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1. Offense or Defense?
If you are new to the game of chess you
need to understand that a balance between
attacking and defending needs to be
achieved. Many inexperienced players are
quick to go on the offensive and look for the
quick crushing defeat of their opponent.
While being able to pull this off is
impressive and good for the ego, the
likelihood of a quick offensive win against a
more experienced opponent is unlikely and
a bad decision.
The flaw with the all out offensive assault is
that an experienced opponent will see the
gaping holes in your own defense.
Experienced players sit and wait for this
type of inexperience to show itself. Think of
chess as a war in which you must defend
your capitol (your king) while at the same
time taking your opponents capitol. An
army that simply runs into battle with
bravery and no defensive protection may
appear as courageous, but they also often
suffer a crushing defeat quickly.
A balanced approach is the best when
playing chess. Depending on your playing
style you will likely lean in one direction,
either offensive or defensive. Try to focus
on this balance and keep your king protected
while slowly applying your offensive
strategy. At times the best offensive strategy
is to wait for your opponent to begin an
offensive front and to find the flaws in their
attack. Doing this gives you the wonderful
advantage of finding their gaping holes in
their defense, instead of them finding your
gaping holes. Keep working on improving
your defensive skills, as this will lead you to
victory more often than an all out offensive
assault. Allow your opponent to make the
mistakes instead of you and you will find a
great deal of success in your game.
2. God Save The Queen?
The old saying of "God save the Queen"
does not always apply when playing chess.
While some would argue that keeping the
queen at all costs will be the difference
between winning and losing, there are others
who will tell you that a winning game of
chess is all about sacrifice no matter how
painful. Some players will spend the whole
game trying to protect their queen and will
never consider sacrificing this piece during
the game. Being ultra protective of your
queen can lead to your downfall in a game
of chess.
It is important to allow some of your other
pieces to begin the attacks and to keep the
queen in reserve until an opportunity

arrives, but keeping her at all costs is a

mistake that many players make. Being the
most versatile piece on the board the queen
can lead to great offensive attacks.
Willingness to sacrifice and trade a queen
for a queen will help you to achieve the
bigger goal of winning the game against
your opponent.
Allow your other pieces to initiate the
attacks and bring the queen in to limit the
possible movements of your opponent. Try
to not waste moves by being overprotective
of your queen, because ultimately you only
get so many moves in a game and it is
important to make each move count.
Wasting movements of your queen, or any
other pieces will provide your opponent
with an advantage. Try to make every move
count during your game and do not be afraid
to sacrifice the queen for a queen, or to
sacrifice other pieces when it will provide
you with an advantage. The phrase "God
save the Queen" applies in politics, but does
not always apply when playing to win in a
game of chess.
3. Bluffing
Bluffing is generally thought of in relation
to playing poker, not chess, but it does apply
to the game of chess albeit ineffectively
applied at times. Many opponents will
attempt to place pieces in an open space on
your side of the board with no real intent of
sacrificing the piece. This is particularly true
towards the beginning of the game when
your opponent is trying to feel you out. An
opponent may run a bishop or knight out to
your side of the board as an attempt to
establish an offensive front.
If you ignore this piece and allow it to sit
out there while executing your own plan,
then you are giving your opponent an
advantage. Find out if your opponent is
simply bluffing and trying to feel you out.
Many times if you challenge this piece, your
opponent will retreat quickly instead of
standing to fight. Similar to a game of
poker, your opponent wants to see what type
of player you are. They are trying to see if
you are an aggressor or a protector of your
pieces. Call this bluff from your opponent to
find out how badly they want to keep this
piece out in the middle of the board.
If you simply allow this piece to sit in
waiting as an aggressor, then you are giving
your opponent the advantage. In a worstcase scenario you will simply trade a bishop
for a bishop, or a knight for a knight. This is
still a good protective move by you because
leaving that piece sitting out there
unchallenged will prove to be a thorn in
your side throughout the game. Challenge
every piece that comes onto your side of the

board and determine how strongly your

opponent feels about keeping that piece
there, or if they will simply cower and
4. Keep from Blocking Yourself
In the game of chess it is very possible to
beat yourself and to block your pieces in
with poor planned moves. While this is a
simple concept that may seem obvious,
many players will make this error. For
example, moving your bishop in front of
your pawn in the very early stages of the
game will generally result in retreating that
bishop so that the pawn can be freed. This is
a waste of precious moves. Any move that
has no purpose or strategy is a bad move.
You only have so many opportunities to
move pieces throughout the game so it is
important to make each move count and for
each move to be a part of your overall
strategy. Waiting for you opponent to make
the first mistake is your first mistake.
Another blocking error is when you have
two pawns next to each other and you use
one pawn to take a piece that is in front of
the other pawn. Now you end up with one
pawn directly in front of the other. The
opens a file (vertical spaces) on the board
and seriously weakens both of those two
pawns. Your level of vulnerability to attack
has just increased dramatically. In addition
to this, the pawn that is the furthest forward
is most likely undefended. This has created
a sort of traffic jam for your pieces on the
board and will haunt you as the game
progresses. An experienced opponent will
exploit this open file that you have created.
Always try to be thinking ahead as to what
your next few moves should be. Thinking
ahead will help keep you from blocking
yourself in and from making the avoidable
careless mistakes.
5. Middle or sides?
There are many different opening strategies
in chess that you can use. Much of this
depends on how you approach your chess
game, whether you are aggressive or more
defensive in your play. Two of these
opening strategies are called open or closed.
An open strategy refers to beginning the
game with your pawns that are located in
front of your king and queen. A closed
strategy refers to using the pawns on the
sides, in front of your rooks or knights.
An open strategy is a much more offensive
strategy. Using this strategy you and your
opponent will begin to trade pieces rather
rapidly. You and your opponent will have
many open lanes that can be used to attack
one another. This can lead to a quick defeat,

for you or your opponent. If you are a risk

taker and like offense more than defense,
then this is a strategy for you to consider.

opponent's piece. This is a strategy that

experienced player's use to successfully win
games on a consistent basis.

A closed opening strategy is just the

opposite. A closed opening of moving the
pawns on the sides of the board result in a
defensive game play by both you and your
opponent. A closed strategy also limits much
of the movements that you can make with
your more versatile pieces.

7. Castling

Perhaps if you are a beginner to chess you

should utilize the open strategy to help you
learn how the offensive game works in
chess. If you are a more experienced player,
then the closed strategy may serve you well
since you already know the offense. If you
are a more experienced player a good
defense will lull the inexperienced players
right into your traps. Regardless of whether
you are new to chess or have been playing a
while, continue to focus on finding a good
balance for yourself in regards to offensive
and defensive strategies.
6. Skewering and Pinning
Skewering and pinning are essential and
favorite moves for many chess players.
These are rather basic strategies that often
lead to a win. Knowing how to utilize them
will help you to improve your game. Your
opponent will be forced into situations of
either losing their highly valued piece or
being placed in check. This gives you the
advantage because you are now dictating the
game and your opponent is simply trying to
survive your advances.
The skewer refers to threatening a highly
valued piece such as the queen. Your
opponent will likely move that queen and
leave a free and open attack to a lesservalued piece such as a bishop or knight.
Picture placing a protected bishop so that it
threatens a queen, if that queen moves out of
danger the knight is exposed. Your opponent
will almost always move that queen, thus
allowing you a free victory over the knight.
Always take advantage of this. Do not
skewer unless you do in fact intend on
taking the piece with lesser value.
Pinning refers to threatening a piece that is
blocking a file to the king. In other words
that piece cannot move, because if it does so
the king would be in check and that would
be an illegal move. Imagine you have a rook
in the same file as your opponent's king, but
your opponent has a knight in the file. That
knight cannot move because again that
would be an illegal move. You are not
allowed to place yourself in check. Now you
have a choice to take that knight with either
your rook or with another piece. Always
take advantage of this and capture your

Castling is a move that you should not

overlook when playing chess. Generally it is
better to have castled within the first twenty
moves in a game. Castling helps protect
your king from intruders. Some think of it as
actually the king retreating into the castle
where he is safe. By castling you do not
have to be as concerned about the kings
vulnerability. A king is a very poor offensive
piece and a king copes poorly with direct
attacks. Castling offers the king the
protection that he so desperately needs.

Another good reason for castling is that it

allows your rook to develop more quickly.
Often without castling, it takes a long series
of movements to simply develop your rook.
Exercise caution though not to move the
rook to far away from the protective role it
has with the castled king. The downside of
castling is that if you attempt to move your
rook out for an attack and you have not yet
moved any of the three pawns in front of
your kind, he can be trapped into a back row
checkmate. Always try to have a piece that
can go in and block a check if the king is
trapped behind the three pawns.
If, after castling, you find that you need to
move your protective rook, then it is a good
idea to move the pawn that is closest to the
edge of the board up one space. This allows
an escape route for your king to prevent the
back row checkmate after castling. The side
that you choose to castle on usually depends
more on opportunity than preference.
Choose wisely and evaluate the side that
seems least vulnerable to your opponent's
attacks. Use castling as a defensive method,
just does not allow it to trap your king
without protective help.
8. Put your Pieces to Work
Some approach chess with an extremely
defensive mentality. This works in some
situations and not in others. Being too
defensive leads to your primary pieces being
stuck on the back row and being of little
offensive value. This is particularly true
when your queen, bishops, and rooks are
trapped behind the line of pawns. To win a
game of chess you need to develop your
back row pieces at some point. A plan of
how you are going to develop them will
offer you a strong advantage.
Think of your primary chess pieces as
sleeping soundly in the comfort of the
barracks before the war begins. If those

most powerful soldiers remain there, they

cannot thwart your enemy during the war.
Develop these primary pieces in the manner
that the game progresses. Typically this
means that bishops move from the back row
quickly followed by knights, the queen, and
finally the rooks. The rooks typically move
out when the middle game is starting, or the
midpoint of the match.
Too often inexperienced chess players do
not get their primary pieces off of the back
row soon enough and those pieces are
rendered ineffective. A worse scenario is
that they are trapped on the back row and
left rather defenseless. Think of the rook
being in its opening position with a knight
beside it. If the pawn in front of the knight
has moved forward your opponent's bishop
easily, and freely takes that rook through the
semi open file. Allow the powerful pieces
from your back row to work for you, not
against you. Allow them to be offensive as
well as defensive and you will have moved
towards achieving that all-important balance
in your chess game.
9. The Power of the Pawn
Many in chess underestimate how powerful
their pawns can be. Pawns are similar to the
foot soldier in a war, while not as awe
inspiring as the tank or the heavy artillery,
the foot soldiers ultimately win the war. It is
the same with pawns in chess also. One very
rarely, and rarely know about moves by a
pawn is called En Passant. This move can be
used only when an opponent moves his
pawn forward two squares on its initial
movement. When this happens, the
opposing player has the option to take the
moved pawn "en passant" as if it had only
moved one square. This option, though, only
stays open for one move.
Allowing your pawns to move forward in
small multiple groups can give you an edge
as well. It is much more difficult for your
opponent to defend against different
approaching attacks than just one large one.
If you are on a battlefield and have a limited
number of troops, it is easier to defend when
the enemy comes in one large group. It is
much more difficult to try and defend
against multiple fronts. This is the same in
chess when the pawns are advancing into
opposing territory.
Keep in mind that towards the end of many
games all that is left is pawns, the king, and
perhaps one of your primary pieces. At this
point in time pawns become critical
defenders and offensive pieces. Combine
that with the ability to trade them in for a
queen when you reach the 8th rank (other
side of the board), pawns become all
important. So do not allow your pawns to

simply be thrown away as unimportant since

they can help you a great deal in the end.
10. The Double Threat
One of the favorite moves in chess is being
able to threaten two pieces at the same time
with your one piece. This forces your
opponent to decide which piece to sacrifice.
An example of this is placing a bishop in
diagonal file that threatens to take two
pieces. Whichever piece your opponent
moves, you will be able to take the other.
Another example would be placing a rook in
an open file so that it threatens both a knight
and a bishop. If your opponent moves the
knight, you can take the bishop, if your
opponent moves the bishop then you can
take the knight.
This is a move that will definitely assist you
in winning games. This move only gets
better when you are able to threaten two
pieces with a pawn. A variation to this move
is to utilize a knight so that it places the king
in check and the king must move so that it is
out of check, allowing you to be able to take
a rook or bishop etc. A knight is a wonderful
piece to use in creating a double threat
because of its versatility and due to the fact
that some inexperienced players simply
overlook the available moves that your
knight has in front of it.
Defending against the double threat consists
of two strategies. First is the option of
retreating so that both of your pieces are
defended by one another. This is not always
an available option though. The second
defense is to threaten a highly valued piece
that your opponent has, generally a queen. If
you are being threatened with a double
threat and can threaten your opponent's
queen, your opponent is likely to defend that
queen before taking advantage of the double
threat they have laid out.
11. The Trade Off
Trading pieces of equal value in chess is a
normal during the progression of the game.
Sometimes though a chess player wonders
when it is appropriate to trade off pieces and
what pieces are relatively equal. The
obvious trade off would be a bishop for a
bishop, a rook for a rook, but what about a
bishop for a knight? Is this a good trade off?
To answer this lets look at the values of the
pieces. Typically the pieces are ranked from
highest to lowest as follows: queen, rook,
bishop, knight, and pawn.
The relative value of the knight and bishop
can change during the games progression. In
the beginning of the game the knight is
more valuable than the bishop due to the
knight's ability to jump over a crowd.

