The Most Common Mistakes in Chess
Other Topics Training & Psychology

The Most Common Mistakes in Playing Chess

The Most Common Mistakes in Playing Chess

There are dozens of possible mistakes in chess. If we go into detail, there are hundreds of mistakes that chess players can make.

There are mistakes in the basic way of playing chess, mistakes in the way of thinking during the chess game, mistakes in the way of calculating the moves in the chess game, mistakes in the study of chess, mistakes in your way of practicing chess, mistakes and more mistakes in everything that chess players do.

Here we want to highlight just a few mistakes of chess players, paying special attention to wide-spectrum errors in playing the game of chess.

Losing Your Concentration During a Chess Game

Playing a game of chess is an activity that requires total concentration.

It’s true that sometimes you can play somewhat automatically.

Perhaps you already know by heart some recurring moves, or maybe the position isn’t changing much.

It may also be that your opponent’s level is lower, and you don’t need to be fully concentrated.

But speaking of a game between chess players of the same level, no matter what that level may be, concentration is crucial.

Losing Your Concentration during a Chess Game

You can’t be thinking about “The Best Size for the Chessboard” when you’re in the middle of a chess game. ☺

Your opponent may give you the opportunity to win the game, and you need to be fully concentrated to notice it. It’s time to make a decisive move!

It could also be that your opponent is creating threats and you don’t notice them. Due to lack of concentration, you might foolishly lose the game.

Playing Chess Compulsively

The Internet has taken over the world. Nowadays, chess is primarily played online.

There are several gaming sites, and playing chess online has many advantages.

You easily connect and play a couple of quick games during a few minutes of your daily break.

However, those minutes of play can turn into hours…

Playing Chess Compulsively

Without realizing it, you start and finish one game after another, without noticing anything but the result.

You want to win and win. You don’t want to quit without having won more than you lost.

Be careful! You’re acting compulsively! This is a behavioral disorder that can end badly.

Forgetting Your Opponent

This is a typical mistake of all chess players. It’s a trick of the mind.

A game of chess is played between two people. But it’s very common to focus your attention especially on your own ideas.

You concentrate so much on your moves that you end up forgetting you have an opponent!

Forgetting Your Opponent

It’s true that it’s not your duty to apply game theory in your chess games.

But you can’t believe that your opponent will simply respond as you wish.

One of the problems related to this issue is called hope chess.

You think about your move and make it without ever considering how your opponent will respond.

Even worse, before making your move, you don’t observe what good moves your opponent can make.

They easily catch you in a foolish checkmate!

Not Paying Attention to the Clock

Time is an essential factor in every chess game.

Just as you win the game by checkmate, you can win in chess on time.

Nowadays, when rapid chess is primarily played, time management is a fundamental skill for every chess player.

Despite this, many players completely forget about the clock!

Not Paying Attention to the Clock

It’s not enough to just know how to make good moves. In chess, you need to make those good moves on time.

If you forget about the clock, you’ll easily lose the game, even if your opponent has a lower level.

Time is not optional. Alongside the best tactics and strategies, you must learn smart time management in chess.

Playing Only with the Pawns

In chess, we have 6 different types of pieces. The pawn is just one of these types.

However, perhaps because they are the most numerous or because they move ahead of the other pieces, beginners tend to focus their attention only on the pawns.

If you feel this happens to you, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to review “The Chess Pieces for Newbies (Names & Values)“.

You must be fully aware of all the pieces you have at hand.

Playing Only with the Pawns

One of the most common mistakes in chess is playing only with the pawns. Advancing pawns without seeing anything else.

That’s not the correct way to play chess. Pawns have specific functions, just as the other pieces do.

To name just one, pawns have the function of creating a protective shield in their own territory.

If you advance all the pawns, you become totally vulnerable.


Calculation in chess is a complex subject.

Chess players talk about calculation all the time.

A miscalculated move can result from not knowing all the possible moves of the pieces in chess.


Among other things, a calculation error can prevent you from:

  • Winning material in an exchange.
  • Executing a precise checkmate.
  • Defending yourself in a dangerous position.

Specifically, you need to calculate well to make good moves.

You must calculate your tactical moves, but you must also calculate your strategic moves.

And contrary to what many think, more than calculating a lot of moves along one line, you have to know how to calculate a few moves across several lines.


Due to the competitive nature of the game of chess, there are errors that go beyond knowing how to make good or bad moves.

As we have observed here, there are mistakes that not everyone notices, but that chess players make daily.

These repetitive and constant mistakes prevent chess players from reaching their maximum performance.

Recognizing the mistakes is the first step to begin resolving them!

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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