Learning to play board games is always fun and challenging, but there's nothing like the feeling you get once you've mastered any of the games.

There are many different ways you can start learning how to play chess but you first need a clear idea of the basic terms and goals of the game.

As you probably already figured out, chess is a two-player board game that you play on a chessboard with sixteen pieces. The board is made up of 64 squares and each player is given one color to play, either black or white.

Each piece in the game has a different purpose and there are six types of pieces. The type of piece determines how you can move it across the board and each piece moves differently.

The pieces are one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The king can move one square horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

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The names of the chess pieces are king, queen, bishop, rook, knight, and pawn. The king is the most important one and every pawn is your ticket to make a move. Photo by Hassan Pasha on Unsplash

The queen moves any number of vacant squares horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. A rook moves any number of vacant squares horizontally or vertically. A bishop moves any number of vacant squares diagonally.

A knight moves to the nearest square, not on the same rank, file, or diagonal and it cannot be blocked by other pieces. A pawn moves straight forward one square if that square is vacant.

If it has not yet moved, a pawn also has the option of moving two squares straight forward, provided both squares are vacant. Pawns cannot move backward.

The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king. The game can end either in a checkmate, a resignation, or a draw. There are also rules for the equipment used, time control, conduct and ethics of players, and recording of moves using chess notation.

Continue reading if you're unfamiliar with the rules of chess and wish to learn some tips and tricks to play chess.

For more information read about Chess Resources for Beginners.

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Best Openings

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If you want to win a chess game you have to control the center of the board. Photo by Jani Kaasinen on Unsplash

The opening in chess is as important as any other part of the game. Beginners need to learn how to do good openings because it is what sets the tone and control for the rest of the game.

The opening is a set of initial moves of the game (opening moves). There are many different openings that mark the tone of the game. There's the Réti Opening which is quiet and positional, there's the Latvian Gambit, a more aggressive opening, and so on. Other famous openings are the Ruy Lopez or Sicilian Defense.

A professional chess player will spend years studying different opening tactics and they do it throughout their entire careers because openings continue to evolve.

Once you choose an opening you've chosen a game strategy to help you win. There many different techniques and here we have four of the main ones:

  1. The technique of placing certain pieces (especially bishops and knights) on useful squares so that they have a bigger impact on the game.
  2. Control of the center squares gives the player a chance to move the pieces to any part of the board easier than in other positions and at the same time stalling the opponent.
  3. Keep your king safe! This is crucial for any chess game.
  4. Keeping an eye on your own pawn structure and your opponent's. Players have to keep an eye out because pawns can be weak if isolated, and you should strive to isolate your opponent's pawns.

Keep in mind that the player with the white pieces starts the game. If you're white you need to learn how to do the best openings and if you're black you need to learn to fight against the best openings.

Here is some information on Learning Chess with Private Lessons.

Middlegame

You probably guessed it, the middlegame is the part of the game that comes right after the opening and it typically starts when all the pieces have been "developed" (after you move most of your pieces).

Once you make it to this part of the game you're done with opening theory, which means that players have to plan their game and tactics based on the features of their positions.

During the middlegame, you will have the opportunity to build combinations and guard your position. Combinations are a series of tactical moves you execute as you move towards winning the game. A combination is directing your efforts to attack your opponent's king and blocking your opponent from their attack to your king.

For example, the minority attack, which is the "attack of queenside pawns against an opponent who has more pawns on the queenside." As you can imagine by now, studying openings also involves studying the preparation for the middlegame.

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In chess, the white pieces play first and are followed by the black pieces, the goal is to protect the king at all times by moving the pawns across the board. Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

Finally, remember that the way you play during the middlegame will set your endgame and eventually set your win. You have to be logical and take the game step by step.

During the middlegame, you must reduce material and transition. Keep in mind that not all the reductions of material are good.

For example, if one side keeps a light-squared bishop and the opponent has a dark-squared one, the transformation into bishops and pawns ending is usually advantageous for the weaker side only, because an endgame with bishops on opposite colors is likely to be a draw.

Check out what chess books, websites, apps, and Youtube channels you can use to learn chess.

Endgame

The endgame, you guessed it, is when the game is close to an end and there are few pieces left on the board. You should know that there are three key factors that make the strategy of an endgame different than an opening.

  1. Pawns are now important, or at least more important than before.
  2. The king, which was before protected and kept safe, is now a strong piece. The strategy is to bring the king to the center where it can protect its pawns.
  3. Zugzwang! This situation puts a player at a disadvantage because they're obligated to make a move that doesn't benefit them.

And, the endgame is the time for winning (checkmate). What happens in chess or other chess-like games is that a player's ing is "in check" which means they're threatened with capture and there is no way to avoid the threat. If you checkmate your opponent you win the game.

If you want to practice you can always check out our article on where you can Play Chess Online.

Start playing chess

Playing chess can be so much fun but it also takes a lot of time and practice to become a good player. You have to learn every move for each piece, learn about the role of the king, queen, rook, knight, bishop, and pawn. And you should also understand everything about position, capture, black and white pieces, and so on.

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While playing chess you have to pay attention to your position, to every step your opponent takes, don't let them take the center of the board, and make sure you play to win. Photo by Michal Vrba on Unsplash

There are many board games that are hard to learn, but none will challenge and push you as much as chess will. Professional chess players spend a lot of time studying the game by reading books, watching and analyzing other players on video, getting tips from other players, and working hard to become the best.

Chess games are all about concentration and strategy. Remember all the tips we've given you in this article the next time you're playing and go research some of the strategies and moves we've listed.

Don't forget you can always get help online if you're ever stuck on any part of the game. Whether you need help figuring out what to do with your queen or securing your strategy. Don't try to learn everything by yourself because you're not alone and there's an entire community online ready to help you.

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Maria