Prospect opened the 2012-2013 season yesterday with a 44.5-23.5 victory over Rolling Meadows
Our fifth board asked me to comment on his opening play so I'll start with some basic opening principles. The three main goals in the opening are (1) activating forces, i.e., development, (2) controlling the center, and (3) finding a safe place for the king, usually by castling. As important as it is for a player to achieve these goals, he should never forget that his opponent has the exact same goals and he should always be on the lookout for moves that hinder his opponent in achieving his goals.
The game began 1.e4 d5.
This is known as the Scandanavian Defense. It is not terribly popular among masters, but it is a sound response to 1.e4. White then played 2.Nc3?!.
Although White has moved two knights and Black has only moved one, I would assess Black's development as better at this point because he has good spots immediately available for all his minor pieces whereas neither of White's bishops can move yet. The point to remember is that a move that achieves an opening goal may be good, but one that achieves that goal while hindering the opposition from achieving his goal is even better. A move that doesn't achieve any opening goals may even be good if it forces the opposition to use several moves to achieve his.
Instead of 2...d4!, Black played 2...Nf6?!, which suffers the same drawbacks as 2.Nc3.
However, White did not take advantage of the opportunity to gain time and space with 3.e5 and instead played. 3.Bd3?
The players are equally developed and have about the same control of the center but Black has the two bishops in an open position which is a slight advantage. Instead, the game went 3...e5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.0-0 Bc5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Be4 Be6.
At this point, I would call the position fairly even. Black has followed sound opening principles in his development, but he has neglected the opportunity to hinder his opponent's pursuit of his opening goals.