5 Strategies in Chess

There are lots of strategies in chess resources online and on bookshelves.

If you're looking for another way to get good at chess besides reading more strategies, then please see the section of this website focused on improving your game by analyzing how you're currently playing.

Now that I have this platform to write about what I've learned, my aim is to keep this as simple and easy to understand as possible.

I'm listing 5 simple strategies that you can start trying today.

The fifth one (at the bottom of the page) is my favorite.

1) Control the Middle of the Board


This is a very common piece of advice because it's the most basic thing a beginning player can do to improve. If you control the middle of the board you'll maximize your options and minimize your opponents.

Pieces in or near the middle of the board can attack and protect the maximum number of squares.

Think about how a knight in the middle of the board can move to as many as 8 spaces while a knight stuck in a corner might only have two moves. This holds true for all of the pieces.

2) Be Familiar with Your Opening


There are countless books devoted specifically to chess openings. Unless your goal is to win an international chess tournament I think the best use of your time is to get very familiar with one or two openings that you use all the time.

3)Anticipate What Your Opponent Will Do


Chances are your opponent is trying to do the same sorts of things you're trying to do in terms of controlling the middle of the board, forcing a checkmate, etc.

Before you move think about how your opponent will respond to it. Factor that into your analysis in determining the most productive move.

4)Dictate your opponents Moves


The easiest way to anticipate what your opponent is going to do is to give him no other choice but but to make the move you've dictated.

An obvious example involves putting your opponent in check. Another example is when your opponent has to respond to a direct threat to a power piece like a rook or his queen.

5)Trade Pieces After You Get A Lead


If you utilized the chess strategies described above and they've allowed you to take an early piece lead, exploit that lead by minimizing the remaining pieces. This will make your piece lead relatively more substantial.

As an example let's say that after the beginning phase of the game through smart play you've captured a:
  • Rook
  • 3 Pawns

Your opponent has only captured a :

  • Knight
  • 2 Pawns

You can increase your relative piece strength against your opponent by trading pieces of at least equal value. Doing so could hypothetically result in reaching an end game where the remaining pieces you have are:

  • Rook
  • Pawn
  • King

While your opponent only has:

  • Knight
  • King

As you can see at the end of the game the piece differential is amplified once all the other pieces are eliminated.

In short, once you have a lead in pieces, feel free to trade bishops, pawns, etc. if it makes sense while continuing to make the most productive move possible with each turn.

I'd like to end this section with a great chess quote that's really stuck with me:

"When you see a good move, wait - look for a better one."
-Emanuel Lasker

"If you're not cheating, you're not trying." - Quote from: Lots of people who cheat