How to Play Like a Chess Pro

Whether you’re a veteran chess player or just starting, there’s always room for improvement.

After you learn the basics of the game, you start wondering how to get better, and what it takes to play like grandmasters. Is it all about memorizing openings and perfecting endgames? Or is there something more to it, like creative thinking and staying calm under pressure?

In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more. So read on if you want to know how to play like a chess pro.

Learn the Basics

Start by familiarizing yourself with the chessboard and knowing the number of squares and pieces.

For instance, the chessboard consists of 64 alternating light and dark squares, and each player starts with 16 pieces, arranged in two rows.

The first row includes:

  • King
  • Queen
  • Two knights
  • Two bishops
  • Two rooks

Meanwhile, the second raw is filled with pawns.

Chess Pieces Movement

After that, you should learn about chess pieces and their movement. For example, the pawn moves one square forward and captures diagonally one square forward. The queen moves any number of squares in any direction.

Basic Tactics

If you already understand the basic rules and how to set up the board and pieces, it’s time to learn some basic tactics.

Castling is an essential tactic to learn. It involves moving your king two squares toward your rook and placing the rook into the square next to the king on the opposite side.

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Casteling provides extra protection for your king and helps you develop your rook into a more advanced position.

En-passant is another special rule in chess that catches inexperienced players off guard. It’s a unique pawn capture that occurs when the pawn moves two squares forward from its starting square and lands next to an opponent’s pawn.

In that case, the opponent can catch your pawn by moving his pawn diagonally to an adjacent square.

Play More Games

You won’t get better by only watching chess games or reading about them. You must play a lot to improve, especially if you’re a beginner. Playing many chess games isn’t only beneficial for novice players but for intermediate and advanced players as well.

As a beginner, playing more games will help you familiarize yourself with openings, tactics, and various positions. It’ll also help you build confidence and learn to manage your time during intense games.

For intermediate and advanced players, practice helps them develop their strategies and improve their plans for openings, midgames, and endgames

Analyze Your Games

Every chess game contains many mistakes and missed opportunities, and even if you win your games, you can still learn a lot from analyzing them.

By reviewing your games, you’ll identify errors such as tactical blunders or strategic misadjustments. These errors could have helped you win the game earlier or avoid a checkmate.

Moreover, analysis helps you recognize patterns, which is one of the most significant ways to improve. By identifying recurring patterns, you’ll be more aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

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Don’t Waste Time Memorizing Openings

New chess players are often fascinated by openings and spend much time trying to memorize them. However, it’s not the best way to learn and improve.

Of course, memorizing openings can be useful in some cases, but it shouldn’t be your sole focus as a beginner. Instead, understand the reasons behind the openings, and how they can help you progress in your games.

After all, chess isn’t a memorization contest. The game is a blend of:

  • Visualization
  • Planning
  • Calculation
  • Strategy

The key behind openings is to achieve a favorable position for your pieces. Principles like controlling the center, developing your pieces, and protecting the king should be your guide to making good opening moves.

That said, it’s always better to know a few common openings and stick to them. That way, you’ll put more effort into the midgame and endgame, when most games are decided.

If you rely only on memorized openings, you’ll be inflexible, and you might struggle when your opponent plays an unpredicted move.

Learn Opening Principles

Learning chess opening principles will help you develop a strong and balanced positioning from the beginning of the game.

Memorizing some basic openings and their main lines allows you to start the game with confidence.

However, learning the principles is far more important, especially for beginners. We’ll go through three basic opening principles that will help you take your game to the next level.

1. Control the Center

In most chess games, players aim to control central squares (d4, d5, e4, e5). Taking control of these squares provides space for your pieces to advance, maneuver and control lines.

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Moving your pawns is one of the best ways to control central squares in the early game. So learning how to move your pawns properly can give you a huge advantage.

2. Develop Your Pieces

Each player starts the game with eight pieces behind the pawns, each piece has a different purpose and use.

Your aim should be to develop these pieces into more advanced positions so that they influence the game.

Moving pawns early is useful for controlling the center, but you should also focus on developing knights and bishops into active squares.

3. Avoid Moving the Same Piece Twice

In chess, every move counts, especially in openings. So it’s critical to avoid moving the same piece multiple times unless you really have to.

If you move the same piece around for no reason, you’ll waste time while your opponent makes moves and develops his pieces.

Final Words

Mastering the art of chess is a lifelong process. The complexity of the game has always made it challenging for adults and youngsters alike.

If you’re wondering how to play like a chess pro, you should strike a balance between various learning approaches and practices.

First, understand the basics and rules of the game. Then, start practicing by playing more games against AI or real people.

Moving forward, analyze and review your games to learn from your mistakes and missed opportunities.

Finally, avoid spending much time memorizing chess openings and focus on clearly understanding opening principles.