Best Chess Openings for White: Our Top 5 Surprise Attacks


White chess pieces on a chess board surrounding a black knocked over bishop
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We’d all love to play swashbuckling chess – but it’s not always easy, especially when our opponent sets out to be solid. So if you want to spice up your play, why not try our top five rarely played chess opening moves for White?

 5 Best Chess Openings for White

We’ve collected five of the best attacking lines on Chessable for you to shock your opponents with. The aim of the game here is quick, deadly attacks. And you can learn them all on Chessable.

1. The Boor Attack against the Slav

Now this is my top tip for a rare and extremely aggressive chess opening for White. If you play 1.d4 the Slav is a right pain. It’s a super-solid opening that, played right, is really tough to break down.

Enter the Boor Attack.

Rare chess openings for White: The Boor Attack

This line brought to Chessable by Carl Boor is a beaut for attacking players who want to bring some life into their 1.d4 repertoire. It is very rarely known at club level and, trust me here, if you wing it out against an unsuspecting opponent you will shock them.

Slav players play the Slav because they want slow positional games. Take the attack to them with the Boor Attack.

This move was mentioned by my mentor Dr Hans Berliner in his book The System. I took up the analysis of this move in 2001 when there were practically no games in the databases.

I have had great success with this sharp variation in tournament play. White plans to play e4 and storm the center according to the classical attacking traditions of chess.

FM Carl Boor

Our course recommendation: Crush the Slav with the Boor Attack

2. The Night Attack against the Caro-Kann

Again, the Caro-Kann is considered a super-solid setup for Black, but this time against 1.e4. It’s Black’s attempt to take the sting out of the e4 chess opening for White and nullify the point of it.

Except… there’s the Night Attack. This is a super-sharp line that involves a lovely gambit to get an advanced pawn on e6 which wreaks havoc in Black’s position. Once White gets there, the game is usually up for Black.

The Night Attack

Check out The Night Attack in this course (which also includes the Greco Gambit, the Grand Prix and the St George Attack against the Pirc).

Our course recommendation:My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White

3. The Raphael Variation against The Dutch

The Raphael variation is, without doubt, one of the more uncommon continuations after 1.d4 f5.

The Raphael Variation

The idea behind 2.Nc3, is to fight for the e4 square early on in the game.

White’s goal here is to play e2-e4. After the exchange fxe4 (or possibly exf4), black will have a serious weakness on the light squares around the kingside.

Now White can take advantage and launch a strong king-side attack. If you want to avoid a comfortable closed game against the Dutch and take the attack to Black, this is the way to do it!

Our (free) course recommendation: Destroying the Dutch

4. The Yugoslav Attack against the Dragon

Perhaps not as rare, but then it is difficult to find surprise attacks in the Sicilian defense. Be warned, White’s attack in the Yugoslav comes very, very fast.

This video is from the Lifetime Repertoires: Dragon Sicilian course by GM Anish Giri
The Yugoslav Attack against the Dragon (white opening chess moves)
The starting position of the Yugoslav Attack

The main idea is to castle queenside and start an attack against the black king on the opposite flank. Black has to get counter play at the queenside at all costs otherwise he’s sunk.

Our course recommendation:Crush the Dragon!

5. 3.f3 against the King’s Indian Defense and Grunfeld

Whip this out after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3! and you’ll definitely get a pause in play… Here we have the perfect move as a universal answer to the KID and the Grunfeld. It is not that well known and would throw a lot of players out of their normal repertoires.

white chess opening attack
FM Daniel Barrish’s pet line

As FM Daniel Barrish, the author of our repertoire notes, this variation has been repeatedly used by top players such as Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Kramnik, Grischuk and Nakamura.

Check out FM Barrish’s personal repertoire – this is his main weapon in these lines – and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Our course recommendation: A Master’s Guide to Crushing the King’s Indian and Grunfeld with 3.f3 – Advanced Edition

UPDATE – Best Chess Openings For White, Gambits Edition

We have tons of attacking chess openings for White in our course store but if you’re a beginner, casual or club level player I just want to point you towards our Vincent Moret course.

If attacking chess is what you’re after then My First Chess Opening Repertoire for White is a great starter kit.

It includes the Night Attack, but also the King’s Indian Attack against the French, the St George Attack against the Pirc.

In short it is a full repertoire of fun and attacking lines. Check it out!

Highlighted course

Lifetime Repertoires: Wesley So's 1. e4 - Part 1

Highlighted course

Lifetime Repertoires: Wesley So's 1. e4 - Part 2

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Check them on individual course pages