Hello everyone! As suggested in the title, today I will try and teach how to play basic chess, which would allow you to play and hopefully win more often against most beginners of the game! In this instructable, you will first find out how all the pieces move. Then you will find out some basic strategies and tactics that you can deliver with your pieces! Then finally after that, I will try and teach you two basic openings that are important for every beginner to know! I hope this guide will be helpful to you and will motivate you to play more chess!
Step 1: Basic Chess Pieces Movement
In this first section, you will find out about how every piece in chess moves!
The Pawn: The pawn is a minor piece in chess. It is the most simple piece in the entire game as well. On the beginning move, chess has two legal moves. Either move one square forward or two squares forward. After the first move, each following move of the pawn is only one square forward. Important to note, the pawn can take/eat only one square diagonally forward. It may not move or take/eat backward. Worth 1 point.
The Knight: The knight is a very special piece in the entire game. It is the only piece that is able to move and take/eat over pieces. The way it moves is two squares and then either one more square right or left, and either one square forward and then two to the right or left. Worth 3 points.
The Bishop: The Bishop is another major piece in the entire game. It is only able to move diagonally as many squares as it wants to and eat/take the same way. Worth 3 points.
The Rook: Outside of the queen, the rook is the strongest piece. Arguably, it is also the hardest piece to effectively develop as a lot of pieces are in its path of development. It may only move in straight lines either forward, backward, to the left, or to the right, however, it can move as many squares as it wants It takes/eats pieces the same way. Worth 5 points.
The Queen: The strongest piece in the entire game and is worth the most points (9). Her strength comes from the way she is able to move around the entire board. She is able to move diagonally, forward, backward, left, and right as many squares as she wants to. The only thing she is unable to do is to jump over pieces.
The King: The most important piece in the entire game, yet also the weakest. Without him, the entire game would not even exist. He is the only piece that can not be captured. He may move on square forward, backward, left and right, and diagonally as long as none of the moves put him under check. The game revolves around the king. You win the game by trapping the king and putting a checkmate on him, meaning that he is under check and at the same time has no legal moves or cannot block the checkmate with any other piece.
Step 2: Basic Tactics and Strategies (Knight Forks)
As promised, in this section you will learn about basic tactics and strategies that you can use to your advantage during your games. Let me start with explaining knight forks, as these are the easiest to execute and the most deadly to deal with. As mentioned in the previous step, the knight is an extremely unique piece of the entire game.
According to Yasser Seirewan, an International Grand Master and an author of multiple educational chess books, forks are tactical maneuvers in which a piece or a pawn attack two enemy pieces or pawns at the same time. The Knight is the best and the easiest to execute forks with, however later you will find out that even pawns can put the enemy pieces in severe danger. Most beginner chess players are highly afraid of knight forks, however, if studying knight forks carefully, you will soon understand that a knight can not fork pieces if they are located on two different colored squares. So be careful when placing your pieces and keep in mind that a 2-4 piece fork can happen just like in the image above.
Step 3: Basic Tactics and Strategies (Bishop Forks)
Like a knight, a bishop also has a very strong potential of forking the opponent's pieces. Although less likely than a knight fork, a bishop fork can bring some devastating results for your opponent in the game. There isn't much to explain about bishop forks, as they are fairly simple and self-explanatory. When looking to fork the opponent's pieces with a bishop, make sure that the two pieces are on the same diagonal. A good method of avoiding a bishop fork and the bishop's strength overall, make sure to place your pieces on those colored squares that are opposite of the opponent's bishop (this applies when your opponent is down to only one bishop).
Step 4: Basic Tactics and Strategies (Rook Forks)
At this point, I think you are aware of what a fork is since I tried explaining it best I could in the knight and bishop fork steps. A rook fork is very similar, however, it happens on a file (Vertical Line) or on a rank (Horizontal Line) since the rooks are able to move forward, backward, right and left in straight lines. If your opponent has very strong and active rooks, avoid putting your valuable and major pieces on the same ranks or files. If you have very strong and active rooks, then you should try to bait your opponent and force him in putting his major pieces on the same rank or file in order to get yourself a nice rook fork.
Step 5: Basic Tactics and Strategies (Pawn Forks)
Fairly self-explanatory. This fork is probably the deadliest out of all as it is so small and unpredictable that when not being careful you may miss out on it entirely. Always watch what the opponent's pawns are up too. They can bring a punch into the game as well.
Step 6: Basic Tactics and Strategies (Pins)
A pin is another situation that is highly probable to occur in almost every game. Beginners especially love pinning pieces, whether it is necessary or not. So what exactly are chess pins? You probably know what they look like but do not know the definition.
