How to Get Better at ChessBy Adam Sinicki
Chess is regularly considered to be the ultimate test of a person's ability to strategise and to think ahead, and to challenge someone at chess is to enter in a mental arena and see who has the superior mental powers. It's like arm wrestling for the brain. Of course intelligence is a little more complex than a game of chess allows and is difficult to define apart from anything else and so it's not a true measure of intelligence – just as an arm wrestle doesn't really tell you who is overall the stronger individual. However that doesn't stop people from wanting to get better at chess so that they can beat their friends and display their tactical prowess – and doing so is a great form of brain training.
Get Better at Chess: Chess Strategies
One confounding factor when it comes to chess is the fact that you can improve your chances by learning particularly techniques, moves and strategies (for all you psychologists out there this makes it a measure of 'crystalised' intelligence more than pure 'fluid' intelligence). That doesn't matter though really... as long as you're the guy who has the strategic edge. And luckily mate, you're in the right place! (In case you're a bit slow that's because we're going to share those here and help you get better at chess).
The Values of Your Pieces
The first thing you need to think about is the value of your pieces. The reason for this is that you need to sacrifice your pieces in order to lure your opponent into traps sometimes and to do this you need to decide whether it's worth sacrificing one of your pieces for two of there's or whether it's worth sacrificing one for one (quick tip, it's never worth sacrificing your king...).
When deciding whether one of your men should die, bear in mind this order:
King, Queen, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Pawn
In other words then, it's worth killing your pawns to save your bishop, and it's worth killing your bishop if it means you can kill one of their knights. However when it comes to sacrificing more than one of your pieces it can help to have numerical values. So check this:
In other words then, three pawns are roughly equal in usefulness to one bishop. So if you lose two pawns but kill one bishop that's still a win. Generally it's a good idea to use these remaining pieces aggressively – by sacrificing those pieces that you don't necessarily need in order to lure out and destroy the more valuable pieces of theirs.
However despite what we've said about pawns having no value other than as canon fodder they do have a use if you're on the ropes which you'll learn as you get better at chess – which is to get your Queen back by getting one to the other side. Don't underestimate the value of this, and see if you can distract your opponent's attention away while getting back some of your pieces. This is also useful when you find yourself chasing your opponent's king around the board – it's much easier to trap them if you have more pieces.
Likewise, while it's a good idea to act aggressively though and to sacrifice your pieces for the greater good, it is nevertheless also important to protect your king and the more directions you can keep him protected from the less likely you will to find a surprise check mate sneaking up on you. It's always worth leaving some defense around the king then and generally to get better at chess you need to consider defense as well as offense.
Setting Traps and Owning the Board
One great strategy is to set traps around the board and this will work with most inexperienced players. Simply hide your rooks or a queen in the corners of the board and other unusual places and then wait for them to forget they're there so that you can gobble them up (I believe that's what you call it when you take a piece: 'gobbling' (don't quote me though)). You own any squares on the board where they can't go, and of course you should aim to own as many of these squares as possible. Not only with the hope of them forgetting and moving into that space, but also because it will limit the moves they can make.
Similarly though you need to make sure that you don't suffer the same fate. A good way to make sure that you don't miss anything is to keep your hand on your piece after you've moved it (your go is not over until you have let go) and to look quickly at each of your opponent's pawns to see if you're at any risk. As you train and get better at chess you will find yourself becoming more observant and switched on naturally.
Get Better At Chess With Useful Strategies
There are countless moves and patterns that have been recorded by chess masters and a range of reposts and responses. Real chess masters will start with one of several strategies only to find those strategies countered by someone who recognises them and knows the correct response.
That's not what we've recommended here so much as a few tips that can help you to take out your opponent's pawns quickly. It would take too long to go through all of the different strategies, and in some ways... it feels like it takes away a bit from the joy of reacting on the moment and trying to second guess your opponent rather than following a scripted set of moves.
However that said... it would be cool to be able to use one of those strategies in three in moves too right? Thought so. No one will question whether you have managed to get better at chess when you beat them in three moves...
How to Win a Game of Chess in Three Moves
This won't always work as it requires your opponent to make the right moves too, but in many cases if you're playing against someone inexperienced, it can work nicely (and we'll throw in a few back up plans for good measures. This is also called – imaginatively – the three move win.