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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Free image courtesy of

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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