The Ware Opening is an unusual chess opening, beginning with the rather absurd move of 1. a4


Ware Opening

Rather than occupying the center, white moves a flank pawn which doesn’t open up any lines of development! This move is considered quite bad, and the Ware Opening is never seen in professional chess.


Needless to say, I’d never recommend playing the Ware Opening with white. This move doesn’t control any valuable central squares, and allows black to take the center with 1…d5 or 1…e5.

The Ware Opening also doesn’t open up any lines of piece development. You could argue that the room on a4 benefits, but of course this rook will not come to a3 (1…e5 2. Ra3?? Bxa3 is already winning for black!)

Because of this, we’ll focus on combating this rare opening with the black pieces

Playing against the Ware Opening

If someone plays the Ware Opening or any other offbeat opening line against you, you need to keep your cool!

Don’t get flustered and start panicking because you won’t be able to use your opening preparation. White has just gifted you the center, so it’s time to capitalize on it!

After 1. a4 e5:

Ware Opening e5

White’s best bet may be to come to their senses and grab the center with 2. e4, but now the game becomes a King’s Pawn Opening where the strange a4 pawn sticks out like a sore thumb.

What else can white do? Continuing to dawdle will allow black to take the full center with 2…d5, when black would already be clearly better.

Some players may try to play 2. a5?!, but this is of course nothing to fear. Take the center, play on principles, and you will be ok.


There’s no sense in doing any kind of elaborate preparation against the Ware Opening. It’s simple too rare, and self-evidently a bad move!

If you see this move, be ready to play a principled opening. Get your pieces into the game, control the center, and castle early, and black could easily obtain an advantage.

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