The chief strategic objective in the opening is the most effective and harmonious development of all the pieces.

  • FIRST RULE: Open with either the K-pawn or the Q-pawn.

  • SECOND RULE: Wherever possible, make a good developing move, which threatens something.

  • THIRD RULE: Develop knights before bishops. The strongest square for the knight is in the center (e4, d4, e5, d5). The best initial move is Nf3 or Nc3.

  • FOURTH RULE: Pick the most suitable square for a piece and develop it there once and for all.

         DON'T move a piece twice in the opening.

         DON'T exchange a piece that is developed for one that is not developed.

         DON'T exchange without good reason.

         DON'T block the path of development of your pieces.

         DON'T block either center pawn.

  • FIFTH RULE: Do not bring your queen out early.

  • SIXTH RULE: Castle as soon as possible preferably on the K-side.


        1. What is the center? The four squares in the center of the board, e4, d4, e5

            & d5 ("Little Center") and the sixteen central squares ("Enlarged Center")

        2. What is the value of the center? It is the region of greatest mobility.

        3. What is meant by control of the center? The ability to place pieces on vital

            squares without having them captured.

        4. How do we get control of the center? .....The very basis of the chess.

  • EIGHTH RULE: Always try to maintain at least one pawn in the center.

  • NINTH RULE: Do not sacrifice without clear and adequate reason.

  • TENTH: Many players are too prone to attack before firmly establishing what positional advantages are inherent in their position.

  • ELEVENTH: The disadvantage of pawn weaknesses is not so much the pawn themselves but the passive positioning of the pieces, which result in order to defend them.

  • TWELFTH: Exchanges usually ease cramped positions.

  • THIRTEENTH: 'Object-Lesson' in 'Maroczy Bind' position, which arises when white, has pawns at c4 & e4 and black a pawn at d6. White's space advantage was achieved at the cost of dark-squared weaknesses and failure to defend results in loss.

  • FOURTEENTH: When you have a Q-side pawn majority, assuming it is mobile and not under attack from your opponent's pieces, you can play for the ending and exchange pieces with confidence.

  • FIFTEENTH: Technique of a K-side attack involves the opening of files into the enemy position.

  • SIXTEENTH: Modern Strategy - Final break through is not made until all the pieces are on the best possible squares.

  • SEVENTEENTH: Play well positionally and the tactical fruits will come.

  • EIGHTEENTH: Seek combination chances based upon your opponent's king position or any unguarded pieces he may have. In the opening white's problem is to preserve his initial superiority whereas black's problem is to secure equality. Therefore, white attacks while black defends.


Avoid over-hasty attacks before completing development. Take sufficient

care when calculating. When the advantage is of an enduring type, Le., weak

enemy pawns and squares, you can afford to strengthen your position to the

maximum  before beginning the final assault. When the opponent's forces

are diverted to the defense of a weakness, the attacker can then make decisive

thrusts on the other side of the board.


Many games are lost by tactical blunders. Many would be saved if the

player took the PRECAUTION, before making EVERY move, of looking around

the board for any tactical possibilities present (a) in the position as it stands, and

(b) in the position, which will occur after he has moved.


Books: duMonfs 'The Basis of Combination in Chess' and Reinfeld's '1001

Chess Combinations'

If you have few opportunities for reading, try in your own games to practice

looking briefly around each move for combination chances based upon your

opponents king's position or any unguarded pieces he may have.


The art of defense is one of the most difficult in chess; not only because of

the intrinsic care and avoidance of error required in defensive positions, but also,

because, psychologically, the inexperienced defender is liable to PANIC, LOSE



It is necessary to make every move count when a sacrificial attack is in

progress. If a king is in the center and the central files can be opened, all sorts of

combinations become possible. Masters do not reject cramped positions as such;

but, generally speaking, an active game, a pawn down is much preferable to a

position with level material where you are bound to the defense of a positional


Play well positionally and the tactical fruits will come.


In rook and pawn endings the most important principal of all is to keep your rook



In the Ruy Lopez, white's ON usually aims to reach d5 or f5.


The "ALTERNATION PRINCIPAL" - When your opponents minor pieces are

driven into a defensive position use your superior mobility to transfer the attack to the

other wing.


In the type of pawn formation which often arises from the KI type of opening

where black plays ... c5, white's weakness lies in the fact that the base of his pawn

chain at c4 is vulnerable to attack, while black's base at e7 is much more easily



Boleshavsky's variation of the Sicilian is nowadays one of the most popular of

all, for experience has shown that black's backward d-pawn involves no difficulties. By

inducing white to play a4, black can make it possible for himself to post his a-knight on

this strong square where it supports the coming ... d5; and; ties down the white queen

to defense.

  • Avoid early adventure. Develop minor pieces (knights and Bishops) before major pieces (Queen and Rooks).

  • Avoid giving useless checks.

  • Assume that your opponent will find the right moves, and don't play for crude traps except in desperation.


Concentrate on applying sound general principles and you will rarely go wrong.

develop rapidly, castle early, centralize your pieces. The idea is not to trick your opponent but to keep on strengthening your position.


