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Basic Strategies

History of Chess Setting up the Board Pieces (Moves) Basic Strategies Special Rules Setting Up a Chess Club

Now you know how to set up a board and how the pieces move.  You are ready to start playing.  However, before you make that first move it is good to consider these basic strategies:

Control the Center

The most valuable squares on the chess board are the four squares in the center.  As you start to develop your pieces in the opening of the game you should try to control those four squares in the middle.  If you control the center of the board you will often have more options available to you as you move into the middle game.

Develop Your Pieces

When you develop your pieces you are moving them off of their starting square and trying to get them involved in the action.  Some general strategies to consider when developing your pieces include:

  • Control the center (sound familiar?)
  • Develop pawns and minor pieces first (minor pieces are your knights and bishops)
  • When possible, move a piece only once in the opening
  • If possible, castle to get your king to safety and get one of your rooks involved in the action quicker (What is castling, you ask?...click on the "Special Rules" tab above to learn all about this great move)

Know the Piece Values 

In most games, you will have several opportunities to exchange of of your pieces for a piece of your opponent.  To help you deceide if you want to exchange your queen for his pawn you can use the piece values below:

  • King = Game (if your king is captured, you lose)
  • Queen = 9
  • Rook = 5
  • Bishop = 3
  • Knight = 3
  • Pawn = 1

Now you know that winning his pawn but losing your queen was not a good deal.   Even if you win all of his pawns, you still come out behind.  Of course, there may be times that you intentionally sacrifice a piece to get a better positon, but for most new players you want to avoid that.