Tips and Tricks

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Tips to remember

• Advanced pawns create weakness behind them as they can’t move backwards and are the best defenders, so don’t push too many unless you have good reason to.
• Every player is prone to blunders, though at Master level – not very often!
• If planning an attack on an opponent’s king side, make sure you have more pieces to attack than your opponent has to defend.
• A passed pawn on rook file in an endgame is a draw.
• Don’t leave pieces unprotected by another piece or pawn if possible – you can forget and blunder, or just fall into a nasty trap.
• Same coloured bishop endgames are usually drawn.
• If you don’t know what to do to advance your position, figure out where you want your key piece(s) to be and how to get them there.
• Strong pawns in the centre of the board controls lots of squares and makes your opponent’s position and pieces very cramped.
• There is no such thing as failure, only learning lessons. Learn what you are weak at in practise so that the in the field you become flawless.
• Certain pieces, such as the bishop and queen, will have an advantage in open games where they have more room to manoeuvre. In closed games, pieces like the knight and pawn shine, as they can capture in close range and move
around and in between stationary pieces.
• Train yourself to think of playing pieces in tandem with one another. Use your turns to set them up, then plan so that your opponent has no way out.
• Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a piece if it is necessary to protect your king or give you a significant advantage

Better chess:

• In a rook and pawn ending get your king pawn and rook into a ‘bridge’. This is called the Lucena position. Check it out in the links section.
• Waiting moves are just as important as developing moves.
• In a queen against rook endgame keep the rook of the f or c-file and aim to get your queen on f3/f6/c3/c6 and trap the King. Otherwise it can be very difficult to win.
• Try to look one move deeper than seems to be necessary.
• A knight can influence play on both wings from a central post.
• A bishop may simultaneously influence play on both sides of the board.
• Look at the role of pieces to be exchanged - what is their value? Are they good or bad pieces?
• Controlling the board is often preferable to simply having more pieces.
• If you are playing bishop v king, try to exchange any central pawns and create action on both wings.

Lessons from a Grandmaster

More experienced players excel in quiet positions and endgames, especially positions without queens. Positions with concrete variations benefits young players. Problem solving declines with age, but chess knowledge remains stable or improves.

When you have a position with an advantage in time (development) you have to find an object of attack – create tension, don’t be too general with your moves, especially if your advantage is temporary.
When worse off, avoid active moves, especially in the endgame.

Three types of advantage:
• Time (development)
• Position (better placed pieces)
• Material (more pawns or pieces)

Fine’s rule: When you have the advantage in the endgame, exchange pieces, not pawns. If you are worse off, exchange pawns, not pieces.

Glutton rule: you are a glutton for punishment if you let your opponent penetrate the 7th rank with rooks.

• Don’t play on the wing (a/h file) when you are weaker.
• Sometimes the best way to defend is to attack – create active threats that tie your opponent down.
• Do not become concerned about your opponent’s threats if your threats can keep him occupied (in endgames).
• Don’t be greedy in the endgame
• Does your opponent like forced moves or calculating moves? If you know how your opponent plays, go for their dislikes.
• What are your chess weaknesses? Positional strategy, tactics, or calculations/analysis? Are you able to keep the initiative when you have a dynamic advantage (active, well-placed pieces).
• Doubled pawns in the centre can be very useful if the opponent does not have the opportunity to put direct pressure on them because they cover many squares and provide open files for rooks.
• If your opponent has time shortage and you have more time, it can be useful to play something unexpected to complicate the position (when he doesn’t have time to evaluate the response).
• The c4 square is very sensitive for White in Sicilian endgames.
• You should not look for pawn breaks until you have improved the position of your pieces, as your pawns may block the squares that will make your pieces active.
• If you plan to play two moves and don’t know in which order to play them, start with the move you will play no matter what.
• Maintain flexibility for your pieces when executing your plan (don’t block one piece with another if possible), if you do this, you can switch plans more easily.
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