World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Open file

Article Id: WHEBN0003277413
Reproduction Date:

Title: Open file  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chess strategy, Half-open file, Isolated pawn, Chess middlegame, Rook (chess)
Collection: Chess Strategy, Chess Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Open file

a b c d e f g h
e8 black cross
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
e7 black cross
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
e6 black cross
d5 black pawn
e5 black cross
e4 black cross
c3 white pawn
e3 black cross
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 black cross
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
e1 white rook
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
The rook on the e-file (marked with crosses) is on an open file since there are no pawns on it. The rook can move to any square on the file, uninhibited by pawns.

An open file in chess is a file with no pawns of either color on it.[1] In the diagram, the e-file is an open file. An open file can provide a line of attack for a rook or queen. Having rook(s) and/or queen(s) on open files or half-open files is considered advantageous, as it allows a player to attack more easily, since a rook or queen can move down the file to penetrate the opponent's position.


  • Strategic advantage 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5

Strategic advantage

A common strategic objective for a rook or queen on an open file is to reach its seventh or eighth rank (or for Black, its second or first rank). Controlling the seventh rank (or second rank for Black) is generally worth at least a pawn, as most of the opponent's pawns will usually reside there. Aron Nimzowitsch first recognized the power of a major piece on an open file, writing in his famous book My System that the main objective of a rook or queen on an open file is "the eventual occupation of the 7th or 8th rank."[2]

Many games are decided based on this strategy. In the game AnandIvanchuk, Amber 2001,[3] Anand sacrificed a pawn to open the d-file. White then used the open file to deploy his rooks to the seventh and eighth ranks and win the game, by exploiting the weakness of Black's a-pawn. White's dominance on the d-file allowed him to maneuver his rooks to aggressive posts deep within Black's defense.

See also


  1. ^ According to Nimzowitsch, "A file is said to be open for the Rook when no pawn of his [own color] is in it." Elsewhere, "From the definition of an open file, it follows that a file will be opened by the disappearance of one of our own pawns." This defines what others call a half open file.
  2. ^ My System, Aron Nimzowitsch
  3. ^ Anand vs Ivanchuk



Further reading

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.