Towards the middle game the bishop

becomes more important due to his ability to
cover the board. A rook is generally not
much of a threat in the beginning of the
game, but is often critical to the end game
since is can attack open files quite easily.
Keep in mind that the value of a piece will
change with the progression of the game.
Deciding whether or not to complete the
available trade off is not always an easy
question to answer. The final answer is that
it depends on the game situation that you are
in Trading off pieces with your opponent
should add to your overall strategy instead
of being done just for the sake of clearing
spaces on the board. The only general rule
in regards to trading pieces is to always
trade up. If you can sacrifice a bishop for a
rook, do it. Sacrificing a knight for a queen
is always a good idea. Think out the benefits
that the trade off will provide then decide
whether or not to do it.
12. Three Types of Draws
Stalemate is not the only draw that can be
achieved in the game of chess, although it is
the most well known. The other two types of
draws include the fifty-move rule and the
three-fold repetition. If you are looking for
the win then you want to avoid draws as
much as possible and have the game result
in a checkmate instead of a draw.
A stalemate is when it is your opponent's
turn, but they have no legal moves that they
can make. This means that the king is the
only piece that can be moved, but it cannot
be moved into check. Remember that it is
illegal for a king to place himself in check.
This results in the draw by way of stalemate.
Neither player wins the game.
The fifty move rule is when there are no
pawn movements and no captures for fifty
consecutive moves. If a pawn move or a
capture takes place, then the count resets to
zero and begins again. Upon reaching fifty
moves either player may claim a draw and
again no one wins the game. Typically this
happens when both players only have one or
two pieces left on the board.
The three-fold repetition says that if the
exact same position occurs on the board
three times during a game, either player may
claim a draw. Sometimes this is done on
accident, other times it is forced by placing
an opponent in check over and over again.
Think of being able to take a picture of the
board three different times during a game
and the pictures come out identical to each
Try to avoid these draws so that you are able
to come away with an official win. Avoid

these by watching out for them and being

sure to look for every opportunity to place
your opponent in checkmate.
13. The Strategic Sacrifice
The strategic sacrifice is a strategy of
getting out of losing a primary piece to your
opponent. At times your opponent is going
to be attacking one of your primary pieces
and that primary piece of yours is
unprotected. If you have no way for you to
protect that primary piece against the
ensuing attack, or no option to retreat, then a
strategic sacrifice may be in order. An
inexperienced player may simply allow the
threatened primary piece to be captured and
move on, but this does not have to be the

When you find yourself in this situation you

may be able to threaten one of your
opponents primary pieces on the very next
move. If you are able to do this it is a good
idea since you cannot retreat and cannot
move a piece to protect your threatened
piece. For example, you can slide your
bishop up to attack his unprotected rook.
This places your opponent in a difficult
situation. Your opponent must decide if he
wants to save his primary piece that you are
threatening, or go ahead and take your
primary piece that he has threatened. Of
course, he may decide to take your primary
piece anyway, at which point you take his
primary piece. This results in a
compromised loss for you in that you at
least gain one of his pieces instead of none
at all. If you moved correctly, perhaps your
bishop is now only one move away from
protecting your original piece assuming
your opponent decided to protect his
threatened piece. This is a good way to keep
the pieces on the board more even if you do
find yourself in this type of situation during
a game.
14. Hidden Attacks
If you can utilize the element of surprise in a
game of chess you are at a great advantage
over your opponent and have a winning
edge. However, surprising more experienced
players with a hidden attack can be tough to
do, but may be worth the try. A hidden
attack is one which your opponent does not
see coming and is unprepared to respond to.
Implementing a hidden attack on an
opponent's king is particularly effective.
A hidden attack is one where you have a
primary piece, such as a rook, that is not
threatening your opponent at all. In front of
this rook you have one of your knights in
the same file. Your opponent may be
concerned about where you will be moving

that knight, but not concerned about the

rook due to its position on the board. This is
where you can make your hidden attack.
Move your knight so that the rook is now
threatening one of your opponent's primary
pieces or even your opponent's king. If it
appears to your opponent that you are going
after, say their queen, your opponent may be
focused primarily on that, and not realize
that you are actually threatening their king
through a hidden attack.
It is important in chess to not telegraph your
strategy if at all possible. This means
concealing your threatening strategy by way
of making it appear that you are simply
defending your own pieces. The best
defense mechanism against falling victim to
hidden attacks is to analyze the entire board
and think broadly. If you can see what
options your opponent has in he next two or
three moves, instead of just the very next
move, you can do a good job of defending
against hidden attacks.
15. Understanding the Three Stages of a
Chess Game
There are three distinct stages to the game of
chess that you need to know in order to be a
winning chess player. These three stages are
the opening, middle, and endgame. Each
stage has different goals and objectives.
The opening you want to get a rapid
development of your primary pieces. You
also want to safe guard your king, generally
by castling. It is in this phase of the game
that you want to try and achieve dominance
over the middle four squares of the board.
Generally the opening lasts between ten to
twenty moves roughly.
The middle game is when you begin to
coordinate your primary pieces and attack
your opponent's weak spots and open files.
The goal is to win primary pieces from your
opponent or even be able to checkmate your
approximately from the end of the opening
phase until around move forty.
The end game is when you use your
remaining primary pieces to take advantage
of the weaknesses that you created in your
opponent's defense during the middle game.
The endgame often concludes when one of
the players is able to move a pawn to the
other side of the board and thus turn that
pawn in for a queen. This is then followed
by a checkmate or a resignation. Strategy,
not tactics are what need to be considered in
the end game.
Although there is no official start or end to
the different stages of the game you need to
have an understanding of where you should

be focusing your attention. These are

general guidelines as to what the stages are
and goals to accomplish during each stage
that successful chess players have been
using throughout the history of chess.
16. Four Move Checkmate
If you are new to chess you need to
understand one of the oldest tricks in chess,
the four move checkmate. It is quite simple
to make quick work of less experienced
player by this method. Due to its fast speed,
the inexperienced player will never see it
coming. Therefore it is important to be able
to detect the proper board positions of the
pieces in order to properly defend one's
Characteristic of the four-move checkmate
is the board positions of the Queen and
Bishop. If you see your opponent moving
their Queen and Bishop early in the game,
it's a big sign that they are setting up for the
four-move checkmate. Also, do not be
fooled into thinking that this checkmate
should be done in four moves either.
Oftentimes, even players who know about
the four-move checkmate are defeated by it
because their opponent was able to disguise
their intentions with distracting moves. You
should always be on the watch when your
opponent's Queen is attacking the King's
Bishop Pawn.

your position. If a move does not improve

your defense or your offense it is wasted.
Some inexperienced players will waste
moves while waiting for their opponent to
make an error and this is a poor strategy.
Sometimes a player will move a primary
piece forward without providing and
defense for that piece. Then when the
opponent threatens that primary piece, the
inexperienced player simply moves the
piece back to where it was. This
accomplishes nothing and wastes two
In becoming a better chess player the player
who can control the board, especially the
center of the board, has an upper hand in the
game of chess. An experienced player
understands that they need to make every
move count and that each move should be
accomplishing something either in the way
of offense or defense. A very good player is
able to use a move to help defend, attack,
and control the board all at the same time.
Try not to allow your opponent to have
moves that are more effective than yours
causing you to waste moves. Since chess
does not allow you to make many mistakes
against an experienced player, try not to let
wasted moves be one of the mistakes you
make, particularly since it is a preventable
18. Utilizing Your Bishops

If you are white, moving the king pawn

forward two squares followed by black
moving their king pawn forward two
squares start the process. Then white moves
king bishop to attack blacks king bishop
pawn. If black does not see this coming
white places its queen in a position to attack
blacks king bishop pawn. If black does not
defend the coming attack then white has
checkmate the next move by taking blacks
king bishop pawn with the queen.
To defend against this attack black could
have simply moved the knight in front of the
king bishop pawn. Another defense is to
simply move the king bishop pawn forward
one square. Either of these methods is
17. Use Your Moves Wisely
Becoming a better chess player is not simply
learning about advanced strategies, it also
includes learning about all aspects of the
game including wasted moves. In the game
of chess you only get so many opportunities
to move your pieces and advance your
strategy, so it is important that you use all of
your moves as wisely as you can.
A wasted move is one that accomplishes
nothing for you in the way of strengthening

In playing chess you must learn of all the

little intricacies that come along with the
game. One of these to learn is what is called
an unopposed bishop. An unopposed bishop
is one whose counterpart on the opponent's
side has been taken. In other words, if you
have your dark square bishop and your
opponent does not, then you have an
unopposed bishop. The opposite of this is
true if you have lost one of your bishops and
your opponent still has theirs that is on that
square color.
The danger of an unopposed bishop comes
in many forms. The primary way that an
unopposed bishop is dangerous is that if you
are being attacked by an unopposed bishop
you cannot block with your own bishop or
trade out pieces with your own bishop of
that color. Also if you have opened files, or
semi open files, on your side that are open to
attack, the unopposed bishop can exploit
these quite easily. If your opponent has an
unopposed bishop then your opponent can
also use its to start taking down your pawns
and your primary line of defense. If you had
not lost your bishop of the same square
color this attack would be much more
difficult for your opponent to carry out.

Bishops are not always considered to be

highly valuable pieces by inexperienced
players, but they can have a dramatic impact
on the game due in part to their ability to
span the entire length of the board from
corner to corner. An unopposed bishop
becomes even more effective in the
endgame with its ability to threaten the
opponent's king without having to guard
against the opponents bishop of the same
color square.
19. King of the World
The king that is hunted throughout the game
by your opponent may appear weak, but can
have some offensive value during the
endgame. During the middle game the king
should be in hiding because your opponent
still has many of their offensive pieces that
can easily checkmate you. As the game
progresses towards the end game you may
have no choice but to bring your king into
the battle as an offensive piece.
During the middle game you have probably
castled already and your king is safely
tucked away behind pawns with a rook to
his side. Moving the pawns from in front of
the king during the middle game is a
mistake. It is a mistake because it creates
open or semi open files for your opponent to
attack the king. Towards the end game
though, the pawns will likely have to be
moved. The primary reason for this is that if
you bring your rook, that was guarding the
king, into battle your king is in a dangerous
Picture the positioning in your head, three
pawns in front of the king, the king in the
corner and no pieces to the king's side. All
your opponent has to do is slide a rook or
queen down to the back row and you are in
checkmate, unless you can block this. This
creates a situation where, for defensive
purposes, you need to begin moving the
pawns forward to offer a lane of escape for
the king.
In the endgame, the king becomes a strong
piece. With reduced material, mate is not an
immediate concern anymore, and the king
should be moved towards the center of the
board. The king can block your opponent's
king quite well and even capture pawns
when played correctly.
20. Pony Up
Knowing when and where to use your
knights can be the difference between
winning and losing. Knights are very
versatile with their ability to leap over other
pieces on the board. The knights are the
only pieces that can accomplish this
important feat. Much of the strength of the

knight depends on where it is positioned on

the board.
It is important to spot gaps in your
opponent's position where a knight cannot
be attacked because your opponent's pawns
have already moved past that position.
Knights are generally easily chased away
with pawns. Once you find a gap in your
opponent's defense you should place you
knight into that position. A knight that is not
facing any immediate threats and that
cannot be attacked in one or two moves by
the opponent's pawns (since the pawns have
already moved too far forward) is a valuable
asset in the game. An unchallengeable
knight on the fifth row is a strong asset, and
a supported knight on the sixth row usually
decides the game.
Generally it is a bad idea to place a knight
on the edges of the board or in the corners of
the board because this dramatically limits
the moves that the knight can make. It is
similar to placing the knight into a cage with
only one way out. Knights are generally
most beneficial towards the center of the
It is also important to keep in mind that a
knight is one of the best pieces to deliver a
fork. A fork is where a piece can threaten
two pieces at the same time. Your opponent
has to decide which of the two pieces that
you are threatening to sacrifice. Knights can
be very sneaky in delivering a fork.
21. End Game Ideas
Once most pieces have been exchanged off
the board and the end game is reached it
becomes impossible to mount direct attacks
on the king. When this happens the focus of
the game switches to attempting to bring a
pawn to the eighth rank and promote it to a
queen and at the same time preventing your
opponent from doing so. The promoted
queen, provided the opponent does not
immediately capture it, is enough to bring
If only one pawn is left then both players
should attempt to direct their kings in front
of the pawn in order to keep the other king
away and ensure, or prevent, the pawn's
In endgames that involve only kings and
pawns, the concept of opposition is
important. By moving to a square which is
horizontally, vertically or diagonally two
squares away from your opponents king,
you gain an advantage because it forces
your opponents king to give way.
A king and one minor piece is never enough
to force a win and thus the game will be a

draw. A king with two knights against a king

is also insufficient to force a win; however,
since this inability is partly a result of poor
timing inherent in the knight's awkward
moves there are circumstances where a win
can be forced if the opponent also has a
pawn. Although a king and three knights
versus king is also sufficient for a win, such
a situation rarely occurs because, for such a
position to arise, a pawn must have been
promoted to become the third knight
whereas most players would usually choose
to promote the pawn to become a queen to
quickly end the game
22. Doubled Pawns
Doubled pawns leads to a weak game for
the player who has them. Doubled pawns
can is defined as having two pawns directly
in front of one another. This is the result of
an earlier capture. What is worse is that
these doubled pawns often become isolated
pawns. Isolated pawns are unable to be
guarded or defended by another pawn. If
you have two pawns in the same vertical file
without an ability to guard them with each
other, then you have a major weakness that
will most likely haunt you later in the game.
These doubled and isolated pawns are just
waiting to be picked off by your opponent.
You opponent may elect though to simply
ignore them since they are of very little
threat unless they reach the back rank and
get promoted to queens. This is easily
avoided by blocking their path with a pawn
of your own. The other disadvantage of
having doubled your pawns in the game of
chess is that you have also opened a file that
your opponent can use to mount an attack
onto your back row.
The best thing that you can do is to try and
avoid doubling up your pawns in this
manner. In order to avoid this mistake you
must utilize careful planning from the
beginning of the game. Using other primary
pieces to be able to capture attackers that
your opponent sends out will help you avoid
the double pawn weakness. At times it may
be unavoidable to double up your pawns,
but being aware of the disadvantage it
presents and being able to recognize this
will help you in your game. Also you should
know that you could exploit this double
pawn mistake in your opponent and that if
your opponent makes this error that you are
at an advantage.
23. End Game Goals
The primary goal of the end game is to
achieve checkmate against your opponent.
There are other goals that must be
accomplished in the end game to make this
possible though. One of these goals is to

