We are taught the importance of the chess principles from the beginning of our chess adventure, and that we should constantly utilize them as a guideline during our games. While chess has advanced significantly in recent years, and the introduction of engines has fostered play that is often completely focused on calculation, the classics remain very much alive, and we still need to draw on their knowledge to be considered full players. Here are some of the fundamental concepts that every player should be aware of, organized per game phase.
- Start Quickly
As rapidly as possible, develop your pieces and get your king to safety. This is one of the first principles we are taught when we begin playing the game, and it is one that we follow throughout our chess careers, everything related to chess openings. It’s generally reasonable to argue that development is the most crucial notion, and that disregarding it frequently results in disastrous results. Players still know what to do after all these years: develop and castle!
- Save tempi
Don’t squander time in the beginning. The renowned “don’t move the same piece twice in the opening” and “don’t make too many (unnecessary) pawn movements in the beginning” are included in this section. The point is straightforward: it causes a lag in development. The same rationale applies to the well-known “don’t get your queen out in the opening” rule, however there are a few well-known cases (such as the Scandinavian) that show this isn’t always the case. The essential lesson is that the queen is generally one of the last pieces to grow if it is not necessary and your opponent can assault it.
3. Take control of the center
The entire game is a battle for the center, which begins with the development of the pieces towards the center. They are not only more active when put in the centre square, but they also limit the activity of your opponent.
4. Improve the position of your pieces
When you’ve done developing your components, start looking for better squares. Consider the perfect squares for them and see if you can come up with a strategy to make it happen. When pieces are positioned on good, central squares, they work better together, making it easier to launch an attack or identify methods to weaken your opponent’s position.
5. Pieces first, then pawns!
If you are a regular reader of our posts, you should already be aware of this. Make sure you’ve checked the preceding box before initiating a pawn attack. Pawns require assistance, which is given by pieces. An attack based only on pawns is unlikely to succeed if your pieces are still poorly positioned and lack harmony.
6. Maintaining pawn chains
Pay attention to the center and the pawn chains that are already in place. The right use of the two, according to Philidor’s theory, can help you win space and activate your pieces. Knowing how to “read” the core pawn chains might also assist you in locating and constructing the ideal strategy. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our prior essay on the subject.
7. Create flaws
In your opponent’s camp in order to get tiny advantages. There are a number of crucial positional aspects that should be considered during the game, as Steinitz pointed out. Try to exploit your opponent’s weak places (squares or pawns), dominate the current open files, and seek for additional tiny advantages like the bishop pair or greater piece movement and cooperation.
- The concept of two flaws
This is the most critical thing to remember in scenarios when you’re seeking to realize a material or positional advantage.
The basic premise is that if your opponent just has one challenge to tackle, such as protecting a weakness, it will be very simple to do, and you will quickly run out of ammunition. If you can open up another front of assault and gain another advantage, he will run out of defensive resources and his position will most certainly crumble. This essay from a while ago explains this idea in further detail.
9. Create a stronghold for your king
The king becomes a powerful piece in the endgame, and it is critical to move it to the center. It helps you assault your opponent’s pawns and exert pressure on their position. In the majority of cases, the side with the stronger king wins the endgame.
10. Activity over resources
In the endgame, having active pieces becomes even more vital. Consider rook endgames, where it may be worthwhile to sacrifice a pawn in order to activate your own pieces, the rook and the king. Even with inferior resources, this is generally enough to secure a tie, if not a victory.