Hey, hey, hey OJOers! Reckon you’ve got what it takes to be the King or Queen of the chess board? It’s International Chess Day and what better way to celebrate than by helping our lovely OJO family to improve their chess strategy.
We’re no strangers to the world of gambling here at the Fair Casino and chess has been linked to betting for hundreds of years, with punters often wagering on the outcome of a match. That tradition lives on today, with people able to bet on the world’s best players as they go head-to-head.
Do you like the idea of becoming a chess Grandmaster? Check out our top tips and see if you can avoid making Rook-y errors and improve your chess strategy!
1. Learn The Rules
Yes, yes, we know what you’re thinking – thanks Captain Obvious! But becoming accustomed to the rules of the game is pretty damn important if you want to improve your chess strategy. Once you’ve mastered the basic rules and the limitations of each piece becomes muscle memory, you’ll be able to second guess your opponent and think a few moves ahead. And obviously, knowing how to end the game is essential – there’s no point building up to a checkmate situation if you don’t know it works!
2. Post-match Strategy Analysis
For many people, settling down to watch Match of the Day is an essential part of their Saturday night routine, as they take in the football highlights and enjoy carefully crafted analysis about what each team did right and wrong. The show probably wouldn’t be as popular if Gary Lineker and co. were discussing chess but reviewing your own performances is a surefire way to quickly improve your chess strategy.
It’s harder to do if you’re playing on a board and would likely involve having to write down each move as it happens. But for those that play online, many sites record each move and allow you to analyse the data afterwards. Regularly reviewing both yours and your opponents’ moves will help you understand what you both did well, as well as where you went wrong, teaching you how to avoid the same mistakes next time.
3. Puzzle Time
Who doesn’t love a puzzle? Well, luckily there are plenty of online sites that throw you in at the deep end, with isolated in-game situation puzzles designed to test you and, most importantly, improve your chess strategy. Imagine a cross between chess and an Escape Room as you’re hit with a simulation that generally asks you to take a piece or defeat the king in a limited number of moves. Puzzle-tastic!
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Again, it sounds like an obvious one but we feel like we should reiterate it – play as much chess as possible! Play regularly, play against different people, play in person, play online, play against the computer. Just play! Much like boxing, you can read every book and watch every video under the sun but until you get in the ring and put it into practice, you’re not going to stand a chance.
5. Stop And Think About Your Strategy
We’ve all been there – your opponent has left their bishop wide open and you’ve spotted an opportunity. Ha! Take that opponent! But then your heart sinks as you’ve realised what you’ve done and they swoop in and take your queen. Always take an extra second to think about your next move, even if you’re pretty sure what you’re going to do. Make sure your king is protected and that you’re not exposing any pieces you’re not prepared to lose. Always be prepared!
6. Plan Ahead
They say the best players are always thinking several moves ahead and you should be no different if you want to improve your chess strategy. Stay aware of your surroundings and try to predict what your next move will make your opponent do. If you can analyse the consequences of each of your moves, you’ll be better prepared to strike.
7. Don’t Sweat The Openings
There are more than 1,000 named chess openings and some amateur players get too hung up on trying to perfect them in order to win the game as quickly as possible. Chess Grandmasters know every trick in the book, including the Fool’s Mate, otherwise known as the two-move checkmate. But winning in that fashion is incredibly rare, particularly for amateurs, and your time would be better spent improving other aspects of your chess strategy.
8. Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
It may be tempting to concentrate on the more powerful pieces but never underestimate the strength of the pawn. What they lack in size and ability to travel, they more than make up for in companionship. If you want to improve your chess strategy, it’s important to use all of your pieces – get them into better squares and use them to protect your stronger pieces. Focussing on just a few major players could leave them isolated, leaving you vulnerable if they get taken.
9. Aggressive Chess Strategy Can Be Good
When you think about aggressive chess, it’s hard not to imagine wizard chess in Harry Potter, where the pieces literally attack each other when they’re taken. While we wish that were the case in reality, sadly we’re actually talking about playing on the front foot. Being conservative has its benefits but if your opponent is holding back, don’t be afraid to attack. It may not always come off but learning to understand when it’s sensible to be bold will do wonders for your chess strategy.
10. OJO Says Relax!
Don’t worry about a thing! The most important tip to improve your chess strategy is simply not to take it too seriously. At the end of the day, chess is a game and is meant to be enjoyed. If you overthink it, you’re more likely to make mistakes and it just won’t be fun for anyone. Just go with the flow, amigo!