Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chess: The Ancient Game of Logic and Strategy

If you want to get competitively good at chess you must start at an extremely young age and you must study and play at every opportunity.
There are the basic rules on the back of the box lid and then there is the real rules of chess compiled by the late Rubin Fine.


1. Open with a center pawn.
2. Develop with threats.
3. Play knights before bishops.
4. Castle as soon as possible.
5. Avoid developing the queen too early.
6. Do not move the same piece twice without a good reason.
7. Use your minor pieces to fight for the center.
8. Maintain at least one pawn in the center.
9. Make as few pawn moves as possible.
10. Avoid sacrificing without a clear and adequate reason.

1. All of your moves must fit into a plan suggested by a weakness in the position.
2. Combinations are based on double attack.
3. When ahead material, exchange pieces (especially queens) but not pawns.
4. Avoid serious pawn structure weaknesses.
5. In cramped positions, free yourself by trading pieces.
6. Do not bring your king out with your opponent’s queen on the board.
7. If your opponent has one or more exposed pieces, look for a combination.
8. In superior positions, attack the enemy king by opening lines for your pieces.
9. In even positions, coordinate the action of all of your pieces.
10. In inferior positions, the best defense is a counter-attack (if possible).


1. The king must be active in the endgame.
2. Avoid passive pieces that merely defend (i.e. activate rook).
3. Passed pawns must be pushed.
4. The easiest endgames to win are pure pawn endings with extra pawn(s).
5. When ahead material, exchange pieces but not pawns.
6. Do not place your pawns on the same color squares as your bishop.
7. Bishops are superior to knights when there are pawns on both sides of the board.
8. Rooks belong behind passed pawns.
9. A rook on the seventh rank is usually worth a pawn.
10. Blockade passed pawns using the king.

Learning and using these rules will help eliminate mistakes and make you formidable against anyone that don't know these rules. My chess coach had me remember and recite these rules to him in two minutes without a mistake. (It took me two weeks to get it right.)

Contrary to popular belief chess is not a game of geniuses, but a game of logic and persistence. (At my best win or lose I played 25-30 games a day and carried a small chess board with me wherever I went, just in case an unexpected game came along.)

Click for Biography
Paul Morphy
Paul Morphy offered the world a knight*(if you play chess you know how significant this is), he had few takers.
Morphy was the best American Chess player of the 19th century. His games are the ones I study more than any.
My chess coach insisted that I remember his famous game against the Duke Of Brunswick and Count Isouard in Paris in 1858. After doing so I realized that this is the most instructive game I've ever learned.
Here it is:

Now that your interest has been piqued, to play a game right now go to the links page and click on the first link: Chess anyone?

* To play an opponent without one of your knights on the board. To be down a knight from the start.

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