The opening game of Chess is an area of intense study for serious players. Though some say that beginners focus too much on openings, there’s a lot of strategic potential in those first few moves.

With access to a large database of tournament Chess games going back to 1850, Randy Olson, a PhD candidate in the Computer Science program of Michigan State University, decided to make his own study of opening games. What he focused on wasn’t the success of various moves but rather trends over time. His results are fascinating, illustrating the history of Chess strategies.

History of White Opening Moves

History of Black First Moves

[via io9]