How to Improve at Chess: Tip #17: Know and think about the basics

Dec 15, 2007, 4:09 PM |

I believe that one sure way to attain excellence in any field is to master the fundamentals - the basics. Once you have a strong foundation, you are able to build onto that and before long, what you once thought as lofty ideas and goals, become your basics... and you build on that. Here I am referring to the introductory basics of Chess ideas, definitions, tactics, and strategies.

I think Bruce Pandolfini's CHESS THINKING - Visual Dictionary of Chess ... is a must-read. It enables one to think in Chess language. Instead of "He is going to bring that Rook behind that one" - say, "the a-Rook will form a battery with the e3-Rook".

So, here are a few things that you need to know:

Bad (everything) vs. Good everything (What makes a bad Bishop, bad Knight, and what makes good Bishop and good Knight -hint blocked in vs free reign, limited to protection vs. attack, centralized vs. on the rim, etc)

Closed position

Winning the two Bishops

Backward pawn

Pawn structure

Pawn islands

Pawn chain


Waiting move


Temporary sacrifice




Overworked piece


Destructive Sacrifice




(Having the) Opposition

Passed pawn


See? there is a ton of things... as you may already have figured out. If there is a book on it, then there is a ton to know. But these are all basics that a good Chess player ought to know. Good luck! 

So, here is tip#17: Think in Chess language/terms - master and think about Chess basics.

For tip#16 click here.