How To Win at Chess
Do you want to win at chess? Check out our 6 tips!

How To Win at Chess

89 | For Beginners

How do you win a chess game?

The goal of chess is to checkmate your opponent.

Checkmate happens when the king is attacked by another piece and has no way to escape. At that point, the game is over. But checkmate doesn’t happen without preparation.

To win a chess game you will need to do six things:

  1. Make good opening moves
  2. Do not give aways pieces for free
  3. Get your pieces in position
  4. Coordinate and attack on the king
  5. Watch the safety of your own king
  6. Always be a good sport. 

1. Make Good Opening Moves

The goal of your first moves in chess are to establish control of the board. The most important part of the board is the center. If you can control the center with your pieces and pawns, you will be able to dictate the direction of the game. In the position below, White's two pawns perfectly control the center of the board while Black's have no influence.

2. Don’t Give Away Pieces for Free

Trading pieces is a normal part of chess, but you should only trade pieces of equal value. Many players lose because they simply give away their pieces and pawns for nothing. On the other hand, you should capture all of the material your opponent gives you for free (but watch out for traps).

3. Get Your Pieces in Position

Before you can get to the king, you will need to put your pieces in position to attack. This means you will want active chess pieces that have a lot of options.

Pawns control squares. Knights like to be in the center. Bishops like to be on long diagonals. Rooks like to be lined up in the center or on open files. Your queen should be ready to spring into action.

4. Coordinate an Attack on the King

You cannot usually checkmate the king with just one piece. Usually it takes many pieces working together to checkmate. Often you will need a piece to check the king, and at least one piece defending the checking piece so the king cannot take it. And sometimes you need even more pieces to sacrifice and break down the enemy defense.

5. Watch the Safety of Your Own King

Sometimes players get so focused on their opponent’s king that they forget to watch their own. Remember, the other player is playing too and will also be attacking your king. Make sure to look at the threats created by every move your opponent makes. One of the best ways to make your king safe is to place your king behind some defensive pawns. In the below position, White's king is snug and safe while Black's  is easily attacked.

6. Always be a Good Sport

Regardless of if you win or lose, always congratulate or thank your opponent for the game. Both winning and losing are a part of the game. Even the best players in the world lose often.

So be gracious and kind when it’s over, and then take time to think about what you could do better next time.

Be a good sport.

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