24th Sep 2022

What is ChessOpenings.co.uk?

ChessOpenings.co.uk was a project I started in 2021 with the aim of creating a free website where users could learn Chess openings such as The Italian Game or The Queen's Gambit. This was motivated by my desire to learn more Chess opening theory but I could not find a place to easily learn all the different variations, or practise them easily enough so that they could become muscle memory. The intention of this site was to fill that gap.

The site has been developed through many iterations and has slowly grown in both functionality and content. At the point of writing this article, the site has over 100+ openings and traps to learn and train, and over 12,000 page views. It is also what led to the development of my react-chessboard and react-chessboard-svg npm packages.

How does it work?

The core concept of the site is crowd sourcing openings. For example, I knew some opening theory for The Italian Game so I added those opening variations to the site myself. However other users knew theory about other openings and used the contribution tooling on the site to submit opening variations to be added to the site.

Once submitted, a Discord webhook is fired to notify me of a submission. I can then review the submission and check it against a chess engine to verify it; leave any comments; and then accept or close the submission. Once accepted it will immediately be live for other users to learn.

Tech used


Core features


Here users select the opening they want to learn and are taken to a page displaying the board they will learn on, along with a list of all the variations stored for that opening. The users can then select an opening variation which will reveal the moves for that variation along with a short description. The users can play though the variation on the board with the computer playing the opposing colour's moves. Squares will be highlighted to help you learn what moves to make, though this can be turned off to challenge yourself more whilst learning.

chess openings learn

The point of this section is to make it easy to learn specific theory moves, over and over, as either the black or white pieces, in order to make it easier to remember the opening theory. When a user feels confident that they have learned a variation, they can then test their knowledge in the train section of the site.


Here users search for and select openings they want to test their knowledge on. Once they have selected the variations to test, it will start automatically cycling through the openings and the user must make the moves against the computer correctly based on the opening variation shown. No hints will be shown to the user, they must rely on their memory and what they learnt in the learn section of the site.


This section is very similar to the learn section of the site, except instead of learning computer backed theory, they are learning opening traps. This is where one side tries to trick the other into making a mistake and then capitalises on it to gain a winning position.

chess openings traps

Additional features and future plans

User accounts and achievements

User accounts were added so that users can log in and track their progress as they learn more openings and variations. By tracking this information it enabled me to set up a progress system where users can see how well they know each opening. I also gamified it by adding different levels of progress so that users can work their way up the leagues.

chess openings stats

Light and dark theme

Themes were added that default to the user's system preferences so that the user can better customise the site to their preference. This also opened up the possibility for adding more customisation in the future.

Plans for the future

There is a massive scope for this project with so much potential to do a lot with it. There's a chance it could be monetised in the future if a big push was done for it but it would requite a lot for features to be added before considering it properly.

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