According to Bobby Fischer, four ingredients are essential to success at chess:

1. Concentrate:

  • Just one slip can cost the game.

  • Chess requires total concentration.

  • Many players use only a fraction of their energy.

  • Keep your mind completely on the game.

  • Play to win.

  • Nobody's interested in excuses when you lose.

2. Think ahead:

  • Distrust your first instincts in selecting a move.

  • Sit on your hands.

  • To avoid disaster, each time your opponent moves, STOP and ask yourself: 'What's the threat?" Don't move until you understand the position.

  • Remember, it's absolutely essential for your development as a chess player to adhere to the rule of "touch move" - once you touch a piece you must move it.

    Give no quarter and ask for none.

3. Learn from your losses Record your games, including the offhand ones, and

study them later to try to find your mistakes - if you don't already know what they

were. You are not likely to lose two games the same way, and you will also retain

a permanent record of your progress.

4. Study

  • Play over recent games of masters in books and magazines.

  • Combine this study with actual play against strong opponents.

  • Spend as much time at the game as you can.




  2. When pieces occupy the center, they radiate greater mobility.

  3. Just keep bringing your pieces out and have patience.

  4. The player who mobilizes all his forces faster than the opponent secures an advantage in time and space.

  5. The basic principle of force is decisive when all other things are equal.



  8. It is essential at all times not to fall behind in material.



David McKay Co [(1941), Reprint 6/67]


  1. Doubled, isolated and blockaded pawns are weak: AVOID THEM!

  2. Passed pawns should be advanced as rapidly as possible.

  3. If you are one (1) or two (2) pawns ahead, exchange pieces not pawns.

  4. If you are one (1) or two (2) pawns behind, exchange pawns not pieces.

  5. If you have an advantage DO NOT leave all the pawns on one side.

  6. If you are one pawn ahead, in 99 cases out of 100 the game is drawn, if, there are pawns on only one side of the board.

  7. The easiest endings to win are pawn endings.

  8. The easiest endings to draw are those with bishops of opposite colors.

  9. The king is a strong piece: USE IT!

  10. DO NOT place your pawns on the color of your bishop.

  11.  Bishops are better than knights in all cases except blocked pawn positions.

  12. Two bishops versus bishop and knight constitute a tangible advantage.

  13. Passed pawns should be blockaded by the king: The only piece, which is not harmed by watching a pawn is the knight.

  14. A rook on the 7th is sufficient compensation for a pawn.

  15. Rooks belong BEHIND passed pawns.


There are three points, which are so fundamental that they must be always born in


  1. Without pawns one must be at least a rook ahead in order to be able to mate. The only exception to this which holds in all cases are that the double exchange wins and that a queen cannot defend successfully against four (4) minor pieces.

  2. Where one is two or more pawns ahead the win is routine. By this we mean that a straightforward advance of the pawns will net considerable material gain, usually at least a piece. With a piece to the good one can then capture more pawns, then more pieces and finally mate.

  3. The theory of the ending proper is concerned to a large extent with the conversion of an advantage of one pawn into a win. The basic principle is that one pawn wins only because it can be used to capture  more important material. Straightforward advance will not do the trick (as it will with two pawns). The chief devices to be used in the winning process are forcing entry with the king, keeping the opponent busy on both sides (outside passed pawns) and simplification.


PCA's Selected Principles from the ABC's of Chess

by Bruce Pandolfini

  1. Be aggressive. but play soundly. Don't take unnecessary chances.

  2. Make sure every move has a purpose.

  3. Don't ignore your opponent's moves. Don't play your moves as if they are independent of your opponent's responses.

  4. Play for the initiative. If you already have it, maintain it. If you don't seize it.

  5. Cut your losses. If you must lose material, lose as little as possible. If one of your pieces is trapped, try to sell ifs life dearly. Look for desperadoes (opportunities to gain some material and/or inflict damage.

  6. If you blunder, don't give up fighting. Compose yourself to avoid additional mistakes. Stay in the game. After getting the advantage, your opponent may relax and let you escape. If this fails, you can always resign.

  7. Never play an unsound move; hoping your opponent will overlook your threat and the correct reply, unless you have a hopeless position. In that case, you have little to lose.

  8. Rely on your own powers. If you can't see the point of your opponent's move, assume there isn't any. Don't play with fear. It's not as much fun ..

  9. Don't sacrifice without good cause.

  10. When you can't determine whether to accept or decline sacrifice, accept it. Either you'll be right or wrong, and learn something.

  11. Attack in numbers. Don't rely on just one or two pieces.

  12. Look for double attacks, and try to play moves with multiple points.

  13. Don't make careless pawn moves. In the opening, move as few pawns as necessary to complete your development.

  14. Try to develop your bishops before blocking them in by moving a center pawn just one square, unless circumstances require otherwise or leave you no choice.

  15. Develop your pieces quickly, preferably toward the center (especially knights, which often are "grim" on the rim.

  16. Don't waste time or moves. Try to develop a new piece on each turn. Don't move a piece twice in the opening without good reason. Amass your forces for concerted purpose.

  17. Develop during exchanges. Avoid exchanges that lose time or build your opponent's game. Don't solve his problems for him.

