Chess Basics

How to win at Chess

Opening pawn moves

Opening pawn moves should exert some pressure on the middle 4 squares of the table.
Chessboard for how to win at chess in 4 easy steps

Early Moves

Develop your knights and bishops early to the 2nd, 3rd or 4th rank if white (7th, 6th & 5th ranks if black) preferably exerting pressure on the middle 4 squares again. This early development will lend itself to castling which should be done fairly early. Castling will also help one of your rooks enter the fray earlier than it might otherwise. Develop the queen after the knight and bishop.

Do’s & Don’ts

Do not advance your pieces too far too early as this will likely just lead to your wasting moves in retreat when they are pushed back by the opposing players pawns or other pieces and even worse potential loss of your prematurely advanced piece.

When possible position your rook on long open files or ranks.

Middle Game Strategy

During the “middle game” (about 10 moves into the game) try to get one of your pieces to occupy the middle two squares of the fifth rank if white (4th rank if black), with adequate support of course. This makes it very hard for the opposing player to move his pieces.

During the 2nd half of the middle game (about 20 moves in) start moving your pieces with a plan for attack on the opposing players king. And in the END GAME (~30 moves in) execute your plan for checkmate.

Good habits

After each move ask what does the opponent’s newly moved piece threaten to capture or do in subsequent moves. What does your newly moved piece expose or open up for you.

What is Castling?

Moving the king two squares to the left or right and placing the rook (castle) just next to the king on the other side. The involved pieces cannot have been moved nor can the moving king or any of the squares it moves through or to be in check.

Great website for playing is a great site for playing and learning chess. Mouse over the Learn tab and click Training or Openings for good exercises that are moderately enjoyable 😊 You can also mouse over the Play tab and click Create a game then click the black/white king’s crown and play a game with someone else anonymously, no registration required. There’s an app for your phone or tablet too.


Click here for a downloadable chess board with pieces and pawns and rules in Microsoft Excel format

Click here for a downloadable chess board with pieces and pawns and rules in Apple Numbers format