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10 tips to become a chess champ

Chess champ Jonathan Hilton started beating adults regularly about two months after he started playing. His secret: Lots of learning and lots of practicing. Thanks to Jonathan, your learning starts (or continues!) here:

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1. LEARN THE MOVES. Each chess piece can move only a certain way. For instance, a pawn moves straight ahead but can only attack on an angle, one square at a time. A knight’s move is L-shaped. The bishop moves at an angle but can move more than one square at a time. The rook (castle) can move only in a straight line but can go forward, back or to the side. The queen, the most powerful piece, can move in any direction for any number of squares, but not two directions in one move. And the king moves at a stately pace — as a king should — one square at a time in any direction.

2. OPEN WITH A PAWN. Move the pawn in front of either the king or queen two squares forward. (Only on its opening move can a pawn move two squares.) This opens pathways for your bishops and queen to enter the game. They move on an angle and can’t get out onto the field of battle if pawns are in the way.

3. GET THE KNIGHTS AND BISHOPS OUT. Before you move your queen, rooks or king, move your knights and bishops toward the center of the board. You want to get these pieces out from behind the pawns so they can attack.

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4. WATCH YOUR BACK! And front! When it’s your turn, always think to yourself, “What did my opponent’s last move do? What is he up to?” Is he laying traps to capture your pieces? Then decide on your own plan. Always look at all your possibilities. Look at moves that would capture your opponent’s men or threaten his king first. But always double-check your moves before you play them. Ask yourself, “Does my move leave something unprotected?”

5. DON’T WASTE TIME. Don’t make too many moves with your pawns or try to pick off your opponent’s pawns.

6. “CASTLE” EARLY. Castling is a move that allows you to move your king to safety and bring your rook into play. Once all the squares between your rook and the king are unoccupied you can move the king two squares toward the rook while the rook moves to the square on the the king’s other side. If your opponent neglects to castle, you might be able to launch an attack on his king. This is the only move in which more than one piece may be moved in a turn.

7. ATTACK IN THE “MIDDLEGAME.” After you’ve brought all your knights and bishops into the game and castled (these moves are your “opening”), the middlegame begins. In the middlegame, always be on the lookout for ways to capture your opponent’s men. Take any piece that your opponent doesn’t protect. But look at what will happen to your piece if you take his — will you get picked off? Always be looking for ways to move lots of your men into position to attack the enemy king.

8. LOSE PIECES WISELY. You’ll take some of your opponent’s pieces. Some of your pieces will be taken. You must figure out what is and isn’t a good swap. Use these points to figure out whether you’re making a good move if you’re going to lose one of them:

  • Queen: 9 points
  • Rook: 5 points
  • Bishop: 3 points
  • Knight: 3 points
  • Pawn: 1 point

So is it a good idea to lose a bishop to save a pawn? No!

9. DON’T PLAY TOO FAST. If you see a good move, sit on your hands and look for a better one. Patient thinking is the key to chess success.

10. WIN THE ENDGAME. After you and your opponent swap pieces and you’re down to just a few men, the endgame begins. Now the pawns become more important. If you can advance a pawn to the farthest row away from you, that pawn becomes a queen. A big success! Let your king attack, too, as long as he stays out of reach of your opponent’s remaining pieces — especially the queen — and does not let himself to be checked.

Your king is said to be in check when your opponent threatens to use one of his pieces to capture the king on his next move. If your king is checked and you have no way to remove the threat — it can’t run away, you can’t capture the opposing piece that has him in check and you can’t block the check by moving one of your own pieces — the game is lost. Checkmate! If you checkmate your opponent before he checkmates you, then you win!


Comments about “10 tips to become a chess champ”

  1. kevmic21 says:

    good tips
    i have only won 3 out of 20 times

  2. soxfan says:

    Thanks for the tips.I’llhave to try them.:)

  3. TimmyPi says:

    Thanks for the wonderful tips on chess. I always seem to lose.:)

    • Cornered Pawn says:

      I know what you mean… I’ve won against my brother once in the past months. Then again, I haven’t played since I was five.

  4. dark knight says:

    hoping to improve my game with these tips

  5. Master says:

    I always get my knights to control the 4 center squares.

