Winning Strategies for Club Players: Dear Chess Friends, I’m sure you know that to become a strong chess player, you should obtain several vital chess skills, such as calculation, tactical vision, visualization, positional understanding, opening knowledge, and others.
You have to spend months or even years developing them.
But what if I say that there are strategies that can make you a better chess player right now?
Here I present 10 Winning Strategies for Club Players, and I’m sure you were unfamiliar with many of them.
1. Choose an Opening for All Occasions
Several opening schemes can be applied regardless of the opponent’s color and position. One such opening is the King’s Indian Opening, which is essentially a mirror image of the King’s Indian Attack. It can be used against Sicilian, French, and Caro-Kann without having to learn a huge number of opening variations.
White fianchettos their light-squared bishop, puts their pawns to d3 & e4, and then transfer the knight from b1 to f1 and after that, they either play in the center or advance the pawn to e5 and initiate a kingside attack. You just need to know the basic strategic plans, and carefully monitor the tactical possibilities. But it is worth considering that if you play only one opening, then it will be easy for your opponent to prepare for you.
2. Winning Strategies for Club Players: Shattering the Fortress
This is a whole set of tricks in positions when the opponent doesn’t show any activity and has taken up the all-around defense. This includes the repetition of moves, the attack of two weaknesses, and the imitation of activity, the movement of the edge pawns, and all this is aimed at the mistake of the opponent.
3. Winning Strategies for Club Players: The King Defends Himself
Few people know that a chess king is approximately equal in strength to a rook, with the only difference being that it is afraid of checks. Usually, they try to cover him with pawns or pieces, but sometimes it can stand up for itself. The world’s top chess players often play variations where the king roams freely across dangerous squares with a full board of pieces. It is necessary to accurately calculate such options since any mistake can lead to checkmate or serious material losses.
If your opponent destroyed all your king’s pawn covers, the king has only one option – self-defense. And this is where you may consider such typical techniques like the flight of the king to the other flank, cover behind enemy pawns, a breakthrough to the center, and some other options.
4. Tempo-battle Strategy
Who is faster? This is an important question for tempo positions. Both players try to achieve their own goals. For example, it’s an opposite-castling position and both players attack opposite flanks. Or it can be endgame-type positions, where both sides have passed pawns, or positions in the middlegame which are difficult to evaluate by conventional methods since the evaluation is based on specific variations.
And both sides have a dilemma if it is better to attack yourself or defend yourself. There are many factors to consider here. There are several such openings – the Dragon Variation, the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit, the King’s Indian Defense with opposite castlings, and so on. Playing such positions is very useful for chess growth and a better understanding of the game.
It is useful to learn typical tricks, how to destroy the royal fortress as quickly as possible, how to protect your king better, and how to advance a pawn as far as possible or delay the enemy. However, the most common strategy there is to play multi-functional moves. For example, sometimes with only one move, you can almost disrupt all enemy plans. Also, you can close the flank where you are under attack. That’s why the value of each move (extra tempo) in such types of positions is critical.
5. Strategies to Defeat a Master
It’s really hard to outplay a much higher-rated player. There are several recommendations here. For example, you can build a fortress and provoke your opponent to risk if he wants to play for a win or you may play for a draw for the whole game waiting for his mistake.
Another option is to sharpen the position to force your opponent to calculate pure technique, where both players can make a mistake. You can also play opening schemes that you know well. This neutralizes the opponent’s opening knowledge.
If you are confident in your endgame technique, try to dry out the position. This strategy is designed in a way that the master, trying to beat you at any cost, will begin to take risks. But, you get a chance to win. Strive to clarify the position so that the enemy cannot confuse you in complications.
If the game develops unfavorably for you, for example, the opponent has extra material or positional advantage, then your only chance may be a rough interception game, even at the cost of sacrifices. Remember that we are all humans and grandmasters can also get tired and miscalculate. And most importantly – playing with a strong opponent requires complete concentration and calmness. Extra emotions will only get in the way.
6. Tricky strategy
Quite unusual positions often arise in chess games, where stereotyped methods of strategic struggle are inapplicable. In this case, you have to think hard, and perhaps come up with an original strategic plan. For example, it could be a sudden play with pawns from one’s king or a positional sacrifice of material, a daring breakthrough of the king into the enemy camp, sometimes sacrificing material to immobilize several enemy pieces.
Do not miss the opportunity to come up with something unusual. It will be an unpleasant surprise for your opponent. In the example, I would like to demonstrate White allowed Black to enter their camp. But, he moved all potential targets to the other flank and then realized their material majority on the kingside.
7. Winning Strategies for Club Players: Rook Sacrifice for Fianchettoed Bishop
A fianchettoed bishop can be quite strong. And you can often come across positions when the opposite side is even ready to sacrifice the exchange to eliminate this bishop, receiving a whole scattering of positional advantages in return. For example, a strong attack on the enemy king. There is also the opposite situation. The owner of the fianchettoed bishop, to keep it, is ready to give up the exchange.
8. Strategy to Withstand Attack on Your King
Often your opponent plays aggressively, he doesn’t count his sacrifices but attacks your king. Objectively your position is better, but only one inaccuracy may lead to a checkmate or material losses. In such a case you may win because of strong nerves, accurate calculation, and knowledge of certain techniques, such as exchanging dangerous pieces, building a pawn fortress, opening the position in the center, or counter-attack on the other flank.
9. Winning Strategies for Club Players: Play Unpleasantly
Choose continuations that are not objectively the strongest, but are quite unpleasant for your current opponent. For example, if your opponent plays Queen’s Gambit hoping to get a calm position with a small, but a stable positional advantage, you may choose a counter-gambit which is maybe unsound, but unpleasant for your opponent, because both kings are in danger so that you both have to calculate variations accurately.
10. Winning Strategies for Club Players: Play Solid Openings
For example, Queen’s Gambit is a guarantee of reliability. This is the same opening that has so often been seen in world championship matches, for example, Capablanca – Alekhine, and Karpov – Kasparov. This is not surprising since Black’s position is usually secure. Also, there is no need in saving a king from a mating attack.
Although there are also sharp variations in which this condition is not met, Black has great opportunities to simplify the position. White also likes this opening if they want to play for a win in a simple position without much adventure, with an orientation towards the best endgame. It is clear that for a successful game in the Queen’s Gambit, you need a knowledge of typical schemes and a high technique.