Pins can occur when you are attacking a piece that may not move out of its current position as it will expose a more valuable piece under attack, or put the king directly in check. It is important to note that only the pieces who can move an indefinite number of squares forward, backward, left and right, or diagonally, may pin other pieces. This means that kings, knights, and pawns are unable to perform this action (very important to keep this rule in mind).
In the example above, you can see two cases of a pin. Can you find them? For those who were unable to find them, it's ok, we all started in chess from a very beginner level. For those who did manage to find the two present pins, congratulations, you are starting to identify the basic present tactics and strategies on the board.
The two present pins involve both of the dark square bishops on the board. The first pin is identifiable on the b4 square where black's black square bishop has comfortably pinned white's knight on c3 as it can not move away, because if it does, then a discovered check will be created onto white's king. The second pin is on the g5 square where white has positioned his white square bishop. This bishop has pinned the knight because if the knight moves, it will open up a discovered attack on the queen from white's bishop. These are very simple pins and are very easy to defend against and deflect.
Step 7: Basic Openings (The Ruy Lopez)
The Ruy Lopez, also known as the Spanish opening is probably one of the most common, if not the most common opening that beginners play without even realizing it. It is one of the best openings to learn as a beginner as it is very basic and leaves open a lot of room for the basic development of pieces, as well as preventing your opening from developing some of his pieces.
This opening is one of the oldest openings in the history books and as already said, one of the most popular ones. The opening was named after a Spanish priest, Ruy López de Segura, who lived during the 16th century
This opening is popular at all levels of chess. Even high elo players like Caruana, Carlsen, and Anand enjoy to play this opening and pull it out quite frequently as it is quite versatile, hence also being very popular among beginner players. It goes even as far as being considered to be the essential opening for the development of any promising player. At the very beginning, the opening is quite fast, however towards the middle game, the entire game turns into positional gameplay.
The opening begins in the following way: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 (Look at the example above).
White has a few things it wants to achieve with these moves. First, he would like to take control of the center with the very first move, e4. This also opens up the window of development for the white square bishop and the queen. With the second move Nf3, white is immediately trying to put more pressure on the center of the board and is looking to attack blacks e5 pawn right away, forcing black to defend the pawn. Black obviously has to not fall behind in development and defend the pawn at the same time, so he plays the move Nc6.
After black develops his knight to c6, white immediately plays Bb5 putting more pressure on blacks pieces, this time threatening to take the knight on c6 which would result black in getting double pawns (something that you should always try to avoid getting), as well as winning himself a free pawn on e5 as when BxNcg6, black obviously has to take back with one of his pawns, which will then open up a window of opportunity for white to take the pawn on e5 since it will no longer be defended by the knight.
Step 8: The Sicilian Defense (Dragon Variation)
Like The Ruy Lopez, The Sicilian Defense is one of the most played openings by players of all level, as it can variate into multiple different scenarios. One of those scenarios is the Dragon Variation. As a Dragon player myself, I will show you how you can achieve the opening and what your main goals and objectives with this opening are.
This opening is known and feared by any 1. e4 player as it is one of the most feared counterattacking options that black has against the move e4. However, the opening at times can be very unpredictable and more often than not the positions that will occur out of it will be a double-edged sword. Therefore it is highly important to pay precise attention when playing this opening. As J.R.R. Tolkien once said, “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” (www.ichess.net)
Let's get started. As already said, this opening is a variation of The Sicilian Defense. In the example above, you can see the Dragon Variation set and finished. In order to achieve that position, the moves must be the following: 1.e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6. This then more often than not gets followed up by black fianchettoing his dark-squared bishop on f8, by playing Bg7.
The main idea behind this opening is for black to utilize his black squared bishop as much as possible and put him on that strong diagonal on g7. The dark squared bishop for black will be his main weapon in this opening, used both for attacking white's center and queenside, as well as defending black's kingside when necessary.
So, what are the advantages of playing the Dragon Variation and why is it such a feared weapon of black? The answer to that is simple, flexibility and coordination. The Dragon Variation is very flexible and can even variate into the Accelerated Dragon or the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon. For a beginner player, I would not recommend going into playing the Accelerated Dragon or the Hyper-Accelerated Dragon and try to just stick to the normal Dragon Variation, as those can be more confusing and extensive for beginners. In terms of coordination, all of blacks pieces are positioned in such a way, where they benefit each other and are in a way achieving harmony between each other. Black's bishop is ready to attack at any time, he has a solid pawn structure, and he has a lot of play capability heading into the middle and end game. The only thing you should be worried about as black is the d5 square, as white is preventing you to gain control of that square with his pawn on e4. White's future plan might be to gain control of that square and utilize that weakness against you, so always watch out and keep track of how white is positioning his pieces.