Keep the Rooks at Home

The Rooks should stay at home. Rooks should stay on the first rank, their home rank, until the middle or end of the game.

Rooks should not venture out early. Rooks are worth 5 pawns. If you put the Rooks out early in the game, they are often attacked by Knights or Bishops (worth 3 pawns). Often youíll lose your Rook and only get an enemy Knight or Bishop in return. Youíve lost 5 pawns, but gained only 3 pawns, so itís a net loss of 2 pawns.

Diagram: The White Bishop Can Take the Black Rook

One particularly bad opening strategy that beginners often use is to bring their Rooks out quickly. They do so by pushing the Rook pawn 2 squares, and then moving the Rook up to the 3rd rank. Firstly, this is bad because a Bishop can often simply take the Rook here. Secondly, even if the Rook survives to move sideways, itís in trouble there in front of the pawns. The opponent only has to bring their Bishops and Knights to attack that Rook, and itís going to be lost. A loss of 2 pawns.

The rooks only go marauding in the endgame when they should attack enemy pawns. Sometimes rooks go out in the middle game if they are on an open file, but even in the middle game they often stay at home.

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess strategies: