Category Archives: Guest Posts

How to Find Stronger Opponents

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You now have been playing the game of chess for a few months against your family and friends. You are noticing more and more that you are beating them all and usually for you it no longer requires you to do a lot of thinking and planning on your part when you challenge them to a game.

Congratulations, you are now moving past the point of being a beginning player and now are moving towards the intermediate level of chess. But to keep your interest in chess and continue to increase your skill level, what can one do? Where are other chess players with the same or even greater skill-set as you? The following are three places or areas where you can visit to find a higher caliber of chess player.

For most casual chess competitions, one doesn’t have to look further than their own public park. Many parks offer concrete chessboards, all you need to bring are your own chess pieces. While at the park, other people will want to challenge you. Take them up on it. Many chess masters have gotten their start due to the exposures of varying style of chess play with the different players available. If no chess areas are available at your local park, check your phone book for chess clubs and / or organizations in the surrounding area. Getting in touch with these local chess clubs will help you and introduce you to many other chess lovers in your own vicinity.

When you finally decide that you are ready to try your hand at chess tournaments, always remember if there are any certain “rules” that you need to follow and watch for, as well as paying attention to certain etiquettes associated with the tournaments. One of the most common forms of chess tournament rules is the use of the chess clocks. During a tournament game, players cannot think about their move forever, so types of time limits have been installed to ensure a quicker game play. Using a time clock, a device that contains two clocks will keep track of the amount of time for each player during his or her turn. Typically in tournament play, a player will have a maximum of 30 minutes to finish the entire game. If either player exceeds his or her allotted time, then he or she forfeits the match.

The third way a player can go about and find better opponents is through the internet. Many sites, such as Yahoo, will offer a place on their site where chess players from across the world can meet online and challenge one another to an exciting game of chess. The chess players meet in the “game” section of the website. From there, they click on the link for chess, and they are ready to begin. Playing online has become one of the fastest ways to increase one’s knowledge and tactics for chess. You can literally have a chess game anytime you want—twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. You finally now can have a chess game that finally fits your schedule.

The Top Five Chess Strategies for Beginners

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Many people feel intimidated by the game of chess. They feel that it is a game for intellectuals; however, chess is one of the fairest games out there. There is no dice used to leave the game up to “chance,” and there is no referee involved to possibly “throw” the game. Yes, chess is a thinKing person’s game, but you do not need to have a Calculus degree to master chess. You are the one that calls the shots of your chess pieces. You are the one that can learn various approaches and tactics. The chess game itself is very easy to learn, and could possibly take a lifetime to master with all of the different strategy books available. As a beginning chess player, follow these five simple strategy steps. These steps will provide you with techniques to help the player win the game.

  • 1.Slow down your moves by thinKing things through. Often times, beginners are in such a hurry during their turn, they often overlook better vantage points. Also they can overlook obvious mistakes and could quite possibly lose the piece that they just moved.

  • 2.Castle your King wherever possible. When you ‘castle’ your King, the unmoved King will either move two places to the right or move two places to the left. Immediately following the King’s move, the unmoved Rook closest to the moved King will then “jump” over the King and will land on the immediate open space next to the King. When you castle your King, you must make sure that there are no pieces, either yours or your opponents, on any square between your King and your Rook. Also, once the King has moved, that piece can no longer castle the rest of the game. That is why you are only allowed one time during the chess game to castle the King.

  • 3.Plan your strategy and tactics by at least three moves in advance. Doing so will open up more strategies for you in the long run. By planning ahead during the chess match, this tactic will also help you anticipate your opponent’s next sequential moves and will then possible lead you to a decisive victory.

  • 4.Do not attack your opponent prematurely. Doing so may have you losing a few key pieces you will need later on in the game. Always think before you act; weigh out all of your options that are available to you. By avoiding these types of attacks, time will be on your side for the overall long term strategy of the chess game.

  • 5.Never sacrifice a piece worth more than one of your lower pieces. Many times beginners will think it is natural to sacrifice a Queen for a Knight. Will that sacrifice of a higher piece really give the upper hand in the chess match?

These top five beginning chess strategies and tactics should be taken as sound advice to build your chess game on. There are plenty of other more advanced tactics available, but for the beginning chess player, these five are the most beneficial for them.

Increase Your Tactical Skills by Learning These Important Three Steps

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It is common knowledge in the game of chess that a “tactic” is a series of short term maneuvers which have specific goals in mind. All players, beginners to grand masters, need and use different types of tactics that will help them win the game. Typical tactics will fall into patterns you can recognize in many different varying positions. The three basic types of tactics you need to learn are the fork, pin, and skewer. These three tactics are for everyone to use, especially the beginning chess player, as these three prove to be the most useful. Once you learn and understand these three basic tactics, you will be able to easily see and anticipate them from your opponent—you will be able to use them to your advantage.

The “fork” tactic is when a single chess piece of yours is able to attack two chess pieces of your opponent at the same time. For example, one pawn piece of yours can either attack one of the two opponent’s pieces within the pawn’s attack range. Also, when an attack is against two enemy pieces at the same time by two of your pieces, it is called a “double attack”.

