Opening Strategies for Chess Novices, by Roland Bleyer

About the Author: Business mogul Roland Bleyer enjoys playing chess, often referred to as “the sport of kings.”

Although chess is often justifiably considered to be a sport reserved for the intellectually elite, it can also be a satisfying game for anyone who enjoys challenging their critical thinking skills. Since it typically takes many years of practice to attain a truly powerful playing style, you might consider this introductory primer as your first step towards a potentially fulfilling new hobby for life. Here are some of the most elementary concepts that you can use to start familiarizing yourself with chess’ tactical underpinnings.

1. Typically, the most sensible opening gambit is to advance one of the pawns fronting your king or queen. This will create the simplest route to propel your major pieces from the board’s back squares into the more useful regions of the board.

2. Although moving the pawn is a safe initial move, you will want to limit your subsequent pawn usage during your opening plays. Moving these auxiliary pieces around without a clear directive will weaken your defense.

3. Instead of advancing more pawns, a good strategy is to move as many of your pieces from the back row into play as possible. In chess parlance, this is known as “developing.” The more major pieces that you can develop early in the game, the more mobility options you have later on. Generally, it is best to develop your knights in preference to your bishops, since it is more difficult to situate the bishops.

4. During this phase, your main directive in developing those pieces that you have advanced from the back is to dominate the middle of the board. If you can establish control over the four squares in the exact center, you have usually earned considerably more options in terms of mobility than in any other region. This is the stage of the game where the real action starts.

5. At this point you will want to try to combine your strategic positioning with a maneuver that threatens one of your opponent’s key pieces.

Although this is only an introduction for the initial phase of play, deft execution of these basic principles early in the game will lay the foundation for highly favorable mobility and tactical flexibility later on.

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