It’s been a long time since I’ve had any formal tutelage in the game of chess, but what tips I can remember are relayed in the bullet points below. Most of these tips involve developing a strong opening game, and since there are almost as many different types of opening game as there are permutations of chess pieces, the following tips are just general guidelines for the beginning player. I don’t claim to be an expert; indeed, I would still consider myself an amateur player. But these are some of the things I was taught as a youngster learning the game and have found them to be sound advice.
- The key to a strong opening in chess is controlling the center four squares of the board. This means that early development of both bishops and both knights is a significant advantage.
- King-side castling is almost always stronger than the queen-side castle. Again, the sooner in your opening you castle, the stronger your position will be.
- Doubled pawns (two of your pawns in the same file ((A file is a column of eight squares.))) is almost always a disadvantage.
- Whenever possible use a rook to control an open or half-file. ((An open file is an 8-square column in which no pawns are present. A half-file has only one pawn (of either color).))
- Sitting back away from the board a little ways helps prevent the player from falling into tunnelvision. It is far too easy to miss seeing possible moves when sitting right over top of the board.
- There’s nothing wrong with walking around the table and viewing the board from your opponent’s perspective. This often results in seeing threats that weren’t immediately visible from one’s own side.
I’m sure there are others, and I’ll relay them as I remember. It’s just been a long time, and things come back to me the more I play. Right now I’ve been reading and working through a book I bought in high school on the Sicilian Dragon counterattack opening. I’d bought it with the best of intentions then but really had no clue how to work through it and learn it. I’m going to try my hand at it again, and then see if I can move through some more openings. It’s never too late to learn new things, and I’d like to expand my knowledge and enhance my chess skills. Might as well start now, right?