The Point of Points...
Apparently every time I write a blog I get points... and if enough people read the blog I get more points... So my question is this: What are the points used for? Obviously my chess rating wont improve. And I have yet to see any offers of free chess merchandise by turning in one's points. Of course this may be coming in the future but I have my doubts. But, then, wouldn't it be nice if we could trade in our points for, say, books on Chess theory or Chessboards or pieces? Now that would be something...
In the mean time... what I've learned so far from playing here (or remembered, as the case may be...)
Slow down... unless you're playing against a clock there is no reason not to take your time with every move. If your opponent is anything like me they'll get frustrated by your slowness and make stupid moves thus helping you to beat them.
Control the center... at least at first. If you expose one or both of your flanks be prepared to have that exploited by your opponent.
Play defensively... but not at the expense of your offense. Like in most things, the best offense is a good defense. But don't be so focussed on defense that you forget to (or avoid) making attacks on your opponent when the opportunity arises. Trying not to lose is not the same thing as trying to win defensively.
Castle early... but not too early. Castling too early allows your opponent to focus their attack sooner.
Dont get bunched up... controling the center is good, but having all your pieces bunched up in the center (or anywhere else for that matter) just makes a rich target environment for your opponent.
Get to know piece values... especially if you're just starting out. It can help you make "trade" decisions or to decide which piece to save when two are threatened.
Have fun... keep in mind that this is just a game. The best opponents are the ones that are as determined to see you suceed as you are. PLay with people that not only challenge you but are willing to advise you as well. It will make your play more enjoyable. And if you're the better player... don't be afraid to offer advice. Winning is good, but, in the end, learning is better.