6 Golden Rules of Chess

Yury Markushin
Tags: chess, golden, rules
6 Golden Rules of Chess

There is a set of golden rules of the game that every chess player must know. These rules have nothing to do with how the pieces move or where you should place your rook in the endgame. Each of these rules emphasizes one very important aspect of the game that is often being overlooked. By implementing these rules in your game, you will start looking at the game from a different angle and will start getting superior results. Let’s begin!

1. If you are not attacking, you’re defending. If you are not defending you are checkmated.

This is a very well know rule. While many chess players think of it as common sense, all others totally ignore it. Indeed it is important to play attacking chess. Since the main objective of the game is to checkmate your opponent, it is much easier to achieve that goal if you have some sort of activity going on close to their king. The side that checkmates first wins, regardless of whether the other side has prepared a checkmate of their own a move later.

That’s only half of the story. The second, probably even more important part of the golden rule, states that if you are not attacking you must be defending. Generally speaking, it is much more difficult to start an attack, while you’re under attack. That’s due to the fact that if you are being attacked, you will have to deal with the immediate threats by allocating your resources in such a way that the threats are neutralized or at least minimized. Because of that, it is much more difficult to find pieces and to start a successful attack, while your opponent has an initiative. Nevertheless, you need to continue to defend well and wait for your chance to gain the initiative and to start an attack.

Starting an attack, when you’re not ready, will most likely make your position from bad to worse. There are indeed exceptions to this rule, but generally if you are under attack and not defending, you will soon be checkmated.

2. If you don’t have any pieces left, remember, the King is a piece too.

Many chess players ignore the power of the King. If the King is mostly a burden in the opening and the Middlegame and needs constant protection, in the endgame it becomes an attacking monster. If there are no Queens and Rooks present on the board, the King starts to dominate the position.

Your job as a chess player is to make sure that it is your king that is in charge of the position in the early endgame. If you don’t develop it early enough, the chances are that it will be your opponent’s King occupying the space and pushing your King away from his passed pawns.

That’s never a good sign, and something all chess players want to avoid.

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3. Don’t feel sorry for your opponents, they won’t feel sorry for you.

Chess is a competitive sport. In order to win we need to perform at your best and play the best moves you possibly can. How many times have we heard from chess players that they “did not play that objectively strongest move because they felt sorry for the opponent and wanted to give them a fighting chance”?

After giving that “fighting chance” a chess player relaxes and mentally thinks that he has already won the game once, so he can do it again. But that’s where problems typically come.

We tend to underestimate possibilities of our opponent’s pieces, while overestimating our own in certain positions. Our position becomes worse with every move and all over sudden we are playing a piece and couple of pawns down.

Then we start kicking ourselves, why didn’t I play that move, it would’ve been over by now! We decided to be nice to our opponent, but it’s not a good thing to do in the game of chess. Now if we lose, the lessons will be learned that, in chess, the objectively strongest move must be played regardless of our emotional state.

4. If you see a good combination, go for it.

It is hard enough to find a good combination over-the-board. Surprisingly, many chess players even after they find a winning combination are afraid to play it. I particularly remember one chess player who found a game winning tactics in one of his last round games that involved a rook sacrifice. After the game was finished in a draw he was very upset that he did not go for that continuation because he “wanted to play it safe”, even though he calculated the winning line 3 times.

Why did he do that? He was psychologically not confident in his own calculation ability that caused him not winning that game. He was later explaining it as “what if I was wrong, then I would surely lose the game”. In chess, like in life, you need to make decisions and live with the consequences. If you have calculated the combination and see a clear win, you should be confident enough to play the sacrifice. Stop asking yourself “what if”. If you see a good move, go for it!

5. If you are losing, start taking calculated risks.

If we have a losing position, the previous rule is even more relevant than while playing in the equal positions. If you are already losing, you have nothing to lose. If you keep doing what you’re doing the most probable outcome would be that nothing will dramatically change and you will lose the game. I know you don’t want that, and that’s why the last thing you want to do is to play safe. Who wants to safely lose their game anyways?

To earn yourself a fighting chance you need to complicate your position. You see, your opponent already feels that he is winning. He is excited that the game will be over soon, and he will get that “1-0” next to his name. That’s why complicating the position, even if it involves a questionable sacrifice, is a good idea. That will be a psychological shock for your opponent. A move earlier he thought that the position was under his full control, and now it looks very different. He may still win, but this way you will have far more chances to get that draw you always wanted!

6. Everyone is afraid to lose.

Let me state that again, everyone is afraid to lose. Even those players who say that are not afraid to lose and don’t care about the outcome of the game. Trust me, they do.

In fact, those higher rated players are afraid to lose far more than lower rated players. Their reputation is at stake. Chess usually means more for a 2200 rated player than for 1000 rated one. They remember all those years of training, and feel that they definitely should not suffer a loss today.

Objectively speaking, losing is not terrible. It is simply a signal that you are not doing something right. And that something has mostly (I’d say at least 95%) to do with your training methods or lack of it. That’s exactly why we have developed a revolutionary training course that will take your hand and guide you for 21 days (actually 40 days for complete package) towards your chess goal. You will become a much better player.

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Updated 01.05.2024