Stages to Improve My Chess Game

Improve My Chess Game … how do I do that?

I used to play lots of chess when I was in high school. I also used to represent my school during Interschool tournaments… and lose. I have no idea why I was picked because apart from being good at the game and beating opponents at my own level, I had nothing else. I could never beat those geeks or big guns in the game.

As I played more and more and developed the feel, my skill level would drop further back, losing via careless mistakes and being easily overwhelmed by opponents even though I clearly had more experience playing, then when I started. And then when I was out of high school, I abandoned the game and when I got back to it some time in college, I was good at it again, and after some time playing, my skill level would drop again… What was I doing wrong…

Then recently, about a few months ago, I discovered that some simple concepts that I never really took into consideration seriously really could make a difference in my gameplay. Sure enough, I improved tremendously. I am currently enjoying a 15+ winning streak at chess and I am now able to beat regular guys at the free Internet chess server – something I could never do before my discovery.

I would not brag and say that I am already an expert or master, cause I still lack training and experience, and I would probably still rank very low compared to those brain-frying chessmasters out there from Russia or India, but I have really experience a vast improvement from last time. If only I had adhered to those basic chess concepts during high school, I would have won the tournament or at least finished in the top quarter…

My Basic Chess Improvement Concepts

Before I start, I would like to state that I did not create these concepts but I am using the subtitle “My Basic Chess Improvement Concepts” simply because I think there are really important, and I am suggesting to have these concepts in high priority in your head at all times during the game.

Again, as I said before, I am not a chessmaster or expert and these tips are to help newbies or rookies that are looking to improve. Now, if you are already a chessmaster or expert, there is no point reading this, as you might either already know this or have other even better strategies to beat this.

Alright. I will try to keep the explanations simple. There will be points to adhere to during all 3 stages of gameplay:

Stage 1 – Opening

An important phase of the game to play correctly, that let me improve my chess game. The concept is simple: Get your pieces out. You probably have heard this many times, and followed this rule, but still lose? Having all your bishops and knights out just to get them eaten up? Well, that’s just half of the concept.

The full concept: Get your pieces out with minimal blockage.

If you don’t get your pieces out or if they are out but cannot participate in gameplay, they are as useless as a flamethrower underwater. Always make sure your pieces are out, and they are attacking / pointing to the center (not in the center).

Attack and defense – If you are playing white, do not play defense, get your forces out until you find an opening, then attack. If you are playing black, defend until you either find an opening or your opponent is a step behind you in development, then you attack.

Pawn moves – Do not move many pawns up. There is a trick that is to use your pawns to block your opponent’s pieces. That trick maybe powerful at first glance, but once the pawn formation is broken, and you have not developed enough of your other pieces then you will be in deep trouble when your castled opponent is out and attacking. So, just move enough pawns to release all of your attack forces and that’s it. Your pawns would then be movable later on during middle or end game.

Most important – Beat your opponent in development. Get your forces out and movable (not blocked by pawns) and fast. If your opponent is wasting moves like moving his rook’s pawn in case your bishop goes up or something like that, instead of developing his bishop/knight or castling, you are one more move ahead. Wasting moves is the best way to lose.

Stage 2 – Middle Game

If you have done well in the opening, you will not have such a hard time in the middle game. So, in the middle game, all you need to do would be to find an advantage. This can be in the form of:

Material – if you are winning by 1 pawn, it’s quite enough. If you can exchange all other pieces on the board, and reduce the game to King and Pawn vs King, it’s an 80% chance you will win and 20% chance you will draw! So if you are winning by a rook or knight or better still – queen – then it’s a good sign to finish it. Exchange everything and reduce it to the smallest number possible and you will win, aka an imbalanced algebraic equation.

Position – if you have many mobile (unblocked) pieces targeting at many strategic squares, and your opponent has blocked pieces, like bishops blocked by pawns or undeveloped rooks in the corner, you can plan a strategy to either capture more pieces or aim for a checkmate.

Domination of the board – If there is a straight open file with no pawns, place your rook there to conquer it. This is also an advantage. With domination, you can aim to win material and get a number 1 advantage (mentioned above). There are killer tactics to do that, but I will not cover on that because that would be a very wide topic.

Remember, once you get an advantage, finish the game via checkmate if easily possible, or take the game to the next stage ASAP – End Game.

Stage 3 – End Game

This is no easy task. There are always 2 scenarios here:
1. You are winning
2. You are losing

It isn’t easy to find out which one. Number 1 or number 2? Ideally, if you have more pieces you will have an advantage and you would be winning. But sometimes, that is not the case. You may have a rook and your opponent may have just one bishop and a pawn, but that pawn is nearly reaching the finish line and grabbing the queen’s bathrobe at your kingdom, and your rook is trapped somewhere, and you have no way to stop the pawn… you understand what I mean?

So, during endgame, if you are winning by pieces, just try to reduce everything to your king and your forces vs enemy king and you should be winning. But be careful. Sometimes your forces aren’t enough to win, for example, a lone king and a knight can never checkmate another king, so it would be a draw.

If you are winning by position, try to checkmate or capture opponent pieces using killer tactics like forks, X-rays and pins, to turn the tables. You will have to study on this to get good at it but actually, you can implement these tactics once you find out about them.

If you are losing by position, try to force a draw, like multiple checks ie. checking your opponent, preventing him/her to launch any attack. If your opponent cannot stop your checks, the game is drawn. You can also try to capitalize on mistakes, then use killer tactics to turn the tables but that would be harder. Another way is to get repeated moves. If a move is repeated 3 times consecutively, the game is drawn.