The next of the three tactics you need to learn is the “pin” tactic. The “pin” tactic is when you attack an opponent’s piece, and that targeted piece cannot move without revealing another piece behind it to capture. You essentially are “pinning” the first piece to the piece behind it. The only pieces that can pin other pieces are the rook, bishop, and queen. However, if you are ever a victim of a “pin” from your opponent, follow these four tips to escape the “pin”.

1.Block the pin by moving another piece of yours between the piece being pinned and the pinning piece.

2.Move the piece that is being pinned by your opponent’s pinning piece.

3.Capture the piece that is doing the pinning.

4.Attack the opponent’s piece to force your opponent to move it away.

The “skewer” is very similar to the “pin” tactic but this time, you attack your opponent by forcing the targeted opponent’s piece to move away in order for you to capture the more valuable piece behind the “skewered” piece. To some chess players, this is also known as the “bully move,” where you have your piece bully its way on the board to make your opponent decide which piece they will need to give up to you.

Continue to practice to recognize and memorize these tactics in order to win your opponents pieces that you target during the game and eventually the “checkmate”. The key to becoming a better chess player is to understand these aforementioned tactics. The beginning chess player should always remember that the back row of your pieces are critical in winning the game, so by moving them out at a first chance is critical. The quicker those pieces in the back row have been moved out, the quicker you can apply your own tactics and strategies that will help you gain a checkmate against your opponent.

How to Improve your Chess Game

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How to improve your chess

Chess is considered by many to be one of the ultimate tests of intelligence and skill. It takes clever planning and a large amount of strategy to do well in this game. One not only needs to have a thorough understanding of the pieces and how they work, but they have to be familiar and comfortable enough in the game to relax enough to think through all of their potential moves. Understanding the opponent is another huge factor into how a chess game will run. Knowing your opponent’s skill level as well as the types of moves they favor and are likely to make will go a long way in playing a strong chess game. No doubt, it is a game of superior intelligence. The alertness of the mind, capacity to contemplate on and select the right future is some basic requirements of this brainy game. Of course, you cannot cultivate talent only with the help of your labor but if you have a little of it you can surely bone it. Do not forget the age-old maxim that genius is five percents inspiration and ninety-nine percents perspiration. Moreover, hardly any human being is totally devoid of the element of talent. Only when we fail to perspire for making it develop that we lag behind the others who do. This is what we purpose to do with this article.

There are times when in the absence of the right kind of guidance our talents wither. Since they don’t know how to properly irrigate and fertilize this plant of talent, this gets withered away. Remember that like any other discipline, chess also needs your unrelinquish devotion. The young boys normally don’t know how to utilize their free time, especially those who have the potentials. Follow the guidelines given ahead and become a good chess player.

1. Read Chess-books and Magazines

After playing some games, read the book carefully. Play more games and the read the book. Each time you absorb some points that seemed previously obscure or did not grip you.

The way you improve most is not by playing opponents, but by playing over well-annotated games. Cover one side’s move usually the winner’s) and think out of each move before looking.

If you are eager to improve your play rapidly, write down the moves of all your games, not only the competitive one (in which recording is compulsory). It is best to write them in chess scorebooks, as loose score-sheets are easily lost. Afterwards, play each game and jot down critical comments. This how the grandmaster developed his skill in chess and became proficient in a short time without any coaching. It is surprising how much the game became clearer when you see every position a second time, in the light of what happened first time. You become your own tutor. If, after writing your comments you submit some of your games and your comments to a competent coach or top player for assessment for a suitable fee will improve more rapidly still.

Reading chess books by standard authors will also help. Try to follow the notations in a particular style. In case you get hold of those old books in which the notations are not in algebraic form, try to convert it in that form. Even this conversion exercise would give you a good peep inside the intricacies of the game. Write them down in a separate exercise book and the same way you do to develop you ability, say in Mathematics. This is very enlightening exercise. Just keep a small chess board with pieces alongside and convert descriptive notations into Algebraic notations. It is necessary because the algebraic notation was devised only a couple years ago while the earlier chess-books where only written in descriptive style. Remember that it is not a time consuming and boring exercise but a very rewarding one.

Besides doing this read some good magazines or newspapers having chess columns. Nowadays there is hardly any good journal or newspaper not having chess columns. Read those problems and solve them. Your intention while solving them should be to prove the given solution to be wrong! The idea is that you should independently try to attack the problem. In the process if you happen to hit some different solution deem it that you are on the right path of progress in your chess studies. You may join a club having the facility of chess. You might develop you chess skill in the company of the other learners.

Of course, you can enjoy chess without worrying about improvements. However, this is a natural tendency of an awakened mind to improve one’s performance in any sphere. By following the methods recommended here, almost anybody can become a strong player in a fraction of time normally taken.

Doctor Emanuel Lasker (World Champion 1897-1921) considered that given a logical approach, a person of average talent would not need to give chess more than 200 hours to reach a stage where a master player who conceded him or her handicap would surely lose.

