Why learning chess tactics is good for beginners

When another piece attacks the king and the king has no possible move to escape, this is checkmate. It’s the aim of the game.

However, it’s not as easy as that – you can’t checkmate your opponent without preparation, and this is where strategy comes in.

But how would one side be able to take the other side’s pieces without sacrificing your own?

The Magnus Carlsen tactics trainer on Chessable

The Magnus Carlsen tactics trainer on Chessable

This is where tactics come in. Most new players focus on strategy more rather than learning about tactics to keep their pieces alive and take their opponents.

Why Tactics Are Important?

Many beginners opt to just sit and wait for their opponent to let his guard down or take advantages of his mistakes like leaving pieces unguarded, this will enable you to take your opponents piece.

If you have some basic knowledge about playing chess, you will know how easy it is for the two sides to trade pieces by using simple strategies: your knight takes your opponent’s bishop, your opponents pawn takes your knight, and you’ll be even.

By using tactics in chess, if – for example – you can create a scenario where your knight takes down your opponent’s bishop while ensuring your knight stays safe, you will have a definite edge that will probably prove to be decisive.

If the number of pieces of one player is more pieces than the other, he will most probably be the one to win the match; between good players, if one player has even the advantage of a single piece it will be enough to cause the disadvantaged party to resign.

What To Do When Strategy Fails?

Let’s just suppose you have a good understanding of the opening and you have had a good start but your opponent is still giving you a hard time, so now in the middle game the position is locked. What should you do now?

This is where tactics show their true worth to help you open your position make some exchanges, sacrifices, manoeuvres or some moves so that you can play according to your strategy.

Now let’s suppose there is another scenario where you have played very well. You have acquired a good strategy and let’s just say there is an attack from queen’s side now you have a positional advantage or have taken the initiative.

Now what you want are Tactics that will enable you to carry out your strategy exactly according to your plan.

For beginners focusing on Strategy from the get go, it’s highly recommended that you make learning chess tactics your top priority to help you survive matches for longer.

This will also help you have a good time and accumulate more practice and considering you’ll be playing people around your level from the start learning good tactics will give you a better shot at victory.

The Ruy Lopez for Beginners

Whether you’re new to Chess or a seasoned player, you must have heard about the Ruy Lopez. As far as openings in Chess go, the Ruy Lopez is one of the most profound, complex yet basic openings in chess. It leads to an open game that means both sides playing gain a lot of experience. This is one of the main reasons why it’s regarded as one of the best openings for beginners for chess. Learning the basics of the Ruy Lopez is comparatively simpler than most other openings and doesn’t take too long. Having checked out the free Short & Sweet: Ruy Lopez over at Chessable, I thought I’d add my own two cents with some of the basics for the Ruy Lopez that every beginner should know.

The main concept behind the Ruy Lopez is to advance the White Bishop. The Bishop opens many possibilities for the game while pinning down the Black’s Knight to the King immobilizing one of Black’s key pieces. You can also develop the bishop to b5 to attack the Black’s Knight. Even though many openings focus on taking the f7 square early on, the Ruy Lopez takes a slower and methodical approach. The Roy Lopez takes it’s time to extend the length of the game while slowly building pressure to attack black’s king.

Alternatively, you can also develop the Knight first. As white, use the King Pawn (the Pawn in front of the King) and place it in the center, leaving black a few options to counter except to counter in the same way. Develop a knight to attack the pawn black played. Naturally, Black will have no option except to defend the pawn with a knight. Now it’s time to develop the bishop to b5 to create a harmony between the Knight and Bishop to attack e5 allowing white to prepare to castle at the same time. Obviously, there are there are many more variations of the Ruy Lopez that are played since it is one of the oldest and best openings for beginners.

Being the oldest also means that there’s a high chance that your opponent has also heard of it which is why it’s always recommended to play it with caution. For most beginners, the Ruy Lopez might seem like a slow and boring opening – which it is – but drastically improves the chances of your coming out with a win. You can’t play a lot of surprises with the Ruy Lopez but for a beginner starting out you should be able to easily gain some valuable experience and some wins to motivate yourself.

5 Beginner Chess Tips to Prevent Typical Mistakes

Chess is one of the most engaging games played all over the world. Be it a professional or a newcomer anyone can improve at chess by practicing but that doesn’t mean you can’t start off good. We reviewed some of the most basic mistakes rookies make. So that you can avoid them when you start playing chess.

Making excessive moves with Pawns

In the opening, make fewer moves with the pawns, and they should cover the center of the board and take control of the game. By moving too many pawns in the start (a mistake made by the rookies) the development and gameplay of Knights and bishops are delayed and also the King is left exposed for too long. One should move few pawns in the start. Develop the more powerful pieces “Bishops and Knights” and then use the pawns to proceed in the game and save your important pieces.

