How To Play Chess Well: 9 Most Helpful Tips

Chess Guides / By Andrew Hercules
how to play chess well

Every chess player wants to play the game well and be on a long winning streak. World Champion Magnus Carlsen has one of the longest streaks at 125 games unbeaten. Although this milestone does takes a lot of experience and skills, you should note that it is not as challenging as it sounds.

But how can someone achieve this desire? Relax! This article is meant to hugely help you understand every technique of winning chess every time.

Generally, winning at chess typically requires a variety of skills, including knowledge about endgames and openings, a good sense of high concentration and time in the entire game, a lot of practicing, learning, and understanding the game’s whole mechanics.

There are many skills and techniques out there for winning chess, but without a supportive guide, someone might end up picking the ineffective tips. Fortunately, I have deeply researched the top-rated, dependable, and easy techniques that will allow you to play the game of chess well and win a lot of future games. With that said let’s jump right in!

Here are 9 most helpful tips to play chess well:

  1. Learn the moves
  2. Consider opening with a pawn
  3. Castle early
  4. Always think ahead
  5. Control the center
  6. Learn to skewer, pin and fork opponent’s pieces
  7. Keep your pieces protected all the time
  8. Preserve a solid pawn structure
  9. Learn how to play forcing moves

How To Play Chess Well

1. Learn the moves

Every chess piece moves in a specific way only. For example, the pawn moves right ahead but can attack at an angle just, at one square at a time. The bishop usually moves straight to an angle but can also move more than a single square at a specific time. The knight’s move is always L-shaped.

Furthermore, the rook can only move in a straight line horizontally or vertically across the board. Plus, the queen, which is the most powerful piece, moves in any direction in a straight line in any number of squares (that means vertically, horizontally and diagonally).  The king on the other hand is limited to only one square at a time and can move in any direction.

2. Consider opening with a pawn

First, move your pawn in front of the queen or preferably the king two squares forward. This will eventually open both pathways for your queen and bishops to enter the game rightly. At this point, they will effectively move to an angle but cannot get out to the battlefield if pawns are in the way.

Remember, before moving your king, rooks, or queen, move your bishops and knights towards the center of the board—this aids in getting these pieces out right from behind the pawns to let them attack.

3. Castle early

Yes, castle early. This is another essential key for winning a chess game every time. Castling early will safeguard your king. This is done by transporting the king from the center of the playing board into a safe corner. Furthermore, castling activates your rooks and help to finish the development of your pieces.

Note that castling improves both your king and rook automatically. Thus always try to castle as early as possible, as it will pay off hugely in the middlegame.

Some amateur players tend to make mistakes by casting late in favor of developing other pieces or picking off their opponents’ pawns. Unfortunately, that may have to suffer a powerful attack that could cost them the game due to their lack of development.

4. Always Think Ahead

Thinking about more than one move forward is enough for winning chess every time, provided you pick a beneficial move. In many cases, chess players tend to calculate about ten moves ahead since they don’t know the best move, which is not the right decision.

In this case, you need to try and calculate about three moves deep into all positions. And such depth is sufficient to avoid many tactics below 2000 ELO most players are facing. If you specifically get used to calculating moves forward, you will eventually win several chess games.

5. Control the center

As a chess player always focusing on winning, controlling the center should be among the first strategy to think of. In reality, any player who tends to control the four center squares typically controls the entire game. If you have enough space, you got the excellent capability of relocating specific pieces for defense and attack.

This means that your entire opponent will lack that special privilege which is a disadvantage. Still, controlling the d5, e5, d4, e4 will undoubtedly offer you an excellent ability to quickly relocate your pieces based on your discretion.

More essentially, it offers more accessible access for the pieces two sides on board that leads to a potent attack that, in turn, is a possible win.

6. Learn to skewer, pin and fork opponent’s pieces

The skewers, pins, and folks win many chess games compared to other related chess tactics combined, and that why it is essential to discern those and rapidly find them even in difficult positions. Below are quick tips of what helpful three stand for:

Fork – this is a situation when more opponent’s pieces get attacked by one piece at once. Besides, it a powerful technique since it frequently leads to material loss, specifically if it includes check.

Pin – Second situation when the attacking piece is threatening to quickly capture the other piece, which cannot move without revealing valuable piece. In essence, this is also an effective technique since it temporarily paralyzes the contestant’s piece, stopping it from participating in the game entirely.

Skewer – in this situation, more appreciated pieces are attacked first. However, in case it moves away, the less valuable piece will typically get exposed.

As a result, consider practicing the above three keys elements in various positions to increase your chances of winning eventually.

7. Keep your pieces protected all the time.

Securing your pieces is a beneficial practice. Remember, in chess, things keep evolving around with seconds, so it is effortless to miss techniques. Even if it appears that it very safe for your knight hanging on the board side, think twice before making such a decision. If you happen to leave your pieces unsafe, you will eventually give your opponents a good chance of defeating you.

8. Preserve your specific pawn structure

Many chess players think that the pawn structure plays only an essential role in the grandmaster games. But this is not the case. Besides, the pawn structure is a bit weak, probably under 1800 level, which is a disadvantage.

The doubled and weak separated pawns cannot defend themselves, and as a result, they need constant protection from other related pieces. Therefore, if your pawns are not preserved, they will eventually fall, challenging you to win chess when they are down. However, to avoid such scenarios, consider always to change the pawn structure when you:

  • Advance pawns
  • Exchange pieces
  • Exchange pawns

Always ensure your pawn structure is in perfect shape.

9. Learn how to play forcing moves

Forcing moves are helpful moves that eventually force your opponent to take a specific action. For instance, when you check your challenger’s king, he should get out of the check. And this check is the forcing move. Furthermore, once you capture your opponent’s piece, he must take it back, which is another forcing move.

Why forcing moves are essential in chess.

This is because it becomes easier for any chess player to keep everything under control whenever you need to calculate one line. Further, it safer than when your combination is not including the forcing moves, increasing your chances of winning.


Now you got it. Winning a chess game will not be a challenge to you again with the tips above. Besides, I picked the most helpful and dependable win tactics that are tested and approved to meet your expectations. Good luck and have fun!

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

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