develop and centralize the remaining pieces

that you posses. Using a rook to control one
of the central vertical files is essential since
it limits the movements of your opponent's
king. Also you may consider moving your
own king towards the center of the board
since by the end game there are relatively
few pieces left on the board to threaten your
king. Controlling the center of the board is
important throughout the entire game of
chess, regardless of what phase of the game
you have reached.
When it is possible to do a balanced
exchange with rooks you should do so. It
does take away your rooks, which are quite
powerful, but it also eliminates your
opponent's rooks. Eliminating
opponent's rooks will make it much more
difficult for your opponent to place you in
check. If the opportunity presents itself try
to attack a weakness in your opponents
position so that your opponent cannot use a
piece. An example of this is a pin whereby a
piece cannot be moved or else your
opponent would be placed in check.
Other goals in the end game include
advancing your pawns further down the
board to penetrate and weaken your
opponent's defenses. The other reason that
you want to do this is so that you can
ultimately promote a pawn to a queen by
reaching the back rank. At the same time
look for opportunities to capture more of
your opponent's pawns as this continues to
weaken their defense and prevents your
opponent from promoting a pawn to a
24. Middle Game Tactics
After the opening comes the middle game,
somewhere around move twenty usually.
This is where you and your opponent set off
to do battle in the game of chess. A trade off
of pieces, sacrifices, pins, skewers, etc
characterizes the middle game. The goal of
the middle game is to capture more of your
opponent's pieces that your opponent can
capture of yours. The methods that you use
to capture your opponents pieces are
referred to as tactics. Tactics are immediate
plans, usually completed in a few moves,
while strategy refers to longer-term plans in
the game of chess.
Utilizing tactics in the middle game boils
down to trying to capture your opponent's
pieces for free or by sacrificing low valued
pieces. Capturing opponent's pieces for free
means that you can capture them without
losing the piece that you used to take it.
Sacrificing for a lower valued piece could
be characterized by capturing a bishop or
knight with a pawn. Being able to capture
your opponent's pieces for free or by a low

valued piece sacrifice gives you a great

advantage in the game.
When playing more experienced opponent's
it will be much more difficult to find free
pieces or to sacrifice lower valued ones for
higher valued pieces, however everyone is
liable to make a mistake during a
complicated game of chess. Awareness of
the entire board and the openings available
for you to attack is a must in the game of
chess. Capturing more of your opponent's
material than they can capture of yours will
help you to ultimately win the game and to
do so with ease. Always be on the look out
for your opponent's unguarded pieces.
25. Chart Your Progress
Every chess player, no matter how good or
how bad, has strengths and weaknesses in
their game of chess. Whether you are an
absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran in
the game of chess there is room for
improvement. One way to improve your
strengths and to eliminate your weaknesses
is by simply keeping track of your games.
This includes wins and losses as well as
types of openings you use and endgame
strategies that you use.
If you use one certain opening sequence and
lose every time you use that sequence it may
be time to look for a new opening sequence.
This may also mean that you need to
practice and study your opening sequence in
greater detail. It is likely that your
opponents are often exploiting the same
weakness over and over again. The same
ideas apply to your endgame strategy. If you
find yourself in similar situations over and
over again and continue to fail, then you
need to study your game and look at
alternative endgame strategies.
Athletes, business professionals, and
basically anyone who wants to be successful
at something use this kind of reflection to
see where they are making mistakes and
where they can improve. Use this critique of
yourself as a way to improve your chess
game. Take the time to write down the
openings you are using and the endgames
and compare that to your wins, losses, and
draws. You may even go so far as to create a
chart with opening scenarios and endgame
strategies listed in columns and wins and
losses listed in rows. Then you can quickly
see from the chart what combinations work
best for you. Understanding yourself and
your approach to the game of chess can only
help you to continue to improve.
26. Deflection
Deflection is a psychological term used to
describe a coping mechanism that people
use to avoid dealing with troubling feelings

or situations. People do this by being able to

alternate from one topic to another so that
they do not have to deal with either topic in
depth. Ok, so what does this have to do with
chess? In chess deflection will win you
games plain and simple. Players will often
use a piece, especially queens, to guard or
protect two separate pieces at the same time.
This is where the term deflection comes in.
Also sometimes called an overworked piece,
deflection is a tactical theme in which one
player has a piece that must remain on a
square that it is on, either because it defends
another piece, or because it blocks a threat.
If this guarding piece were forced to move,
the opponent's position would crumble. The
reason it is sometimes refers to as the
overworked piece is because this defending
piece is forced to do too many things at
once, defending two pieces. By meeting one
threat, the other threat is left unattended to
and thus leaves this piece at its opponent's
For example, if a bishop is guarding a queen
and is in place to prevent a back row mate
from a rook, you can simply move the rook
to the opponent's back row and place the
king in check. This forces the bishop to
move to block the check leaving the queen
that the bishop was defending completely
unguarded and available for the taking. Seek
out deflection that your opponent is using
and exploit it. This becomes an even better
tactic towards the end game because the
chances of your opponent having a single
piece defending two is much higher.
27. Master an Opening
To become a better chess player you need to
be able to have one good opening when
playing white and one good opening when
playing black. There are many different
openings that you can use, choose one that
is the most comfortable for you to use. Once
you have selected your preferred opening
begin to practice and then practice some
more. The opening that you decide to use
for white and the one you decide to use for
black do not have to be the same opening
sequence, however they can be if you so
Become a master at the opening, or
openings, that you have selected. One good
way to master these is to play against a
computer chess program that will exploit all
of the flaws in the opening that you have
selected. No matter what opening sequence
you choose there will be some weaknesses
and flaws that go along with it. If you do
utilize a computer program to assist you in
this you can gradually increase the difficulty
levels within the program. By doing this you
will gradually learn most all of the outcomes

of your opening sequence and the common

problems that can arise with these opening
In addition to this, find people who are close
to your skill level and use these openings
when playing against them and play against
these opponent's frequently. Once you feel
you have the opening sequences down
pretty good then add a timer. Force yourself
to run through these openings with similar
skill level players at a rapid pace so that it
can become second nature for you. If you
follow these suggestion then you will
certainly become a force to be reckoned
with in your opening sequences and you
will have an advantage over your
28. Chess Notation Part 1
Chess notation is simply a method to write
down and record your game. Learning chess
notation will help you in many ways. One
way that it will help you is that it will
provide a history of what you did in the
game and how your opponent reacted. This
will allow you to recreate the game in the
future and to study what you did right and
what you did wrong. Chess notation is what
allows us to review the games of the
greatest chess players in the world. Without
chess notation we would not be able to
recreate those games. Chess notation also
can clear up any confusion during a game
about which moves have or have not been
made. Chess notation is a must learn for
anyone who wants to become a serious
chess player.
There are a variety of chess notations, but
we will use the simplest method here. First,
turn your chessboard so that the right hand
corner of the board, as you and your
opponent face it, is the light color square. If
the squares are white and green, then the
right hand corner of the chessboard is white.
If the squares of the chessboard are red and
black, then the right hand corner is red.
Now you can begin setting up the pieces and
always remember that the queen goes on her
own color (white queen white/red square). A
common term for the horizontal squares is
"ranks" and the vertical squares are referred
to as "files". You will need to know these
terms in order to grasp chess notation.
Ranks are labeled with numbers, and files
are labeled with letters. Next we will learn
the identifications of the different squares.
29. Chess Notation Part 2
Many different chess books, chess websites,
and other types of chess training methods
rely on you understanding chess notation.
Chess notation helps to standardize how

moves are recorded and how a game

progressed. Let us look at how chess
notation identifies the different squares on
the board.
Your ranks are numbered from the white
side of the chessboard to the black side. The
back row with the white queen, not the one
with the pawns, is considered rank 1. The
white pawns are on rank 2 and so forth. This
means that blacks pawns are on rank 7 and
blacks primary pieces are on rank 8. The
files, or vertical rows are lettered A through
H. The first file letter is A, which will be the
furthest left hand file for the player playing
white, if you are playing black the A file will
be the file furthest to your right. Think of
the chess squares as having a first and last
name such as A1 or B7 with the letter being
the first name and the number being the last
By doing this type of labeling, or chess
notation, we can track the moves of all the
chess pieces and the orders in which the
moves are made. To notate your chess game
you must write down where the piece was
and where it is moved to each turn. If we
were to move the white pawn in front of the
white king two spaces ahead, the move
would read e2 - e4. The hyphen means the
word "to". This signifies that whatever chess
piece was on e2 now has moved to e4. This
system of chess notation is probably the
easiest to understand for most people.
30. Chess Notation Part 3
Understand that you will be writing down
move 1 for both white and black. This
means that in a grid, like the one below,
whites first move is next to the number one
and black first move is also in the number 1
row. Now that we have started looking at
chess notation lets see how a typical layout
of chess notation appears.
A typical layout of a notated game will look
like this:
1. e2 - e4
2. f1 - c4
3. d1 - h5
4. h5 x f7

e7 - e5
b8 - c6
g8 - f6

The "#" sign means checkmate (chess game

over). Sometimes a "++" sign is used and
means, "game over" also. A single "+" sign
means that a check was made. The white
queen has checkmated the black king in the
above chess game. She has threatened to
take the black king with check, and he is
unable to escape from his position on the
chessboard, therefore it is mate. The king

cannot take the white queen for the king

would then be in check by the white bishop.
In the short form of chess notation, the
letters B, N, R, Q, and K are used before the
chess notation to identify which chess piece
is being moved. Each letter replaces the first
move and hyphen in the chess notation. The
bishop uses the letter B, the knight uses N,
the rook uses R, the queen uses Q, and the
king uses K. No capital letter in chess
notation indicates a pawn is being moved.
Moving the white knight from g1 to f3 in
chess short form notation would read Nf3.
When a capture takes place, the letter "x" is
used to indicate the capture. For example,
exd5 means that the pawn on e4 just took
the piece or pawn on d5.
31. Join a Chess Club
Joining a chess club can offer a tremendous
amount of help in improving your chess
game. Joining a chess club allows you to
compete with many different players who
are at a variety of skill levels in their chess
game. Joining a chess club also allows you
to discuss the dynamics of the game with an
opponent's after a match and hopefully learn
from your mistakes and to continue to
improve your strengths. This benefit can be
fully utilized by using chess notation during
your game so that you and your opponent
can recreate the moves and learn from them
Another benefit to joining a chess club is
that you get to practice frequently.
Practicing and then practicing some more is
probably the best way to improve your
chess game. Players in your chess club can
educate you about various strategies such as
gambits and end game ideas. Fellow chess
club members can also help you keep up to
date with the latest news in the world of
chess and tournaments.
Finding a chess club is as easy as looking
one up on the Internet. Many communities
have chess clubs; even the smaller
communities often have chess clubs. There
are also on line chess clubs that you could
join. Try to find a friendly, not overly
competitive, chess club so that you can
enjoy yourself and learn at the same time.
Remember, the game of chess is supposed to
be fun. Chess clubs often times compete in
tournaments as well. These can be a great
deal of fun as you advance your chess skills.
Go find yourself a chess club today and
begin enjoying the socializing and other
benefits that are offered by joining a chess
32. Chess Etiquette

There are some official and unofficial rules

of etiquette in the game of chess. The
general theme of chess etiquette is to be a
good sport and to be respectful. Some of the
more common official rules of etiquette are
as follows:
Every game must begin and end with the
players shaking hands.
Between the two handshakes, no talking is
permitted. "Check" need not be said. Players
are responsible for noticing where all of the
pieces on the board are located, and what
threats are pending.
Never do anything to distract any other
player in the tournament, especially your
Always use the "touch move" rule.
If an illegal move is made, the tournament
director should be summoned. In a
tournament using a "Sudden Death" time
control, the other player receives an extra
two minutes when one player makes an
illegal move.
Never gloat over a victory, or become
despondent or hostile following a defeat. It
is always best to analyze the game with your
opponent, after the game ends, and in a
different room from where you played.
Leave the playing room quietly when you
finish so as not to distract the other people
who are still playing.
Never comment on a game that is in
progress, whether the game is yours or one
that you are just watching.
The tournament director has the authority
to punish breaches of etiquette, and may add
or subtract time as a sanction. In extreme
cases, players may be forfeited for violating
the rules and spectators may be banned from
the site.
These rules of etiquette generally apply to
tournaments, but it is always a good idea to
follow these. Being a good sport in chess
and having fun generally makes for a better
chess player.
33. Pay Attention
Staying focused and paying attention during
your chess game is critical if you intend to
win. While this may sound elementary,
many players often do lose focus during a
game and lose. When I was a very young
man I went to a chess club meeting for the
first time. I lost many games rapidly and
was not at all considered a serious player. In
the final match that I had that night, I played

a much more experienced player who was

said to be one of the very best in the club.
While I played him in our game I was very
focused on the game and looking for any
advantages on the board I could find since I
knew I was outgunned. As the game
progressed other members of the club came
over and began to talk with my opponent.
See, he was playing a young kid who had
not even come close to winning a game all
night. The distraction that my opponent
faced with the conversation from other
players allowed me to ultimately win the
game. He simply was not paying attention,
had be been focusing on the game he would
of most likely won. I was quite pleased that
he was distracted and unfocused during the
So the moral of the story is to stay focused
on your game so that you do not make
simple mistakes and do not underestimate
an opponent. Everyone has a chance to win
and lose a game. It is noteworthy that during
tournaments it is improper to have
discussions with players who are currently
playing a game due to the level of
distraction it brings. Staying focused simply
helps you to keep your head in the game
where it belongs.
34. Gambits
I am sure that by now you realize that chess
is game of give and take. Depending on the
game situation you may be more inclined to
sacrifice pieces and in other situations you
may fight very hard to keep all of your
pieces. However, there are a number of
chess openings that are referred to as a
gambit. The word gambit stems from the
Italian 'gambetta' which means to set a trap.
The term gambit was also used by Italians to
describe a wrestling move. In chess a
gambit is simply sacrificing a piece to
achieve a better position on the board.
Typically in a gambit it is a pawn that is
sacrificed, but there are times where perhaps
a bishop or knight is the piece that is
sacrificed in the gambit. The idea is that the
player who sacrifices something gains
something in the process such as time or
active piece play. Let's look at the Danish
gambit as an example. In this white loses
two pawns, but is able to place bishops at an
advantage looking to your opponent's
There are numerous gambits that have been
proven and tested time and again. Some of
these gambits are more effective than others.
An opponent may or may not choose to
accept the gambit that you are offering. Your
opponent may be familiar with the gambit
and elect not to take your sacrificial pieces

