In chess, as in most things, we can learn far more if we understand our mistakes and try to address them systematically. A list of DON’Ts quite often sticks better in our mind as opposed to a list of DOs, and the same is true for mistakes in any walk of life. In today’s article, I have picked the three recurring mistakes that beginners make in a game of chess. Surely, there are many more errors that a new learner may make. However, we will separate the grain from the chaff and address the most important ones upfront. So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!

1) Neglecting proper development of pieces

Chess is essentially a battle where our pieces are our warriors. In a battle, the quick and proper deployment of forces assumes a major role. An organized approach to this critical aspect of war strategy can prove significantly beneficial while the opposite can easily cause an army’s downfall. The same applies to chess. When the game begins, we are required to focus our attention on quick and organized development of the pieces. A failure to do so can have major consequences, as the following game demonstrates.

As we saw, White developed his pieces rapidly in the opening stage while Black neglected the same. Clearly, Black could have fought harder had he developed his pieces in a timely fashion. On the other hand, White’s better developed pieces simply wreaked havoc!

2) Neglecting castling

Closely related to lack of attention for piece development is a sheer neglect for castling. The reader may realize that the lack of King Safety played a key role in the previous game and that it hailed from Black’s failure to find a shelter for the King. Well, that is exactly one of the reasons to get castled before embarking on ambitious plans. Simply put, castling safeguards our King. Alongside, castling also helps enhance our development by getting the Rook towards the center. Let’s just say that castling is the ‘Buy one, get one’ of the chess world!

To illustrate this, let us dive into a game where Black pays little heed to king safety and eventually ends up getting checkmated in the center.

3) Not considering opponent’s responses

Chess is a game played by two players. Naturally, they exchange blows with each other and the last man standing wins. This may all sound super simple until I tell you that most new learners fail to anticipate their opponent’s moves. They spot exciting ideas for their own but rarely consider what their opponent could reply. No surprises that this is a sure recipe for disaster!

So, what should you look for before executing your own moves? The answer to this lies in the formula: Checks, Captures, Threats, in decreasing order of importance. Let’s look at a couple of examples where a player’s failure to address the ‘CCT’ formula leads to debacle.

In our final example, we will see how following one principle but neglecting the opponent’s ideas is no good.

Final words

The three mistakes outlined above are all equally crucial. The next time you play a chess game, make sure to quickly develop your pieces, to castle early, and to look at the opponent’s potential responses. You may not win every game after implementing these three pointers, but I can assure you that you will play much better than before. All the best!

The above blog has been written by Shubham Kumthekar, our Team member. For more such articles, stay tuned to Square Off’s Blog space.

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