10 Tips To Winning A Chess Game

Chess Guides / By Andrew Hercules

In this article I have highlighted certain tips that may help you win the game and become a stronger chess player in the future. Let us go over them in detail.

1. Memorize openings

In one of my latest articles, I went over numerous different openings that are used in chess and spoke about some of the advantages and disadvantages to each. Did you know that most tournament players use these openings?

In knowing this, it is an excellent idea that these openings are memorized by heart so you’ll have an understanding of how your opponent will choose to structure his of her offensive and this will give you ample strategies as well on how you’ll choose to play defensively or offensively.

Click here to learn the 7 best opening traps (FREE course by GM Igor Smirnov)

2. Assess your opponent’s move

When your opponent makes a move, do not make your move immediately. Assess and understand the rationale behind your opponent making the move in the first place. When you assess his move, you will have a clear idea about his strategy and you will be able to plan your next moves accordingly.

This tip makes more sense especially when the game has just begun. You will be able to judge your opponent’s style by just assessing his opening. This will also help you identify the potential threats that your opponent might have in store for you so you can deal with them suitably.

3. Make the best move

Sometimes, there can be more than one good move. Understand which move is the best option for you. Weigh the pros and cons of each option that is available for you and choose the best one. To identify the best move, you might have to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can you think of any other move that will help you in moving your piece to a better square?
  • Is there a possibility of your position improving if you choose a different piece to move?
  • Will you be able to retort in an effective fashion to your opponent’s threat with this move?
  • Will the piece you choose to move be in a safe square with this move?

The move that yields satisfactory answers to the aforesaid questions is the best option that is available to you. Hence identify that move and make it.

4. Have a plan in place

Winning a game of chess is not about making random moves and counting on luck to work in your favor. You need to have a proper plan for all the moves that you make. There should be some relevance between all your moves. You may come up with a plan based on the principles behind the various chess openings.

Another important point to be noted is to ensure that you do not switch too much among several plans in a single game. When you keep changing your mind, you will lose clarity and this can be a very big advantage for your opponent. Hence come up with a plan and stick to it.

5. Know your pieces’ worth

As I mentioned already in one of my previous articles “How much are the chess pieces worth”, it is important that you understand the value of your pieces during the different stages of the game. Do not trade pieces of high value for pieces of lower value. Keep the value of the piece in mind before making any move and understand the implications of losing a piece before moving it.

6. Develop soon and well

With the timer ticking, it is important that you develop your pieces early into the game. If you don’t bank on the opportunity, your opponent will most certainly do so and launch an aggressive attack against you. A mistake that most of us commit when we are still a beginner is focusing on developing our pawns. While pawn development and formation is important, when we focus only on moving the pawns forward, we tend to focus less on the other pieces.

The other important pieces determine your position in the game more than a bunch of pawns stuck in the center of the board. Hence ensure that you develop all your important pieces as soon as possible. Another point to be borne in mind is to never develop any piece without any reason. When you develop a piece without a solid reason, understand that it is not going to benefit you in any way. Always have a purpose for developing any piece on the board.

7. Know when to trade

The secret behind winning a game is not about avoiding the loss of any piece on the board. It is about knowing the right time to lose any piece on the board. Make sure that you trade your pieces only at the right time so that the loss of the piece will actually result in you gaining an important piece of the opponent’s. Keep these pointers in mind before you trade:

  • Do not make an exchange unless it is going to increase your advantage in the game. This is highly important when both the players have only few pieces left.
  • Do not make an exchange when your opponent’s squares are cramped with little mobility for piece development. The exchange will not benefit you in any way.
  • If you know that your opponent has more pieces than you, then never make an exchange, as it will put you in a much worse situation than before.

8. Stay alert at all times

Never rest just because you made one good move (this occurs especially if you have just captured your opponent’s queen during the early stages of the game). You have the luxury of letting down your guard only when the game is over. Till then it is important that you stay alert, watch out for your opponent’s threats and act accordingly. One bad move from you can be enough to give your opponent a very big advantage. Hence stay alert at all times.

9. Never take unnecessary risks

Being an aggressive player can actually benefit you but being a blind aggressive player can reduce your chances of winning the game. Never take unnecessary risks that might cost you your victory. Take only calculated risks.

10. Refrain from giving unnecessary checks

While giving a check will threaten your opponent, ensure that there is some purpose behind each check. Giving out meaningless checks is a mere waste of not just your time but also your opponent’s. You could use that time in a better fashion if you choose your moves wisely. Never give a check without any purpose.

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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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