to keep you from having an advantage. It is

up to you to decide if it is in your best
interest to use a gambit or to accept a gambit
during a game. It would be wise to research
many of these gambits and to become
familiar with using them in games. There
are numerous Internet sites that describe
gambits in detail as well as a variety of
books on the topic of gambits.
35. Have Your Game Analyzed
A unique way to work on improving your
chess skill is to record a typical game of
chess that you have played with chess
notation and then submit that game to a
grandmaster or other high-ranking chess
player. There are a number of grandmasters
that offer this as a service, for a fee, and will
provide you with detailed feedback about
how you can improve your game. The
experience and knowledge that these proven
players have can be invaluable to a beginner
or intermediate chess player. The down side
of this is the costs that are incurred by
utilizing their services.
A less expensive way to do this is to record
your games, through chess notation, and to
ask a friend or member of a chess club that
you are a member of to analyze your moves
and give you feedback. While these people
are not grandmasters they may very well be
able to show you mistakes that you make
that can be easily corrected. The idea behind
this is to have more sets of eyes (and brains)
looking at the various options that you could
have used.
People use feedback from more experienced
people in various facets of their lives.
Whether it is a parent of a baby asking
another parent how to take better care of
their child, or a business student asking for
feedback from a CEO, feedback from those
who know more about a subject than we do
is one of the very best ways to learn. People
often get stuck in ruts and in a game of
chess we get stuck in ruts as well. Having
others analyze our game may be one way to
help break the bad habits that we tend to fall
36. Long Term Thinking
Playing chess is a thinking persons game
and the longer we have to think about
something and analyze it, the better results
we usually have. Some people thoroughly
enjoy speed chess (also known as blitz
chess) in which each person usually has five
minutes each to complete the game, for a
total of ten minutes. Other players loathe
this type of rapid game and like to take their
time to think more deeply about their
possible moves and options. The more
rapidly a game progresses the more likely

you and your opponent are to make

If you are one who prefers the games that do
not have a short time limit then
correspondence chess may be for you.
Traditionally the idea of correspondence
chess was to mail your move back and forth
with an opponent. You send them your first
move, by way of chess notation; they send
you their response move, and so forth. With
the advent of technology and the Internet,
this can easily be done through email.
The appeal of this correspondence chess is
that you could literally have hours, days, or
even weeks to consider your next move. By
spending a great deal of time deciding upon
your next move you can dramatically
improve your chess game. Your opponent
will also have that length of time to consider
their move and this often results in a very
well played game by both participants.
Correspondence chess allows you and your
opponent to develop better strategies and the
tactics to carry out those strategies.
Consider this as a method to improve your
game. If this is something that is not at all
appealing to you then there are a number of
people who will happily play speed chess
with you.
37. Think Ahead
Playing chess is all about having a good
solid strategy developed in your game. In
order to develop and carry out your strategy
you need to be able to look at the board, the
pieces, and the situation in order to
determine the best strategy to use. Most
strategies will fail if you do not plan ahead.
Planning ahead, at least two moves, is
critical to becoming a winning chess player.
You can do this by carefully analyzing the
board and where the pieces are situated. A
more experienced player may even be able
to see likely scenarios that his opponent is
attempting to execute.
To plan ahead a couple of moves in chess
means that you look at your available
options as well as your opponent's available
responses to the moves that you intend on
making. If you are able to do this you are on
the path to becoming a great chess player.
Some people have a tendency to simply
react to the moves that their opponent
makes. These are the same people who wait
to see their opponent's strategy without
trying to implement one of their own. All of
us are probably guilty of doing this at some
point, but taking control of the game and
being the one implementing strategies,
instead of the one reacting to them, gives us
an advantage in our games.

Being able to plan ahead a few moves and

to see what the next few moves your
opponent may make takes a great deal of
practice and generally comes with
experience. Being aware enough to try and
look for possible scenarios though will help
you to progress quicker in your game
development. Spend time during the game
looking for those scenarios and it will pay
off for you.
38. Watch Others
People are often so eager to jump into chess
and have heard over and over again that the
best way to improve their game is to
practice as much as possible. While this is
true another method that is often overlooked
is to watch others play chess. You can watch
other people in online chess games, at chess
clubs, tournaments, etc. Observing others
games will allow you to see situations that
have baffled you in the past and how others
react to these situations on the board. This
will often provide unique insights since
many different people respond differently to
any given situation. While there may be
accepted standards in the chess community
of how to respond to a particular tactic, not
everyone will respond with that accepted
Watching those who are rated higher than
you, or those who are simply more
experienced at chess will provide you with
valuable insights. If you watch a game and
say "Oh, that is how you get out of that trap"
then you have already learned a valuable
piece of knowledge that your future
opponent's may not posses.
Do not limit yourself to simply watching
those who you feel are better players either.
Watch the games of lower rated, or less
experienced players. By watching these
games you will see common mistakes that
new chess players make. Experienced chess
players often lose concentration and make
the same mistakes that the less experienced
players make. Watching these games will
also help prevent you from committing
these simple mistakes.
Continue to practice on a regular basis, but
also watch and learn from others. Learning
through the experience of playing is great
and watching others play is simply another
tool that you can use to improve your chess
39. Learn from Grandmasters
In today's technological world gaining
knowledge is easier than it has ever been.
Today on the Internet anyone can download
a copy of the chess annotation of games
played by chess grand masters. Sometimes

these are available for free and other times

there is a fee associated with gaining access
to these historical chess games among the
greatest chess players of all time.
Why would you want to look at a game that
was played twenty years ago by two grand
masters? The reason is simple, you can learn
a great deal from the experts. The grand
master ranking is often thought to be the
highest chess rating that a person can have.
If you can walk through a game and see the
moves, strategies, and tactics that experts
use in their game then you can dramatically
improve your game. Some of these grand
master games even come with a
commentary about which strategies and
tactics are being utilized so that you can
learn what the names are of the tactics and
strategies. The games that come with an
available analysis are especially beneficial
because someone has already spent the time
and energy to go through and detail
mistakes that were made by each player in
the game.
Grand masters often spend years, or even
decades, perfecting their chess game and
have played against the greatest players in
the world. By doing this they have
experience and knowledge that we would
not be able to gain anywhere else. So take
advantage of today's technology and get
those annotated games and play them
through and learn from them, you will be
glad that you did. You should notice your
game improving as well after having
analyzed a handful of games.
40. The Spike or Grob Opening
The Spike or Grob Opening line begins with
the strange appearing 1. g4. Most players
would not think of making this move in a
game of chess that they want to win. It
damages king side pawns with an unguarded
advanced pawn. The Grob opening does
offer many tactical advantages for white
though along unusual opening lines.
After using 1. g4, follow with 2. Bg2 and
depending on your opponent's reactions, 3.
c4. These odd moves will send your
opponent's head reeling with trying to figure
out what in the world you are thinking. Your
opponent's may even think that you are
obviously inexperienced and will not even
take this opening, or you, seriously, which
gives an automatic advantage.
One difficulty with playing chess against
more experienced players is that they have a
common response to common openings.
Every time you use a certain opening they
will respond with a certain defense that has
worked for them in the past. This is where
the Grob comes into play, since it is so

unusual for someone to use it, opponents are

often unsure of how to respond to it. The
Grob opening is particularly useful in speed,
or blitz, chess games.
The Grob is also effective in chess games
that are not timed. The Swiss
correspondence master Grob used his
namesake to win many different
correspondence games. In this case, a BClass player defeated a strong master with
the Grob. Try out this unusual opening in
your games and see if you can make it work
for you. It does give you, as white, certain
tactical advantages whereby you can exploit
blacks responses when your opponent is
unsure of how to respond to such a different
41. The Classic Kings Pawn Opening
The classic kings pawn opening is a timetested opening that novice players can use to
help them gain experience in the game of
chess. This is a great way to control the
center of the board and allows you to have
many avenues in which to mount an attack
against your opponent. At the same time it
also allows you to develop a very tough
defensive stance that your opponent may
have difficulty breaking through without
suffering a tremendous loss in pieces.
The kings pawn opening consists of first
moving both the D and E pawns forward
two spaces to D4 and E4. This is followed
by bringing out both bishops to the sides of
the pawns at C4 and F4. The next step is to
move both knights out to C3 and F3.
Castling your king and rook on either the
kings side or the queens side follows this
move. Once this is done you can move the
queen to either E2 or D2. Now you can
move your second rook over to D1 or E1
depending on which side you castled to.
Of course all of this assumes that your
opponent will allow you the luxury of
moving your pieces into these exact
positions. Often times they will not give you
this opportunity, but if you have the chance
to execute even most of this opening, you
can place your self at a major advantage. All
of these pieces carefully compliment each
other in this opening scenario. You have
many different lanes in which to attack from
and have total dominance over the center of
the board. Having control over the center of
the board is one of the basic tactics that
many players use in chess. Give the kings
pawn opening a try and see if it works for
42. Chess Variants
Imagine getting a little tired of the
traditional chess game. If this ever happens

to you, or if you just want a new challenge

consider some of the many chess variants
that people are using today. There are many
new wild variants that you can play that can
actually help you to improve your
traditional chess game. Some of these
variants were originally made to help
beginners learn strategies and tactics in the
game of chess. However, some people
enjoyed the variant trainings so much, that
they have begun playing them regularly.
Many of these chess variants, along with
their rules and strategies are widely
available on the Internet for those who are
Some of these variants include just using a
few pieces instead of the full compliment of
traditional chess pieces. Some of these
variants are used to teach children the basics
of chess, but before you ignore those
variants, they can be used by anyone to help
understand some of the more complex
intricacies of the game of chess. Some of
these would be using only pawns on the
board to learn pawn forks and how to
advance while slowing your opponent's
There are other variants that only use
bishops as pieces, or only rooks, etc. These
variants can help you to master the
knowledge of how to best use these pieces
as attacking pieces and as defensive pieces
while at the same time experiencing a new
type of game that can provide you some
enjoyment. While I prefer traditional chess,
I do recommend using these variant games
as a way to improve your overall chess
skills and knowledge of tactics that you can
use with the different pieces.
43. Checkmate
Have you ever found yourself dominating a
game, leading in pieces, and yet struggling
to put your opponent into checkmate? Have
you ever chased a king around the board,
frustrated that you could not find that all
important checkmate position? Most chess
players will struggle with completing the
checkmate, especially early on in their chess
playing. Being able to checkmate is
essential and knowing some of the different
checkmates is needed in order to be a
competitive chess player.
Even if your opponent is outnumbered by
pieces, they may try to elude you in order to
get a draw. This is a very smart move on the
part of your opponent. There are many
different checkmates that you can use to end
the game. Placing a guarded queen next to
the king does one of the easiest checkmates,
or at least one of the most effective
checkmates. If the king has nowhere to

escape to, then you have successfully placed

your opponent into checkmate.
Another very common checkmate is to use
two rooks, or a rook and a queen. Either
way it is the same concept. Use your two
rooks to dominate files so that the
opponent's king is slowly forced over to one
side of the board. Simply continue to move
your rooks so that the king cannot move
forward from the files and you will have a
There are many more checkmate methods
that can be used and you should study and
learn those checkmates. Experienced players
spend a great deal of time learning the
various checkmates and it shows in their
games by their wins. The more checkmates
that you know, the better off you will be and
the easier it will be for you to win games.
44. Defend Yourself
When your opponent attempts to move
pieces onto your side of the board you must
challenge those pieces. If you allow your
opponent to move unchecked onto your side
of the board you are asking for trouble. If
you are trying to execute a certain opening
or gambit, it may still be wise to challenge
these trespassers that have come to your side
of the board.
You need to defend against these pieces that
come to your side of the board either by
attacking them, trading, or finding away to
drive them away and make them retreat.
Any of these methods are good in defending
yourself against these trespassers. Letting
your opponent place pieces on your side of
the board and taking no action allows your
opponent to gain an advantage that he or she
will likely hold throughout the entire game.
If you ignore these pieces that your
opponent has placed on your side of the
board it will allow your opponent to bring
even more primary pieces over to your side
of the board and will limit your possible
It is especially important to attack these
pieces or drive them away when they are
placed in the center of the board.
Controlling the center of the board is one of
the basic principles in the game of chess. If
you see your opponent placing unchecked
pieces there you must challenge or attack if
you want to have a chance to win the game.
Often times if you are able to force your
opponent to retreat these trespassing pieces
you will gain a tactical advantage. You will
have the momentum, or tempo, on your side
while he or she is in the process of
45. Simplicity

Sometimes when playing chess we are

looking for the complex gambits or trying to
memorize openings. While chess is a very
complex game that requires many complex
strategies and tactics it is easy to overlook
some of the more simple principles of the
game of chess. Staying focused on the basic
principles of chess is much more important
than being able to rattle off the sequence of
your preferred openings. Sticking with basic
principles will simply help you to win
games when your opponent's may be trying
too hard to carry out some ultra complex
tactic that rarely works.
One of the basic principles in chess is that
when your opponent gives up control over a
square you should move into that square.
There are only so many squares on the
board that you can safely move pieces into.
As the game progresses these available
squares become much harder and harder to
find. Therefore, if your opponent is
surrendering one of these precious squares,
you should move into it. By moving into
this free, or unguarded square, you will be
able to mount an attack much more easily.
The main thing to watch for when doing this
is to make try and determine if your
opponent is trying to set a trap for you.
Generally, even if your opponent is trying to
set a trap for you, it will be apparent. Most
of the time though moving into that
unguarded square will work to your
advantage. With only sixty-four squares on
the board, moving into that free and open
spot is helpful. Again, try not to get too
focused on the complexities of strategies
while forgetting the most basic principles in
the game. Successful chess players always
stay in touch with the simple and basic
46. Attack on the Kings Side
At Some point during the opening of the
chess game most players will likely attempt
to castle. Castling provides the player with a
good line of defense for their king. Typically
the player who has castled has at least three
pawns in front of their king, a rook on the
open side of the king, and one space
followed by the edge of the board on the
other side of the king. Most of the time it is
a good idea to castle because of the
protection it offers the king.
When playing against someone who has
castled their king, which will frequently
happen, it is a good idea to begin a strategy
that allows you to attack your opponents
king side. In other words, attacking those
pawns that are protecting your king. If you
are able to, you want to slowly but surely
place your pieces on the opponent's king

side so that you can overwhelm the pieces

that are protecting your opponent's king.
Depending on the situation it may even be
worthwhile to sacrifice a piece in order to
disassemble your opponents pawns that are
protecting the king. You will have to decide
if it is prudent to sacrifice a piece or not
when attacking the opponents king side
Being able to dismantle your opponents
king side defenses, while at the same time
maintaining your own kings side defenses,
will give you a huge advantage in the game.
Chess players who are able to destroy the
opponents king side defenses and keep their
own defenses in tact usually win the game.
Use this as a strategy when you feel that you
are perhaps a piece or two ahead, or when
you have tempo going in your favor.
47. Play Against a Computer
One method to develop your chess skills
and experience are to play against a
computer opponent. The primary reason to
do practice against a computer chess
opponent is because the computer opponent
rarely makes major errors or tactical
blunders. Consider this, the computer
opponent does not get tired, distracted,
angry, etc. This makes for a very tough
chess opponent when you play against a
It is helpful to set the skill level of the
computer opponent to a slightly higher skill
level than what you are at. However, this is
not an option against all computer
opponents. There are many different
websites on the Internet that allow you to
play for free against computer opponents.
Some of these Internet sites also allow you
to receive feedback from the computer
opponent as to how you could improve your
game, or even suggested moves for you to
make during the game. Being able to win,
when playing against a computer opponent,
is quite an accomplishment. Although some
people have a general disdain for playing
against computers, there is a great deal of
learning that comes for the human player
when they do play against a computer chess
Take advantage of this technological age
that we live in and utilize these computer
chess opponents as a way to drastically
improve your game and learn from your
mistakes. Computers will generally work
from a statistical formula that results in the
computer opponent making the move that is
the statistically best move. Often times these
computer opponents will provide you with
chess notation that you can print out. Using
the notation that is provided will allow you

