Getting Started

Nov 25, 2008, 4:51 PM |

I have only played about 5,000 games in my by no means exhaustive chess playing life (Grand Masters can play millions) but I know how to get you started...First relax and imagine you are the General/Chief/King of a medieval fighting force.  Don't bring a calculator to the game because it ain't maths as some people say (or is it... I don't know and don't care even though I have a love hate relationship with the subject).  It is however scientific and you do need your wits, cleverness and powers of reasoning to win.


The game is rather about war and or battle so imagine you have met your opponent Chief on the battlefield - finally (after much hullaballoo as is often the case before a battle) - and the white team gets there first and attempts to make a surprise you are playing already...You have your back row machinery and your front row infantry.  Pawns (infantry) are sent to occupy and conquer territory or knights (cavalry) are first to the fray then possibly Bishops which add penetration, pressure and control - or should that be the all menacing Queen at this point (or is that yet too early)??  In other words, use your own individual style of warfare...however a little study of openings and tactics may help initially in becoming co-coordinated.


So anyway, we are now deep into the battle and there's no turning back.  Your objective is to capture your opponent Chief before he captures you, so everything must be bent towards this aim...your defense on the other hand is vital in keeping you - the King  - safe while you go about achieving your aim. 


You on the other hand must open up your opponent's defenses like a can opener if that be possible...however just remember small adjustments, closed style of play and focused penetration will help you achieve your aim as opposed to bold, open skew-wiff disordered chaos.  You must also avoid being checked - (i.e. have an arrow pointed directly at your head, forcing you to react evasively) - for the most part because while you’re distracted with evasive procedures your opponent is exploiting your weakness and may in fact be routing you in the event you are unprepared for the attack.  Castling on the other hand is what you do to avoid being routed and exploited/checked by the queen in the initial stages.  This is when the King runs into his hidey-hole among all his defenders and thus escapes the heat of the important event in the game.


Now throughout the battle, at least toward the middle stage and on to the remainder of the game, 90% of your attention should be towards your opponent's and your own King - the most important pieces on the board.  All other pieces are just "pawns" (yes even the Queen) - or rather "Material".


An important concept to consider for beginners  - and this applies at the opening stages of the game as well - is Mobility and Strength come from the centre of the Battlefield...this is true with most fighting arts as well i.e. control the centre and you will control the fight.  Mobility is vital because if you don't have it you will be crushed in a vice-like grip your opponent will thus inherit towards the latter stages of the game.  Strength is important because otherwise you get pushed around and pretty much get told what to do.  Neither scenario is particularly nice if your at the receiving end so you can understand that the centre is very hotly competed for throughout the course of the battle...however, is your style of play one where you like to hold back to steal the centre when it matters or take it early and hopefully occupy it throughout the entire's up to are the give the commands...the results will speak for themselves.


So anyway we have arrived at the end-game where the most critical and difficult thinking is provoked...yes it is more difficult because there are many more possible combinations due to much more wide open space.  If your strategy is ultimately effective you will inherit two kingdoms whereas your opponent will lose one.


...And the Victors lived happily ever after.