Here are my power principles of chess, something which all beginners and novice players should follow:
1. Control the Center!
The center of the board includes the squares e4, d4, e5, and d5. When you start a game, place your pawns in the center to occupy and control as many of these squares as you can. Location, location, location!
2. Develop Your Pieces as Soon as Possible!
Get your Knights and Bishops out right away. This should be done before you try to checkmate your opponent, some time in the first 6 or 7 moves if possible.
3. Castle as Soon as Possible!
Castle at the very first chance you have in order to keep your king safe. Remember, you can’t win if your king isn’t safe and you get checkmated first. So don’t forget to castle! Then after you castle, connect your rooks by developing your queen.
4. Keep Your Pieces Protected!
Don’t leave your pieces hanging without protection. Each and every piece you have is very valuable, so don’t forget to protect them. Protecting means if your opponent can take your piece, then you can take your opponent’s piece.
5. Have Fun and Win with Grace, Lose with Dignity!
This is my motto in chess. First and foremost, chess should be fun. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, it’s all part of the game. When you win, be a good sport and don’t trash talk or make fun of your opponent. When you lose, be an even better sport and not a sore loser. Shake hands and congratulate your opponent. This will go a long way toward making good friends.
Below is an example to demonstrate what can happen when one does not follow the above principles:
Tarrasch, Siegbert – Mieses, Jacques [C10]
Match Game 3, Berlin 1916
1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 This is the French Defense.
3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0–0 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nf6 9.Bd3 So far, everything seems normal. In this position, Black should castle.
9…b6? This is a critical mistake by Black. One of the key opening rules of thumb is to castle as soon as possible (General Principle #5: Castle Early). Black will pay for this mistake. We shall see how White will take advantage of this.
10.Ne5! Black is facing serious problems. If Black develops the Bishop to b7, White will play Bb5+ and Black will lose the right to castle. Now, Black realizes his mistake and castles immediately. Unfortunately, it is a little too late. Let’s see how White takes advantage of this.
10…0–0 if 10…Bb7 11.Bb5+
11.Nc6 An excellent move! We shall see the purpose of this move shortly.
11…Qd6 if 11…Qd7 12.Qf3 Bb7 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Qxb7+-; 11…Qe8 This unusual move is probably the best response for Black. 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.Qf3 Rb8 14.Qg3 White has a strong positional advantage with the pair of bishops and the queen aiming at Black’s Kingside.
12.Qf3! Another excellent move! White is threatening a winning discovery (Discovered Attack) with Nxe7+ (uncovering the attack by the white queen on f3 against the undefended black rook at a8.)
12…Bd7 The only move. 12…Bb7 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Qxb7 and Black would be behind a piece.
13.Nxe7+ Why does White exchange a good, active knight for a bad black bishop? This is a very important question since you would not want to trade a good piece for a bad piece without a good reason. In this case, White sees a deadly pin potential in the next move. That is why he is willing to trade.
13…Qxe7 14.Bg5! Threatening 15.Qe4! Nxe4 16.Bxe7. Black has no way of getting out of this pin.
14…Rac8 15.Rfe1 Bringing another important piece into action! Remember, you would need to utilize all your pieces to achieve a winning attack. 15.Qe4 would be less accurate for White. 15…Nxe4 16.Bxe7 Rfe8 17.Bxe4 Rxe7 +=
15…Rfe8 if 15…c5 16.Qh3 h6 17.Bxh6 gxh6 (17…c4 18.Bxg7 Kxg7 19.Qg3+ Kh8 20.Qh4+ Kg7 21.Qg5+ Kh8 22.Qh6+ Kg8 23.Re5) 18.Qxh6 cxd4 19.Qg5+ (19.Re5? Rc5) 19…Kh8 20.Re4 and Black must give up his queen to avoid the mate.
16.Qh3! This move creates another threat. Because of the pin of the knight, the h7-pawn is now vulnerable. White combines pressure against the h7-pawn from the queen at h3 and the bishop at d3; meanwhile the white bishop at g5 threatens to trade off the only black piece protecting h7, the f6-knight.
16…Qd6? Black’s position is very bad. This move just makes it even worse. 16…h6 17.Bxh6 gxh6 18.Qxh6 Qf8 19.Qxf6; 16…g6 17.Qh4 Kg7 18.Re4!; 16…e5 17.Bxf6 Bxh3 (17…Qxf6 18.Qxd7; 17…gxf6 18.Qxh7+ Kf8 19.Qh8#) 18.Bxe7 Rxe7 19.gxh3; 16…c5 17.Bxh7+ Kf8 18.Be4 Kg8
17.Bxf6 Eliminating the piece that protects the h7-pawn.
17…gxf6 18.Qh6! Black is hoping to create an escape for the king to f8 then e7. White wisely cuts the king off. This is another important move to learn. When you are on the offensive, do not let your opponent off the hook.
18…f5 if 18…Qxd4 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 20.Bg6+ Kg8 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Qxf7#
19.Re3 Bringing the rook into action and sacrificing the d4-pawn. In the meantime, Black’s pieces are not coordinated to defend the king.
19…Qxd4 if 19…f6 20.Rg3+ Kf7 21.Qg7#; 19…Kh8 20.Rh3 Kg8 21.Rg3+
20.c3 Attacking the queen. The black queen will soon run out of squares to stay on from which it can continue to defend the g7 square. I prefer 20.Rg3+ a little more since it attacks the king immediately. 20…Kh8 Now I would play 21.c3 transposing to what would have happened in the game. 21…Qe5 22.f4 The queen now has no squares to move onto to continue defending g7.
Black resigns since the position is completely hopeless.
So what have we learned in this game?
1. Do not violate the Opening Principles of Chess. Make sure to castle as soon as possible; Black did not do so on move nine – and paid the price later on.
2. When you are attacking, make sure to utilize your pieces. By bringing the rook into the action, White created a winning attack.
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July 11-15, 2011
Learn chess from world champion Susan Polgar and her team. Beginners to advanced K-12 players welcome. Campers will practice writing and computer skills. Sports and other activities offered.
* Commuter Plan: $295/week
Check-in Monday 8 am – 9 am. Camp hours are 9 am – 5:00 pm daily Monday – Thursday. Camp ends at 3pm on Friday. Lunch and snacks included.
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