The Psychology of Chess

| 10 | For Beginners

----I Can't Learn Chess!----

Many people make the unfair assumption that chess is for those of a higher IQ and therefore, shy away from learning and pursuing the game.  Well in this small article I hope to prove them all wrong and show that chess is for players of all levels, IQ, ages, etc.

When someone plays chess in there first attempts to learn it, they grow a disposition to the game based on making several errors and not fully understanding the movement of the pieces.  Chess is not a simple game, but learning it is a very realistic goal for anyone who puts forth the time.  Learning the first parts of Chess and the rules of it is most likely the hardest step in becoming a Chess player.  Explaining the game to someone who has the mindset that Chess is like Checkers will almost always fail. 

Checkers involves each piece on the board to move in the same patterns.  with very few amounts of stratagey.  When a "Checkers mindset" attempts to learn Chess, they become blown away that each piece plays a very specific role, and has it's own movements and importance. 

When you explain the basic rules of Chess to someone, take care to spend a lot of time on pawns!  With rules such as being able to make a two move advance on the first turn, the way a pawn can only capture to imediate diagonals, pawn promoting, and En Passent, Pawns ARE by far the toughest piece on the board.

Ergo, the game is easiest taught to someone who is willing to dedicate some time, and approach the game with an open mind.  The average time for a player to learn the basic rules of the game is somewhere between an hour and 3 hours.


------After a player has been taught the rules------


When a player learns the moves of Chess, and the basic rules to the game, they still face an up hill battle to not giving up on the game.  If a player imediately plays matchs on Live Chess for example, they are bound to lose their first several matches in lue to the fact that most people on know what they are doing and have a basic grasp of the game.  This can create a terrible disposition to the game and bring about giving up so early.  The best way to avoid this is to play a close friend, relative, or teacher several times and get familiar with the game.

There are also the type of people who get such a thirst for Chess after learning how to play, they imediatly look up Opening Books, Stratagems, and matches played by Grandmasters.  At a first look, this would not seem to be a bad idea, but in fact it is the worst thing to do.  As soon as you learn how to play, you are still unfamiliar with the pieces and have a hard time playing the game correctly.  To look at advanced ideas in Chess would simply blow over the newcomer's head and give them the set opinion that they are not smart enough for Chess, which once again, I am here to proove wrong.

After a player learns Chess, it is prudent that they stick with playing games with people they know to maintain a friendly atmosphere and allow conversations of the errors to occur.  The person a player plays with in person should have an understanding of Chess however.  If both players are quite new to Chess, it's like telling two cavemen to make a lightbulb.  It simply won't work.


-----How Someone Becomes Good at Chess-----

The only way to start off stratageys in Chess is to learn "Preset Moves and Combos".  An Amature player learns basic moves such as: The Four Move Mate, The Knight to C7 forking the king and rook, and basic pins.  This is the only way someone can start off their thinking in Chess.

Now how does someone get better from here?  The above moves are only "Preset Moves" which if used on a more advanced player, is more likely to fail.  If an amature uses a "Preset Move" and fails, then they are forced to think about the game.  The move they used so mechanically has failed and now they need to make a new move.  This is what sparks the conversion from "Preset Move" thinking to "Chess Thinking"

A few good ways to gain this basic "Chess Thinking" is to do things such as Puzzles.  Puzzles such as "White to move, Mate in 2" and spending at least 5 minutes on the puzzle before getting the solution.  The Tactics Trainer and Chess Mentor can also provide strong ways so get an understanding for the game.


-----"Chess Thinking"-----

"Chess Thinking" is nothing more then a figure head name I give for basic thinking involved in the game of chess.  Anyone can acquire it.  All that "Chess Thinking" is, simply put, is an Advanced Understanding of Cause and Effect Visualization.

Example 1:

In this diagram shown to the left, you can see that white's knight has been placed in danger by the pawn which has advanced.  Now White must use "Chess Thinking" to create the best possible move.

By not doing anything with the knight, white will lose a 3 point piece next turn.  So white must visualize the places his knight can move and determine the best possible choice. 

First White visualizes his knight to move to F6 (Kf6).  This will put the king in check.  This move is the "Cause".  Black's Reaction to the move is the "Effect".  White must look further into the move and see that Black's Knight on G8 will be able to respond by taking White's Knight.

Second, White visualizes the move to B4 (Kb4).  This would make for a good move as White will gain a 3 point piece, save his knight, and black will have no counter moves.  Without any counter moves, Black has no defense for the 3 point piece and it is up for grabs.  However, there are still 6 other moves the knight can make and all of which need to be exhausted and looked at.

Finally, White sees the move to C7 (Kc7), which gains a pawn (1 point), puts the king in check (Ruins Castling) and will inevitiably gain a rook for 5 more points.  This devastating play will seal blacks defeat by getting a gain for 6 points and cutting off blacks castle retreat.



The only thing that seperates a "Preset Player" and a "Chess Thinker" is that if the preset goes wrong, the "Chess Thinker" will be able to visualize an alternate move and determine the reprocussions of his actions. Where as, a "Preset Player" will be placed into a mental state of chaos in an attempt to make the "Preset Move" still work.

Chess is not only for "Smart People" to play and master, but for anyone who has basic common sense and cause and effect reasoning. I may not be a Grandmaster or be near the best in Chess, but this is merely my understanding of the game placed into words to dispute the stereotypical out look on the great game of Chess.


Wally Reichard

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