Chess Basics

Basic Principles

  1. Control the centre squares.
  2. Develop your pieces:  Knights before Bishops because the Knights move slower than the Bishops, so they need a “head start”.
  3. Castle to protect your King.
  4. Don’t bring your Queen out to early:  Your Queen might get chased around (wasting moves for you) and possibly captured.
  5. Connect your Rooks.
  6. Don’t move the same piece twice in a row.


Chess Tactics

In order to get better in solving chess problems, you need to practice doing them.

Here’s a site that offers lots and lots of chess problems:

  • The more problems that you solve, the harder they will get; which helps make your stronger chess-wise.
  • If you get a problem wrong, make sure that you click through the solution to understand it and to learn from it.
  • You will need to create an username and password.
  • After logging on, under the tab “Training”, select Chess Tactics.

Have fun!


Value of Pieces

King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, and Pawn

Knowing what the value of each piece is worth helps when a player is trying to decide whether to exchange pieces, e.g., a Knight for a pawn, or a Rook for a Queen, or a Bishop for a Knight.

  • If you can exchange a piece for one with a higher value, in general, it’s a good move.
  • One BIG exception would be that you make sure that what looks like a “good exchange” for you, doesn’t lead to a checkmate of your King!

What are the pieces worth:

  • King = 0 or infiniti (if you lose your King, you lose the game!)
  • Queen = 9 points or 9 pawns
  • Rook = 5 points or 5 pawns
  • Bishop = 3 points (some think even 3.5 pts) or 3 or 3.5 pawns
  • Knight = 3 points or 3 pawns (slightly less than a Bishop)
  • Pawn = 1 point

Exchange Decisions:

  •  No don’t trade your Knight for just 1 pawn => 3 pts vs. 1 pt.
  • Yes, trade your Rook for your opponent’s Queen => 5 pts vs. 9 pts.
  • Maybe/maybe not trade your Bishop for your opponent’s Knight => 3.5 pts. vs. 3 pts.