If you are losing by material, and you are reduced to a king, try to get a stalemate. But this one is really hard and the odds are stacked against you.

So the opening and middle games are important to ensure you get at least some fighting chance in the end game, if you are able to get there.

Conclusion

Wow, I never thought I would be creating a hub this long, but it’s here anyways. Final important tips. Be alert at all times. Careless mistakes can hurt you bad! And be flexible. If you are pushing a strategy that will not work, it will cost you dearly. The best way to play chess is to stick to the concepts and the opportunities for strategies will come to you automatically.

Have fun, and I hope you can improve. I am a casual chess rookie who found out how to become a better rookie and to win more matches, and I wish you the best of luck!

History Of Chess

I come from a family of golfers. Golf is the favorite recreation of everyone in my family, including my grandparents, my mom and dad, myself and my four siblings. Every year, we have a family reunion of sorts featuring all my relatives from my father’s side. At those gathering, the entire clan always has a sportsfest wherein each of the different families take on one another in four key sports. We always win the golf competition. The others are volleyball, ping pong and chess.

My dad told me to study chess for next year’s family sportsfest. I complained a lot at the beginning but have grown quite fond of the game. I often like to recite the history of the game to my friends and, actually, to anyone willing to listen.

Like the game of golf, chess also has a number of fathers as many countries claim to have originated the game. This has some basis especially if you note that the Arabic, Persian, Greek, Portuguese and Spanish words for chess are all derived from the Sanskrit game Chaturanga. You might also want to consider the fact that among all countries, only India had three animals in its cavalry — the horse, camel and elephant. In chess, these are believed to be represented by the knight, bishop and rook.

In addition, in the past only India had all three animals, horse, camel and elephant, in its cavalry, which represent knight, bishop and rook in chess. Also, there are a lot of similarities between the way chess is played today and the way Chaturanga was played in India during the 6th century. Historians believe the Persians later created a more popular version of the game and called it Shatranj. But there is yet another theory that claims that chess started from a game called Xiangqi that traces its roots to China during the 2nd century. there are a number of well-known scholars and historians who support the latter theory.

Eventually, the popularity of chess caught on in the west particularly in Europe as well as to the east particularly in Japan. Chess also started to spread throughout the world of Islam following the Muslim’s conquest of Persia. After some time, chess found its way to Russia (via Mongolia) where people started playing it in the 7th century. In the 10th century, the Moors introduced chess into the Iberian Peninsula as mentioned in a popular 13th century manuscript that also covered backgammon and dice, which was referred to as the Libro de los juegos. Historians say that the entry of chess into Europe is characterized by the enhancement of the queen’s powers.

Hone Your Chess Skills With Blindfold Chess

All the hours you have put into mastering the game of chess seem to be paying off. Good for you! So, you think you are slowly, yet surely, conquering the challenges this longstanding game continually presents to those daring-hearted individuals who partake in this mind-racking pastime. You are ready for a new challenge, yes? Now that you’ve played the game enough that you feel like you could play it in your sleep, why not partake in a match of blindfold chess? Yes, that’s right: blindfold chess!

Right now, images might be dancing through your mind of you and your opponent clumsily feeling around the chessboard for your knight, possibly knocking down your pieces, simulating a domino effect. Well, go ahead and wipe that vision out of your mind, as your first blindfold chess game will not be quite as complicated as this. It’s not like a piata game, where you will get spinned around, hopelessly aiming for your pawn. A third player will assist in the actual physical moving of the pieces, mind you. Your mission, however, is to memorize each and every move, all the while predicting your opponent’s next move, and calculating your future moves by putting your visual-spatial skills to work, without the use of your eyes!

If you can imagine the intense training your brain goes through during a typical game of chess, when you can actually see your and your rival’s moves, then surely you can begin to fathom just how much more work your brain will have to perform in order to complete this task of blindfold chess. Are you up to the challenge?

You may have seen or heard of chess matches where a player will challenge several opponents simultaneously. This thought alone can be baffling to chess competitors. With chess being a game based on skillful tactics and the ability to calculate not only your next several moves, but also your challenger’s next several moves, adding a blindfold to the situation will make it even more exciting (and possibly, frustrating)! You obviously love a good challenge, though, so hang in there.

People who are most likely to succeed at this style of chess playing are those whose learning style is holistic rather than systematic. The holistic learner’s thought methods are generally processed in pictures rather than words. This ability is beneficial to the blindfold chess player, as he will be able to grasp a full picture of the game board from his mind’s eye, as well as still be able to calculate and predict future moves, without the aid of sight.

Blindfold chess is something that is taken quite seriously amongst pro chess players. The Amber Chess Tournament is a competition that takes place annually at the Palais de la Mediterrane, in Nice. Participants come from all over the world, including Russia, India, Armenia, Ukraine, Norway, Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Azerbaijan, and the United States of America. The total amount of the prize pot is the equivalent of more than US$300,000 dollars. If the mere completion of the task isn’t enough to whet your enthusiasm, maybe financial means will nudge you toward the direction of mastering blindfold chess!

Hone your blindfold and speed chess skills enough, and you just might find yourself amongst the greatest players in the world. Good luck!

The author is the owner of Quality-Chess.net, an online site where you can browse for numerous chess products including wood chess sets. http://www.quality-chess.net