Being a true champion at chess requires loads of practice complemented by lots of learning, however seeking out some smart moves never did anybody any harm. I will be covering here some basic chess tips and techniques that can help you master this game quickly.
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- Evan Rabin, The National Chess Master Loves It When You Email Him.
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LEARNING THE MOVES
For starters, it is vital to know the moves each chess piece can make, for each one has its unique move. A pawn, for example, moves forward in the vertical direction, one square at a time, except for the first move, where you have the option of moving it two squares.
However, if you want to take another piece using a pawn, it attacks only across and that too only one square.
The bishops also move across the board, but don’t have the restrictions of a pawn and can move any number of squares backwards and forward.
A knight’s moves can be best described as L-shaped and you can make it really tricky for your opponent if you master this chess piece. The rook can also move backward and forward, but only in straight lines. Then the queen, the most desirable piece in the chess board, can move in any direction and any number of squares. The king can also move in any direction, but only one square at a time, as if watching each of his steps.
The opening of the game is very important, as it lays out the strategy for the first part of your game. I usually go with the pawn in front of either the king or the queen, as this clears the way for the queen or the bishop most importantly, since they only move across and need the pawns out of their way.
BRING IN THE BISHOPS AND KNIGHTS
Before touching the queen, king or the rook, a wise move would be to get the knights and the bishops in the center of the game.
They can be helpful in building up the attack, so need to be freed of the pawns in front of them.
WATCH YOUR OPPONENT!
Learning your opponent’s strategy can be the key to winning the game, or even saving your piece or two for that matter. Always consider your opponent’s last move before making your next one. Critically analyze it and test your vulnerabilities.
Check if there is a trap in place or a piece in danger. In fact, move a sweeping gaze over the board and then consider your possibilities. Keep a sharp look out for your opponent’s unprotected pieces, however, it is equally important to double check your own move before making it, so that it does not leave you unprotected or puts a critical piece in danger.
REFRAIN FROM IRRELEVANT MOVES
Moving the pawns too much is only wasting your time and moves.
Focus on the main game plan. Similarly attacking the opponent’s pawns may not be the best strategy either, as they may have been made vulnerable deliberately to get them out of the way and clear the path for a rook maybe or the queen.
GUARD THE KING: Very Important Chess Tip!
“Castling” not only provides safety to your king, but also gives your rook the chance to easily enter the game. This happens once the knight and the bishop are out of their squares. The King is moved two squares towards the rook while the rook is positioned to the king’s other side.
This is the only move in chess where more than one piece is displaced, and neglecting to castle can cause a continuous launch of attacks on the king, finally resulting in checkmate.
STAY FOCUSED WHEN IT REALLY MATTERS
Castling and then moving the knights and bishops into play creates the setting of your game. It is only after that that the real game begins. This is the time to bring in the action into the game and take each opportunity to capture as much of your opponent’s pieces as possible.
Take any unprotected pieces you see, but also assess the consequence before proceeding. The goal should be to move your pieces in such a fashion that the king is blocked from all sides and for that a series of checks can be really helpful.
A strong opponent in this game always polishes your skills and refines your game. However, in that case you will have to stringently analyze each of his move and double check your own. Ensure that you have not overlooked something, but do not over think.
The tip here would be to keep your calm at all costs and stay relaxed. Do not stress too much over the opportunities you missed in this game, as they will keep presenting and you will not let the next one go. Play your natural game and tell yourself that your life does not depend on it, and eventually you will end up doing better. For all you know, you may be switching the sides in no time and your opponent would be the one to feel the pressure.
SEE WHAT YOU ARE GETTING IN RETURN
In chess, you often have to lose a piece or two to take your opponent’s piece. What you have to assess here is that, “is the trade-off really worth it?” Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t, so to judge whether it is really beneficial to your game, below is a hierarchy of your pieces, starting from the most important.
- The Queen
- The Rook
- The Bishop and the Knight
- The Pawn
So, we can tell that while losing a bishop or a knight to gain the opponent’s queen may be a very good idea, but to lose a rook and gain a pawn in return would not be one.
KEEP A SHARP EYE ON THE CHESSBOARD
While analyzing your move, it is not always easy to assess each and every possibility. You may not notice a key piece at all or might miss out on an opportunity where a single move could have placed your opponent in a trap, giving you an early win.
For this reason, keeping a sharp eye on the board is very important.
When deciding to move a piece, check the possibilities where it would land and the dangers it would be facing when landed there. Visualize the game from this perspective and try to judge your opponent’s next strategy when placing the piece there, and do this for all your important pieces. Then decide which one to move.
DON’T BE HASTY
Going for the obvious kill in this game is not always the best move. For all you know, perhaps it was positioned this way by your opponent to keep your focus away from the other part of the game where his plot is brewing. Always take the whole chess board in consideration when taking your turn while thinking patiently on your move.
MOVE TO WIN: Best Chess Tip Ever!
Once all the action in the game has subsided a little and you’ve lost some of your pieces and in the process gained some of your opponent’s pieces, it is finally the time to move towards winning the game. The pawn can play a very useful and interesting role in this part of the game. If you can progress it to the last row of the board from your side, it will turn into a queen.
Now that would be a big “WOW” especially if your own queen is still in the game. Use your pieces to attack viciously now and keep your eye on the opponent’s king. However, it is equally important in this part of the game to ensure the safety of your own king. You have to protect your king from being checked, and a very good way to do that would be to engage your opponent in a series of checks from your side.
Finally, if there is a check on the king and nothing can be done to save him i.e. the king cannot be moved anywhere else to block the check or no other piece can be placed in the way to save the king, or the piece that has the king in check cannot be captured, it is a checkmate.
The game is over now and the player who has been able to checkmate the other’s king is the winner. A small tip here, “don’t let your opponent checkmate you before you do.”
Stalemate is also a position in chess that you wouldn’t want to happen at all costs if you are winning the game. This happens when the opponent’s king is not in check but moving him in any other square will place him in check.
Naturally this means that the opponent’s all other pieces have been taken so he only has to move the king, yet he can’t because of the check. The game is then declared a draw. An easy trick to avoid a stalemate would be to keep the king in check until you finally checkmate.