How To Get Better At Playing Chess
Chess is one of the most popular board games of all time. The game’s objective is to corner and checkmate your opponent's King. Becoming a good chess player takes lots of practice, grit, and determination. If you ask any professional chess player how they mastered the game, more often than not the answer always is through studying the game and having the right skills to outsmart your opponent.
Although people assume that to be a great chess player you need to have a high I.Q., this isn’t necessarily the case. Anyone can become a great player, you just have to put in the work. It’s also a great game to teach your kids because it can equip them with problem solving and strategic thinking skills. If you already enjoy solving word puzzles, then you may find it a little easier at first, but gameplay is drastically different and more challenging.
In this article, we’ve highlighted 10 important tips for chess beginners.
1. Study the game.
By studying the game, new players get to learn the value of each piece. For example, a queen is worth 9 points, the king is worth 0 points (mainly because the king cannot be captured), and a pawn is worth 1 point, etc. However, these values can change. In some positions, certain pieces are more valuable than a passive or trapped piece. The value of a piece provides an idea of how the play is going.
When playing, don’t give up your pieces easily. Having a good strategy in mind and a well-planned sacrifice will help increase your chances of winning. A good player should know that it's not a good strategy to trade off a knight and a bishop for a pawn and rook. This is because having a knight and bishop is more advantageous than having the other two. Not forgetting that the pawn will only come into play during the last plays of the game.
2. Know the rules of the game.
Every board game has a set of rules to be followed to make sure the game is played fairly. Although some might be more complex than others, for players to learn a game, they need to be at least familiar with the basic rules. You can easily find these rules online.
3. Practice a lot.
If you want to be good at something you must practice a lot. If you’re a beginner player, you can start by mastering moves from chess grandmasters and watching old chess games. You can then apply the moves during your practice plays. By practicing often, a player can understand more about the game and also come up with his/her own unique strategies and tactics. This gives you more confidence in the game and increases your chances of becoming a good player.
4. Memorize your plays.
Chess is all about memorizing your plays. When playing, try and memorize your moves and counter moves. You have to pay attention and notice which moves and patterns help you win. Many professional players memorize thousands of counter moves which give them an upper hand against their opponents. When you're playing against a great player and make a move, chances are they already have a countermove in their heads.
5. Join a chess club.
Joining a chess club can help give a new player experience when playing in a tournament setting. There are many chess clubs out there that openly welcome new players. Being in one is a fun way to engage with fellow chess lovers and learn new skills. You also get to learn chess etiquette and rules from more experienced chess players. Another advantage of joining a chess club is the easy availability of chess equipment.
6. Challenge stronger opponents.
For instance, when you join a chess club, you get to interact with both beginner players and professional players. In this scenario, it becomes easier to challenge a stronger opponent because you’re all in the same club. Another advantage of doing this is when you lose a game to a stronger opponent, you can discuss the game and he can help you identify the mistakes you made. This is also a way of growing your skills by learning new tactics and moves.
7. Analyze your losses.
The best way to learn from your mistakes is by analyzing your losses. By doing so, you will get to figure out what went wrong and avoid doing the same thing in the future.
8. Double Check your moves.
Before making a move, always double check. This helps you reduce the chances of making silly mistakes. We’re all human and are bound to make mistakes at some point. However, in chess, one careless mistake can cost you a great deal. Players should always make sure the king is well protected before making any moves.
9. Stay Positive.
Losing isn’t fun but don’t beat yourself up for it. Instead, take each loss as a way to learn how to be better. Try and figure out which moves made you lose and avoid them in the next game. In chess, you learn problem solving, calmness under pressure, strategic thinking, and other valuable life skills. These valuable skills teach you how to handle stressful situations and not panic when things aren’t going your way.
10. Review your games with a mentor.
Getting a mentor to help you review your games is a sure way of improving your skills. You can share with him your difficulties and what moves get you stuck and he can help you improve your strategy. Your mentor should be someone who is more skilled than you are and is capable of giving you advice on how to better your plays.
Chess is a strategy based game that requires a lot of focus and patience. In chess, every move matters. Being able to predict and outsmart your opponent's next moves will greatly help when strategizing. The tips shared above are just some of the ways you can use to become a great chess player. If you want to be among the greats, you have to put in the work.