Chess Thinking Process – part two

Here is the part two of the tips to improve your chess thinking process…

1. Many inexperienced players like to move a lot of pawns at the beginning of the game to control space on the chessboard. But you can’t win with pawns alone! Since knights, bishops, rooks, and queens can move farther than pawns and threaten more distant targets, it’s a good idea to bring them out soon, after you’ve moved enough pawns to guarantee that your stronger pieces won’t be chased back by your opponent’s pawns. After all the other pieces are developed, it’s easier to see what pawns you should move to fit in with your plans.

2. It’s tempting to bring the queen out very early, because it’s the most powerful piece. But your opponent can chase your queen back by threatening it with less valuable pieces. Instead of just moving pieces out, try to determine the best square for each piece and bring it there in as few moves as possible. This may save you from wasting moves later in the game.

3. In many cases, the person who controls the four squares at the center of the board will have the better game. There are simple reasons for this.
First, a piece in the center controls more of the board than one that is somewhere else. 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” one only has two possible moves!
Second, control of the center 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 be able to mount a successful attack there before he can bring over enough pieces to defend.

4. Everyone knows that the object of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s king. But sometimes a player thinks about his own plans so much that he forgets that his opponent is also king hunting! It’s generally a good idea to place your king in a safe place by castling early in the game. Once you’ve castled, you should be very careful about advancing the pawns near your king. They are like bodyguards; the farther away they go, the easier it is for your opponent’s pieces to get close to your king. For this reason, it’s often good to try to force your opponent to move the pawns near his king.

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Good games!

Chess Thinking Process – part one

Here are some tips to improve your chess thinking process…

1. Every time your opponent makes a move, you should stop and think: Why was that move chosen? Is a piece in danger? Are there any other threats I should watch out for? What sort of plan does my opponent have in mind?

2. Only by defending against your opponent’s threats will you be able to successfully carry out your own strategies. Once you figure out what your opponent is attempting to do, you can play to nip those plans in the bud.

3. Even if your intended move has good points, it may not be the best move at that moment. Emanuel Lasker, a former world champion, said: “When you see a good move, wait—look for a better one!” Following this advice is bound to improve your chess.

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4. If you threaten something here in one move, something over there in the next move, and so forth, your opponent will have an easy time defending. Your pieces have to work together to be effective. Just imagine each instrument in an orchestra playing a different tune!

5. When you develop a plan, your men can work in harmony. For example, you might plan to attack your opponent’s king; one piece alone probably wouldn’t 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.

6. Time is a very important element of chess. The player whose men are ready for action sooner will be able to control the course of the game. If you want to be that player, you have to develop your men efficiently to powerful posts.

Focus on openings or tactics first ?

Openings have evolved for centuries and matured into what they are today. There are many ideas behind each line. Every move is played for a reason.
There is a reason why it is called theory. It is not set in stone but there is a consensus until someone tries to challenge it with a new idea.

Also there is the situation, which you will encounter, where you play other beginners who have been studying a different variation or system than you and will play different moves than those you know. So in a matter of a few moves you will both be “out of the book” and on your own.

Your time is much better spent training tactics and practical endgames and going over the games you play to see what went wrong and right. There is a special training that is very helpful not just to beginners.
Playing lines over in your head as far as it goes, without moving the pieces on the board. In books there are often variations to the moves of the main game/combination. Try to “see” them. In the beginning it will be extremely difficult. Go back and try again if you lose your train of thought. After this special training it is often nice to play out the moves on a real chess board.

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Start with 5-15 minutes a day. It is better to train a little daily than once a week for two hours. Already after 1-2 months of this daily training you will notice huge improvement in what you see over the board. Well, I did and I’m “just” a hobby player.

For the beginning chess player, there’s a lot of emphasis mentally on starting out in the game correctly. The problem is that it’s hard to find any advice on the opening besides very basic tips.

Chess Tactics for solid basis

The right way to keep your pieces safe and to grab your opponent’s pieces is through tactics. Tactics are the biggest part of a chess game — every good player has learned basic tactics.

1. Protect yourself. The most basic tactic is counting — that is, making sure each piece is properly protected enough times by other pieces. Going through the other tactics: Pins, forks, checkmates, skewers, removal of the guard, queening combinations, double threats, discovered checks, etc. If you love doing the puzzles in books, you will almost certainly do all of them and become an excellent player!

