SneakyPete's Chess Principles

Jun 26, 2010, 5:38 PM |

Greetings, fellow Chess-meister's!

I just joined your membership, and I've already been pressed by my fans into submitting my "principles" for online perusal.  I play for "shear recreation" and am no obsessive snob.  I've tutored many players over the years who simply wanted to "play better".  I also learned that I cannot teach someone simply how to play chess - since every player's style is unique to them and often reflective of one's own personality.  (Aggressive players play aggressively, defensive players play defensively, cautious players play cautiously, subtle players play with subtley, and so on.)  Invariably however, I noticed that my would-be challenger/eager student during the course of play would often mutter some statement to the effect of "What do I do now?" or "I don't know what to look for!"  Therefore, the following principles were composed over the course of 30 years to help my would-be challenger answer those aforesaid "frustrating questions" during their course of play and incorporate them into their unique style of play.  I started with 13 principles 30+ years ago and have added only 2 over the course of the years.  Enjoy!

                            SneakyPete's CHESS PRINCIPLES


1     During the beginning of the game, the player who controls the center 4 squares of the board usually controls the “opening” game.


2     ROOKS are initially “defensive” pieces.  They belong on "open" or “potentially opening” files.  Early, independent ROOK moves often prove disastrous.


3     Two "connected" ROOKS (protecting each other) are stronger than one QUEEN; two “disconnected” ROOKS (not protecting each other) are weaker than one QUEEN.


4     The KNIGHT is at its peak power at the beginning of the game but tends to grow weaker as the game progresses.


5     The BISHOP is at its weakest at the beginning of the game, but tends to grow more powerful as the game progresses.


6     Seek "freedom of movement" of your pieces; a piece that cannot move freely might just as well be a “captured” piece.


7     Avoid "pins."  Try to get rid of them as soon as possible.  (Ref #6)


8     Try to avoid placing KNIGHTS on the edge of the board (Ref #6); this robs a KNIGHT of 1/2 of its offensive squares.  "A KNIGHT on the rim is dim."


9     Try to keep PAWNS "connected" (protecting each other).  "An isolated/doubled PAWN is a dead PAWN."  This principle is absolutely “critical” when it comes to “how” one captures enemy pawns; does the capture render your remaining pawns “disjointed” and/or your opponent’s remaining pawns isolated? 


10    Two connected PAWNS can defeat one BISHOP.  Two (even 3!) unconnected PAWNS are weaker than one BISHOP.


11    Do not forget to castle!  Guard against premature attacks before your KING is safe.


12    Early QUEEN moves often prove disastrous.  Your opponent can always gain time to develop his pieces while he "panics" (attacks) your QUEEN.


13    A BISHOP/BISHOP-pair is usually more powerful than either a KNIGHT/KNIGHT-pair or a BISHOP/KNIGHT-pair. Remember that a BISHOP/BISHOP-pair can ‘force’ checkmate whereas a KNIGHT/KNIGHT-pair cannot.


14    Always remember that the goal of the game is checkmate.  The goal is not to capture as many pieces as a player can.  (Many players have lost the game because they proved to be too "greedy" and, hence, fallen into a stalemate).


15    When the QUEENS are gone, the KINGS are mighty!  Get the KING on the offensive!