One of the most common questions I face as a chess coach is what are some of the basic chess rules every novice player must know. Here is my recommendation:
Susan Polgar Power Principles of Chess
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.
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– GM Susan Polgar