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Training & Psychology

Thinking Ahead: 20 Proven Tips and Tricks for Chess Mastery

Thinking Ahead: 20 Proven Tips and Tricks for Chess Mastery

Chess is a game that has been played for centuries and is still enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a game of strategy, planning, and foresight.

To excel in chess, players must possess a good understanding of the game’s rules, tactics, and strategy. In this article, we will discuss the top 20 chess tips and tricks that will help you improve your game.

1. Play with a Purpose

Always have a clear goal in mind when making a move. Whether it’s controlling a key square or setting up a tactical opportunity, play with a purpose.

2. Keep Your Opponent’s King in Mind

Just like your own king, your opponent’s king is a critical piece. Keep it in mind and look for opportunities to attack it.

3. Pay Attention to Piece Coordination

A well-coordinated group of pieces is much stronger than individual pieces on their own. Look for ways to coordinate your pieces to maximize their effectiveness.

4. Control the Diagonals

The diagonals are important paths for bishops and queens. Try to control them as much as possible to limit your opponent’s options.

5. Don’t Move Your Queen Too Early

The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, but it’s also vulnerable to attack. Avoid moving your queen too early in the game and, instead, focus on developing your other pieces first.

6. Be Aware of Your Pawn Structure Weaknesses

Every pawn move creates weaknesses in your pawn structure. Be aware of these weaknesses and try to minimize them as much as possible.

The Pawns are the soul of the game – Philidor

7. Look for Double Attacks

A double attack is when one piece can attack two of your opponent’s pieces at the same time. Look for opportunities to create double attacks in your games.

8. Know When to Trade Pieces

Trading pieces can simplify the game and make it easier to play. However, it’s important to know when it’s beneficial to trade pieces and when it’s not.

9. Keep Your Options Open

Don’t commit to a particular plan too early in the game. Keep your options open and be prepared to adjust your strategy as the game progresses.

10. Learn from Your Mistakes

Every game provides an opportunity to learn and improve. After each game, take some time to analyze your mistakes and figure out what you could have done better.

11. Use Your King as an Attacking Piece

In the endgame, your king can be a powerful attacking piece. Don’t be afraid to use it to help push your pawns or attack your opponent’s pieces.

12. Understand the Value of Time

Time is a valuable resource in chess. Try to use your time efficiently and put pressure on your opponent to make decisions quickly.

13. Be Aggressive When Ahead

If you have a material advantage, don’t be afraid to be aggressive and look for ways to attack your opponent’s position.

14. Look for Pinning Opportunities

A pin is when a piece is restricted from moving because it’s protecting a more valuable piece behind it. Look for opportunities to create pins in your games.

The Pin is mightier than the sword – Fred Reinfeld

15. Keep Your Opponent Guessing

Don’t be too predictable in your play. Keep your opponent guessing and force them to react to your moves instead of the other way around.

16. Control the Squares Around Your Opponent’s Pieces

The squares around your opponent’s pieces are just as important as the pieces themselves. Try to control these squares to limit your opponent’s options.

17. Develop Your Knights before Your Bishops

Knights can jump over other pieces, making them more flexible than bishops in the opening phase of the game. Develop your knights before your bishops to maximize their potential.

18. Understand the Power of the Initiative

The player who has the initiative is the one who is dictating the flow of the game. Try to seize the initiative and keep your opponent on the defensive.

19. Don’t Be Afraid to Sacrifice Material for a Positional Advantage

Sometimes sacrificing material can be a good strategy if it leads to a better position on the board. Don’t be afraid to make these sacrifices when the opportunity arises.

You have to have the fighting spirit. You have to force moves and take chances – Bobby Fisher

20. Practice, Practice, Practice

The most important tip is to practice as much as possible. The more you practice, the better you will become.


Chess is a game that requires practice, strategy, and a good understanding of the game’s rules and tactics. By following these 20 chess tips and tricks, you will be able to improve your game and become a better chess player.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want GM Igor Smirnov to help you get better at chess, watch this Masterclass.

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