Beginner Chess Strategies
Beginner games tend to be full of mistakes. The first goal is to get rid of the mistakes. And learn the rules! But after that, what strategies should you learn and how to play better?
Basic Opening Strategies: The ďopeningĒ is the first few moves of a chess game. A beginning player should learn the basic ideas of openings. A good opening should be:
- Develop Pieces (bring out your pieces)
- Castle Early
- Keep the Queen at Home Early. Queens come out for the middle of the game.
- Keep the Rooks at Home Early. Rooks come out late in the game.
- Donít move too many pawns. Just enough to get your pieces out and your King castled.
- Put Rooks on the Center Files
- Develop the Queen by One Square
Common Openings: A beginner should learn a few of the most common openings, and the ideas for some opening setups. But itís not really that useful to try to memorize long opening sequences as a beginner. Common opening setups include:
- Double King Pawn Openings: both players move their King pawn up 2 squares.
- Double Queen Pawn Openings: both players move their Queen pawn up 2 squares.
- Fianchetto Positions. An alternative way to get the bishops developed in the corner.
More advanced openings: Here are some common tactical tricks to learn about openings:
- Four-Move checkmate with Bishop and Queen (called ďScholarís MateĒ)
- Knight Fork on the kingside (supported by the Bishop at c4)
- Knight Fork on the queenside (supported by the Bishop at f4)
Middlegame Strategies for Beginners
Middlegame Strategies: Beginner chess in the middlegame is not about finesse. Itís about basic checkmates and tactical combinations. Also very common are pieces that get left to be taken and other chess mistakes. The basic ideas are:
- Take Enemy Pieces
- Donít Put Your Pieces to be Taken (be careful where you put your pieces!)
- Protect Your Own Pieces (use your pieces to protect the other pieces of your army)
- Check the Enemy King (if you see a move to check the king, play it!)
- Attack the Enemy Queen
- Basic Checkmates (e.g. Back Rank Mate)
- Develop the Reserves. You need to develop all your pieces off the first rank.
- Look at Your Opponentís Move. Why did they play it? What is threatened?
More advanced middle game strategies include more advanced strategy and 2-move tactical combinations:
- Two-Piece Checkmates. The Queen needs a supporting piece to checkmate.
- Checkmating a Castled King.
- Biffing (Push the Enemy Pieces Back)
- Long-range attacks on pieces. Use bishops and Queens to attack long-range along diagonals, and use Rooks to attack long-range down a file (vertical empty line).
More advanced tactics include:
- Pins (esp. pin the Knights with your bishops, and pin the enemy Queen down the center file with a Rook).
- Forks (esp. knight forks, pawn forks)
Endgame Strategies for Beginners
Endgame strategies for beginners tend to be quite rudimentary. The basic ideas include:
- Push passed pawns (make a few new Queens)
- Basic K+Q vs K checkmate
- Basic K+R vs K checkmate
Related Chess Tactics
Read more about these related chess strategies: