All experts have concluded that in any chess game, White has the advantage due to the first move. While we’re not going to discuss that, we’re going to see whether or not playing white will give you a better chance of winning.
At the higher levels of this game, where you’re up against grandmasters, white is an overwhelming advantage. Achieving a draw in a game when playing black is actually considered a win and winning a game is a big surprise. But what about people who are not at that level yet? Does the same advantage exist? Well, it all depends on the style of game you play. Some people may feel more comfortable playing black.
For the person who enjoys being on the attack and keeping their opponent on their toes, white is the obvious choice. With the powerful queens pawn openings available to him, he can launch an attack that will continually keep Black on his toes. And that’s actually the main advantage of playing white, not so much that you have the first move, but that you have the option of choosing which first move to play. You can dictate the way the game will play out and control it to your liking.
For example, let’s say you know your opponent likes to play the Sicilian Defense in his P-K4 opening. Knowing this, you can start with P-Q4 and prevent him from playing your favorite defensive opening. This will force you to choose your second favorite response or even your third favorite response to your opening move. This is literally putting Black on the defensive.
However, the players playing black can also, in a sense, dictate the style of play. If White starts with P-K4, there are a number of answers that Black has to his liking. If you have studied the games of the person playing White, or played against him many times before, you will have a good idea of where he likes to take his game.
For example. Let’s say White enjoys starting with P-K4 in the hope that Black will play his Sicilian response P-QB4. Black can surprise White, knowing that he actually enjoys playing against the Sicilian defense and responds with P-K4 instead. Now White has to rethink his game plan on the spot and cannot afford to take a long time to do this, as most games are played on a clock that gives each player so many minutes to do 40 moves.
Obviously, the above is all very simplified. Chess is much more complex than just the first few moves of a game. But the truth is, it’s those first few moves that dictate how the rest of the game will play out. Yes, there are some openings that can actually have the same end result. But most openings will take you to completely different middle games depending on which one is played.