What should you avoid in chess?

Answered by John Hunt

In chess, there are several common mistakes that new players often make. It’s important to be aware of these mistakes and try to avoid them in order to improve your gameplay. Here are seven things that you should avoid in chess:

1. Becoming frustrated at slow progress: Chess is a complex game that requires time and practice to master. It’s easy to become impatient and frustrated when you don’t see immediate improvement. However, it’s important to remember that progress in chess is gradual. Don’t get discouraged and keep learning and practicing.

2. Playing too many pawn moves: Pawns are the building blocks of your position, but new players often make the mistake of moving them too frequently. It’s important to develop your pieces and control the center of the board before pushing your pawns. Avoid making too many pawn moves in the opening, as it can weaken your position and leave your pieces without good squares.

3. Focusing too much on opening study: While it’s important to have a basic understanding of openings, new players often make the mistake of spending too much time studying specific opening lines. Remember that chess is not just about memorizing moves, but also about understanding the underlying principles and ideas. Instead of solely focusing on openings, allocate time to studying tactics, strategy, and endgames as well.

4. Neglecting endgame study: Endgames are often overlooked by new players, but they are crucial to becoming a well-rounded chess player. It’s important to study basic endgame principles and practice common endgame scenarios. Without a good grasp of endgames, you may struggle to convert winning positions or save difficult ones.

5. Playing “Hope Chess”: “Hope Chess” is a term used to describe playing moves without calculating or considering your opponent’s responses. It’s a common mistake among new players who rely on hope rather than careful analysis. To improve, always try to calculate your moves and anticipate your opponent’s responses. Don’t rely on hope alone.

6. Only thinking about attacks: It’s natural to be drawn to the idea of launching attacks and going for checkmate, but chess is a game of balance. New players often neglect defensive aspects and focus solely on attacking. Remember to consider the safety of your own pieces and think about your opponent’s threats. A well-rounded approach that combines offense and defense is essential for success in chess.

7. Moving the queen out too early: The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, and new players often make the mistake of bringing her out too early in the game. While it may seem tempting to use the queen to attack, this can lead to her becoming a target for your opponent’s pieces. Instead, focus on developing your other pieces first and bringing the queen out later when the position is more favorable.

By avoiding these common mistakes, new players can improve their gameplay and progress in chess. Remember to be patient, focus on all aspects of the game, and avoid making hasty moves without calculations. With time and practice, you can become a stronger chess player.