Bard Rock Cafe Episode 24: Under Pressure
Previous Dyflexion Coming to PC March 9, 2022!
When you were a kid, did your friends make fun of you when you challenged them to games of chess? Did they tell you that it was a “nerdy” game that only ‘bookworms’ would play? Don’t let their teasing get the best of you. The next time someone makes fun of your penchant for playing chess, show them this article.
If you’ve never played chess before – or if it’s been years since you competed in your last tournament – don’t fret! It’s never too late to learn how to play the game well and have done so! However, you can join the chess academy, but you can also use these eight strategies any time you’re about to start a game of chess, and your opponent will have no idea what hit him!
1. Constantly Develop Your Pieces
Pieces are the different units in the game of chess. Each unit has its unique purpose, making it essential to develop them throughout the game. The queen is one of the most influential pieces on the board. However, because she’s so valuable, it’s also risky to leave her unprotected by other units that could become targets for attack by your opponent. Developing your pieces means moving them out into well-protected spots where they can be used later in the game without being under direct attack from enemy units (the king cannot be taken unless all other enemy units have been taken as well). Make sure to keep your king safe at all costs by keeping him away from the center of the board.
2. Begin Planning Your Attack Early On
Planning an attack early on in the game is a great way to ensure a successful offensive later on down the line. Try to think about what move will offer the most benefit for your future moves on each turn – and then do that! If you can’t decide between two possible moves, it’s usually best not to choose either one until you’ve had more time for further consideration. By doing this, you’ll have time to figure out how exactly each of your opponent’s moves (and yours) will affect your next ones.
3. Calculate Your Opponent’s Next Move
Before deciding on a move, always think of what your opponent will do next. You can get a lot of insight into his mind by testing him with some possible moves and seeing how he responds. A common mistake many chess players make is simply moving their units without considering whether they’ll be in danger after doing so. Once you’ve made your move, taking it back afterward won’t help – so make sure you know what you’re doing before committing yourself!
4. Try to Control the Center Early On
The center is the middle of the board, where most pieces are moved around at first. Controlling this area will give you several advantages over your opponent if done correctly, including greater mobility and the ability to move your pieces more quickly. If you start moving your units into the center early on in the game, you’ll make it harder for your opponent to capture any of them (since he won’t be able to bring his pieces near as easily).
5. Calculate Your “Opponent’s” Next Move Like You Would Your Own
It might sound strange at first, but even if it’s your turn to move, you should play as though it were your opponent’s turn instead! By doing this, you can think about where your unit will end after making a particular move. For example: if I have a queen that begins on a square with two bishops near her, she could attack either one of them at her next turn. If I know this, my opponent can use it to his advantage by moving one of the bishops so that she attacks the other one instead! However, if he doesn’t know about this trick, he might move a different unit towards my queen – letting me get in an attack without fear of reprisal from either of his pieces.
6. Trading Pieces- Some trades are good, others bad
One crucial lesson in chess is knowing whether a business favors you or not. The rule for this is simple- If your opponent captures one of your pieces, almost always, it would be good for them and bad for you. If you catch one of your opponent’s pieces, almost always, it would be good for you and bad for your opponent.
Making a lot of exchanges is often a sign that one or both players are making mistakes: either they don’t know how to value the position and keep exchanging pieces without knowing why, or one player refuses to accept some exchanges because they don’t want to take an advantage their opponent has (see the previous article on blunders).
7. Passive Moves- Opening up lines can help, so can closing them
One common mistake amateurs make is not moving all their pieces! For example, if there is a pair of minor pieces of the same color next to each other (e.g., Knights), usually it’s better to move the one that hasn’t moved yet. Not doing so can be disastrous because it may allow your opponent to open up lines for his pieces. On the other hand, sometimes carrying a piece twice weakens the square it’s on (e.g., moving twice on e4). So try not to get too obsessed with “moving all the pieces.”
8. Defending Weaknesses- Attack all the time!
Sometimes leaving some holes in your camp can make your attack stronger. It is because as long as you can cover those weaknesses, they can be used as outposts for one of your pieces to jump into enemy territory and launch an attack. If both players leave some holes open, whoever first fixes those holes will win.
Use these strategies and others when playing chess against your friends or family, and you’ll soon see your win/loss ratio drastically improve!
I hope these tips have been helpful to you. If you’d like to add anything here, feel free to leave a comment below! Also – try not to be too intimidated if it’s been a while since I’ve played chess; all players make beginner mistakes at first. If you stick with it, your gameplay will improve in no time!