to review your game and see where you

made mistakes in the game.
48. Zwischenzug
The German word zwischenzug means
intermediate move and it is a common tactic
that occurs in almost every game of chess.
Picture your opponent making a move that
directly threatens one of your pieces. After
you opponent has done this you are able to
follow up with the zwischenzug tactic.
When this tactic is used in the game of chess
you will make a move that poses an even
more devastating threat, instead of
countering a direct threat, which the
opponent expected you to do. Often the
move that you made will be a direct attack
against the opponent's queen or the king.
The opponent is forced to counter that threat
against his or her queen or king first and this
will ideally change the situation to his or her
Just as easily as you can use this tactic, so
can your opponent's. Because this is a
common, well-known tactic you should
always watch out for a zwischenzug. Do not
assume that the opponent has to counter
your threats immediately, no matter how
great they may appear in your eyes. It is
good practice to always check whether your
opponent has a check or a move that can
threaten your queen. Conversely, anticipate
your opponent's threats and plan a
surprising. Zwischenzug.
Try to use this tactic when it appears to
work to your advantage and guard your
pieces against it, particularly guard your
queen and king against the zwischenzug.
This tactic is all about forcing your
opponent into making tough decisions. Your
opponent has to ask themselves for example
"do I take his knight with my bishop, or
guard or move my queen?" these types of
situations generally will provide you with a
tempo advantage as your opponent retreats.
49. Do Not Fret
If you find yourself in a game where you are
trailing a two or three or even four pawns
behind there is no reason to worry too much.
The number of pawns that you have as
compared to your opponent is not as
important as how your pawns are situated. It
is important to think ahead a few moves
when playing chess and to look at how the
various scenarios of the next few moves
may play out. Once you have carefully
considered your options, try to keep your
pawns grouped together.
Having one island of pawns, or one
connected group of pawns, is much more
significant than having the most pawns.

Consider a player who has more pawns, but

has possibly three different islands of two
pawns each. This player is not as strong in
his pawn defense as one who is able to keep
four or five pawns in one single island. The
defensive capabilities of pawns are well
known. As you have seen when playing
chess, a player who has a large single group
of connected pawns can severely limit the
number of possible moves for his or her
opponents primary pieces. These connected
pawns are able to defend each other and
slowly advance to your opponent's side of
the board.
Pawns are not the most powerful pieces on
the board by any means, but as a group
pawns can be a real thorn in the side of your
opponent. When you keep your pawns
working together as a team, complimenting
one another, then the pawns are able to limit
the opposition. Take care in your opening
strategy and your middle game so that you
do not create multiple small islands of
pawns for yourself.
50. Take Advantage of Your Opponents
Doubled Pawns
We all know that having pawns doubled up
on the board is not the best scenario for the
player whose pawns are doubled. Doubled
pawns refer to having one pawn directly in
front of another, or even on the same file.
This happens when you use one pawn to
take an opponents piece, thus leaving that
pawn on the same file as another one of
your pawns. Sometimes during a chess
game this appears to be an almost
unavoidable option for either you or your
When your opponent has doubled up their
pawns, as described above, one of the best
moves that you can make is to block their
path with a pawn of your own. This of
course assumes that you have a pawn on
that same file to block with. Blocking the
doubled pawns path, as opposed to simply
taking one of the pawns creates a situation
for your opponent where their primary
pieces are limited in their movements.
Considering that your opponents doubled
pawns present relatively little threat to you
in the overall scheme of things, capturing
them may not be as helpful as one would
first assume.
Anytime that you can limit your opponent's
movement of his or her primary pieces you
have a tactical advantage. If you find
yourself with doubled pawns it may be
prudent to simply sacrifice the front pawn
quickly. Typically capturing one of your
opponent's pawns does this. This results in a
slightly weakened defense for your
opponent as well as providing you with the

freedom to move the back pawn as you

normally would during the course of a chess
game. Doubled pawns are not ideal, but
doubled pawns are sometimes the only
apparent option when we find ourselves
getting at a stuck point in a game.
51. The King as an Offensive Piece
Probably the only piece on the board that
appears weaker than a pawn is a king. The
reason that the king appears weakest is that
he cannot place himself in check. Placing a
king in check is against the rules of chess.
Because of this rule a king is typically very
limited on the movements that he can make.
Combine that with the fact that a king can
only move one space per move and you
have what appears to be a very weak
offensive piece.
Using a king as an offensive piece should
only take place during the end game in most
situations. The end game is the point in a
chess game where neither you nor your
opponent has very many pieces left. Often
times an end game is recognized by you and
your opponent having one or two pawns and
perhaps one primary piece each. At this
point the offensive capabilities of your king
become crucial in you having a chance to
advance your pawn to your opponents back
rank and getting a checkmate.
One of the best ways to use a king in this
situation is to remember that two kings
cannot be in spaces directly next to each
other on the board because that is against the
rules of chess. If you are able to keep your
king in a favorable position that forces your
opponent away from your pawns or primary
pieces then you have a great advantage in
the end game and will most likely win.
While this is not the most complicated
strategy, remembering that you can use your
king as a buffer to limit your opponent's
king during the end game is vital. Use your
king in the end game to help assure you the
52. Blockades
In the game of chess a blockade is a
wonderful tactical method that forces your
opponent to move his or her pieces into the
path of their other primary valuable pieces
thus blocking those primary pieces from
being able to attack you. Think about in the
opening game when you are able to possibly
threaten a bishop that is unguarded. This
results in your opponent moving that bishop
in front of his or her own queen. Once you
have done this you have successfully carried
out a blockade on your opponent. Now the
queen cannot move to attack you, nor can it
serve as a defender since the bishop that you

had threatened just one move ago blocks it

There are many other examples of ways to
use the blockade. One of the more effective
methods is used in the end game. This is
where you are able to threaten the king and
force your opponents king to move into
such a position that your opponents other
pieces are no longer a threat to you. Place
your opponents king into check and that
king is forced to move. If you are able to
limit where the king can move, so that the
king moves in front of one of his primary
pieces then you have again successfully
carried out a blockade.
This is an important tactical skill for
beginners to learn and to watch for. More
experienced players are often wise to this
tactic and will be watching for it so it may
not be quite as successful against those more
experienced players. Regardless of your
particular skill level this is a fundamental
tactical skill that must be used on occasion
and a tactical skill that needs to be actively
guarded against.
53. Chasing
During the middle game chasing is a tactical
method that you may use in order to capture
a piece, particularly a queen. Chasing is just
what the name implies, chasing a piece
around the board that has limited movement
options until you can safely capture that
piece. The reason that this works the best in
the middle game is because the middle
game is when the board is often the most
crowded thus limiting the movements of
your opponent's primary pieces.
If you are chasing your opponents poorly
guarded, or unguarded, queen around the
board with say a bishop and a rook, you can
continue to chase until your opponent either
traps themselves into a corner or makes an
error in their movement of that queen. You
may choose to chase any piece around the
board; the queen is simply a more
significant capture. Chasing can also be
utilized during the end game but may be a
little more difficult since the board is
generally less cluttered with pieces.
Chasing during the end game could be a
good idea if your opponent has a rook and
you have two knights or two bishops.
Chasing this dangerous rook and ultimately
capturing it will obviously help you in
gaining a major advantage that will most
likely lead to you placing your opponent
into checkmate. Use the tactic of chasing
wisely as you do not want to get so focused
on it that you leave yourself overly exposed
to attacks from your opponent. Sometimes
people focus so much on the chase that they

end up losing the pieces that they were

using for the chase. Simply stay aware of all
the options and look over the board before
making a move to help avoid this blunder.
54. Study Chess Problem Diagrams
Probably any chess move or scenario that
you can possibly imagine has already been
done before. There is probably no original
move or tactic that you will invent that has
not been done a hindered times over by
others. Because of this it is important to
learn from those who have gone before you.
One great way to learn tactics and tactical
combinations is to use chess problem
diagrams. Chess problem diagrams can be
found for free and for charge on multiple
chess Internet sites as well as in many
different chess books.
Chess problem diagrams generally present a
game scenario and want you to try to
determine the best way to solve the
problem. This may include ways for you to
place your opponent into checkmate in the
next two moves, or it may be a problem
diagram that wants you to capture the queen
in the next four moves. Whatever the chess
problem diagram is trying to teach you, the
information and knowledge that you gain
can be invaluable. Frequently these chess
problem diagrams are situations that you
have faced before in games or will face in
future games of chess.
Whether you utilize the Internet sites to look
at the problem diagrams or you decide to
use books, both generally offer the "best"
solution to the problem presented. You may
find an alternate solution to the problem
presented, but the one that is offered as the
"best" solution is usually done in the fewest
moves with the best outcome. Chess is a
game of skill, not a game of luck, because of
this serious and long term studying of the
game and problems are needed if you want
to see dramatic improvements in your
personal chess game.
55. Exchanging Pieces
During a game of chess it is necessary and
practical to exchange pieces with your
opponent over the course of the game. The
key to winning is to know which pieces to
exchange with your opponent and when to
do so. Every chess piece is given a relative
point value, except for the king. In this value
system pawns are worth one point, knights
and bishops are worth three points each, a
rook is worth five points, and finally a
queen is worth nine points. Understanding
the relative point values of these pieces will
help you to determine if an exchange is
worthwhile to you or not.

The main idea when exchanging pieces is

to, at the very least, trade evenly valued
point pieces. The best scenario though is to
trade lower point valued pieces for higher
point valued pieces. If you were able to
sacrifice a bishop for a rook this would
result in a point advantage to you of two
points since the bishop is worth three and
the rook is worth five points.

the more you will recognize them. All

games have weaknesses on both sides; we
just do not always notice the weaknesses
due to inexperience or being unaware of
what to look for. Spend time examining
game play and try to find weaknesses that
you can use to your advantage.

There are many schools of thought on when

to trade a higher point valued piece for a
lower one. One of these thoughts is that if
you are trapped by your own pieces being in
your way it is good to exchange pieces so
that you have space to move your primary
pieces. It is also commonly agreed on that if
you are able to weaken your opponents
pawn structure by exchanging pieces then
you should do so. Always try to have the
advantage, or more pieces than your
opponent, after the exchanges take place. If
you are able to sacrifice one piece, but win
two pieces, then it is a good exchange. Use
your skills to determine when you feel an
exchange is warranted.

Finding a balance between defending

yourself and attacking your opponent in
chess has always been one of the trickier
parts of the game of chess. Trying to
determine what role each of your pieces
should play throughout the game is difficult,
should a primary piece be a defender or an
attacker? In regards to bishops there is a
relatively easy concept that we can follow to
know if we should use the bishops for
defensive or offensive purposes. The
attacking bishop is used to control space or
remove key defenders in your opponent's
position. The defending bishop is kept close
to home and helps to guard weak color
complexes in your own position.

56. Exploit Weaknesses

Determining whether a bishop is offensive

or defensive depends upon the pawn
structure that you set up in the games
opening. The idea is that the attacking
bishop is the one that moves on the color
squares that you have placed the majority of
your pawns on, the defending bishop is on
the other colored squares. Once you have
decided whether your bishops are attacking
or defending you can use that information to
decide where to place the bishops. The
defending bishop should be kept near your
pawn structure to help defend that pawn

Chess requires that we look for weaknesses

in our opponent's positions while keeping
ourselves out of weak positions. As always,
the game remains a balance of attacking and
defending. A weakness is simply a flaw in a
position that we can exploit. These
weaknesses can be anything from an open
line to poor piece placement to overworked
pieces. Depending on what stage we are at
in the game we will see different
weaknesses in our opponent.
Balancing these weaknesses or playing one
weakness against another is the heart of
chess. This means that you may want to
sacrifice game tempo to create a weakness
on your opponents castled king or that you
may want to attack your opponents king and
trade pieces in order to gain an advantage
for the end game. It is said that at least two
weaknesses are required to win a chess
game. The idea behind this is that as you
attack your opponent's weakness, and he or
she defends that weakness, your opponent
will create another weakness elsewhere on
the board. As the game progresses you need
to be able to identify the weaknesses that
your opponent presents while not creating
too many of your own weaknesses.
A common weakness that you will see is an
overextended attack by your opponent. If
your opponent focuses too much attention
on one area of your defense and you are able
to sustain your defense, your opponent will
have left many weaknesses that you can
exploit. The more you play chess and the
more that you are looking for weaknesses

57. Learning About Bishops

The attacking bishop may be used to control

spaces on the board and to remove your
opponents attacking pieces. It is also
common that we use the attacking bishop to
pin your opponent's pieces. A pin is where
you are able to threaten a primary piece of
your opponents and your opponent cannot
move that piece or you would be able to
take a more valuable piece or place your
opponent in check. Be cautious with your
attacking bishop because your opponent will
often use a knight to threaten or take that
attacking bishop.
58. Play the Board
Some chess players down play the role that
psychology plays in attempting to win a
game of chess. Psychology plays an
important role in not only your confidence
but in the confidence of your opponent to
win a game. This is particularly important if
you are playing someone that you have lost
to before. If you approach a game assuming
that you will lose the game, then you will

probably make a mistake which results in

your opponent winning because of your lack
of focus on the game. Conversely, if you are
playing against someone who you have
defeated a number of times, it is easy to lose
focus and assume that you will win.
Assuming that you will win will likely lead
you into making foolish mistakes in the

so that it does not become a threat to you.

Towards the end game the lone pawn
becomes rather useless, as long as it is
blocked, since it is unable to move. On the
other hand a lone pawn in the end game that
is able to move is always a threat to make
the back rank and to be promoted to a
queen. Play your pawns wisely in all your

If you are playing in a tournament against a

higher rated opponent it may be that you
feel out gunned. The most important thing
that you can do to eliminate the psychology
of the game is to play the board, not your
opponent. Play against how the pieces are
shaping up and what tactics and strategies
your opponent appears to be executing. Try
not to fall into the trap of believing that
since your opponent is higher rated that you
will lose. The truth is that any player can
beat any other player if you are able to limit
your mistakes and capitalize on your
opponent's mistakes.

60. Why Play Speed Chess?

Do not doubt your abilities to win a game

and do not doubt the abilities of your
opponent to win if you are not focused on
the game. There are many famous stories of
young children shamelessly defeating a
high-ranking player. Part of this was due to
the high-ranking player assuming that a
child could not possibly beat them. Play
against the board, not your opponent's
59. The Lone Pawn
During a chess game we may find ourselves
in a situation where we have a single
isolated pawn that has no support from our
other pawns. We need to learn how to best
utilize this pawn so that we can improve our
game. There are two types of lone pawns,
the first is able to move and attack, the
second is a lone pawn that is stuck and/or
The lone pawn that is able to advance is the
one that we are the most concerned with for
now. This lone pawn may appear to be of
little use to us until we reevaluate that lone
pawns benefit to us. We can use this lone
pawn to help damage our opponents castled
position. A moveable lone pawn can also be
used to help advance a knight advance if the
knight follows the path that the pawn opens
up for the knight.
Particular attention should be paid to a lone
pawn that is towards the center of the board.
If you are able to carry out an attack in the
center of the board with a loan pawn you
will have a much better chance of winning
the game. If your opponent has a lone pawn
towards the center of the board it is in your
best interest to block that pawns movement

The variant of speed, or blitz, chess is one

that offers a great deal of benefits to the
right player. Some chess players flat out
loathe speed chess because they do not feel
it is a pure form of chess. Other chess
players find this to be quite a fun way to
play the game and choose it over non-timed
games. There are some benefits that you can
get out of playing speed chess games.
A typical speed chess game is one where
each player has only five minutes each to
complete the game. A clock is used that has
two small clock faces and a button on top of
each of the clock faces that starts and stops
each clock, similar to a stopwatch. If either
player runs out of time before a checkmate
or draw is achieved, then the player that ran
out of time loses the game.
To help you improve your chess game you
may elect to play some of these speed chess
games. Thinking quickly and rapidly
evaluating the tactics that your opponent is
using will help you in your regular chess
game. Speed chess makes it easier for you to
identify positional play as well as rapidly
develop strategies. Another benefit is that
you are able to practice many games in a
short period of time.
Another reason that you may choose to play
speed chess can include that your opponent
is typically a painfully slow player. Also, if
you are short on time but want to play a
quick intense game, then speed chess may
be for you. There are many Internet chess
site that offer this timed feature too. These
sites keep automatic track of the time
elapsed for you.
61. Memorizing Openings?
Many players spend a great deal of time
memorizing long opening openings for their
chess game. Memorizing openings,
especially for the more inexperienced player
is generally a waste of time. It is good to see
what the opening options are, but sticking
with the same opening and ignoring the play
on the board is a mistake. The inexperienced
players often do not apply basic opening
principles, like consistently getting all their
pieces involved in the game before starting a
battle. Ironically, these same players also

often repeat the same general opening

mistakes even though these opening
mistakes should be relatively easy to
identify and avoid.
No matter how many specific chess
openings you learn, you should always
consider general opening principles. For
example, many players start middle game
activities without their rooks, and do so
game after game, year after year, ignoring
"Move every piece once before you move
any piece twice, unless there is a tactic", or
the opening concept of "Keep your entire
army active at all times." Others will delay
castling until it is too late, create needless
weak squares, or do not use break moves to
give pieces early middle game mobility. If
you follow proper chess principles you will
be surprised how well you can play without
knowing all the latest theories of chess.
After each game, or set of games, look up
every opening you play and ask yourself "If
someone played the same moves again,
where would I differ?" This results in you
gaining dramatic insight into how you can
rapidly improve your game. It has been said,
in a variety of forms that repeating the same
mistake over and over and expecting
different results is insanity. Try not to repeat
the same tactical mistakes in your games
and expect to improve.
62. Winning a Won Game
Winning a game of chess is not easy,
especially for the inexperienced chess
player. One difficulty that many newer
players face is how to capitalize on an
advantage that they have in a game. If you
are in the lead in the game, you have
momentum, and you are ahead in pieces, but
have difficulty placing your opponent into
checkmate then you are having trouble
winning a won game.
Many inexperienced players get up a piece
but have no idea how to proceed. Instead of
following important chess guidelines,
inexperienced players will often to the
opposite of these basic chess guidelines.
Sticking with the basics is probably the best
way to make sure that you win your won
games. Trying to get overly complicated, or
trying a new theory that you read about will
not help you to gain the victory that you are
looking for. Some of the basic concepts to
stick with include controlling the middle of
the board, using tactics such as pins and
skewers, and keeping your pieces properly
Sometimes when an inexperienced player is
winning the game that inexperienced player
will get in a hurry and simply make a silly
mistake. Other times the inexperienced

player may get overly confident that they

will win and forget that they are playing a
competent opponent who is looking for any
possibility to win the game or create a draw.
Chess can be somewhat ruthless since it is
generally a good idea that if you are
defeating your opponent, to go for the kill
and to not "let up" on your opponent. Play
smart chess and stick to basics and you will
likely win your won games the majority of
the time. Study checkmate basics to help
from finding yourself chasing your
opponent around the board for ten turns.
63. You Are Going to Lose
Some chess players hinder their ability to
improve by being too concerned about
losing or worry too much about their chess
ratings. Worrying too much about your win
and loss record or your chess ratings are
going to hold you back from learning how
to better play the game. Ratings and records
are just numbers. The good news is that you
will lose some games of chess. You will
probably lose many games of chess before
you start to dramatically improve.
You improve your chess game when you
add something positive or subtract
something negative. Do not take losing
personally; take the view that any chess
game where you do not learn something is
the real bad game, not your losses. When
you lose at a game of chess it is likely that
you have done something identifiably
wrong during the game, so work on learning
from that mistake so that you do not repeat
the same mistake in the future.
A chess player who worries too much about
losing often seeks out weaker chess
opponents who will not force the player to
learn from his or her mistakes. It may be
gratifying to rack up a number of wins, but
the lessons that you learn are not there.
While playing almost exclusively against
players who are rated above you can be
demoralizing and hinder your chances to
learn good technique, a mixture of about
sixty-five to seventy five percent of games
played against higher rated players than you
and the rest equally rated or less seems to be
about right for a positive learning curve. Do
not tempt yourself into going for the easy
wins; you will not improve your game very
much at all.
64. Castling Ideas
Now most chess players understand that it is
important and a great idea to castle during
the opening part of the game. A general rule
of thumb is to castle within the first fifteen
moves of the game. This is not always
possible, but generally it is not too hard to
accomplish. Castling protects your king

during the middle game and simultaneously

develops your rook. Knowing how
devastating a rook can be to your opponent's
defense makes castling an even better idea.
Try to develop your primary pieces to the
side that you are going to castle to. Most of
the time players will castle on the king's side
of the board, not the queen's side. If this is
the case then you want to develop your
knight and your bishop to that side of the
board. You also want to keep your primary
pieces nearby, or close to the king so that
they are not strung out across the board.
Keeping your troops close to your king
provides your king the protection that he
needs while at the same time creating
difficulty for your opponent to be able to
When castling you also need to be sure to
keep your front line of pawns in their place
to provide that added barrier to help protect
your king. These pawns also work as guards
for your primary pieces that you have
developed on the king's side. The pawns
will help guard the bishop and knight that
you have placed on that king side after
castling. Think of your king as being the
most valuable and weakest piece on the
board. Knowing this, use all of your other
pieces to work as protectors of that weak but
valuable king that your opponent is so
desperately seeking to capture.
65. A Winning Attitude
A chess player's attitude probably has as
much to do with winning and improving
their chess game than anything else. A chess
player can spend months reading books,
openings, but if that chess player does not
posses the winning attitude he or she will
only advance so far in his or her abilities.
I am not going to suggest that you need to
be an overly joyous soul to be good at chess,
but you do need to work on some attitudinal
skills such as confidence, respect,
determination, discipline, etc. All of these
traits can help make you a better chess
player and perhaps a better person.
Confidence in your game and your skills
does not equal an arrogant person,
confidence means that you know you are an
intelligent person with some chess skills
who could beat anyone on a given day.
Confidence means that you are approaching
the game with an attitude that you can in
fact win the game at hand if you play well.
Respect for other players is important as
well since you do not want to take an
opponent so lightly that you do not try your
best when you play. Determination means
that you are willing to put in the practice

and time that it takes to become a great

chess player. If you look towards grand
masters as people you would like to
emulate, then understand that they got to
where they are by practicing, studying, and
learning from their mistakes.
Finally discipline is needed to have a
winning attitude. The discipline to critically
think through your moves, the discipline to
sit and analyze the games that you have
played, and the discipline to analyze the
games of the chess greats is needed to
develop a winning attitude. Disciplining
yourself into good study habits will
definitely help improve your game and your
66. Develop Your Pieces
When playing a game of chess it is
important to develop all of your primary
pieces early on in the game. If you have
primary pieces that are still sitting on the
back rank by the time you reach the middle
game, then you have given your opponent
an advantage in the game. All pieces need to
be developed in order for you to have the
tactical advantage in the game. Often times
a player will leave a rook sitting on the back
rank doing absolutely nothing. If you find
yourself doing this, then you need to
change. A rook is a very valuable piece and
leaving it sitting safely tucked in the back
rank is creating a situations where you are
basically giving your opponent a one piece
A general rule of thumb is to move each
piece once before moving any piece twice.
This may seem very difficult to achieve in
game play, but it does provide a great
advantage to you if you are able to carry out
this strategy. If you are able to safely
develop all of your pieces early on in the
game you will definitely have a lead in
tempo over your opponent. Conversely, if
you play too conservatively, you will allow
your opponent to gain tempo and your
opponent will be able to put you on the
defense for the entire game.
Do not forget to develop your king by
castling. Generally this is done on the king's
side, not the queen's side. This is also
usually done during the opening, or within
the first fifteen moves of the game. A
winning strategy is one where you are able
to develop and cautiously advance your
pieces before your opponent has the chance
to do the same.
67. The Best Move
When playing a game of chess it is always
important to not get rushed and make a
simple mistake. Too often a chess player

will see a good or decent move and jump

quickly to make that move. What is often
overlooked is making the best move
possible. Getting in a hurry or getting overly
confident in your skills leads to making this
simple mistake. Chess is a game that
requires a well thought out plan and strategy
if you want to win on a consistent basis.
People in general have a tendency to look
for the easiest path to follow and it is no
different in playing chess. While there may
be an option to skewer your opponent's
pieces, you may have overlooked the
possible checkmate in two more moves that
you could have made. This tendency to leap
towards the first move that appears to you is
a mistake that many inexperienced chess
players will make.
There are multiple books, software, and web
sites that offer tactical skills improvement
exercises. These are very good for you to be
able to look for the best move instead of
looking for the easiest move. When you
look at one of these tactical exercises you
will be able to say to yourself "what would I
have done in that situations?" Then you will
be able to see what the best move is. Did
your instinct move match the best move
offered as the solution in the exercise? If not
you may not be taking the time to look for
the best possible move. These tactical
exercises may seem somewhat mundane,
but if you really want to improve then you
need to spend time focusing on them so that
you can consistently look for the best move
each and every move.
68. Ways to Protect an Attacked Piece
There are many methods to protect your
pieces when they come under attack from
your opponent. Not all of these methods will
work in an actual game, but all should be
considered depending on the situation that
you find yourself in.
The first method is to move the piece to a
safe square. This would be a square where
your opponent cannot attack the piece or
where it is guarded by another piece of
A second method to protect an attacked
piece is to capture the attacking piece. This
may be one of the best methods because not
only do you eliminate the threat from your
opponent, but you also gain material and
tempo in the process. Your opponent will
have gone from an offensive front to a
defensive posture in this one move.
The third method is block the attack. This
does not work with all pieces such as
knights. If you opponent is attacking with a
queen, rook, or bishop this method will

work. This is where you simply move

another piece in the path of the attacker so
that your opponent cannot capture your
primary piece.
The fourth method is to simply guard your
piece that the opponent is attacking. Moving
another piece does this, so that if your
opponent does attack, you will be able to
capture the opponents attacking piece the
very next move.
The final way to protect an attacked piece is
to counterattack. Pinning or skewering your
opponent can do this. For example, if your
opponent threatens to take your rook, but
you are able to threaten to capture your
opponent's queen, then your opponent is
likely to surrender the attack and to
defensively move his or her queen.
69. What is Your Opponent Trying to do?
This is a question that you should ask
yourself each and every time your opponent
makes a move in a chess game. Too often
players will overlook this simple question
and focus far too much on what he or she is
trying to do, not what their opponent is
trying to do. Ignoring the strategy that your
opponent is trying to implement is similar to
going to war and only focusing on your
army's goals while ignoring the goals of the
You are trying to capture your opponent's
queen in these next few moves because it
appears to be weakly guarded. This can be a
good or bad strategy depending on what
your opponent is trying to do. If your
opponent is attempting to lure you into
focusing all of your attention on that poorly
guarded queen while setting you up for
checkmate, then your attention is focused in
the wrong place. Of course you are not a
mind reader and do not always know what
your opponents strategy is, or if he or she
even has a strategy in mind. However, it is
critical that you consider what you believe
your opponent is trying to do.
When playing chess your goals in the game
need to become somewhat secondary to
countering the goals that your opponent has.
If you see that in two moves you can place
your opponent in checkmate, but fail to
realize that in one move he or she can
capture your attacking pieces, then you have
failed to examine what your opponent is
trying to do. Once again it is the allimportant balance between offense and
defense that you are working towards in the
game of chess. Focusing all of your
attention on one area or the other is a
mistake. Find a good balance between the
two styles.