Weakening the Castling

During the opening, we place our pieces strategically around our king to form a castle of sorts to make the defense of our king strong and we try not to over crowd the board in one place. The pawns should develop with the knights and the bishops playing parallel. The queen should be a part of the castle and must not be prematurely developed throughout the game.

Keeping pieces undefended

As I have mentioned before, do not overcrowd the board by placing too many pawns at one place but do keep enough pawns around every single piece to make sure the defense is strong enough against enemy’s moves.

Proper castling of each and every important piece at the right time is the true essence of a game played by a chest maestro.

Giving up too early

Chess has a large number of defensive resources. The tough you keep your resistance the higher are the chances you have to steal away half a point or you might even get a chance to steal the whole one. Even if at any point in the game you feel that you are in danger, you should stay calm and look for chances to make counter-plays or any chance to save yourself from losing the game. You should stay calm and stand your ground, you shouldn’t forget that your opponent is also human and they also tend to blunder time by time.

Poor Time Management

This is a problem which is common among amateurs and the top 10 pro players both. When you start the game off and when things start to get complicated you might start playing superficially and getting nervous, these things will make you blunder and choose wrong moves. To win the game you have to be confident and not waste your time while being nervous and lost throughout the game. Have trust in the moves you make and manage the time in a way which will prove helpful against your opponent.

A new method of beginner’s instruction!

So I came up upon this blog post of Grandmaster Alex Colovic (Top rated player in Macedonia, participant in the Chess Olympiad and chess coach). In the post he announces a new instructive training method where he analyses a position with a club level player at the same time, without the use of an engine. In this manner the chess coach is able to assess where the player’s thinking is going wrong while the memory of the game is still fresh in the player’s mind. He is able to offer tailored advise and provides plenty of instructional moments.

For the video I’ve included above, GM Colovic analysed the game between David Kramaley, co-founder of chess learning site Chessable and a random online opponent on Chess.com. The key takeaway seems to be the case for many of us. Develop a disciplined manner of thinking where you always go through the same steps before making your move. For the player in the analysis this involves always considering ALL candidate moves before moving, not just one or two.

Whether or not most of us can afford our own master-level coach, either way I plan to start applying such a disciplined thinking pattern to my own game and I think you should too. Best of luck in your improvement efforts, dear readers!

The blog is back! I’m a chess beginner, so my first post will be a motivational one. How do we improve at chess?

Every chess player can improve his/her game, we might not get all that good that we get the right to play on the same levels as pros, but it sure does make playing chess more enjoyable.

The best thing is that it isn’t really that hard to improve your game; although in chess the learning curves tend to get steeper and steeper the better we get. However, there’s always a way or another idea to add a few more skills to our list of talents and a get a few more points in our ratings. Well, this all is really easy, and that’s the point we are about to discuss here: five easy ways to improve your chess.

Play Like Everything’s On The Line

Psychology plays a huge part in chess, just like every other competitive game. Why are you even in a game when you don’t plan to give in all your effort and attention? Don’t lose and use your casual attitude as an excuse every time. Don’t hold back and always give your 100 percent effort and know that sometimes even pros lose a game now and then. Have pride in your game and the moves you make on the table.

Analyze Your Own Game

To analyze your own game is a really important thing to do. Sometimes it still happens that I play 10 blitz games with same opening moves which I don’t know well enough, one after another. And most of these times I found myself in situations about which I don’t know how to play and I happen to repeat the mistakes I’ve already made before. I could have avoided this whole situation if I would have just bothered to take a moment and think and analyze the game first, it also would have helped me to learn something new and useful.

Role-play Professional Games

There are a lot of great games of excellent players in chess history which we can play and enjoy over and over. That’s the reason behind the invention of chess notation – so that the games would not be lost to posterity. Playing over such insightful games is easy, fun and it also has a great deal of instructional value. You can pick up a lot of things and learn a lot of great things about chess just by replaying the games of better players. And this is the reason why chess databases are so popular. You can very easily find thousands of games to replay and replay the ones which you find interesting.

Play As Much As Possible

Play as much chess as you can, like not so much that you forget your family or lose your job over it, but as much chess as you can in your free time. You can study a lot about chess but all that studying would be of no use if you don’t practically apply it in a game. Even if you’re not up for studying and reading about chess you could just keep on practicing, and you’ll still get better in chess with time.

Try To Have Fun

If you’re just starting out, you’ll feel frustrated about losing too much. Try to have fun and learn as much as you can while playing. Anticipate what your opponent will do but never forget to enjoy chess if you want to improve your game.

Right, having said all that, I hope I can start improving again and get out of this rut, here are some resources I will be using to achieve this: