Winning Chess Strategies

Chess is a mind game that is won by well disguised strategies. All those who love to watch or play chess are in a constant quest to learn new winning chess strategies. The best chess strategies are usually the ones that control the board, all through the opening, middle game and end game. They help the player gain a swift victory.
Piece Positions on the Board
This is going to be one of the most difficult articles I have ever written, for chess is a huge subject and the winning chess strategies are even more complicated. I am in a fix as to how to construct the body of this article. I will start off this article with some general chess tactics, followed by the individual positioning strategies for chess, for all the key chess pieces. The conclusion will give another insight on the chess tactics, summarizing the few key best strategies. So, get ready for the ride by brushing up on your basic rules of chess. Assuming that you already know the rules for setting up a chess board, let us first have a look at some general strategies and then will directly move on to the board control techniques.

General Chess Strategies

These are the general strategies that help position the chess pieces at a controllable position on the board. Now, whenever I used to lose badly against him, my dad used to tell me how my game was flawed from the start. My main problems were: lack of a clear strategy, segmentation of pawn structure into small vulnerable groups and most importantly, no hold on the center square (which according to him, gave a player the most powerful control of the board). The following points help solve these problems in players, by getting the key pieces into a position to make open play.
  • In the opening moves, avoid moving the same piece twice. The idea is to open up the field for your second line of pieces (the more powerful pieces). By utilizing two moves on one piece, you are effectively wasting a move.
  • Placing both the knights in front of the bishops is a powerful position that leaves scope to plot several winning strategies. Both the knights before the queen's bishop also give better access for board control.
  • During the opening stages, stay on your side of the board. The idea is to open up as many pieces as possible, to capitalize on the inroads made by any other piece during the middle game. A lopsided piece placing, with either a left heavy or a right heavy board placing is not at all a good strategy for chess, as a one-sided attack has less chances of success.
  • Avoid making unprofitable exchanges. According to chess points system, the points for a pawn, a bishop, a knight, a rook and the queen are 1, 3, 3, 5 and 9 respectively. Do not exchange any piece for another that gives you a point loss.
  • Chess strategies involve seeking and attacking the weakest spot in the opponent's armor. Premature and unplanned attacks are rarely good strategies for chess and can only lead to fluke winning (like the unforced errors of the opponents in lawn tennis).
  • A castle is an effective protection for the king, but only if you are able to protect the borders. Don't open up the king's castle. A 'troy-like' attack by the opponent can become his winning strategy, even before you've realized what was happening.
  • Don't leave any piece open for attack on your chess board. Plan your moves so that every piece has at least one other piece backing him up.
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Piece Positions on the Board
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The position of your pieces on the chess board determines how much control on the board you possess. In chess, there is just one winning strategy and that is board control. If you control the board, you are free to launch any attack, anywhere on the board. Let us have a look at the strategic placings of all the pieces on the board.

The Front Line Warriors: The Pawns

Pawns always need other pieces to back their advances, hence, isolated or hanging pawns that do not have any protection are not only weak, but also a liability on the board. So are double pawns (pawns exactly in front of each other) for that matter. An inverted 'v' line of attack from your side is a stronger strategy than an open 'v'. Having protected pawns in the center square is the best board control method, as they become an obstruction in the opponent's attack plans. Organized attacks are better executed if you have passed pawns (pawns who have progressed to the opponent's side) on the board, even if they are unable to convert into queens. Defending passed pawns is also easier from the center of the board, rather than from the rook's lines. Last but not the least, pawns are good defense against bishops, but be careful not to trap your own bishop behind your pawn attacks.

Entering by Stealth: The Powerful Knights

The knight is my personal favorite piece on the chess board, as it is the only piece allowed to move over other pieces. Knights can be a constant pain in your opponent's side if strategically placed in the d6 or e6 squares, with adequate support of other pieces. Planned attacks can be made with knights if they are in a protected, locked position on the board, especially in the center. A knight is a very potent weapon on a full board but lose their effectiveness in the end game when the board is relatively empty.

Long Distance Strategists: The Bishops

Bishops only play well if there are open diagonals on the board, so it is essential to free up the bishop before your own pawn structure blocks it. They are most helpful in the end game, where the objective is to stop passed pawns from converting into queens. Bishops are good leverage for diagonal attacks on a castled king, along with being good protection for your own passed pawns. Most chess strategies suggest that having a pair of bishops during the end game is a more powerful position than having a pair of knights.

The Indestructible Power: The Rooks

Like the bishops, the rooks also need open straight files for attack. Two rooks in the same file or rooks positioned in the 7th and 8th row of the board are both powerful strategies as they often handicap the opponent's pieces. You can still win with a king, rook and pawn by your side, if the positioning is that the rook and king are behind and beside the pawn respectively.

The Most Powerful of All: The Queen

In life they say, 'behind every successful man, there's a woman', but on a chess board the saying is 'behind every living king, there's a strong queen'. Ok, ok, I agree that I just made that up and there is no such saying, but believe me, it is still quite true though maybe not on her own. You see, the queen is the monarch, she will fight if she has an army, no matter how small. Though the strongest piece on the board, the queen usually needs a rook or other minor piece to make an opponent yield to a checkmate. Taking the queen out too far during the opening pieces is not a winning strategy, as you just lose momentum and waste moves trying to save her from the opponent's minor pieces. After all, who want to lose a queen and gain a pawn. That's suicidal chess!

The Battle Objective: The King

Being the objective of a chess game is not easy, for that makes you a liability for most part of the game. Actually, when left at his original position, the king is a liability and it is always the best strategy to get him castled at one's earliest. Both kings castled on the same side leaves less scope for pawn attacks for both parties. When castled on opposite sides, both have free pawns to launch an attack. With only a king and the pawn, it is the brave king who must lead the pawn, and not the other way round. There are situations that can help you in your aim to draw a match, study them, for it is always better to play for a win and settle for a draw than play for a draw and end up losing.
There is so much more to write on chess strategies, but I will end this article here. Enjoy chess, the game that is also a legal, open warfare.
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