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Improve Your Chess Skills With These 9 Expert Tips

Command an army. Sharpen your mind. Outwit your opponent. Have fun. You’ll get all this and more with chess, a game of strategy that has been challenging the world’s greatest thinkers for 15 centuries.

Playing the game can be tough. That’s why we asked 18-year-old chess grandmaster and Eagle Scout Kayden Troff for his nine tips to become a better player.

1. WORK HARD

Chess is a game of skill. That means it requires lots of hard work. Schedule times for practice, reading and studying.

2. HAVE FUN

Because chess is so demanding to play, it’s easy to forget to simply have fun while sitting at the board. Smile, laugh and enjoy the thrill of competition.

3. FIND YOUR STYLE

You might feel more comfortable defending your pieces, or maybe you have a knack for attacking. Either way, identify your style so you can steer the game in that direction. Plus, identifying your strengths will help you improve your weaknesses.

4. DON’T GIVE UP

Kayden says there have been plenty of times he was able to draw or win games others thought he should have lost. That’s because he doesn’t let errors get him down. If you make a mistake, it’s easy to give up or mentally check out. Don’t!

Chances are, if you keep playing and stay positive, you’ll see things aren’t as bad as you thought.

5. PLAY OFTEN

Whether it’s with family, friends or on your smartphone, find a way to play daily. There are plenty of great resources for anyone interested in playing chess, from newbie to expert.

6. CONTROL THE CENTER

The four squares in the center of the board are ideal to have in your control. That’s the gateway to the rest of the board, allowing you to move your pieces wherever you want. Just be careful about leaving your king in the middle of the board too long; it exposes that all-important piece to attacks.

7. DEVELOP YOUR PIECES

Some people get caught up pushing pawns or focusing on one specific piece. Use the full arsenal of each of your pieces. They’re there for a reason. Move them off their first position and get them in the fight!

8. WATCH YOUR QUEEN EARLY

Your queen is the strongest piece. Sometimes players get too eager to move it out and start attacking. Instead, allow your opponent to develop his pieces before moving your queen into the mix.

9. CALCULATE IT

Calculating is the term for looking four or five or more moves ahead of what’s currently on the board. It’s a skill that needs to be developed over time, but one that separates good players from great ones.


Kayden Troff first appeared in the pages of Boys’ Life in 2010. Back then, he made headlines for being rated the No. 1 chess player in the world age 12 or younger. Now he’s a grandmaster, the highest title a chess player can attain. To earn the title, Kayden dedicated years to practicing, studying and practically living all things chess, but he credits Scouting for much of his success.

“Scouting taught me how to focus, work hard, become more self-reliant,” he says. “And those are skills vital to success in chess.”

23 Comments on Improve Your Chess Skills With These 9 Expert Tips

  1. add picture for every tips

  2. there also a two move chack mate

  3. Ghost is a great game and I love it more than the app and I love it more than I do for the app but it is great app that is very easy and fun and very interestingly easygoing and the app is great and very very well done and very well done

  4. Guys I can’t understand the 4 move checkmate.

    • 1. It’s called the Scholar’s Mate, and you shouldn’t want to learn it. It is incredibly dishonorable, only worked on inexperienced chess players, and is banned from most competitions.

      • jumping snowman // January 2, 2019 at 2:16 pm //

        i am really glad that you are being fair (and honest!) but if you really want
        to win, use the scholar’s mate. (to be honest, i’ve never used that move)

  5. Really helpful! Thanks!

  6. Fire Pheonix Girl // May 22, 2018 at 7:10 am // Reply

    This was really helpful and thanks to you I might even win the house cup! No kidding bro!
    just sayin my house name is Fire pheonix 😛

  7. What’s the four move checkmate?

  8. Nice tips!

    • There is more than 1 type but the one I know is move your kings pawn 2 spaces and then move your queen until it is three spaces away from the right end of the board do the same thing with your bishop except to the left then just move your queen up. However it is very easy to block

  9. A real way to influnce snd verý usefull

  10. hi buddies i love chess more then my life

  11. It is nice. We can improve our chess skills and learn from people who are master in chess.

  12. nice tips.am all the way up

  13. nice tips thanks

  14. If you hadn’t already, learn the 4 move check mate

  15. good tips….Im improving
    …thanks

  16. good tips not bad uhhhhh

  17. Anonymous // May 2, 2017 at 6:40 am // Reply

    Nice

  18. add picture for every tips

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