70. When to Capture a Promoting Piece

Picture yourself playing a tough chess game
and your opponent is threatening to promote
a pawn. When should you capture this
pawn? For most of us the answer would
probably be to capture it as soon as possible,
or when it is convenient for us. Typically a
player will capture that pawn quickly to
eliminate the threat that it presents by being
able to be promoted. If the pawn has a few
moves to go before it can be promoted a lot
of players will wait until they are in a good
defensive position before going after that
pawn. What if both of these tactics are
mistakes though?
Often times a better option to capture that
promoting pawn is to wait until after it has
promoted. This means that you take it the
very next move, after it promotes. You must
eventually capture the promoting piece, but
doing so too early may cost you a win or, at
worst, a draw. Most chess players face a
promoting piece late in the end game where
pieces and moves are extremely valuable.
The end game situation makes it even more
critical that you plan ahead and that you do
not hurt yourself in capturing that promoting
piece. Of course, do not wait to capture the
promoting piece if your opponent is
threatening to block your capture.
Instead of capturing the promoting piece too
soon, try to gain tempo in the game so that
you have your opponent forced into a more
defensive stance. A tempo advantage often
wins games. Tempo is when you are a move
ahead of your opponent and you are able to
threaten your opponent due to your solid
defense. Being too hasty in reacting to your
opponent's advances can be very
71. When to Capture the Pinned Piece
Pinning your opponent is when you are able
to trap one of your opponent's pieces. The
most common scenario is pinning a piece
that your opponent has placed in front of his
or her king. Picture your opponent placing a
bishop in front of his or her king and you
placing a rook on the same file. Now your
opponent cannot move the bishop or he or
she will be placed into check. It is an illegal
move to put yourself into check. Now that
you have learned the tactic of pinning your
opponent's pieces you need to know when it
is the best time to actually capture that
pinned piece.
Many times a chess player will react too
quickly and take the opponent's pinned
piece because it seems like the right move.
This is often a mistake. If you are able to pin
one of your opponent's pieces you may be
best served to wait to capture that pinned

piece. If you react quickly and take it now,

you will lose the piece that you have used to
create the pin. From the example above, you
would lose your rook once you take the
A better option is to wait until your
opponent moves that piece. Referencing the
example again, wait until your opponent
moves the king before you take the bishop.
Eventually, if you are patient, your opponent
will move the king in order to get the bishop
back into the game. When your opponent
does this take the bishop. An even better
scenario is making sure that your opponent
has moved king so that you can capture the
bishop without losing your rook. The most
important concept is to be patient. Far too
many chess games are lost due to players
acting too quickly.

A fork is when you are able to threaten two

pieces at the same time with ONE of your
pieces. Knights are notorious for being able
to do this, especially against rooks. For an
example, you have your knight forking two
rooks. Does it matter which of the two rooks
you capture? Are you sure? Should you
capture one of the forked pieces
These are the types of questions that you
need to know the answers to if you want to
consistently win games. When to capture a
forked piece depends on what your
opponent does with them. If your opponent
leaves the pieces sitting there you can
simply wait. If your opponent moves one of
the two forked pieces then the answer is
simple. Take the piece that you still threaten
and take it now. But what if your opponent
threatens your forking piece?

72. Doing Nothing

Chess is a very complicated game, as we all
know. One of the reasons that it is very
complicated is that you must move a piece
every move. This makes it nearly impossible
to hold the wonderful defense that you have
created without giving your opponent an
opportunity to penetrate your defensive
scheme. This defensive structure that you
have carefully crafted grows to be even
more important in the end game.
Understanding that it is sometimes better to
shuffle a piece back and forth from square to
square, than to weaken your defense, is very
important. Doing this may seem... boring...
but it is better to be boring than to throw
away a win or a chance at a draw. If your
opponent allows you to do this enough, the
game will end in a draw due to the 50-move
rule. More often though, your opponent will
grow impatient and make an error. This is
assuming that you are in a weaker position
and that your opponent is looking for a way
to place you into a checkmate instead of
letting you get the draw.
This frantic moving and searching by your
opponent will frequently result in them
making a mistake and giving you the
victory. Another consideration is whether or
not you are playing a timed game. If so, you
can run your opponent out of time with this
shuffling of your piece because your
opponent will spend time looking for a mate
while you are in a perfectly defended
position that requires no thought. Look at
your end game for opportunities to utilize
this do nothing strategy. This strategy will
come in handy at times and can help you
secure a draw, or even better a win.
73. Which Forked Piece to Capture

Using the example mentioned, let us

suppose that your knight is now under attack
and you must act. Which of the two rooks
do you capture? The answer is to capture the
rook that is doing the least on the board. If
one of the rooks is simply stuck on the back
row and the other rook is pinning one of
your pieces, then capture the rook stuck on
the back row. This will result in your
opponent taking your knight with the other
rook, thus unpinning your pinned piece, or it
will result in you getting a "free" capture
because your opponent simply allows you to
take the rook. Always take the piece that is
doing the least amount of work and always
wait to capture until you are forced to
capture, or until your opponent removes one
of the forked pieces.
74. Explore Variety
An inexperienced chess player may be well
served to learn an opening and stick with it
until he or she learns the basic concepts of
chess. Once you have mastered the basics,
or once you seem to be at a sticking point in
your rankings it is time to try different
things. In order to have a well-rounded
game it is important that you learn and
experiment with a variety of tactics and
strategies. Getting stuck in a rut will keep
you at the same rating that you have been at.
An old saying that I like says, "If you keep
doing what you are doing, you will keep
getting what you are getting." In short, you
will not improve your chess game unless
you learn new ideas to improve your game.
That opening that you have been using for a
year now is a functional opening, but now it
is time to learn other openings and to
experiment with them to see if they work for
you or not. If you are using the same end
game strategies that you used in your first
dozen chess games, then it is time to learn

some new end game strategies. The more

that you know about chess and the various
concepts the better your game will be.
It is easy for all of us to get stuck into a rut
because many of us think "If something
works why change it?" The reason to
change your methods is because they may
not be the best methods or techniques. The
more you learn about chess and the options
available, the more versatile you can be
during your games. Knowledge is power
and the game of chess has mountains of
knowledge available for us to learn.
75. Studying is Hard Work
To really make major improvements in your
chess game you need to study a variety of
concepts. You have already started by
reading this. Reading about games, tactics,
strategies, etc. are proven methods of
improving your chess game. There are also
software programs to visually teach you
tactics and multiple web sites with a variety
of learning tools.
The important thing is to try and stay
interested in learning. Playing chess is great
fun. Studying concepts and strategies is not
always as fun as playing an actual game
against a good opponent. Try to stay
interested in your studies by utilizing a
learning method that you enjoy. If you enjoy
reading, then get some chess books to read
through. If you are a more visual learner,
then some of the software programs or
websites may be more your style.
Think back to your school days, or your
current school days. It was always easier for
me to do well in courses that I enjoyed
because they held my interest. The same
idea applies to studying and learning about
chess. Learn about the things that interest
you the most. Those could be gambits,
tactics, strategies, focusing on the end game
etc. Then use the methods that hold your
attention the best. If you are a visual learner,
reading may not be the best method for you.
If you are more of a conceptual thinker, you
may like to reconstruct games in your head
and play through all of the possible options
that were available. Whatever methods you
choose try to make learning about chess fun
for you because after all that is what games
are all about.
76. Activity
One of the more obvious and more
overlooked strategies in chess is developing
your primary pieces. Some players will get
distracted with their opening sequence and
find themselves getting into what I call
pawn battles. Having a solid pawn structure
is important and can have a dramatic effect

on the game play. However, if all you do is

work on your pawn structure and do not
develop your knights, bishops, rooks, and
queen, then you are giving your opponent a
tremendous advantage.
To use an oversimplified example, imagine
that a player has moved all of his or her
pawns forward at least two spaces, but has
not moved any of his or her back row
pieces. This is an easy opponent to pick
apart. With a sacrifice of a few or your
pieces and development of your primary
pieces you ill easily win the game. Of
course this is an extreme example but it is
intended to show you what can happen if
you focus too much on pawn structure and
not enough on your primary pieces getting
The more you develop your primary pieces,
the greater chance of success you will have
at winning the chess game. A rook sitting on
your back row that is trapped by your pawn
and knight serves little to no use for you in
the game. The same goes for a knight that
cannot move from its original spot because
of your pawn structure. Having these
powerful pieces and not using them is a
beginner mistake that is made rather
frequently. A general rule is to try to move
every piece that you have once before
moving any piece twice. This may be hard
to accomplish, but the idea behind it is a
solid one that will help you land victories.
77. Center Domination
It is very important in any game of chess to
focus on a number of concepts that are
proven to be effective. One of these
concepts is to control the center of the
board. Controlling the center of the board
allows you to be very flexible in your game
play. When you control the center of the
board that you are able to mount a variety of
attacks as well as maintain a solid defensive
structure. If you have an advantage in the
center of the board you have a strong
advantage in the game itself and a higher
chance of winning.
There are some ideas that a chess player
should follow to help maintain domination
of the center of the board. First is to not
allow your knights to be forced out of the
center of the board by your opponent's
advancing pawns. If you allow this to
happen you are likely to hand over control
of the center of the board to your opponent,
who then will have the advantage.
Understand that if your knights are limited
by the edge of the board or by the back rank
on the board, they are rendered much less
effective than when they are helping to
control the middle of the board where they
are a viable threat.

Another idea for helping to control the

center of the board is to use flanking pawns
to capture your opponent's pawns instead of
using your own center pawns. As much as
possible, try to leave your center pawns in
the center and bring out pawns from the
sides (C and F files) to capture your
opponents advancing pawns. This also
allows your knights to remain in the center
where they belong. Do your best to control
the center of the board and you will
drastically improve your odds of winning.
78. Development
Time and development are very important
elements of chess. Development simply
means that your primary pieces are moved
out from the back rank and in a potion to
attack. Though sometimes this can be
accomplished by leaving them on the back
rank, it is not the normal scenario. Imagine
that rook that is trapped on the back rank by
a knight and a pawn, it has not yet been
developed. The player whose pieces are
ready for battle sooner will be able to
control the tempo of the game. If you want
to be that player, you have to develop your
pieces efficiently and quickly to powerful
Many inexperienced players like to move
many of their pawns at the beginning of the
game to control space on the chessboard.
However, you cannot win with pawns alone.
Since knights, bishops, rooks, and queens
can move greater distances than pawns and
threaten more distant targets, it is a good
idea to bring them out quickly. This of
course is after you have moved enough
pawns to guarantee that your stronger pieces
will not be chased back by your opponent's
Once all the other pieces are developed, it is
easier to see what pawns you should move
to accomplish your overall plan. It is
tempting to bring the queen out very early
because it is the most powerful piece on the
board. However your opponent can chase
your queen back by threatening it with his
or her less valuable pieces Instead of just
moving pieces out, try to determine the best
square for each piece. Then try to place that
piece there in as few moves as possible.
This may save you from wasting valuable
moves later in the game.

be correct. Use this mental picture of all of a

persons pawns on the third rank to
understand that it is not always in your best
interest to advance your pawns as quickly
and as far as you possibly can.
If you move too many pawns to the third
rank in the opening or the middle game then
you are sacrificing the strength of other third
rank squares. This is because your pawns
are not there to protect that third rank. If you
have ever played against a person who
moves their pawns very rapidly and moves
those pawns as far as they can then you
know what I am referring to. This strategy
of moving pawns far and fast creates piece
development for you initially. But once you
are able to counter and develop pieces the
game is yours for the taking.
If you are still not convinced that moving
your pawns far and fast is a terrible strategy,
then try it out and see what type of
outcomes you will get. I would assume that
if you use this strategy against a player who
is anything more than a beginner, you would
lose. Keep your pawns from developing too
quickly and develop your other pieces.
Remember to attempt to move each piece
once before moving any piece twice. Keep
your third rank strong by moving your
pawns slowly and by developing your
primary pieces, such as knights and bishops,
so that they too defend that important third
80. Piece Values
Every piece on the board has a definite
numerical value and understanding these
values is the key to winning. Every chess
piece is given a relative point value, except
for the king. In this value system pawns are
worth one point, knights and bishops are
worth three points each, a rook is worth five
points, and finally a queen is worth nine
points. Understanding the relative point
values of these pieces will help you to
determine if an exchange is worthwhile to
you or not.

79. Pawns on the Third Rank

When you are considering giving up some

of your pieces for some of your opponent's
pieces you should think about the values of
the pieces and not just how many each
player possesses. The player whose pieces
add up to a greater value will usually have
the advantage. So a crucial step in making
decisions is to add up the value of each
player's pieces.

Picture a game where one player is able to

move all of his or her pawns to the third
rank and move no other pieces. What does
this look like to you? Does this look like a
winning strategy? If you answer the
question with a resounding "no" you would

This simple mathematical process can help

you make the decision of whether or not you
want to make that trade with your opponent
or not. These values have long been used
and accepted by chess players the world
over. There is little debate over whether or

not the values are valid. Always assess this

numerical value of pieces before you make
that tempting trade with your opponent
since you may end up on the mathematical
losing end of the trade. If it takes you three
pawns in order to capture a rook is it worth
it? You can determine this by the numerical
values. A pawn is worth one point and a
knight is worth three points, so three pawns
for a knight is a fair trade according to the
values of the pieces. You can apply this
formula to any trades that you are
considering on the board.
81. Pinning
Pinning is a term for a chess move that
many chess players already know how to
execute. If you do not know this move it is
vital that you practice it, learn it, and look
for opportunities in games to execute it. This
is a fundamental tactic to use in games. It is
known by different terms including pinning,
double threat, and the pin.
Pinning is being able to threaten two pieces
at the same time with your one piece. This
forces your opponent to decide which piece
to sacrifice. An example of this is placing a
bishop in diagonal file that threatens to take
two pieces. Whichever piece your opponent
moves, you will be able to take the other.
Another example would be placing a rook in
an open file so that it threatens both a knight
and a bishop. If your opponent moves the
knight, you can take the bishop, if your
opponent moves the bishop then you can
take the knight. A knight is a wonderful
piece to use in creating a pin because of its
versatility and due to the fact that some
inexperienced players simply overlook the
available moves that your knight has in front
of it.
Defending against the pin consists of two
strategies. First is the option of retreating so
that both of your pieces are defended by one
another. This is not always an available
option though. The second defense is to
threaten a highly valued piece that your
opponent has, generally a queen. If you are
being threatened with a pin and can threaten
your opponent's queen, your opponent is
likely to defend that queen before taking
advantage of the pin they have laid out.
82. Plan Ahead
Every good general that goes into a war has
a plan. A general would not haphazardly
send troops into battle and make decisions
on the spur of the moment. The general
knows exactly why he is executing a plan
and knows what responses from the enemy
that he may face with each move he makes.
The same is true of a good chess player. A
good chess player has a solid plan to carry

out in the game in order to achieve victory.

