So you’ve recently learned the rules of chess and want to start playing some games. But with all the different pieces moving in different ways, it can feel overwhelming to figure out a good strategy, especially when you’re just getting started. The good news is, there are some simple strategies you can use as a beginner to start winning games. The key is focusing on controlling the center of the board, using all your pieces, and avoiding risky moves that expose your king. Stick to these fundamentals and you’ll be checkmating opponents in no time. Over the next few minutes, we’ll explore some of the best beginner strategies that will have you playing chess like a pro.
Understanding the Basics of Chess Strategy
To get good at chess, you first need to understand some basic strategies.
Controlling the center
Controlling the center of the board with your pieces is key. The four central squares are critical. Place pawns and pieces in the center early on to gain an advantage.
Protect your king
Your king is the most important piece. Keep it safe by castling early and avoiding exposing it to attack. Never leave your king exposed or in the center of the board.
Use all your pieces
Don’t just rely on a few pieces. Work to activate all your pieces so they can work together. Get your bishops and knights into the game, and use your queen actively. Coordinating the action of all your pieces leads to the strongest attacks.
Try to anticipate your opponent’s responses to your moves and have a counterattack ready. Think several moves ahead, paying attention to checks, captures, and threats. Consider how you will respond to each possible move your opponent makes. The player who can think further ahead in the game will have an advantage.
Control key areas
In the endgame, control important areas like promotion squares, especially the central squares that give access to a large area of the board. Place your pieces on key squares where they limit the enemy king’s ability to maneuver.
With some practice, these strategic basics will become second nature, and your chess skills will grow in no time. Focus on controlling the center, protecting your king, using all your pieces, thinking ahead, and controlling key areas. Develop your pieces actively and look for opportunities to launch effective attacks against your opponent. If you apply these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a chess master.
Pieces to place in the center:
- Knights: Place knights in the center to maximize their movement. Knights can attack pieces in 8 different directions from the center.
- Bishops: Bishops control long diagonals, so center squares allow them to exert influence over more of the board.
- Queen: Your queen is your most powerful piece, so center squares give the queen more mobility and control. The queen can move in all directions to attack and defend from the center.
Castle Early and Often
Castling early in the game is one of the best strategies for beginner chess players. It allows you to:
Protect the King
Your king is the most important piece – if it’s captured, you lose the game. By castling, you tuck your king safely behind a wall of pawns and bring it closer to the center of the board where it can have an active role in the game.
Activate the Rook
Castling also brings your rook into play. The rook is a powerful piece that controls open files and ranks. By castling, you activate your rook earlier in the game where it can support your attack or defense. The rook and king also protect each other, making them a formidable duo.
Gain a Tempo
In chess, a “tempo” refers to a move that either improves your position or worsens your opponent’s position. By castling, you improve the safety of your king and activate your rook in one move. This effectively gains a tempo, giving you a small advantage.
Keep Options Open
As a beginner, it’s easy to think you need to attack quickly. But rushing into an attack often leads to mistakes and loss of pieces. Castling keeps your options open – you can choose to attack either side of the board, defend if needed, or improve your position before deciding how to proceed. Staying flexible is key.
Castling early, especially in the first 10 moves or so, should be a high priority for beginners. Look for safe opportunities to castle and gain these benefits. Don’t be afraid of missing an attack by castling – your king’s safety and activating your rook are more important. And remember, in chess slow and steady wins the race. Take your time, castle early and often, and enjoy learning this classic game!
Develop Your Pieces
As a beginner, one of the best chess strategies is to actively develop your pieces. Your pieces are like an army, and you need to mobilize them to control the board and attack your opponent.
Get your pieces off the back rank
The back rank is the first row of squares on your side of the board. Your pieces start here but won’t do you much good stuck in the back! In the opening, focus on moving pieces like knights and bishops towards the center and giving your other pieces room to maneuver.
Use your knights and bishops
Knights and bishops are your “minor pieces” but play a major role. Deploy them early since they can cover a lot of ground quickly. Bishops move diagonally, so try to place them on open diagonals where they have maximum range. Knights can jump over other pieces, so they are great for forking two of your opponent’s pieces at once.
Protect your king
While building up your attack, don’t forget about defending your king, the most important piece. Move it towards the corner of the board behind a “wall” of pawns and other pieces. This helps shield it from direct attacks but still allows it to escape if needed.
Don’t Rush to Attack
As a beginner in chess, it can be tempting to go on the attack and try to checkmate your opponent as quickly as possible. However, this approach often backfires. The best strategy for beginners is:
Don’t Rush to Attack
Take your time to develop your pieces. Don’t immediately start moving your knights, bishops and queen all over the board to attack the enemy king. First, focus on controlling the center of the board with your central pawns and pieces. Place your knights and bishops on active squares where they have maximum mobility. Castle your king to safety.
Mobilize your army before attacking. Make sure your minor pieces (knights and bishops) and major pieces (rooks and queen) are well positioned and coordinated before launching an attack. An uncoordinated attack will easily be repelled, leaving your own position weakened.
Only attack when your position is primed for it. Look for weaknesses in your opponent’s position like exposed kings, unprotected pieces or holes in their pawn structure. But only attack once your own position is consolidated and your pieces are actively placed.
Defend against counterattacks. While attacking, be aware of possible enemy counter thrusts and take measures to prevent them. Don’t leave your own king exposed or pieces unprotected. A good offense requires an even better defense.
Rushing into an attack before you’ve developed and mobilized your forces is like leading your army into battle before they’re fully armed and trained. Take your time to build up your position, defend critical points and only attack when the time is right. Following these principles will lead to better results and fewer losses, helping you become a smarter chess player.
Conclusion: Best Strategy in Chess for Beginners?
So there you have it, some of the best chess strategies for beginners to get started. Focus on controlling the center, using all your pieces, and thinking a few moves ahead. Don’t forget to castle early and often to get your king to safety. If you follow these tips, you’ll be checkmating your opponents in no time. But remember, chess is a game of skill that takes practice. Even grandmasters still study and learn. The key is to have fun while you play, analyze your mistakes, and try new strategies. Keep at it and stay passionate, you’ll be a chess champion before you know it!