A Fresh Start
Hello Chessity Friends! I am delighted I was brought on the board of the Chessity Team and I can now engage more within the blogging platform and other chess related content. My main goal will be to help you with the beginning of your chess career. I will also advise coaches with tips and resources to help their students advance. Chess is a remarkable game and I hope you will enjoy learning more about it.
So let’s start.
There are 4 key groups of principles that differentiate between chess players who have a certain level of chess understanding and between beginners. If you know these principles and actively apply them in your chess games, you certainly have many great victories on your chess record and your rating must be above 1200-1300 level. Ehm… what principles are we talking about?
Well, let’s test where you stand. Try to answer these questions before you go ahead reading further.
1. What’s the most important aspect of a chess game? (Hint: I don’t mean checkmate)
White to move. What to do?
2. What are the five basic principles of chess game development?
3. Which moves do we label as “candidate moves” and when should we generate them?
4. What are the so-called forcing moves and why are they important?
White to move. What to play?
Q1: What’s the most important aspect of a chess game?
(Hint: I don’t mean checkmate)
Did you say development? Strategy? Cooperation of pieces? Although these aspects are important, the trophy for the most important aspect of a game goes to MATERIAL (meaning pieces). Why? Well, chess is about a battle between two armies and simply, the one that has more material, or we can say more soldiers, has naturally a higher chance to checkmate the opponent. This is truly a very important understanding. It is not uncommon to see players sacrificing pieces without a direct gain, forgetting about their attack pieces, or simply not capturing the opponent’s’ pieces. When we put the highest priority to our material, we start to value our pieces more and take a better care of them. Additionally, we look for more opportunities to capture our opponents.
1.Qb7! is the best! Very strong move that wins material. No one can protect both rooks that are attacked.
1.Qh3+ A move that also makes sense. Check! 1... Kg8 But what is our follow-up? Can we win anything? It does not look so. Black is totally fine. Therefore - a point to remember - check is a good resource but when there is no follow-up, we should also look if we have other better moves in stock.
1.f4 Another very logical move - we open a file for our rook so it can attack our oponnent's king. Great! But what if there is something better? Remember material has the highest priority.
Q2: What are the five basic principles of chess game development?
These principles are probably the first thing one was taught after learning how to move with pieces. They are:
1. Control the center with your pawns: With the initial moves, eachplayer should aim to squares of the board (e4-d4-e5-d5) to have good prospects for the future.
2. Develop your pieces as soon as possible toward the center: Especially we mean knights and bishops. Rooks and queen can wait.
3. Get your king safe: Castle soon so you don’t have to worry about your king being vulnerable.
4. Finish your development: Find a good square for your queen and connect your rooks.
5. Attack and have lots of fun!
Don’t worry if you are not sure about one of these principles. In the upcoming posts we will explore them deeper. On the other hand, beware! If you think you know these principles well, make sure that you follow them in your games. It often happens that when we learn early on something so simple, we tend to forget about it or neglect it. It’s like with car seatbelts – we all know we should wear them every time we travel in a car; yet, many people underestimate these basic rules. There are consequences of these actions. The same with chess, make sure that you keep this simple principles alive in each and every game you play!
Example: (on the right top of the interactive board, click on the third dot and a new position with comments will appear)
Q3: Which moves do we label as “candidate moves” and when should we generate them?
Before we play each and every one, we should look for possible moves to play. And those moves that grab our attention are called “candidate moves.” Basically they all are candidates of being “elected” and played on this move and now it’s up to the player to decide. It’s a mistake to think just about one move and then play it. If you have this strategy, most likely you are missing on something great. So, in your next game, try to widen your creativity and search for more opportunities on each and every move. Don’t worry, it will pay off.
Q4: What are the so-called forcing moves and why are they important?
This is an advance question, I know. However, forcing moves are very important. By their definition they anticipate “forced” responses of your opponents, and thus have the potential to transform the game into concrete gains. They are also quick to find so consequently they can save valuable time on your clock. Do you know now who are they? They are checks, captures, mating threats and attacks on pieces. We will also talk about forcing moves later as they conceal enormous power.
1.a4! The best move! If you searched for forcing moves, you definitelly spotted that you can attack the knight. And the problem for Black is that the knight has no place to go to and consequently will be lost.
1... Rb8 2.axb5 and by capturing the knight, White has material advantage and higher chances to win the game. There is still a long fight ahead but it's definitely better to have an extra knight for the fight.
It is challenging to understand these 4 key groups of principles and apply them in every game. Therefore, don’t worry if it seems difficult now. We will discuss and analyze them more deeply in the following posts.For now – try to focus on the first two key groups: (#1) The Importance of Material and (#2) The Basic Principles of Chess Game Development.
Chess is sometimes simple, who has more pieces wins!
Tips For Coaches:
1. Take one principle at a time and explain it to your students. Try to be as clear as possible and spend as much time as needed until they have no more questions. This is the most important time for them. First strong connection is for lifetime, when you need to keep adjusting it along the way, it won’t be as powerful.
2. Relate chess to a battle between armies, make them feel their pieces are “part of their family,” or any way try to communicate the chess understanding in a more familiar manner. It’s easier for them to understand that a lazy rook sleeping in the corner needs to be awaken and brought into the game, or that the “soldier knight” should not hide at the edge of the board but should occupy a more powerful spot. Chess pieces needs to stand for more than a wooden art.
3. If children don’t want to follow these principles, don’t force them. Have patience. Chess is ultimately their game and they need to feel they’re in charge. Yet, make sure they know these principles. One day they will level their stubbornness and follow them.
Thoughts? Leave a response below! I will be glad to learn from your insights and answer your questions.