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How to play Chess;Beginners Chess Strategy

Updated on October 22, 2014

Diary of a Chessplayer

My name is Robert Burroughs. I was born on a hot August night In Los Angeles, Four years before Bobby Fischer won the World Championship Chess Tournament against Boris Spassky. While America fought the Cold War over a Chess Board, I mourned the loss of my father. A few years passed, I had a new father, a new home, and a new interest. A whole new world opened up to me and a Chess Player was born.

Chess Training

A chessboard consist of 64 colored squares. On a professional or tournament style board these squares are numbered and lettered. Each column or file is lettered A-H and each rank is numbered 1-8. The significance of this is to be able to record the game play. This is great for analyzing later. This type of record is known as algebraic notation. Each piece has a value in relation to importance, with the king being the MVP. The most basic strategy is pawn structure. Pawns open lines, protect minor pieces and promote to any piece other than a king. There are however, drawbacks to pawns; they can not go backwards, they can only capture diagonally and they open lines for attack.


In the words of Michail Tal "Whenever you see a good move, look for one better." How many times have you been playing and suddenly your opponent starts giving away material? Often advanced players will offer a pawn or a piece, usually this is done to open lines for attack. Some things to consider when capturing are; what lines are opening? What is your opponent's counter-play? Whenever your opponent sacrifices pieces look at which of your own pieces may be vulnerable. Good luck in your Chess Life.


"Strategy requires thought; Tactics require observation" GM Max Euwe World Champion 1935-1937. Chess strategy begins in the opening. Some may argue in favor of moving Knights before Bishops, others may argue against moving Knights to the edge of the board. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. As with any move, Knight moves should be made with the next move in mind. Advanced players are able to adjust their strategy according to position. As you progress you can think of constructive counter-play. i.e what would you do if you were playing the opposite color. This is more than just thinking about what you would like your opponent to do. The best way to get your opponent to do what you want him to is to force him to do it. The best way to do this is by creating double attacks, usually ones involving the King or Queen. Remember, the only absolute attack involves the King! This is important to remember because check (an attack on the King) trumps everything.

Basic Openings

In the beginning it is not important to learn complicated openings such as "The Queen's Gambit" and "The King's Indian." What is important is a basic understanding of your objectives. The drawback of learning different types of openings is that too much emphasis is put on different lines in the same opening. Basic openings should only consist of three basic components; King safety, Pawn structure, and piece mobility.

1. King safety; Castling should always be done at just the right time, if done too early or too late it can complicate later game-play. Protect your king at all cost!

2. Pawn structure; Pawns are the most under-rated pieces in Chess, they are often sacrificed early in the game and then needed later. Three basic problems with pawns are backward pawns, isolated pawns, and pawn islands.

a) Backward pawns are pawns that protect two other pawns, ideally two pawns should protect one in a triangle formation.

b) Isolated Pawns are lone pawns with no other pawns for protection. These are vulnerable to attack.

c) Pawn islands are small groups of pawns that have been separated from the rest of the pawns. This opens lines for enemy pieces to penetrate your defenses.

3. Piece mobility. One importance of pawn structure is piece mobility. Knights can move around pawns, Bishops and Queens can slide between them, but Rooks can get buried behind them.Rooks need open lines, to accomplish this usually involves trading pawns. This is where trouble begins. Too many people rely on theory rather than observation. Instead of automatically capturing towards the center you must look at the bigger picture. Which side provides the best opportunity. Every move has an advantage and a disadvantage. These have to be weighed accordingly. Does the advantage outweigh the disadvantage?


Bobby Fischer on Chess


Endgame Strategy is very important to learn. Many games are lost because of poor endgames. Passed pawns can be very dangerous and must be handled with care. Good players will often trade a piece for a well positioned pawn. The theory behind this is to move the opposing king as far away from a pawn as possible.


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    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 4 years ago

      Thanks Bill, I think that I am going to expand this hub with more useful information.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I could have used this about fifty years ago. I would have saved myself a whole lot of losing. LOL Thanks for the tips. A mentor of mine, who patiently tried to teach me this game, said I needed to see the whole board....I'm still looking. :)

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 4 years ago

      Thank you very much, I have been playing chess for over 35 years. It is something I love about as much as Baseball.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Hello Robert, this is really interesting, I like playing chess. Voting you up useful and interesting.