The 10 Commandments of Chess You Need to Know

  • pete
  • | Aug 4, 2014

According to the book of Exodus, the 10 Commandments were inscribed on two stone tablets and given to Moses on the top of Mt. Sinai -- literally, "from on high."

The 10 commandments of chess, on the other hand, were written by the experts at (including IM Daniel Rensch), and published here on the Web for all to enjoy.

Take a look at the 10 chess commandments you need to know if you want to win, and let us know your own commandments on Facebook or in the comments section. Specifically designed for beginners, this article is meant to help you set your chess career on the right path. Enjoy!

1. Protect the King

Chess Kings by

He's number one! While he can often fight for himself towards the end of the game, you must be aware of his safety at all times - especially as you play in the early and middle stages. Any plan you choose should address the question of whether your king will be safe enough throughout the game.

Not getting their kings to safety as quickly as possible is the biggest mistake beginners make.

2. Use All Your Pieces

party by Maria Teresa Ambrosi

You must play as a team! LeBron James, as good as he is, cannot take on a team of five NBA players by himself. Even the greatest players need to work together with their teammates.

So why do we always confuse this point in chess, using one piece at a time until we lose it? All of your pieces should work together to attack the same weakness.

Look to coordinate your pieces to attack the opposing king, or to seize control of a weak area of the board. Always play together, and leave no one behind!

3. Know the Values of Your Pieces

Cash register, Portland, Oregon by Curtis Cronn

Did you know the queen is worth 9 points? She is followed in value by the rook (5), the bishop and knight (3 each), and the pawns (1). The king is invaluable because his loss ends the game.

These point values are based on each piece’s power in the open board. You must know these values when making chess decisions. Don't give up more than you get in return.

4. Control the Center

Faceoff by K Wudrich

In sports, the middle territory gets the most action, and chess is no exception. Get your pieces to the center of the board as soon as you can. There’s no better place for them to be.

Controlling the center will lead to powerful pieces, and powerful pieces have good tactics. Use your pawns to keep your opponent's pieces out of the middle.

5. Make a Plan

via buzzfeed

Planning one move at a time is never a good idea. Be aware that even a bad plan is better than no plan!

Try your best to think ahead two, three, or even four moves to create strategies and tactics that make your pieces more powerful. Planning ahead to attack an opponent's weakness is the best way to win chess games.

6. Watch for Checks and Captures

via wikipedia

Your opponent can't checkmate you without checking you at least once, right? Always be aware of every check possible for both you and your opponent. That doesn't mean "always check because it might be mate,” but it does mean that spotting checks should be on the top of your "check list" every move.

Probably just as important as looking for checks is looking for captures. Not every possible capture will be a good one — you wouldn't normally trade a queen for a knight or bishop -- but you still MUST be aware of these captures!

7. Keep Looking

via creativity4us

Every position has a best move. You may not always find this move, but you can find it more often with hard work and determination.

If you find a good move, look for a better one. If you find a better move, consider if it's the BEST move available.

8. Don't Play Hope Chess

via raisinggenerationstoday

Hope chess is saying to yourself: "I hope he doesn't see my threat,” or “if he goes there, I get him.” Bad idea!

Try to attack weaknesses that your opponent can't stop, instead of hoping he misses something he can easily defend. Look to make an overwhelming attack on his king, or target a weak pawn. Pawns, unlike pieces, can’t retreat in response to an attack.

If your opponent blunders along the way, so be it. But do not play hope chess!

9. Learn From the Masters

Hikaru Nakamura via

There are lots of great chess players out there, and lots of great games to learn from.

There are several excellent chess teachers with videos on Learn from those who've come before you, and model your games after them.

10. Consider Your Opponent's Plan

via wordpress

Every principle we just talked about should be applied to your opponent's perspective on every move. Being aware of your opponent's goals against you may be even more important than your own plans.

Games are lost when you miss your opponent's threats. It's that simple!

Bonus Tip: Develop these good habits by solving quick tactical puzzles on They are built exclusively to teach you these critical chess skills. Also, try our lessons, which are step-by-step interactive tutorials that teach you the habits and skills you need to win more games.

What are your rules to play by? Let us know in the comments section.

Article image: The TEN COMMANDMENTS by Prayitno



  • 9 months ago


    i had reasd this in my book 25 years ago. I'm glad i found this again :)

  • 15 months ago



  • 23 months ago


    bolerobg  [...] (R.Fisher: "Pawns are the soul of position")

    Actually Philidor (François-André Danican) - a "democrat" during the French Revolution. (I'm a fan of RJF too)


  • 2 years ago


     Good offense is best defense!
    1) Use All Pieces U need 4 win.
    2) Planning one move at a time! But best one.
    3) Attack on high targets. King if posible.
    4) Atack quickly and permanently.
    5) Dont being aware of your opponent's threats. Make him aware, flee and retreat.

    3.a) Values of Your Pieces depends of positions. Somethimes,even on the same square, knight may be brtter than queen.(R.Fisher: "Pawns are the soul of position")

    Sorry 4 my English and...
    Chess is game, be a it.


  • 2 years ago


    i like that hope one.i do it all time playing chess

  • 2 years ago


    often think it throughfor too long ,thenmake a move that i already disguarded as bad and hit the button as if i never thought at all!!! every now and then i do it haha

  • 2 years ago


    very usefull

  • 2 years ago


    Great, instructive and fun. I learned here what is the exact meaning of hope chess. In that sense it has, not some kind of redundancy with the following idea of considering opponent's plan but some strong connection (im not sure if connection is  the right word) to it. I myself thought hope chess had a more general sense so as to being a word well suited to caracterize human's chess compared to computer'schess.  But i think it has more to do with me not being an english speaker  than anything else. Anyway thank you.

  • 2 years ago


    So good I wrote them in my journal!

  • 2 years ago


    Some other key commandments:

    In the opening concentrate on development. This means putting as many pieces as quickly as possible on good squares. This is combined with the control the centre and king safety points in particular. Unless obviously good don't launch minority attacks while not properly developed enough pieces.

  • 2 years ago


    Its the normal things :( but thanks anyways

  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


    Wasn't there just an article on here saying that hope chess was something very different?

  • 2 years ago


    Excellent points.

  • 2 years ago


    Nice article...

  • 2 years ago


    ••• Thanks for laying a very excellent chess foundation, Pete. When I reviewed my losses, I found that my defeats were due to sins of omission of one or more of the "10 Commandments of Chess..."

    ••• 'Seizing the Initiative' or 'Maintaining the Offensive' seems to deserve placement among the top ten. Perhaps as 8A, to give the hoping player a definite 'What To Do'...

    ••• A good offense can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. A player with an inferior position can disrupt the plans of the player with an advantage by executing pesky, aggressive play, such as "Check, Check, Check..." (The3Dkey)

  • 2 years ago


    Read somewhere.."Play the board."

  • 2 years ago


    allways played to castle king side with both knights out and attak through the middle but never been able to make it work!!!

  • 2 years ago


    While I look for opportunities to create a plan, the canvas that is a chess board can change so much, so fast at low and mid level ratings that plans are often difficult to keep together. I like to think of the chess board as a place where the game simply unfolds, coming to the better player. At higher levels I'm sure it is different but, I don't play there. The rest are what I focus on. Doing pretty well after only six months playing focused on these basics. No take, offense as defense. Always the same opening, moving very fast to save clock. There are no secrets, the board is right there for all to see. Don't take your eyes off the board, EVER! Win.

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