (c4 – the usual response is e5 – then e4).

    Alekhine is weird in that while it isn't a particularly good opening because I have played SO MUCH of it, I can often just bop people out of events. It's one of those opening where you need to run it down against an engine over and over and over to learn the proper lines because normal people just don't encounter it. Like, I played a 2500 recently (younger guy, like 23 or so) who didn't even know it existed. After 6 moves he stopped for about 15s in our bullet game to think about how he ended up in a losing position.

    The Whale is just because I'm not a nice person. It is very, very good at creating closed positions, and most people don't like playing closed positions or expect white to go for that route. I, however, enjoy watching people squirm because they feel like they've run out of options. It makes me feel like an avatar of The Buried, from The Magnus Archives.

  27. Thank you! As an advanced beginner, it really helped me!

  28. So I just started playing again and every time I start I literally forget everything you thought us and just play by heart…I need help

  29. I looked up "Bird's Opening", this was the first result and within 5 seconds of the video all of my dreams of learning this opening were crushed.


    (this list isn’t illustrative of GothamChess’ [Levy’s] full recommendations, to see his recommendations in-depth. Search for his “Favorite Openings by Rating” video and “Top 8 Best Openings” for more in-depth repertoire building resources)

    + Legendary Openings =

    39:28 – (White) Giuoco Piano Game: Evans Gambit
    5:45 – (White) Advanced French
    21:13 – (Black) Caro-Kann Defence
    26:28 – (White) Center Game Accepted: Danish Gambit

    + Unbreakable Openings =

    4:22 – (White) Advanced Caro-Kann (Nc3 + g4 + Nge2)

    + Legit Openings =

    24:51 – (White) Closed Sicillian
    34:39 – (Black) Englund Gambit
    7:45 – (Black) Sicillian Defence, Alapin Variation
    31:45 – (Black) Dutch Defence


    + "Really, bro" Openings =

    34:39 – (White) English
    23:13 – (White) Catalan
    1:00 – (Black) Sicillian Defence, Accelerated Dragon Variation
    13:21 – (Black) Ruy López Opening: Berlin Defence
    30:04 – (Black) Sicillian Defence, Dragdorf Variation
    [Najdorf + Dragon Variations]

    + "Tricks Only" Openings =

    20:07 – (Black) Budapest Gambit
    11:35 – (Black) Benoni Defense: Modern Variation

    + "Garbage" Openings =

    4:30 – (White) Caro-Kann Defence, Advance Variation (Regular)
    10:26 – (Black) Benko's Gambit
    2:29 – (Black) Caro-Kann Defence, Advance Variation (h4)
    9:10 – (Black) Alekhine's Defence
    16:20 – (White) Bird's Opening
    19:03 – (White) King's Pawn Opening: The Bongcloud

  31. I always love the background music on Hikaru's channel. It's super chill.

  32. u know i play on lichess im 1100 there and this will help me so much tbh I will keep u updated how my rating goes up after I learn these openings

  33. Why did you put bongclould in garbage?! I thinks it's the best opening

  34. Horrible video, you guys move around way too fast and a good portion of the gifs are unreadable

  35. As a beginner, I didn't see my openings here. I play the following:

    Black: Dragon Sicilian / King's Indian

    White: London System / King's Indian reversed

    Are these considered good or bad?

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