3 most important middlegame principles

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After the opening stage, when you have developed your pieces, you need to find the right way to proceed in the middlegame stage. Just as we follow some basic opening principles, there are certain principles for the middlegame stage as well. Today we’re going to see the 3 most important middlegame principles.

Our guest coach, FM Marko Makaj (who is also the author of our course “Defending Champion”), has prepared a very instructive video lesson for you. In this lesson, he will show you a few examples to help you understand the most important principles of the middlegame.

You can watch the video lesson below:


3 middlegame principles:

1) Having a plan/idea

The plan depends on the current position on the chessboard and it may change in a later period. Remember the saying “A bad plan is better than no plan”. Therefore, it is always recommended to have a plan to follow in the middlegame. One of the most common and direct plans in the middlegame is to attack the opponent’s king.

2) Coordinate your pieces

Make sure your every piece is active and has some scope on the board. For instance, it’s often not recommended to have a few pieces on one flank and the remaining ones on the other flank. Always try to synchronize your pieces.

3)  Know your opponent’s plan(s) and stop them

It’s important to focus not only on your plan. It is equally important to also understand what your opponent is thinking and planning; and you need to stop it from happening.

About the author

FM Marko Makaj
Marko Makaj is from Croatia. He is a FIDE Master with an ELO of around 2350 and a chess trainer. He has held this title since 2008. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have time to play in tournaments in order to achieve the title of IM or GM. He has been working as a coach for over 15 years and many of his students have achieved great results.


1) Always try to find the way to checkmate (attack) the opponent’s king
2) If you cannot do so, then try to spot the opponent’s weaknesses and attack them. For instance, finding the loose pawns or the unprotected pawn/piece.
3) Always be aware of the safety of your pieces, especially of your king’s.

how to analyze chess games

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