Have you ever wanted to improve at chess and tried and found it hard and abandoned? Don’t worry, many people have done this and for those who enjoy chess, they spend their very existence trying to improve at it!
Theoretically, improving at chess is merely a case of understanding how to find the best proceed to play in each position for every player. The player who finds the least good moves usually loses.
However, even this model is flawed. In chess you need to think and look ahead. In many positions the best move around in that position will not be the best after at the very least two or three 3 more moves from the opponent. This means, that for every position, once you decide the probable best move for that position, you need to consider at least 2 or 3 3 moves ahead with best play from your own opponent. That’s where calculation gets harder.
Also, to start with, you must have the ability to assess and evaluate each position for strengths and weakness and rate which side stands better or if you have equality. If this evaluation is not correct then subsequent move calculations and considerations will never be correct either! To create a sound evaluation you must understand the nature of chess, which include chess principles, tactical, positional and strategical chess play factors.
All these areas that make up the game of chess can be learnt from playing sufficient reason for advice from other chess players and from books videos and chess courses.
Once a player learns the fundamentals of these areas and plays regularly, then the need for the 3 distinct chess game phases, the opening, the center game and the finish game, become apparent. All of the chess factors described above, apply in each one of the game phases. Each game phase though, has special considerations.
In the opening, the goal is to develop all pieces with attention to king safety with castling and in addition with focus on control of the centre of the board.
In the middle game, players improve the position of these pawns and pieces and likewise try to weaken the opponents’ position (by capturing pawns or pieces and making good piece exchanges and creating damaged pawn structures).
In the end game, king activity becomes important alongside achieving pawn promotion and getting passed pawns to market. Checkmate patterns become important to know and understand. chess tutorials should end with checkmate but beware stalemate for anyone who is winning. If losing, then you may want to play to obtain stalemate and a draw.
However, it is critical to see a chess game all together, consisting ideally of all of the 3 parts. Moves and strategy and tactics manufactured in the opening, greatly influence the center and end game and it is vital that you plan ahead, to take into account this. Short term gains, could be overturned by longer term strategy (for instance, exchanging a bishop for the capture of a knight, perhaps a poor decision with respect to the kind of game, open, semi open or closed, that results) bringing more advantages.
A great way to improve, would be to study well-known and famous chess games and try to learn the tactical and strategic and positional elements they use. You can find so many available, but look for some that use your favourite opening or defence. The “Night at the opera” game by Paul Morphy is a very famous game, that shows how good understanding from one player can overcome average moves by the other player.
Also, studying any games from chess world champions will help improve your game. Bobby Fischer is thought by some to have been the best player ever and he liked to play 1.e4 as White. Studying his games, will enhance your chess. Likewise, Garry Kasparov is thought by many to have been the best chess world champion of the modern era and he liked playing 1.d4 as White.World champion Mikhail Botvinnik played 1.c4 with much success.
Good chess players, understand basic chess principles really well and so are comfortable playing any opening or position, since they have a good understanding of all factors involved with making good chess moves. Less strong players, usually do not have that basic chess understanding and so often make more mistakes, especially in unfamiliar openings and positions.