4 December, 2020
Anatoly Machulsky

How To Start A Game Of Chess: Some Tips And Recommendations By Anatoly Machulsky

For many beginners, starting a game of chess can be something straightforward, or immensely complicated, depending on whether they move the first piece that comes to mind or if they do not know some basic and well-known notions in the world of chess.

There are thousands of manuals, chess books and “recipes” that explain how to start a game of chess without getting completely lost in just a few moves. However, I will briefly explain the main rules to follow when sitting in front of the board:

  1. The first thing to try is to get control of the center.

Whoever controls the center will have more space so that their pieces can maneuver better and carry out plans of attack. 

“The best way to control the center is to place as many pawns in it as possible.” Anatoly Machulsky explains. “That is why the recommended moves for beginners are usually d4 and, above all, e4, since, in addition to controlling the central squares of the board, it opens the way to the bishops and the queen, thus achieving a faster development of pieces.”

  1. The next thing to achieve is castling ourselves as soon as possible.

It is recommended to be castled before the eighth move. To do this, logically, we must develop the minor pieces (knights and bishops) starting with those on the flank where we want to castle. 

The recommended order is knights first, then bishops. With castling, we managed to put our king undercover and bring the tower to the center, where it will have more available columns and therefore more activity.

  1. To start a game of chess, it is essential not to move too many pawns.

Especially those who will be the ones who protect the king once castled. With moving 2 or 3 centers, whenever we can, to be able to develop our pieces and control the center, it is enough.

  1. It is also essential not to move the same piece twice or more without reason.

If we do, we lose time in removing the rest of the pieces.

  1. The bishops, and especially the knights, are poorly placed on the edges of the board since they control fewer squares.

You have to try to place them as centred as possible. The knights, from squares f3 and f6, defend short castling very well since they control the weak square h2 and h7 respectively.

  1. The pieces have to be “comfortable”, that is, they should not be “colliding” with our pieces or pawns or behind them, as their radius of action will decrease significantly.

Anatoly Machulsky continues: Thus, the bishops will be better placed in long and clear diagonals, the rooks in files that do not have our pawns, and the knights in central squares where they cannot be quickly expelled.

  1. The queen and rooks are the last pieces to come into play.

It is essential not to rush to remove the queen too early, since our rival will use his exposed position to attack her while she completes her development, being able to hunt her.

  1. You also have to avoid giving unnecessary checks.

With them, the only thing we can do is help our rival to develop more pawns and/or pieces.

  1. Nor do we have to launch the attack without having completed the development of all the pieces and without being castled.

Sometimes we even have to avoid free pawn captures that delay our development and our castling.

  1. And finally. It is essential to remember that these “rules” are relative and flexible.

You don’t always have to follow them. In certain positions, it will be necessary to breach them to avoid remaining in a lower or lost position. Also, to get some advantage that leads us to victory.


Anatoly Machulsky

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