Chess is a great game that tests your strategical thinking and tactical planning. Believed to have originated in India around the 6th Century, it is a game that is now known around the world by almost everyone. And it’s a very interesting game at that. Two armies represented by various differently designed pieces moving in set patterns across a board. It’s a great way to pass the time or get those old mental cogs spinning.
Like all great games though, chess too isn’t something you can simply be good at straight away. It takes people years of playing it to become modestly adept at it. And of course, there’s the champions battling it out on the world stage. They are in a whole different league. Don’t let this dishearten you though. If you’re looking to get good at chess, I’m sure we can throw some pointers your way. They might not win you your first ever game but they’re sure to be a base you can build upon.
Pretty obvious this one, but it had to be said. It happens way too often that a person starts getting into chess, loses a few games, and then gives up. You’re bound to lose your first few games. But hang in there, and you’ll get that coveted checkmate. The most important thing you do when you keep playing is practice. You get to analyze multiple games. You study your opponent’s moves and countermoves. Slowly but surely, you start getting the hang of it. And then during your 20th game, you realize you’re cutting off your opponent and knocking his pieces off the board automatically.
Get A Helpful Foe
The person you start playing chess with plays a major role in how much you learn about the game, and how quickly. If you pick someone that keeps laughing at your mistakes and boasts about beating you repeatedly, odds are you’ll end up hating chess itself and refuse to play it further. Get yourself an opponent who is as much a foe as he is a teacher. Someone that points out why they’re about to do something, or why you just made a mistake and what you really should have done. With someone like this on the other side of the board you’ll come to really enjoy playing chess, even if you are losing horribly.
Memorize The Rules
Not as in just learning them as you play. Actually spend the time to study up on chess and its rules and try to cram them inside your head. You’ll find you learn more about chess while playing it if you’re not focusing on trying to remember which direction a Bishop can move. When you find you have chess rules dancing on your fingertips, you know you’re ready for multiple long games where all your attention can be freely diverted to studying the game. This way you can hardcode common moves and other battle strategies in your head far more easily.
Think Five Steps Ahead
This is something you’ll have to teach yourself if you ever want to get good at chess. Thinking ahead is a major part of the various strategies employed in chess. Teach yourself this early on, and you’ll pick up other things in chess pretty quickly. Every single move your opponent makes, contemplate it. Think about why he would have done so. Try to look at the board from his perspective and see if you can spot any loopholes in your arrangement. While you’re at it, also think about what he can do next. Which pieces might he potentially move. Have a plan ready for every possible set of following moves. Keep doing this and soon you’ll be doing it automatically without even realizing it.
Stick To The Basics
New players to chess often try to pull off some wacky move at the start of every match. They think they’ve found an amazing strategy and before they know it the match is over in under five minutes, and they’re not the victor. So keep your brilliant ideas to yourself, millions before you have tried. Stick to the basic beginning of securing the board and setting up defensive arrangements and you will have a chance of winning. Remember, even the world champion opens up with a very well-known and common method.
Trap Your Opponent
Mobility is a very crucial part of a victory in chess. That is why setting up traps and trapping your opponent’s pieces is so important. Best piece of advice: Secure the center of the board. Secure the center, and you give your pieces free reign of the board while trapping your opponent in a position where he can’t do much. Of course, to trap effectively you need to be aware of how each piece moves, so read up. No point chasing a Knight into a corner if he can just jump straight over you.
Use All Your Pieces
It’s nice to have something in reserve, so tell you what, keep the Queen in reserve as you pull the King to safety. But send out Knights and Rooks. Pawns aren’t going to win a game by themselves. Having your heavy cavalry march out first allows you more flexibility over your attacks. Rooks in particular are great for trapping the other team. Just remember to not send out the Queen first or else you might find your opponent try to relentlessly pursue her. Watch out for traps, especially over whatever feels like an easy kill. And only trade a piece when necessary or a really good decision. Doing so would force the opponent to break ranks to try to coax you into the action.
Check and mate. That concludes our short list of some tips to help you learn chess quickly as well as some basic strategical advice. While you set up the pieces and wait for a worthy opponent, take a look at How to learn to code in a short time or How to Quickly Prepare for An Emergency if you’re interested. On the other hand, if you’re not done with chess and want to take your chess game to the next level, here is our list of the top 10 chess tutors for learning chess.