Monday, April 13, 2009

Chess Basics: Five simple tips to sharpen your chess skills

Chess is a simple board game that anyone can learn by simply understanding the basic elements of chess. Mere knowledge about the game will not tantamount to expertise in the game and one has to formulate various kinds of chess strategies and tactics at every point of time, so that he or she can frequently say "checkmate" - the golden words in Chess.

The following tips will help any novice chess player or player who finds difficulty in saying checkmate to his opponent, but no problems in hearing the same, to reduce the loss percentage and enhance his or her skill.

1. Be decisive : Before entering into a game, it is essential that you should have some general strategy in place such as to play defensively and wait for opportunities or mistakes from the opponent or to take up attacking posture right from the beginning. Whatever may be attitude, you should not only be decisive in executing the same, but at the same, should exercise adequate caution. As in many cases, due to over-enthusiasm, you might end up making not mistakes but blunders and allow the opponent to have an upperhand. Always remember that chess is a game that cannot be work with a little bit of luck or chance. It is in your hands whether to win or lose. So, act decisively without haste.

2. Understand opponent's plan behind his moves: It is good that you should adopt your set out tactic or strategy to capture the opponent's king. But, in the pursuit, you should not lose sight of the opponent's moves. Sometimes, you might be having a good strategy in place and you are developing pieces towards that end. But in urgency or by oversight, you might lose sight of opponent's moves or intention behind those moves. Before you can complete your strategy, the opponent would have taken your King for a walk saying checkmate on you. So, be careful to assess the moves of the opponent and be prepared to change or alter your tactics.

3. Opt for Castling as early as possible: Castling is the best way to make two pieces change places in one single move. The rook which is otherwise in the corner flank is brought to the centre and the king is moved to a safe place at the flanks. Use this opportunity at the earliest which will not only safeguard your King, but also open up your second major piece in the board, the rook.

4. Develop minor pieces before Queen : Your queen is the most powerful piece in the board and its immense capabilities should be put to optimum use at the appropriate time only. Restrain yourself from opening up the queen before the minor pieces are not developed adequately.

5. Have control over the central part of the board with the help of centre pawns and the knights. Do not have your knights in the flanks as they have lesser mobilty there. A knight in the middle of the board can control as many as eight squares, whereas the knight in the flanks can have effective control over only 3 squares. So have effective control over the centre of the board.

These simple tips, effectively used, can help you say checkmate more often and at the same enhance your skill level.

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