11 tips to play better chess games
Thinking man **

11 tips to play better chess games

FM michechess89

Hi everyone. I have already written my thoughts about how to train to make progress in chess or about some mistakes you could be making in your training. Recently, as I was talking with some of my favorite students, I thought about some general tips that could help beginners (and maybe a little more advanced players) to do things better as they are playing, some ideas that will allow them to make fewer mistakes in their games, and also will drive them to the right plans in some positions.

That’s what this post is about. These are my tips, as always, I hope this to be helpful for somebody.

  • Accomplish the principles of the opening: I won’t write too much about this, they are everywhere. I just wrote it because it wouldn’t be fine to don’t mention it, they are really important.
  • If your opponent is attacking in a side, break the center: If you are receiving a strong attack in a wing, you have to do something, and it is to counterattack in the center, you don’t want to stay quiet as your opponent kills your king.
  • Don’t move pawns in the side your opponent is attacking: Unless it’s really necessary, you need to avoid pawns moves in the wing where you are under fire. Every time you move a pawn, you create weaknesses in your own structure. It doesn’t mean you can’t move the pawns, it means that you must be sure when you move a pawn. Remember they can’t move back.
  • Don’t put the queen in open files if there are rooks on the board: I see many people doing this very often. If the rooks are still on the board, they are going to take the open files, so, the queen is just going to lose tempos, don’t put it there (unless you know you will control that file forever).


  • Don’t listen to music as you play chess: I have seen some masters doing this. They are great players, they know what they are doing, don’t do that at home. Usually, if you are playing chess, it’s not a good idea to have an external entertaining source. That being said, every person is different, maybe you can find it useful (some friends use instrumental music and they say that helps them). But in general, it’s a bad idea.
  • Avoid to put your pieces in the same lines your opponent’s pieces are hitting: Even if there are pieces in the middle, this is very dangerous. There might be tactic themes.


  • Exchange pieces and avoid complications with advantage: Whenever you have material advantage, exchange pieces and do not complicate things. It will be easier for you to win in that way. Do the opposite when you have material disadvantage. It’s more important than what you think.
  • Avoid unprotected pieces: Almost everyone knows it, but the problem it to accomplish this in the game. This is a big problem, very typical in beginners. What can I say? Just keep your pieces protected. It’s not so easy in the practice, but the first step is to know the rule and to be aware of it.


  • Manage well your time: I’ve talked about this in other posts. Some people play great games and run out of time in the endgame, as other never have time troubles, but play pretty bad moves very often. Manage your time, so, you play more less in a good level, but you don’t run out of time every game. No matter if you are playing 1, 5, 30 or more minutes, this is always important.
  • Don’t break the center if you have not castled: If your king is in the center, it doesn’t make sense to open lines for your opponent’s pieces to attack your own king. I know you want to fight for the center and I like that, but you know what: Castle first!!!
  • Look at the signals of the board: With signals I mean motifs (the motifs are the problems your opponent has in his position, it can be backrank weakness, unprotected pieces, weak squares). If you look at those signals, it will be easier for you to find tactic sequences (combinations) in your own games.

Just to finish, I invite you to read this every some weeks, it could help you to remember some of these tips you could forget on the way.   

Also, if you want to improve with some aspect of the game, as for example tactics (finding motifs in your own games), or maybe your endgames general knowledge, feel free to contact me as Chess Coach (you have my link at the right side of the post), charges are interesting and got some available time.

If you liked this you can follow me clicking on the right side at the top of the post. I will be posting things like this often.

And if you think this is going to be helpful for your friends, share it with them.


Click here to visit my channel. I will be uploading instructive videos for beginners and intermediate players at least every Monday.

Click here to see videos and lessons for beginners

** Picture by bastian from flickr.com