No one likes the feeling of losing a match of chess. That cocky grin of your opponent, the air of invincibility, and the feeling of being left behind in the dust—it gets old fast!
Do you want to get rid of that feeling? It’s time to turn the tables!
If you don’t want to end up in yet another checkmate, check this article for unstoppable tactics and tips. Channel your inner genius and learn how to win chess every time!
10 Tips to Win Chess Every Time
From the graceful opening moves that’ll dictate how the game will go, to the art of thinking every move ahead, we’ve got you covered!
Grab your knight, align your pawns, and let’s see how you can win every match of chess.
Tip 1: Know Each Piece
First, you should learn the best way to use each chess piece.
Each piece on the board has strengths and weaknesses. Once you know what they can do, you can learn to use them better!
Here are some tips:
- Pawns work best at the center of the board. Use them to establish your territory and protect your pieces.
- Aim to place your bishop on long diagonals to expand its movement.
- Get your knight out of its starting position early in the game, and keep it at the center where it has more possible moves.
- Avoid moving your queen too early since it does the most damage mid-game.
Tip 2: Have an Opening Strategy
The best way to set yourself up for success is to have an opening strategy for every match. Having a good strategy means you’re thinking four to five moves ahead.
To do this, you should familiarize yourself with a few openings, like the Sicilian defense or the Ruy Lopez. It’s best if you practice so you can play them with confidence!
Of course, learning several opening strategies isn’t enough.
It’s vital to know how to respond to your opponent’s first move as well. Meaning, you should be able to recognize popular openings and quickly come up with your defense strategy.
As an example, for those starting with white, try to move in and control the game early. If you’re starting with black, you may hold back and let your opponent make the mistake of exposing his pieces.
Tip 3: Have a Good Defense
The king is a low-mobility piece prone to getting checked from afar. At the start of the game, you have to figure out a way to protect it from your opponent.
You can do this by learning defenses. Castling is the most popular way to defend your king. It’s when you move the king to the edge and protect it with the rook.
Meanwhile, at the later stage of the game, you can use the king to protect your pawns so they can get promoted.
Tip 4: Control the Center
Establishing your territory is essential to gaining an advantage over your opponent. It means you should have control over a large portion of the center.
If you have the central squares, you get more possibilities and influence over the board.
Here are two ways to control the center.
Controlling the Center by Supporting the Middle
In this method, you use your pawns to occupy the middle of the board. The pawns will restrict your opponent’s movement.
Using Evan’s Gambit, you can sacrifice a pawn to get a lead in development, allowing you to control the center.
Controlling the Center From the Flanks
Controlling from the flanks means you use the bishop and rook to prevent your opponent from using the center. Let these long-range pieces occupy the center from afar.
A great example of controlling from the flanks is the fianchetto.
This is when you place the bishops in squares where they get a clear shot of the center.
Tip 5: Study Positional Play
Positional play is a strategy where you improve your position on the board while degrading your opponent’s. Having a good place on the board increases the number of your possible attacking tactics.
If you count the value of the pieces on both sides, you can determine who has the better positional play based on the average.
Here are the two types of positional play you should know about.
Dynamic Positional Play
Dynamic play is when you take a direct approach to improving your position. To do so, evaluate your position and think of two better ones.
Next, make your move to get the advantage by force.
Eliminate your opponent’s weak pieces and cut off their strong ones.
Strategic Positional Play
Strategic positional play is a long-term way of building up your position.
You slowly maximize the spaces you control to have more room to maneuver. On top of that, you coordinate your pieces so they don’t get in each other’s way.
Lastly, watch out for pawn structures and use them to discern the next plan of action.
Tip 6: Analyze Your Opponent
Every time your opponent makes a move, you should always ask yourself why. What did his move do? Is it a trap?
Consider his plays from all angles, and double-check your moves before you make them. Sometimes, you can fall for traps that are in plain sight.
If you’re purposeful with your observations, you can have a higher chance of winning!
Tip 7: Learn to Trade Wisely
Understanding the value of each piece can be the deciding factor of whether you win or lose. In general, you should only trade pieces for ones of equal value.
To give you an idea, here’s a point system for chess pieces.
- Queen – 9 points
- Rook – 5 points
- Bishop – 3 points
- Knight – 3 points
- Pawn – 1 point
- The king has no points since the game is over when it gets captured.
The takeaway here is to never carelessly sacrifice pieces of greater value for ones with less.
Tip 8: Avoid the Pitfalls
Sometimes you can put yourself at a disadvantage without help from your opponent. Because of this, you should be aware of the rookie mistakes to avoid.
For instance, it’s better to avoid doubling. In a nutshell, doubling is when you place one pawn in front of another. Making this move can render your pawns useless.
Another pitfall is failing to protect your pieces. For example, the queen is one of the most powerful pieces, and you should always protect it with your bishop or rook.
Leaving it out in the open is called hanging a piece. You should always be aware of the details of the whole board to avoid this mistake.
Finally, don’t move the same piece twice unless you’re ready to defend it. Moving one twice in a row is a surefire way to get it captured.
Tip 9: Take Your Time
There’s a lot to consider during a game of chess. You have to watch your opponent while also protecting your pieces. This is why you should take your time to think about every move.
The best way to win is to slowly formulate your plan. Think several steps ahead, and don’t feel pressured to make quick moves. Doing so will only put you at a disadvantage.
As long as you focus on the endgame, it doesn’t matter how long you get there—that’s unless the game is timed!
Tip 10: Practice
Practicing chess allows you to recognize patterns, and it lets you come up with better responses. It allows you to use multiple pieces together to create combinations that can trap your opponent.
Did you know that grandmasters can easily spend eight hours a day on practice?
You don’t have to spend the same amount of time, but you should dedicate a part of your day to hone your craft.
Do your research online or watch matches between grandmasters. You can also record and review your matches to see where you made mistakes.
In Case You Lose
Of course, losing will always be a part of the game. Even grandmasters lose all the time. However, what sets the experts apart is they use it as an opportunity to learn!
In case you suffer a loss, there’s no need to feel down. Losing allows you to find out where you went wrong and fix any blunders the next time around.
Expand your knowledge further and take it as motivation to improve your game. Finally, don’t be afraid to challenge your opponent again!
It takes a lot of effort to learn how to win chess every time. You must study each piece, practice the openings, control the center, and do your research.
Aim to avoid pitfalls and take your time to plan out your next move.
It helps to have a good defense and study positional play. Never forget to analyze your opponent, and learn how to trade your pieces wisely.
Once you master all these, you’ll be able to stand your ground against intermediate and expert players. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun and remember that defeat can help you improve your game!