Mathematically speaking, it's just about impossible to run out of chess moves, since the number of possibilities is equal to 10 to the 120th power [source: Shenk]. Practically speaking, winning at chess involves three strategies:
- Protecting your king
- Capturing opponent's pieces that are protecting his king
- Attacking your opponent's king and placing him in check
Endless books, articles and Web sites are devoted to chess strategy and analyzing the most famous games and moves in history. Take a peek inside one of these resources and you'll see strategies like the King's Gambit, Fork Attack and Fianchetto, all of which are pretty confusing to a beginner.
Most chess experts recommend the following basic strategies for beginners:
- Don't rush your moves. Take your time and consider what your opponent's follow-up move may be.
- Castle your king when possible to place him in a more protected spot.
- Control the center of the board, to block your opponent from moving.
- Use all of your pieces. Bring them out of the first row where they can be useful in attacking your opponent's king.
- Try to plan three moves ahead.
- Don't attack prematurely, it will allow your opponent to strike back. Be patient and set up your players.
- Never sacrifice your valuable pieces for one of lesser value.
[source: Chess Blog]
Chess is recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee, and chess competitors must be in top shape to play. Although improvement isn't dependent on physical strength training, experts recommend doing the following mental exercises to improve your game:
- Play often and learn something from each game.
- Study rules, strategies and moves by looking at books and online resources.
- Have fun and don't get discouraged.
Remember: Chess is a fun game. If it weren't, millions of people would not have been playing it for thousands of years.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Andrews, Todd. "Play Chess Today, Part 1." Play Chess - Free Online Chess Games - Chess.com. May 3, 2009. (March 15, 2010). http://www.chess.com/video/player/play-chess-today-part-i
- Andrews, Todd. "Play Chess Today, Part 2." Play Chess - Free Online Chess Games - Chess.com. May 3, 2009. (March 15, 2010). http://www.chess.com/video/player/play-chess-today-part-2
- Be Someone Inc. http://www.besomeone.org.
- Chess Teacher. "The Top Five Chess Strategies for Beginners." My Chess Blog. April 19, 2009. (March 16, 2010) http://www.mychessblog.com/the-top-five-chess-strategies-for-beginners/
- Eagen, Tim. "A Brief History of Chess." The Chess Page. August, 1997. (March 13, 2010). http://www.stmoroky.com/games/chess/chess.htm.
- "FIDE History." World Chess Federation. (March 15, 2010). http://www.fide.com/fide/fide-history.html
- "How the Chess Clock Works." ChessHouse.com. (March 15, 2010)http://www.chesshouse.com/how_to_chess_clocks_a/162.htm
- Masters, James. "The Chess Family- History and Useful Information." The Online Guide to Traditional Games. 1997 (March 13, 2010). http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Chess.htm
- Shenk, David. "The Immortal Game: A History of Chess, or How 32 Carved Pieces on a Board Illuminated Our Understanding of War, Art, Science and the Human Brain" Good Morning America Video. September 4, 2007. (March 15, 2010) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-171374104176431873&ei=k5ejS5mrBpqoqwKbxdWwAg&q=David+Shenk&hl=en#