Chess is one of the most popular strategy games in the world and is played by over 605 million people across the globe.
No one knows exactly when Chess was invented, but many historians believe that it began in India during the 8th century as a game called Chatrang.
Over the years the game was modified by the Arabs, Persians and Europeans countries until it became the game we all know and love today.
Chess is remarkably simple to learn, since all of the pieces can only make a specific set of moves. Where the difficulty lies is in using these pieces and the moves they can make to outwit your opponent.
Now, we can’t teach you how to become a chess master overnight, but we have prepared some awesome tips and tricks to help you improve your game.
We will be offering lots of helpful advice for going from a beginner to a more advanced player.
Learn En Passant
Before you can start honing your chess skills, it is important to finish learning all of the rules. Most of the rules for chess are very simple, and only pertain to how the various pieces can move around the board. One of the more complex aspects of this game is the movement of the simplest piece, the pawn.
Pawns can move two squares forward when they leave their starting positions, and only one square forward for every subsequent move. They can take other pieces, but only diagonally however, there is another complication when it comes to attacking with pawns.
En Passant is a lesser known rule in chess that is often left out when teaching new players to keep things simple. It is best explained with an example, so let’s say for instance that white has moved one of their pawns three squares forward to E5 over several turns.
Black has not moved either of their pawns on D7 or F7, so both of these pawns can take white’s pawn via En passant. Either of these pawns can take the white pawn as though they were on D6. En passant can only be done during the two square advance, and doesn’t work for pawns that have already left their starting position.
Learning this rule will be an essential step towards becoming a more advanced chess player.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Trades
When you first start playing chess, it can be very difficult to accept that you are going to lose pieces throughout the game.
Most of us will approach the game with the mindset of taking as many of our opponent’s pieces as possible while trying to hold onto our own.
However, during games between advanced players, it is very rare to see one side take a piece without there being immediate consequences. Trades are a crucial aspect of the tactics of chess, and they are basically unavoidable once players get to a certain level.
Ideally, you want to focus not on protecting all of your pieces from getting taken, but on putting yourself in a position where you can trade up to gain the tactical advantage.
Learn The Strengths And Value Of Each Piece
Learning En Passant will unlock the full power of your pawns, but it is very important to learn the value of all your other pieces as well.
We said earlier that trades are unavoidable and if possible you want to trade up whenever you can, but how do you know what counts as trading up?
Each chess piece has a specific value that is used to determine their relative power and usefulness on the board. These values don’t affect the game, as you can only win by getting your opponent’s king in check.
As such, the king is the only piece that doesn’t have a points value, since it cannot be taken without ending the game.
Below, you can find all the relative values of the various chessmen:
- Pawn: 1
- Knight: 3
- Bishop: 3
- Rook: 5
- Queen: 9
As we said, these point values don’t really affect the game, but they can help a lot when understanding trades. However, there are no hard and fast rules and the pieces you decide to trade will depend on your overall strategy.
Each piece has its own abilities, for instance while knights and bishops have the same points values, they both fill very different roles.
Bishops have better range and can travel much further across the board for long distance attacks. Meanwhile, knights can’t move across as many squares, but are great for setting up traps or supporting other pieces.
Learn When To Trade
It is very rare to encounter a trade in chess that is completely equal. The beginning of a game of chess will involve building formations while finding ways that you can exploit weakness in your opponent’s positioning.
As such, it is vital to learn the dynamics of various formations, and when you should release the tensions by taking a piece.
Once the first piece is taken, others are surely to follow, so you need to learn when to start trading pieces and when to stop, so you can alter your position.
Be Aware Of Forced Moves
When analyzing the board, the first thing you should consider is forced moves. These are moves that will force your opponent to respond in a particular way. This could include taking a piece, putting the king in check, or sacrifices.
Forced moves are important because you will often be able to tell exactly what move your opponent will be forced to make. This allows you to plan in advance what your counter move will be, so you can set up traps.
Don’t Avoid Sacrifices
It is vital that you consider sacrifices. In the early days, bad sacrifices could lead to you losing a few games. However, this is the best way to learn when and where to sacrifice your pieces.
Once you have picked up this skill, you will be able to pick your opponents’ formation apart to exploit their weaknesses.
One mistake that beginners often make is to hold onto their queen for too long. Since it is the most valuable piece, many players will think that they want to keep their queen for the whole game.
However, this is unlikely to happen, and it is better to think about how you can sacrifice your queen in a way that allows your other pieces to secure a checkmate.
Learn Basic Tactical Terms
There are a few different tactical terms and phrases often used during a game of chess. Learning what these terms mean and the positions that they describe will help you find new ways of defeating your opponents.
Here are some of the most common tactical terms encountered in chess.
- Fork: A fork is when a single piece threatens two of your opponents pieces, forcing them to choose between one or the other.
- Pin: When one of your pieces is threatening your opponent’s pieces in such a way that it cannot move without exposing a more valuable piece. As such, your opponent’s piece is trapped in the same position to protect its superior.
- Back Rank: This is the process of obtaining a checkmate by attacking the back rank of your opponent’s side of the board (the 8th rank for black or the 1st first rank for white).
- Skewer: A skewer is similar to a pin, except it can affect multiple pieces at once. A skewer is the practice of attacking a rank, file or diagonal where more than one of your opponent’s pieces are lined up.
- Double Attack: Double attacks are similar to forks in that they are a single move that creates two simultaneous threats for your opponent to deal with. Double attacks don’t just have to threaten multiple pieces, and can also include larger threats such as check.
- Discovered Check: Discover check refers to a direct threat from one of your pieces, often against the king, is revealed by moving another piece out of the way.
There are many other terms and tactics that can be encountered during a game of chess, and learning about them will help massively with improving your skills.
Look At The Whole Board
A chess master will be able to look at any board and instantly zoom in on the most important pieces. In order to learn this skill, you will need to practice by examining the whole board and trying to figure out the most important sections.
It is too easy to just focus on the part of the board where most of the pieces are. This can lead to all kinds of traps which you will fall for if you are not careful.
Even when your next move seems obvious, get into the habit of examining the whole board to look for traps or what your opponent may do next.
Chess is the ultimate strategy game, with practically no random elements. As such, it is a game of pure tactics and strategy, which is easy to learn but difficult to master.
With the helpful tips in this article, you should be able to start improving your game so that you can master the board and defeat your opponent.