  18. To exploit an advantage in development, attack. Hold back, and the advantage might pass to your opponent.

  19. Do not bring out your queen early, unless the natural course of play necessitates it.

  20. Develop rooks to open files, or files likely to open. If such placements are not possible are not possible or advantageous, consider a file-opening pawn advance. Look to transfer rooks desirously from one wing to the other.

  21. Prepare to castle early, especially for king safety and to connect the rooks. Don't let your king get caught in the center. Be leery of opening the center with your king still in it. Don't castle if it places your king in even greater danger.

  22. Try to prevent your opponent's king from castling. Keep it trapped in the center, particularly in open positions.

  23. After castling, don't move the pawns in front of your king without specific reason.

  24. Don't capture pinned pieces until you can benefit from doing so. If possible, try to attack them again, especially with pawns.

  25. Look for tactics along lines controlled by your bishops, especially when the enemy bishops are missing or out of position.

  26. Try to avoid early exchanges of bishops for knights, unless such trades are clearly to your advantage.

  27. To strengthen control of a file, double your major pieces (rooks and/or queen) on it. If you can, force the enemy rooks out of position.

  28. ln cases where you have only one bishop, try to improve its scope by placing your pawns on squares of the opposite color. This also insures that squares of both colors can be guarded.

  29. Trade when ahead in material or when under attack, unless you have a sound reason for doing otherwise. Avoid trades when behind in material or when attacking.

  30. 29. Choose a plan and stay with it. Change it only if you should or must. But don't be ridiculously flexible.

  31. If cramped, free your game by exchanging material. If your opponent is cramped, deter him from making freeing advances and trades.

  32. Trade bad minor pieces for good ones. Avoid situations that could force you to surrender active pieces for inactive ones.

  33. Study the games of the greats (Garry Kasparov, Vishy Anand, et al)

  34. Play as often as you can. Have fun.


Chess Lessons by GM Jeremy Silman

Chess life 9/95 p. 24

  1. If you develop your pieces and control the center in the opening, then nothing too horrible will happen to you. However, if you just move pawns, or if you move the same guys over and over again, then you are begging for some kind of awful retribution.

  2. Bad moves don't always have to be punished directly. Often you can just develop and improve your position and good things will happen with no effort on your part. However, if the opponent keeps making lemons, then you eventually become duty-bound to look hard for a way to crucify the guy.

  3. It often takes only one error to lose a game at the highest levels. To lose quickly takes several mistakes.

Chess life 12/95 p.19

  1. 1. Don't mindlessly develop your pieces in the opening. Sometimes more pressing  matters need to be taken care of before you get all your men out.

  2. Fix enemy weaknesses before you attack them.

  3. Tying the enemy pieces down to the defense of their pawns places him in a  passive situation in which he can undertake no aggressive action. You can torture him to your heart's content free from the worry that he will be able to start some sort counter-offense.

  4. Even in must win situations the slow piling on of pressure can prove to be a very efficient method of play.

  5. Make sure that each and every one of your pieces gets to participate in the battle.

Chess life 1/96 p. 14

  1. look for opportunities to exchange inactive pieces for your opponents active ones.

  2. Keep your eyes open for possibilities that allow you to trade a weak pawn for a less vulnerable version in the enemy camp.

  3. It is well worth spending a tempo or two to kill enemy counter play.

  4. The side with less territory should exchange as many pieces as possible. This gives his other pieces more room to move about.

  5. If your opponent is without counter play, don't hesitate to spend several tempi to improve the locations of one or a herd of them.

  6. Place a rook(s) on an open file if you can take pennanent possession of it, or if you want to trade rooks on it or if you want to prevent the enemy from taking possession of it (which usually leads to an exchange of rooks).

  7. An open file is only useful if there is a way to penetrate down it with your rook or queen. lack of penetration points make an open file all glitter but no substance.

Chess Life 2/96 p. 13

  1.  Don't exchange pieces that have better long-term prospects than the enemy versions have.

  2. Be careful not to win material at the expense of your position. If you are in control, stay that way and avoid any Greek gifts.

  3. Use your pawns to chase enemy knights off of advanced support points.

Chess Life 4/96 p. 35

  1. The goal of the opening is not to develop your pieces; it's to develop them to squares where your forces all work together to accomplish a mutual goal.

  2. Quick development is extremely important in open positions (e.g. no center pawns blocking the activity of the pieces).

  3. The more pawn-locked a center is, the less important development becomes.

  4. Be aware of the basic rules of strategy and the reasons for their existence.

      However, never follow them blindly!

Chess Life 9/96 p. 13

  1. Think about squares from the first move on.

  2. Every time a square is left unguarded, it becomes a potential home for an enemy piece.

  3. A weak square may not be a serious problem if an enemy piece can't reach it.

  4. Fischer once said. "You've got to give squares to get squares." This leads us to believe that all squares are not created equal. If you can gain access to a square by giving up one of your own, don't hesitate to do so if you think that your acquisition has more to do with the plans and problems that both sides are facing.

  5. Never push a pawn without seriously judging its long range effects on the squares it is supposed to control



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