Some inexperienced chess players though
will stumble through a chess game looking
for minor opportunities without executing
an overarching plan.
If you threaten something here in one move
and something over there in the next move
your opponent will have an easy time
defending against this attack. Your pieces
have to work together to be effective. When
you develop a plan your pieces can work in
harmony. For example, you might plan to
attack your opponent's king; one piece alone
probably would not be able to do much, but
the combined strength of several pieces
makes a powerful attacking force. Another
plan could be taking control of all the
squares in a particular area of the board.
Think of the chess pieces as your team and
to be a good coach you have to use all of
their strengths together.
A good general uses the specialized skills of
his soldiers in a war and you should use
your soldiers working together as well. Use
the pieces for what they are best at, whether
it is attacking your opponent or defending
your king. Stick to your long-term plan and
try not to fall into the trap of taking the
short-term opportunities. Remember that
you are here to win the war, not just the
83. Retreat
In times of war a good commander
understands that there are times that one
should retreat. Retreating is not as glorious
as the all mighty attack, but retreating is
what smart commanders will do when they
are overpowered. This same idea applies in
the game of chess. There are times when
one must retreat in order to win the game. A
failure to retreat could cause you to lose the
game. Remember the saying that it is not
important to win the battle, but to win the
war. Look at the big picture in your chess
game just as a military commander looks at
the big picture in a war.
A smart military commander always has an
option for retreating. A good chess player
needs to keep this retreat option available
also. One mistake many chess players make
is that they do not leave an open square for a
valuable piece to retreat to. This is a
fundamental mistake. While it is difficult to
remember this in a game it is vital to
winning. Leaving a square to move a piece
back to, if it comes under an overpowering
attack, is always a smart move. Giving up a
primary piece without a trade is a poor
move. Most chess players attempt to cover
every piece with protector, or a piece that
will capture the attacking piece if they lose a
primary piece. But what happens if your

opponent has a double attack? Then you

must be willing to retreat in order to stay at
least even with your opponent in the number
of pieces you have.
The second part of this is that you must be
willing to retreat when the time is right.
Being overly aggressive and losing pieces to
your opponent out of frustration hands the
win over to your opponent. Chess players
must be willing to play the retreat in order to
win the war, instead of focusing on the
84. Take a Risk
Playing chess is meant to be fun for the
players. It can be quite fun to watch how
your game and your rating improves over
time and to know that you are a much better
chess player today than you were a year ago.
To improve your game, it is important to
play against players who are better than you
at chess. Higher rated players will exploit
the mistakes that you make in your game
that a lower rated player may not recognize.
Playing against higher rated players will
allow you to learn from these mistakes so
that you do not repeat them in the future.
Focusing only on your rating or your
winning percentage is a mistake if you truly
want to improve your chess game. I can go
undefeated in chess or have a very high
winning percentage if I only play against
those who do not even know the rules of the
game. What would I learn from doing this
though? Play games against those rated
higher than you and learn from those games.
It is often recommended that you sit down
with that more experienced player and ask
them to help you identify the flaws in your
game that allowed him or her to win. This is
a great learning tool for less experienced
chess players. The higher rated player will
be able to tell you at what point you lost the
tempo and gave away critical positions. This
more experienced player will also be able to
give you suggestions as to what you can do
differently the next time you face the same
scenario in a game. Try to find a more
experienced player who is willing to sit
down with you and review the game and
your chess playing skills will grow
85. The Best Move 2
Patience is a virtue. This concept is critical
when playing chess, even when playing
blitz or timed games. It is very easy for the
inexperienced player to jump the gun and
make the first good move that he or she sees
on the board and this is often a mistake.
Taking the time to determine what the next
best move is takes a great deal of patience

on your part. Mastering the virtue of

patience will definitely help you to win
chess games. Taking the time to truly
analyze what to do on your next move is a
skill that experienced players have
If you are playing a tough game of chess
and you see that your opponent's queen is
open for the taking, it is very tempting to
jump at the chance to take that queen.
However, this may be exactly what your
opponent was counting on. Your opponent
may be setting a trap for you. Now suppose
that instead of automatically taking that
queen, you spend a minute surveying the
board and realize that you can mate your
opponent in two moves if you do not take
the queen. Is this not a better move? Many
times players will use these obviously
unguarded major pieces as a ploy or bait to
get you off of the offensive attack that you
have started. They will also hang bait out for
you to help degenerate the well thought out
defense that you have established.
It is important to keep track of your overall
strategy for the game and to not make the
easiest moves when there are better ones
available. This means again that you must
exercise patience and that you must survey
the entire board. You will win more games
and battles if you are able to make the "best"
next move instead of the easiest next move.
86. The Center of the Game
Control of the board cannot be understated.
The most valuable four squares on the board
are the four directly in the center of the
board. In many cases the person who
controls the four squares at the center of the
board will have the better game and a
definite advantage. It is critical to attempt to
gain this control of the center.
There are two simple reasons that
controlling the center of the board is
important. First, a piece in the center
controls more of the board than one that is
somewhere else on the board. As an
example, place one knight on a center
square and another in one of the corners of
the board. The knight in the center can move
to eight different squares while the cornered
knight only has two possible moves.
Second, controlling the center of the board
provides an avenue for your pieces to travel
from one side of the board to the other. To
move a piece across the board you will often
have to take it through the center. If your
pieces can get to the other side faster than
your opponent's pieces you will often have
an advantage. Being able to mount a
successful attack on that side before he or
she can bring over enough pieces to defend

against your attack results in you having an

It is often worthwhile in the long run to be
willing to exchange pieces with your
opponent so that you gain the control of the
center of the board. This exchange of pieces
may seem wasteful at first, but pays off in
the end of the game by you having a control
of the tempo. Control of the center of the
board also offers an excellent defensive
87. The Problem With Pawns
Pawns should be your first line of defense in
the game of chess. While pawns are
definitely the lowest valued pieces on the
board, they can certainly cause problems
when trying to keep them safe. One
common and major problem that arises is
the problem of having doubled pawns.
Doubled pawns can be defined as having
one pawn directly in front of another one.
This is the result of an earlier capture. These
captures seem like a good idea at the time
and may very well have been the best option
at that point. The problem arises when
trying to defend these doubled pawns. To
further complicate matters is that these
doubled pawns often become isolated
pawns. Your opponent's bishops and knight
very easily capture isolated pawns.
Isolated pawns are unable to be guarded or
defended by another pawn. If you have two
pawns in the same vertical file without an
ability to guard them with each other, then
you have a major weakness that will cause
you problems later in the game. The best
thing that you can do is to try and avoid
doubling up your pawns like this. In order to
avoid this mistake you must utilize careful
planning and strategy from the beginning of
the game. Using other primary pieces to
capture attackers that your opponent sends
out will help you avoid the double pawn
As mentioned earlier, pawns are considered
to be the lowest value pieces on the board,
but if you allow your opponent to have a
piece count advantage in pawns then you are
creating a weakness for yourself. If your
opponent has three or four more pawns than
you have, then your opponent will have an
88. The Skewer
A skewer is similar to a sacrifice that your
opponent is forced to make. You are able to
threaten a primary piece that your opponent
will likely want to retain. If your opponent
attacks and captures your piece that is doing
the threatening, your opponent will lose the

piece he or she used to capture your

threatening piece. As you know, it is not
wise to capture a bishop with a queen and
then lose that queen the very next move.
Think of threatening a highly valued piece
such as a queen or rook. Your opponent will
likely move that piece and leave a free and
open attack to a lesser-valued piece such as
a bishop or knight. Picture placing a
protected bishop so that it threatens a queen,
if that queen moves out of danger the knight
is exposed. Your opponent will almost
always move that queen, thus allowing you
a free victory over the knight. Do not
skewer unless you do in fact intend on
taking the piece with the lesser value.
Always skewer when the opportunity arises.
To not skewer when you have the chance is
just silly, unless you have a checkmate that
you are able to carry out. The opposite effect
of this of course, is to not allow yourself to
be placed into situations where your
opponent is able to skewer your pieces. We
have all had it happen to us, where we have
to decide which of our pieces we are willing
to lose, because we will be losing one of
them no matter what. When we are forced
with this decision it always gives our
opponent quite an advantage in the game.
Look at what you believe your opponent is
trying to do in the next few moves to help
guard yourself against being skewered.
89. The Unopposed Bishop
Knowing which pieces to sacrifice and
when to sacrifice them is probably a matter
of opinion as much as anything. There are of
course exceptions where a sacrifice is just
plain silly. When and why to sacrifice a
bishop is often a matter of opinion since
some players see a bishop as being highly
valuable while others see it as having little
One way to gauge that value is to look at
what is called the unopposed bishop. An
unopposed bishop is one whose counterpart
on the opponent's side has been taken. In
other words, if you have your dark square
bishop and your opponent does not, then
you have an unopposed bishop. The
opposite of this is true if you have lost one
of your bishops and your opponent still has
theirs that is on that square color then your
opponent has an unopposed bishop.
The primary way that an unopposed bishop
is dangerous is that if you are being attacked
by an unopposed bishop you cannot block
with your own bishop. If your opponent has
an unopposed bishop then your opponent
can also use its to start taking down your
pawns and your primary line of defense. An
unopposed bishop becomes even more

effective in the endgame with its ability to

threaten the opponent's king without having
to guard against the opponents bishop of the
same color square.
An unopposed bishop can become quite a
valuable asset if you are aware of how to
best utilize it. Often though many
inexperienced players will sacrifice a bishop
in order to keep a knight. This may be an
appropriate move in some circumstances.
The point is not to surrender your bishop
and to allow you opponent to get away with
an unopposed bishop.
90. Two Weaknesses
The two weaknesses principle is one of the
most important techniques for exploiting an
advantage. When you are facing your
opponent in a tough game of chess and your
opponent has developed a weakness it is
your job to exploit the weakness in position
that has been created. No matter how good
your opponent is at chess, he or she will
create weaknesses in his or her defensive
structure as the game progresses. This is
simply the normal flow of the game. You
too will create weaknesses in your defensive
structure as you become more aggressive on
Your opponent will likely notice his or her
weakness and attempt to securely defend
this weakness. The weakness may not just
be a vulnerable pawn, but may also be an
invasion square that needs to be defended or
a passed pawn that needs to be blocked. An
experienced chess player will be able to
defend one weakness without much
difficulty. Try not to focus on this one
weakness that your opponent is defending.
Instead focus on finding or creating a
second weakness for your opponent. By
attacking this second weakness, and if
necessary switching back to the first
weakness, you are able to break down and
eventually defeat your opponent's defense.
Experienced chess players will use this dual
attack in the end game to win games. This
can be an effective tactic in the middle
game, but is probably used the most in the
end game since there are so many
weaknesses for your opponent to try to
defend against. Conversely, try to make sure
that you do not find yourself in this trap of
defending two weaknesses at the same time.
The player who finds themselves doing this
will usually end up losing the game.
91. What is your opponent doing?
Believe it or not, all of us fall into the
occasional trap of not paying enough
attention to what our opponent is doing and
what he or she is trying to accomplish with

his or her last move. Many inexperienced

chess players get caught up in their own
offensive attack and do not keep track of
what their opponent is doing in his or her
own offensive attack. This is will cause a
chess player to lose games unless they break
this bad habit.
Every time your opponent makes a move
you should stop and think about the
following questions. Why was that move
chosen? Is one of my pieces in danger? Are
there any other threats I should watch out
for? What sort of plan does my opponent
have in mind? If you can successfully
answer these questions before making your
next move you will be able to prevent many
of your opponent's offensive attacks.
Preventing these attacks that your opponent
has in the works and then carrying out your
own offensive attacks is how you will
become dominant in your chess games.
When you learn to envision what your
opponent has planned for the next two or
three moves you will have a major
advantage. Unfortunately, learning the
common attacks comes with experience and
having played against those attacks. You can
speed up your learning though by reviewing
games that have been notated. You can
review your own past games, or those of
grand masters. This will help you to answer
the questions that are listed above. These
notated games often demonstrate what the
different attacks, or intentions of your
opponents, might be so that you know what
to watch out for.
92. Chess History
Chess is the oldest skill game in the world.
Looking at the way the chessboard is set up
and the studying the pieces and how they
are used gives us an idea of the medieval
times. Chess was played centuries ago in
India, China and Persia. A thousand years
ago, the names of the pieces represented the
way in which people lived, including the
peasants and people of higher ranks.
The origins of chess are obscure and there is
no written account of the game until the
seventh century. The first mention of chess
is found in a Persian poem. According to the
poem the advent of the game took place in
India. The game was called "Chaturanga".
The laws of chess and the movements of the
traditional pieces have been the same since
the sixth century. There have been a variety
of minor changes to the game over the
centuries. The changes that took place
quickened the pace of the game. Chess
spread to Europe when the Moors invaded
Spain in the eighth century. Chess is
mentioned as a popular game in ancient
Russian folk poems.

By the end of the 15th century, the modern

rules for the basic moves had been adopted
from Italy. Chess in Europe since that time
has been almost the same as it remains
today. The current rules of chess were
finalized in the early 19th century, except
for the exact conditions for a draw. Europe's
biggest contribution to chess was the
checkered board.
The title "Grandmaster" was created by the
Russian Tsar Nicholas II who first awarded
it in 1914 to five players after a tournament
he had funded in Saint Petersburg.
93. Lack of Tempo
There is an old saying: "A knight can never
gain a tempo." Ever hear it? Did you ever
wonder what it means?
Well, let us look at the knight for a minute.
It always moves like an "L". It can jump
intervening men. It captures the same way
that it moves. The only difference between
that and the bishop is that the knight can do
more. The bishop cannot jump. If you put
the knight on a black square, its next move
will put it on a white square. The knight
always alternates the color square it moves
Since the knight always alternates square
color as it moves, every other move is to a
white square if it starts on black. So, if you
want to check the opposing king stuck
shuttling between, say, g8 and h8, you have
to be able to go to a white square when the
king goes to the dark square. That means
that your knight has to get to f7 (a white
square) when the king gets to h8 (a black
square.) Another example is the knight on
g5 and the black king on g8. If it is white to
move, he wants to have it be black to move
so he can check on f7. Therefore white will
have to move his knight away from g5. The
only problem is that any square he goes to
will be white. That means that on the next
move black will move his king to h8, a
black square. Now white will move his
knight again, this time to a black square
while the black king will go to g8. No
matter what white does, he cannot move his
knight to g5 in such a way to get it to be
black's move with the king on g8. In other
words, since white cannot "lose a tempo",
he cannot accomplish the task. By the same
token, white cannot "gain a tempo" either. It
turns out that the knight, by alternating the
color square it goes to every move, cannot
gain or lose a tempo. This is a very
important fact in many endgames.

THATS ALL I hope you like it!