28 junior chess players turned out on this sunny Saturday morning, a warm welcome to Dima, a new recruit today.

Taking a mid term break from the ladder, Tony Sanderson, from the Poole Chess Club, gave a simultaneous display in each session to the advanced groups, winning 12 of the 13 competitors, well done Tony.

Graham H, Steve, Paul, Graham M and Finn all took on teaching beginners, intermediates and some others on a one-to-one basis. Afterwards Paul and Graham H teamed up with two juniors for a hand and brain game. Great fun!

Now we all make mistakes in chess, so the aim in becoming a better chess player, is to reduce the errors in your game, we watch on, sometimes in pure frustration, at elementary mistakes being made in the classes, so a back to basics approach for everyone is not always a bad thing.

So read and inwardly digest the following:-

Here are some essential chess tips that will help you understand the game of chess better:

  • In the opening look for a pawn move first, then for a knight move, then for a bishop move, then for a rook move (or castle), and finally for a queen move.
  • Do not move the same piece more then once in the opening if you do not have a very good reason for it (such as material gains).
  • Do not accept many pawn sacrifices during the opening, especially playing black. Otherwise, you can get a couple of extra pawns, but also get checkmated quickly because of your underdeveloped pieces. Remember, the main purpose of “opening” is to develop pieces quickly and efficiently.
  • Developing the queen too early in the game is usually bad.
  • Fight for the centre. Remember, central squares are very important since they provide block posts for your pieces. Therefore, central pawns are considered to be more valuable than flank ones.
  • Sometimes, it makes sense to give up a pawn to get an initiative
  • Always think twice before making a pawn move. Since pawns cannot move backward it is very hard to fix “pawn weaknesses”.
  • Isolated central pawns are usually stronger in the middle game, but weaker in the endgame.
  • If you have the spatial advantage, avoid trading pieces. If your opponent has the spatial advantage, trade pieces to eliminate the advantage.
  • If you have an extra minor piece, exchange pieces to increase your advantage. If you are a minor piece down trade pawns, not pieces (there is no way to checkmate with a minor piece and a king alone).
  • Always play with a plan. Playing with a bad plan is a LOT better than playing with no plan whatsoever.
  • By exchanging active pieces of your opponent on your inactive once you gain an advantage.
  • Remember that knight is stronger in the centre, bishop – on the flank.
  • Bishops are usually more valuable than knights.
  • When there are a few pawns on the board, bishops are much stronger than knights. When there are many pawns on the board knights are stronger.
  • The Bishop Pair is usually stronger than a knight and a bishop or two knights.
  • Rooks belong on open files.
  • Doubling the rooks almost triples their power.
  • Two rooks are usually better than a queen.
  • In any stage of the game ALWAYS realistically evaluate the position. Do not underestimate or overestimate the attacking potential of your opponent. I know it is hard to do, but that’s important. Some players overestimate the opponents attack considering that it is dangerous when it’s actually not, and starts passively defend. Some players, in the opposite, completely ignore any attack of the opponent and get checkmated fast.
  • In the endgame, rook activity is usually worth a pawn.
  • In the endgame, if you are down a pawn, do not exchange pieces.
  • In the opposite Bishops endgame, even if you are a pawn down it is usually a draw.
  • In the endgame, it is usually good to place a rook on 7th or 8th rank if you white and on 2nd or 1st if you black, attacking pawns and a king.

Practise to get better, if you play online chess, set a minimum time of 10 – 15mins each per game and analyse your game afterwards to learn from mistakes made.

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