There are four simple things that every chess player should know:
- Protect your king
Get your king to the corner of the board where he is usually safer. Don’t put off castling. You should usually castle as quickly as possible. Remember, it doesn’t matter how close you are to checkmating your opponent if your own king is checkmated first!
- Don’t give pieces away
Don’t carelessly lose your pieces! Each piece is valuable and you can’t win a game without pieces to checkmate. There is an easy system that most players use to keep track of the relative value of each chess piece:
♙♟ A pawn is worth 1
♘♞ A knight is worth 3
♗♝ A bishop is worth 3
♖♜ A rook is worth 5
♕♛ A queen is worth 9
♔♚ The king is infinitely valuable
At the end of the game these points don’t mean anything – it is simply a system you can use to make decisions while playing, helping you know when to capture, exchange, or make other moves.
- Control the center
You should try and control the center of the board with your pieces and pawns. If you control the center, you will have more room to move your pieces and will make it harder for your opponent to find good squares for his pieces. In the example above white makes good moves to control the center while black plays bad moves.
- Use all of your pieces
Your pieces don’t do any good when they are sitting back on the first row. Try and develop all of your pieces so that you have more to use when you attack the king. Using one or two pieces to attack will not work against any decent opponent.