Lasker’s 200 hours was an underestimate, no doubt, but certain it is that most players could reach in months a standard that usually takes them years to attain.

Some newspapers publish regular chess columns in which composed chess problems are a feature. In a problem, an artificial position is setup and a solver is required to find a way to check mate in a specified number of moves, usually 2 or 3, no matter what replies the defender makes. In these, for the sake of uniformity, White always makes the first (key) move. In 2-move problems, only the key move is required. In 3-move problems, the second moves are required for correct solutions. As the composer’s purpose is to make the task difficult, the key move is usually on that would be unlikely to occur to a player in an actual game, and is never capture (except of a Pawn) and never a check.

2. Play Handicap Chess with Senior Players

The often given advice to play against stronger players has two distinct drawbacks. Firstly, it is discouraging if you invariably lose. Secondly, it is painful boring for the opponent if the different in skill is great. The strong player would be too polite to tell you this, but will find some excuse to stop playing. To fore stat this, ask the opponent to give you a handicap (give you odds in the chess parlance) e.g. to remove a Knight, a Rook, a Rook plus Knight, or even the Queen. Once the right odds found, both players can have exciting game. When removing a Knight or a Rook as a handicap, convention decrees that it shall be the one on the Queen’s wing.

Another kind of handicap is possible with the use of chess clocks. The expert can play with a very short time limit, his opponents at a much greater one. If the difference in skill is not too wide, this sort of handicap is better, as there is no alteration of the starting position. If the difference in skill is very great, it is a good idea to use both systems.

For single games, you cannot use a time handicap unless you have chess clocks. However, in simultaneous exhibitions, a time handicap operates automatically.

Here the expert opposes a large number of players seated in a circle or rectangle, each with a board and pieces in front of him or her. The expert steps from board to board, making a move at each one. Obviously, the expert can take only a fraction of time that opponents take, as the master may have to make 10,20,30,40 or more moves in the time that each opponent has for one move.

Simultaneous exhibitions have provided, from time immemorial, an excellent opportunity for a large number of players to oppose a master under conditions that give the amateurs some chance of bringing off a draw or even a win.

3. Have chess software

Playing chess against a well-programmed computer also helps in your developing chess-skill. It was inevitable in our age of electronics that chess would engage the attention of computer engineers. The real revolution in computer chess was brought about by the introduction of portable, relatively inexpensive microcomputers. These have been steadily improving and the latest models feature up to sixty-four levels of play, programmed openings and games, a voice announcing moves, and sensitized squares to eliminate the need for a keyboard. Most can play a reasonable game, while the more advanced models complete successfully in open tournaments.

As hinted before, microcomputers are most useful to players who have a problem in finding an opponent. Teaching level with programmed opening variations and suggested best moves are provided to help the students. For top players computers provide a convenient way of storing information on openings and end games. Most top players use personal computer for this purpose.

4. General Advice

You should start playing preferably with another beginner, as soon as you have learned the moves. Do not be discouraged if you are slow in remembering the rules. With a little practice, you will get accustomed to the moves of the pieces and will be able to start working things out without trying to remember how each one move and capture.

Chess is competitive and a desire to win is its strongest motivation. This is why you should play with another beginner whom you have a chance to defeating. It is better if you have an instructor who can supervise the game to make you sure that the rules are observed and to point out where you went wrong after the game.

Textbook dealing with all aspects of the game in one volume, vary in scope and price. Some chess manuals are written by champions, others by chess teachers – they all help the beginner to delve deeper into the mysteries of chess. Later the person wishing to improve skills further more can specialize by studying various aspects of the game and here there is a vast choice of aids.

Books dealing with openings range from comprehensive manuals in several large volumes, not recommended for beginners, to books designed to explain the reasons why the openings are played in a certain way.

The Middle game is dealt with by explaining the basic strategic principles and by giving examples of tactical combinations. There are many books dealing with this subject.

The end game is part of the game, which all aspiring players should study. Here again there is a choice of many books. Best for beginners are elementary books, which explain basic principles that are most likely to occur in practical way. For advanced players there are books, which deal with specific ending in depth. Finally, we come to collection of games of great players. We recommend the books with detailed comments, especially those designed for beginners.

The young learners are advice not to rely heavily on chess problems to acquire mastery in this game. These problems are as removed from as crossword puzzles are from literature. Surely, they bone one’s power of visualization of the moves. Play as many actual games as possible and solve chess problem to keep your mind alert in the chess-sense. Remember in chess (the actual game) the object of the game is to defeat the opponent, the means by which this end is achieve or the time is takes, being unimportant. In problems, however, the opponent represents by time. Mate must be effect with in the stipulated number of moves. Since the position given in the problems is frequently quixotic, most of the seasoned chess players dismiss then as situation unworthy of consideration. On the other hand, the polemists maintain that game involves too much laborious and profitless wood shifting, and that the artistry of fifty games can be compound into a single artificial position. Nevertheless, the best courses open for young learners to have the judicious mixture of the two.

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