‘A player of average strength asked us how to avoid traps in the opening. We gave him four rules:
- Move nothing beyond the fourth/fifth rank till all your pieces are developed (except a pawn, if it hits a piece or takes something).
- When Black, develop your f8 bishop at e7.
- Avoid h3/h6 or a3/a6 unless it hits a piece.
- Castle as early as possible (first making sure the enemy hasn’t a quick mating attack starting with Bxh2+/Bxh7+).
. . . Once your development is completed, forget the rules. No rules will enable you to beat a better player. But they can show you how to avoid trouble in the early stages.’