Avoid Chasing Material

This is the opposite of the ďgrab materialĒ strategy. If you chase extra material, especially an extra pawn, it can make your life tough. There are many chess openings called Gambits where one player intentionally gives the other player a free pawn. In return for losing a pawn, the player often gets more space, more time, and more active play for their pieces (sometimes leading to an attack against the King, but not always).

For some reason, itís usually the Queen that ends up chasing free pawns. This tends to divert the Queen away from the King, leaving it somewhat vulnerable to a Kingside attack. And it also tends to waste time, because the Queen wastes at least two moves: one move to grab the material, and another material to retreat back.

On the other hand, free pawns are free pawns. Sometimes a Queen taking a pawn in the enemy camp is a blow to the enemy, and the Queen can get more than just a pawn. Even if it is only a pawn, some players like to accept free pawns and then hang on tenaciously in a cramped position. Sometimes a resilient defence against a kingside attack is needed to bring the extra pawn to account.

But for beginners, and even intermediate players, itís easier to attack than to defend. Grabbing material and hanging on defensively is recommended for stronger players.

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess strategies: