Chess is a mind game with endless permutations, outcomes and algorithms. Whether you are new to it, intermediate, or even if you have a few years of experience; it’s almost impossible to learn all the situations you may come across and ways to counter them. If you’re new to chess, you need to learn how to achieve a good position early on in the game and also maintain it. To win a chess match you need to procure a good position in the 3 main stages of the game:
- Middle Game
- End Game.
Today we will study some easy ways to strengthen your position in all three stages:
In a chess match, the beginnings are often the most critical part of the game as they decide the tone and manner of how the further stages of the game will develop. It’s important to start off with a strong position which is easy to maintain. Many a times, people end up wasting their time trying to learn many openings and their variations which may not come in handy in every chess game. Instead of going into the depth of an opening, we recommend going into the depth of the principals they are based on:
Most chess openings aim to secure the following:
- Central Control (Of the Board )
- Piece Safety
- King Safety
Let’s go into further detail:
This is considered to be the center of a chess board.
Image courtesy chessity
The reason you should control the center early in the game is to increase the possible movement options for your pieces. Take a look at this knight in the center. It can control and move to 7 different spots on the board. if a night is placed in a corner its movement is limited.
Therefore you should always be able to occupy the centre with your pieces to exert more control over the chess board.
This is an ideal set up for both sides:
Insert image 3- YouTube
Piece safety can be ensured by always backing up your pieces with a protector, like a pawn or a minor piece (bishop or knight). Never leave a piece unprotected. Usually, if you are a beginner or if you’re playing in a tournament, playing a gambit is not recommended as they can nowadays be countered easily. Gambits may often render your pieces unsafe and unprotected if not played properly.
The king is the most fundamental piece in the entire game. It is therefore very important to protect your king from opposing attacks. One major method to protect your king is to castle.
Image- Rules of chess.
Castling king side is a more defensive development move, whereas castling queen side is more aggressive as it allows you to develop your queen side rook early in the game. However, queen side castling may render a few of your queen side pieces hanging (like the a2 pawn for white and the a7 pawn for black) so play the queen side castle with care.
2. Middle Game
The middle game is a stage in the game which is mainly characterized by the movement of major pieces like the queen and rooks along with the movement of the minor pieces and pawns. It occurs after development of all pieces and connection between the rooks is established (see figure below)
Image – Quora
In the middle game you should do three important things:
- Analyze where your pieces have most attacking potential
- Decrease your opponents attacking potential
- Create attacking opportunities for yourself
What attacking potential means is the ability to analyze the weakest areas that your opponent has and to exploit those weaknesses. If the king side of your opponent is weak, target that side by developing your pieces to those areas.
Decreasing opponent’s potential
You can decrease your opponent’s attacking potential by developing pieces which exert control over such areas. Playing your pieces to obstruct your opponent’s possible maneuvering strategies can decrease your opponent’s attacking potential.
Increasing your potential
As mentioned before, you can increase your attacking potential by developing your pieces in a substantial manner. Don’t leave your pieces hanging and exert pressure over your opponent’s weak sides.
Insert image 6- label as king’s side attack- YouTube
Try to break through your opponent’s defenses and bring your major pieces like your Queen and rooks nearer to the king to subject him to checks. However always remember to ensure your own king’s safety while doing so. Do not open your king’s defenses and make him susceptible to attacks.
3. End Game
The End Game is the final few stages of the game. It occurs after you finalize your middle game attack and when you move in for the final blows. During the end game, you should aim to restrict your opponent’s king’s movement. Cut off his possible movement squares with your major pieces. Rooks can come in handy as they can cut off entire rows or columns for the opponent’s king to move. Usually you should exchange off queens during the middle game as the opposing queen may decrease the potential of your pieces and may obstruct your checkmating moves.
However, if you choose not to exchange the queens, checkmating becomes an easy task. The queen can move in any direction, so it can cut off the king’s movement completely, but always take care that you don’t endanger your queen or any of your other pieces while performing the attack. You should also focus on your own king’s safety while proceeding for checkmate.
Hope you all found this write up useful and that you have a better grasping of the objectives you should focus on during your chess game.