Scrabble Openings and First Moves: Setting the Stage for Victory

In the world of Scrabble, the opening move isn’t just the first step in a game; it’s a strategic overture that can set the tone for the entire match. A well-planned and executed opening can give you a significant advantage and pave the way for victory. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of Scrabble openings and first moves and provide strategies for making the best opening plays.

The Significance of the First Move

The first move in Scrabble is like the opening move in a chess game. It establishes your position on the board and can have a profound impact on the course of the game. Here are a few reasons why the first move is so important:

1. Control of the Board: The first move grants you control over the central star square. This square, also known as the “hotspot,” provides double word score bonuses, making it a coveted location for high-scoring plays.

2. Tile Placement: Your first move dictates the initial tile placement on the board, setting the stage for future plays. It’s an opportunity to create openings and close off key areas, influencing the board’s layout.

3. Initial Word Score: The first word you play can be a significant point earner. Maximizing points right from the start can put pressure on your opponent and give you an early lead.

4. Premium Squares: Your opening move can capitalize on premium squares, such as Double Letter Score and Triple Letter Score, which can significantly boost your score.

Strategies for the Best Opening Plays

Now that we’ve established the importance of the first move, let’s explore some strategies to make the best opening plays in Scrabble:

1. Control the Center

Controlling the center of the board is a key objective in the opening move. Your first play should ideally cover the central star square, earning you double word score points. Placing a high-scoring letter, like “J,” “X,” or “Z,” on this square is an effective way to kickstart your game.

2. Go for a Seven-Letter Word (Bingo)

If you have the opportunity to create a seven-letter word (a bingo), it’s a game-changer. A bingo earns you a 50-point bonus in addition to the word’s score. Look for openings to create bingos in your opening move, using all seven tiles from your rack. A well-executed bingo can set the bar high for your opponent.

3. Capitalize on Premium Squares

Make the most of premium squares on the board. Placing high-value letters on Double Letter Score or Triple Letter Score squares can significantly boost your score. Additionally, consider opening up opportunities for future high-scoring plays by positioning your tiles near these premium squares.

4. Create Parallel Plays

Parallel plays involve adding tiles to existing words on the board while forming new words. In the opening move, seek opportunities to create parallel plays. By extending words already on the board, you not only earn points for your move but also open up possibilities for future turns.

5. Keep a Balanced Rack

Maintaining a balanced rack is crucial for making effective opening plays. Ensure you have a mix of vowels and consonants to provide flexibility in creating words on your first move. A well-balanced rack gives you more options for scoring and influencing the board.

6. Plan for Future Moves

While focusing on your opening move, think ahead. Consider how your play will impact future moves and the overall board dynamics. Creating openings for future plays or closing off spaces that your opponent can use strategically can be a key part of your opening strategy.

7. Play Defensively

While offensive plays are essential, don’t forget to play defensively as well. Anticipate how your opening move might set up your opponent for high-scoring plays and block their access to premium squares if possible.

8. Familiarize Yourself with Opening Words

One of the best ways to improve your opening moves is to familiarize yourself with a list of high-probability opening words. These are short, high-scoring words that can be played with common letter combinations. Having a repertoire of opening words can give you an edge from the start.


In Scrabble, the opening move is a pivotal moment that can shape the entire game. It’s a chance to control the board, maximize points, and set the stage for victory. By employing strategic tactics like controlling the center, creating bingos, capitalizing on premium squares, and maintaining a balanced rack, you can make the best opening plays in Scrabble. With practice and a well-thought-out opening strategy, you’ll increase your chances of emerging victorious in the world of words and strategy. So, set the stage with a masterful opening move and enjoy the exhilarating challenge of Scrabble. Happy playing!

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