2. Develop fast. The player who gets the most pieces out first usually finds himself on the good side of the tactics! Also, Stay Away From The Seeds of Tactical Destruction: loose (unguarded) pieces, weak back rank, pinned pieces, overworked pieces, inadequately guarded pieces, etc.

3. Forced lines first. When thinking about which move to make, consider first your checks, captures, and threats. Similarly, when seeing what your opponent can do to you, look for his checks, captures, and threats first. Pay just as much attention to what your opponent is doing as to what you are doing.

4. You ‘re not playing alone! Your opponent’s last move just threatened something. You can ignore it, but he just threatened something. I know you are anxious to threaten something yourself, but he just moved and already threatened something.

You don't play alone

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His threat might be more important than your threat. If you threaten mate in one move, you still lose if he just threatened mate in one move and you didn’t meet this threat. While some of your opponent’s threats may not be worthy of a response, more games are lost by ignored one move threats than any other way.

5. Traps! Your opponent just dropped his queen. If he’s a good actor, he even looks nervous as if he would like to take the move back. You have the feeling that he will resign as soon as you take his queen. Without thinking, you grab the queen. The queen will still be there in a few minutes. If this is definitely a trap, you could lose the game by capturing the queen too fast. Make an effort to determine whether your opponent really dropped his queen or if he is setting a trap. Always be at least a little suspicious of a free queen.

Good games!

To exchange, or not to… That is the question

No, Hamlet is not back! We’re talking about a dilemma on a chessboard.

Since you will almost certainly have many possibilities to exchange men on an “even” basis, it is really necessary to understand when you should or shouldn’t do this. There are various fundamental things to consider.

1. Typically, if you have the initiative (your pieces are better developed, and you are clearly controlling the game), do not trade men except if it increases your advantage in some obvious way. The fewer men each player has, the weaker the attacking player’s threats become, and the simplier and easier it is for the defending side to meet these threats.

2. Yet another situation not to trade pieces is when your opponent has a confined position with very little room for the pieces to maneuver. It’s difficult to move a lot of pieces around in a cramped position, but much easier to move just a few.

3. One kind of benefit it is possible to gain by trading pieces is a weakening of your opponent’s pawn structure. If, for instance, it is possible to capture a piece that your opponent is only able to recapture in a way that will give him “doubled pawns”.

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4. The player who is ahead in material will in most cases take advantage of trades. It’s sort of like soccer or basketball; five players will sometimes have difficulty scoring against four opposing players, but remove three from each side and the strongest team will find it easier to score with two players against one.

Now, to conclude: It’s usually great for trade pieces when your opponent has the initiative, if you have a cramped position, if you can weaken your opponent’s pawn structure, or if you are ahead in material. There are exceptions, however, but following these guidelines should enable you to have significant success!

Good games!

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Short Chess tips for busy folks

1. The most important chess guidance: SAFETY: Keep all your pieces safe! And consider taking opponent’s pieces that are not safe. For piece values, Bishops and Knights as worth about 3¼ pawns, Rooks 5, a Queen about 9. Having two Bishops when your opponent does not is called “the Bishop Pair” which is worth approximately an extra ½ pawn. Getting a Rook for a Bishop or Knight is called winning The Exchange which is worth nearly half a piece (Bishop or Knight).

2. The Next most important chess guideline: ACTIVITY: Ensure that all of your pieces are doing something all the time! Thus, for instance, move every piece once before you decide to move any piece twice in the opening (as a goal). Usually the best strategy in a position without having tactics is to find a piece that is doing very little and find an opportunity for it to do a lot more!

3. TAKE YOUR TIME — if world championship players usually take several minutes to find a good move, why do you think that you can find a better one faster? Look at it this way: NOTHING is preventing lower players from playing just like tougher players and taking your time to look at as many possibilities as you can. A good goal is to pace yourself to use almost all of your time every game. When you are thinking, tell yourself, “If I do this, what exactly are all the moves he is likely to do in return, and can I meet all of those threats next move? “If not, then you’ve got to find yourself another move, and this needs time! Tip: Don’t start a game where you are not intending to make use of all your time. If you want to play faster, then play a faster time control.

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4. You are attempting to find the BEST move (or in some positions a reliable, very reasonable one), so when you see a really good move, seek for a better one. If you don’t look, you simply can’t see! If you play fast, you might not be considering all of your good moves.

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