Strategy Training & Psychology

Simple Chess Strategy: 3 Unique Ways to Improve in Chess

Simple Chess Strategy: 3 Unique Ways to Improve in Chess


Chess is a fascinating game that requires both strategic thinking and tactical skill. It has been played for centuries and continues to captivate players of all ages and backgrounds. However, for beginners, the game can be quite daunting, with countless options for moves and endless possibilities for each move. In this article, we will explore simple chess strategies that beginners can use to improve their game.

Principle of the Least Active Piece

Chess is a complex game with countless strategies and tactics to master. However, one of the most fundamental principles is the Principle of the Least Active Piece. This principle is not only useful for beginners, but also for more experienced players as it provides a clear goal for each move and helps to simplify the decision-making process.

The Principle of the Least Active Piece is based on the idea that each piece on the board has a specific function and potential. Some pieces are more active than others, meaning that they have a greater impact on the game and are more actively involved in the action. Conversely, some pieces are less active, meaning that they are not contributing as much to the game and are not fulfilling their potential.

To apply this principle, players must first identify their least active piece. This could be a piece that has not moved, a piece that is poorly placed, or a piece that is not contributing to the game in any significant way. Once the least active piece has been identified, the player must work to improve its position or activity level.

Improving the activity of a piece can take many forms. For example, a player could move a rook to an open file or rank, move a bishop to an open diagonal, or advance a pawn to gain space and open up lines for their pieces. The key is to find a move that improves the activity of the least active piece while also advancing the overall position.

In this example below, you can see that the black rook is more active than the white rook

Here is another example about how the white knight controls 8 squares while the black knight only controls 2 squares

Applying the Principle of the Least Active Piece can be particularly helpful for beginners, who often struggle with decision-making in chess. By focusing on a single goal for each move, beginners can simplify the game and reduce the number of options they need to consider.

Over time, as players become more experienced, they can begin to incorporate other strategies and tactics into their game.

It is worth noting that the Principle of the Least Active Piece is not a hard and fast rule. There may be situations where it is not the best approach, or where other factors come into play. Nevertheless, it is a useful principle to keep in mind, particularly for beginners who are still developing their chess skills.

In conclusion, the Principle of the Least Active Piece is a fundamental chess strategy that can help players of all levels to simplify the game and make more effective moves. By identifying and improving the activity of their least active piece, players can work towards a clear goal and gain a better understanding of the game.

Principle of Flexibility

Chess is a game of strategy, where players are tasked with outsmarting their opponents through careful planning and execution.

One of the key principles of chess strategy is the principle of flexibility, which is based on the idea that it’s better to keep one’s options open rather than committing too early to a specific plan.

The principle of flexibility can be seen in the opening phase of the game, where players make their first moves and try to control the center of the board. In this phase, the principle of flexibility encourages players to make moves that don’t commit them to a specific plan, but rather leave them with several options to choose from.

For example, in this position, we know for sure that the knight needs to be placed on c3. This leaves us with the question of where to develop the dark-squared bishop. We can postpone this decision because we know that we need to castle and we need to bring out our light-squared bishop first.

If we play Bg5 first, defining the position, Black can attack the bishop and change the nature of the position. Also if we play Nd2, we block our own bishop and do not defend the central squares.

Instead, the principle of flexibility suggests that White should consider moves like Nc3 , which develop pieces and control the center, but also leave White with more options for the future. These moves allow White to wait and see how Black responds before committing to a specific plan.

The principle of flexibility is not just limited to the opening phase, however. It also applies to the middle game and endgame, where players must constantly reassess the position and adjust their plans accordingly.

In the middle game, for example, a player might have a strong attack on the kingside, but if their opponent defends well, they may need to switch their focus to the queenside or to the center of the board. By keeping their options open and not committing too early to a specific plan, the player can adapt to the changing position and increase their chances of success.

Similarly, in the endgame, the principle of flexibility can help players avoid stalemate and win the game. For example, if a player has a strong pawn on the seventh rank, they might be tempted to push it forward to promote to a queen.

However, if their opponent has a bishop or knight that can control the promotion square, this move could lead to stalemate. By keeping their options open and waiting for the right moment, the players can find a more flexible solution that allows them to win the game.

In conclusion, the principle of flexibility is an important concept in chess strategy that encourages players to keep their options open and avoid committing too early to a specific plan. By following this principle, players can adapt to changing positions and increase their chances of success in the game. Whether in the opening phase, middlegame, or endgame, the principle of flexibility is a valuable tool for any chess player looking to improve their game.

The Principle of Not Creating Weaknesses

Chess is a game of strategy, where every move counts and can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. One important concept in chess is the principle of avoiding creating weaknesses unless it is really needed.

This principle emphasizes the importance of being cautious when making moves that could potentially weaken one’s position on the board.

In chess, a weakness refers to a square or a piece that is vulnerable to attack or capture by the opponent. It is important to avoid creating weaknesses in one’s position because they can be exploited by the opponent to gain an advantage. Weaknesses can also limit one’s mobility on the board, making it difficult to launch an effective attack or defense.

One common example of creating a weakness in chess is moving pawns in front of one’s king. Pawns are the weakest pieces on the board, and they are also the first line of defense for the king. Moving a pawn in front of the king can weaken the king’s position, as it opens up diagonal lines of attack for the opponent’s pieces.

This can be particularly dangerous if the opponent has a bishop or a queen that can quickly target the weakened square in front of the king.

However, there are situations where it may be necessary to create weaknesses in one’s position in order to achieve a specific goal.

For example, if one is trying to launch an attack on the opponent’s king, it may be necessary to advance pawns in front of one’s own king to create a pathway for the queen or other attacking pieces. In this case, the benefits of the attack may outweigh the risks of creating a weakness in one’s own position.

Here is a course that will teach you as a step-by-step guide to becoming a strong master of attack, covering topics such as how to initiate an attack, identify strong attacking moves, attack the castled king, and evaluate an attack. The course aims to provide a practical guide to creating, executing, and successfully finishing an attack.

The key to successfully applying the principle of avoiding creating weakness unless it is really needed in chess is to carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of each move before making it. This requires a deep understanding of the game and the ability to anticipate the opponent’s moves and potential responses.

It is also important to maintain flexibility in one’s position and be willing to adapt to changing circumstances on the board.

In addition to avoiding creating weaknesses in one’s own position, it is also important to actively look for weaknesses in the opponent’s position and exploit them.


In this article, we have discussed three fundamental chess strategies that can help beginners improve their game:

The Principle of the Least Active Piece, the Principle of Flexibility and the Principe of Not Creating Weakness.

These principles can also benefit chess players by simplifying the decision-making process and allowing players to adapt to changing positions.

By incorporating these strategies into their game, players of all levels can increase their chances of success and enjoy the fascinating game of chess.

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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