24 Essential Chess Tricks And Tips That Will Make Your Chess Better

Club players are often looking for common rules and ideas to apply in their games. Having a framework based on general rules is a huge plus in all 3 phases of chess. That’s where this article comes into play. We have compiled a list of the 24 most important tips and tricks that will have you make the right decisions and best moves over the board.

Learn those ideas, apply them in your game, and the quality of your play will steadily improve!

Let’s get started.

Here are some essential chess tricks and tips that will help you understand the game of chess better:

  • In the opening look for a pawn move first, then for a knight move, then for a bishop move, then for a rook move (or castle), and finally for a queen move.
  • Do not move the same piece move then once in the opening if you do not have a very good reason for it (such as material gains).
  • Do not accept many pawn sacrifices during the opening, especially playing black. Otherwise, you can get a couple of extra pawns, but also get checkmated quickly because of your underdeveloped pieces. Remember, the main purpose of “opening” is to develop pieces quickly and efficiently.
  • Developing the queen too early in the game is usually bad (see 1)
  • Fight for the center. Remember, central squares are very important since they provide block posts for your pieces. Therefore, central pawns are considered to be more valuable than flank ones.
  • Sometimes, it makes sense to give up a pawn to get an initiative. [Want to learn more about tactics? Read the 10 Tips to Fix Your Chess Tactics]
  • Always think twice before making a pawn move. Since pawns cannot move backward it is very hard to fix “pawn weaknesses”.
  • Isolated central pawns are usually stronger in the middle game, but weaker in the endgame.
  • If you have the spatial advantage, avoid trading pieces. If your opponent has the spatial advantage, trade pieces to eliminate the advantage.
  • If you have an extra minor piece, exchange pieces to increase your advantage. If you are a minor piece down trade pawns, not pieces (there is no way to checkmate with a minor piece and a king alone).
  • Always play with a plan. Playing with a bad plan is a LOT better than playing with no plan whatsoever [See this post to learn How to Win at Chess – 10 Key Tips to Follow]
  • By exchanging active pieces of your opponent on your inactive once you gain an advantage.
  • Remember that knight is stronger in the center, bishop – on the flank.
  • Bishops are usually more valuable than knights.
  • When there are a few pawns on the board, bishops are much stronger than knights. When there are many pawns on the board knights are stronger.
  • The Bishop Pair is usually stronger than a knight and a bishop or two knights.
  • Rooks belong on open files.
  • Doubling the rooks almost triples their power.
  • Two rooks are usually better than a queen.
  • In any stage of the game ALWAYS realistically evaluate the position. Do not underestimate or overestimate the attacking potential of your opponent. I know it is hard to do, but that’s important. Some players overestimate the opponents attack considering that it is dangerous when it’s actually not, and starts passively defend. Some players, in the opposite, completely ignore any attack of the opponent and get checkmated fast.
  • In the endgame, rook activity is usually worth a pawn.
  • In the endgame, if you are down a pawn, do not exchange pieces.
  • In the opposite bishops endgame, even if you are a pawn down it is usually a draw.
  • In the endgame, it is usually good to place a rook on 7th or 8th rank if you white and on 2nd or 1st if you black, attacking pawns and a king.
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Updated 02.23.2024


Charles West:
Knights can jump over other pieces
"By exchange active pieces of your opponent on your inactive once you gain advantage." Huh?
These are tips, not rules.
Johan K.:
If you are a pawn down, exchange pieces if you reach an opposite bishop ending or a rook endgame. This improves your odds to draw.
Thank you for these tips, but I also think it depends on the game and what your opponent plays like, his style. And another thing: I've learned that; when playing an open game, the bishops are more favourable than knights, and in a closed game , the knights are more favourable...do you agree, or must I get this thought out of my head?
Gilbert Baron:
Until I quit hanging pieces, none of what you said means anything.
Two rooks are better than a queen ONLY when they can coordinate very well.
any rules in chess became a trap
There's a lot of things that we learn here ;-)
LhordAljer Erbanec:
ken snipes:
playing white pawns at a4,b4,f4,h4 king at d3. white move black pawn at a6,c5,f5,h5 king at d5.. what the best move for white and can he win...thanks ken
fan player:
thank you a lot for the info....actually i'd just apply it in my game at my mobile and it works so good.........again thanks a lot ..keep up the good work. :lol: :D
or maybe it depends on the situation...
i always thought that 2 knights are better than 2 bishops, thanks for the tips, try to apply it sometimes
is that true though, like what if it's to sacrifice a queen for 2 pawns and ruin your chances of winning :o[/quote]Chess NEEDS some sort of logic to play:)
Haha, you don't really need to get 5 Queens to eat up all of your opponent's... just checkmate him and save time!
chess rookie:
is that true though, like what if it's to sacrifice a queen for 2 pawns and ruin your chances of winning :o
chess rookie:
Jeez sucks to be my brother now. 8) He always says there's no easy way to win. That's why god invented the internet. If only they showed you some move that like no-one knew like getting 5 queens for destroying all the opponents pawns. :D i just look at all these websites to do that.
"Playing with a bad plan is a LOT better than playing with no plan whatsoever." That makes me feel better :lol:
Good luck and remember that the more you play the stronger you become.
Chess player:
I am looking forward to apply these tips into my next game. Many thanks for sharing them!
nice cartoon i love it… thanks
Cool cartoon, and very funny, can you give us a link to the site of their author.