How to improve in chess? How can I get better at chess? Can you tell me one trick on how will I improve my game? What should I focus on? How much hours should I practice to get better at chess? I keep on getting these messages from beginners regarding how to get better at chess.
So, today I have come up with an article on 9 basic concepts for beginners on how to improve in chess. As you must have read our article on Golden Opening Principles, you must be aware of how to develop your pieces in the beginning. But what to do next? So just follow the concepts below.
All generalizations are false, including this one – Mark Twain. So, one must keep in mind that the concepts given below are general and are useful in most of the situations. Yet one might find different opinions which can be discussed in the comments section.
Outpost is a concept related to the knights. Knights are short range pieces, so they need to be developed very quickly. Once you develop your knights to c3 and f3, how can you utilize them? So here comes the concept of Outpost. Knights are easy to attack as they need to entre opponent territory to attack and create threats. So, when we place our knights on e5/d5 with the support of a pawn from d4/e4. We ensure that the knight stays there until attacked by opponent’s pawn. The concept of octopus knight is an evolved version of knight outpost.
Rooks in Open/semi-open files.
Rooks are long range pieces. Their optimum utilization is usually seen in endgames where the number of pawns are less. But should we neglect them until we exchange other pieces? Ofcourse no! We have to bring them to open or semi open files. A lot of times these open files help us do the back-rank checkmate. Once you place your rooks on open files, you get full control and your opponent needs to bring the pieces to this open file with protection. Otherwise you get to capture free pieces. Also doubling the Rooks to control the open file adds to the benefit. If you double your rooks on an open file, your opponent wont be able to access that file safely.
Yes! Yes! Castling. I’ve seen a lot of people ignore king safety. Castling should be followed until you get really good at chess where you understand all the subtleties and start keeping king in centre. If you notice all the top players castle as soon as possible. Its important to realize that none of the other pieces value as much as the king.
Not to exchange Bishop for Knight right away.
A very common mistake which the beginners do is they just develop their Bishop to g5/b5/g4/b4 and swap it with the knights. This looks like a trade of pieces with same value, but it is not. This trade means for a long term you will have less control on the dark squares if you swap your dark squared bishop or light squares if you swap light squared bishop. Also, the bishops are very useful in creating mating patterns. A lot of times you will realize that the g7 square of black is weak but you can’t attack it as you had swapped your dark squared bishop for the knight on f6. I believe this habit of trading bishops for knights is important to curtail. Once you manage that, your problem on how to improve in chess will be sorted.
Rook on 7th Rank.
A Rook is a strong piece in open file is what we have seen above. Similarly, if we get one rook in 7th rank, that gives us the benefit of paralyzing opponent’s pieces. Moreover a lot of checkmating patterns are developed with the presence of the Rook on 7th Rank. As they say, two is better than one, if you manage to get both your rooks in 7th Rank, they turn out to be strong enough to give you minimum draw. A perpetual check with rooks on 7th rank is common and so are lots of mating patterns.
Controlling the centre.
Centre is the most important zone in the game of chess. Just like in any war circumstances where any army controlling the important checkpoints can get an upper hand, here in chess the centre is crucial. Once you develop your pieces towards centre, you automatically control it. All the attacking and defensive operations are easily possible from the centre.
A prophylactic move.
A lot of times I have seen players get checkmated in the back rank. So to avoid such a mate, we have a very simple solution. To make a normal h3/h6 move when things are mild and your opponent is not threatning anything. This provides a luft to the king. A luft means an escape square. This comes into handy when a lot of pieces are exchanged and you are in a position to move your rooks from the 1st rank.
Avoid Doubling of pawns.
Doubling of pawns is usually bad. Due to this the pawns can no more protect each other. Also the pawn which is behind turns to be a weakness as it cannot be pushed when under attack. So whenever your opponent captures any of your piece and you have an option to capture back, you should think and decide. This is another quality which leads to the question of how to improve in chess.
Capturing towards the centre.
When you are posed with a decision to capture a piece with any of the 2 pawns, you should capture towards the centre. This helps in maintaining the pawn structure aswell as maintains the control in the game. If you look at the below positions, you will realize that the two options lead to equal material, but the pawn structure is damaged when you capture with c pawn while the pawn chain is maintained when you capture with a-pawn.
So These were some general tips which will help you level up your game and you will be able to take decisions on how to improve your position when you are clueless of what to do. I hope you all learned something new which will level up your game. Overall in this way you know how to improve in chess.