  6. checkmate says:

    Try to bring all 8 pawns to the end of the board. And keep your 2 knights behind them to protect them. Then you have 9 queens!

  7. Yo Man says:

    I love chess and will use these tips wisely

  8. meman says:

    im going to battle my brother now. hope it works!

  9. cherry says:

    this is very helpful

  10. Jaden says:

    move your 2 royal pawns up 2 and counter them with 2 nights then the bisip to protect the nights i started that first and i beat pros with that

  11. Kool Pan says:

    Finally,i beat so much people tournament! THANKS FOR THE TIPS! :]

  12. laughcaster says:

    for #5, if you are up in the endgame, always watch the pawns. your opponent (as well as you) can get better pieces with a pawn if it reaches the opposite end. so if you have the time, wipe them out A T T H E E N D !!!

    To cheesepuff84,
    when you castle, on either side, move out the pawn that you will have the king behind in the long run so that it does not endanger your king (like check from a bishop), but also leaves it an escape route

  13. yourockchess says:

    hmm…will this actually work?

  14. mathgeek says:

    these are great tips I’m glad I Know these because chess club started at my school

  15. Chessmaster says:

    One of the best openings for a bunch of beginners is the kings pawn opening; more specifically the two knights defense (e4e5Nf3Nc6Bc4Nf6Ng5!) It does work… I got to a rating of 1696 with that opening. However once you get older, many of these tips become useless

  16. seth-seth-seth says:

    I love chess and now I love it even more.
    It’s even better on the mac

  17. darth vader says:

    tips are always nice

  18. webelos3404 says:

    love chess

  19. peace says:

    awesome tips

  20. 4Jesus says:

    This article is really useful!!!!! Thanks! I am winning a lot more games now.

  21. gamergab says:

    I loved this article!! It is very useful.

  22. kingadidaz says:

    runescape rules if any of u’s play hit us on ur friendsz list my name krump kiingz and krump klownz …. (^)_(^)

  23. kingadidaz says:

    jk nice!!

  24. kingadidaz says:


  25. Castle says:

    Castling is very good

  26. Jedi says:

    Castling can be helpful if you do it at the right time.
    If you don’t you might lead yourself into a trap.

  27. worlds greatest player at chess says:

    i am the one who gave you the advise.

  28. Pretty in Purple says:

    I’m not a big fan of chess, but i do want to learn more skills for when I play against my brother

  29. ted says:

    I play a lot of chess with my dad.Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose.I’m also in a
    chess club.

  30. Anonymous says:


  31. cheesepuff84 says:

    I don,t really like the castle,it can be traped to easily

  32. taz232 says:

    Im pretty good at chess but hese tips will really help.thanks

  33. FuzzyKitten77 says:

    Thanks a lot for the help I won at least 20 games out of 30 already.

  34. drago says:

    I love to play chess. thank you for the tips. I’m good at chess. my rating is about 990.I have won 1st and 3rd in my towns chess battle and thank you for the tips again!

  35. battel boy says:

    I cant whate to use thes tips on my frends

  36. J.C. says:

    Now I can beat my uncle

  37. yo says:

    Thanks for the tips! I can use them to beat my friends at school!

  38. hawk says:

    GOOD!!!!!now i can finally beat the computer!!!

  39. Bobby Joe says:

    Now I should be able to win Chess more!!!

  40. Magikoopa189 says:

    I’m a chess tournament champion, but tips are always nice!

  41. sk8tr says:

    awsome! i will use these tips to beat my friend in chess!

  42. D.J. says:

    My dad is teaching me how to play chess. Yes it is a game that takes up a lot of time.

  43. nerd2 says:

    I am good at chess; I won a chess tournament at my library and came in second in another one (against the same person). These comments were helpful to me; maybe I can finally beat my dad (or the computer)…

  44. Chess lover says:

    THanks for the tips

  45. anmol says:

    nice tricks!! the best

  46. nerd says:

    i am very good at chess but these are really helpful they improved my skills a lot! (my rating is something like 950, but i haven’t played in a while.)

  47. chisan says:

    your tips are really good,thanks

  48. jk says:

    by the way all of ur tips are really good!! u must b a PRO!!!

  49. jk says:

    i beat 1000s of ppl in chess and i normally beat them in 4 goes !!! i play for the chess club and gave never let my team down !!! :)

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