Conjuring up images of sophisticated strategies and genius masterminds, despite its highbrow status, chess remains the most popular game in the world. And of course, it doesn’t take a high IQ to be able to learn or enjoy this ancient pastime.
In fact, anyone can become a chess master, from young children to pensioners. All that’s needed is a few essential tips and plenty of time and patience. If learning how to play chess is still languishing unchecked on your bucket list, the time has come to make your move.
The internet undoubtedly offers a vast treasure trove of resources when it comes to the game of chess, ranging from 10-minute video tutorials to reams and reams of in-depth articles.
The first step is to get to grips with the game’s six pieces; how to set them up on the board, understand their value, and most importantly, learn their moves.
The aim of the game is to checkmate your opponent’s king; that is, force the piece into a position from which escape is impossible. To achieve this, beginners are encouraged to follow a few basic strategies, including:
- Open with a pawn: By moving a pawn two spaces in front of your king or queen, you can open up some room to enter your bishops and queen into the action.
- Protect your king: Try to move your ruler to a corner of the board, which is often a safer position.
- Maintain control in the middle: If your pieces control the centre of the board, they will have more room to manoeuvre and will make life more difficult for your opponent.
- Take your time: If you think you have a good move planned, just take a few moments to see if you can manage something even better. Patience is one of a player’s greatest assets.
Practise: Keep at it. Get your friends involved, practise games online and watch how the experts do it.