a corporately dressed man palying chess

20 Tips to Play Chess Like a Pro

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, everyone can learn something new when it comes to playing this classic game. That is why we have put together some tips that will help you play chess like a pro in no time.

1. It is not always about the pieces

Even though the game has been around for ages, there are still some people who believe that it is all about moving your pieces to get your opponent’s king. Mind you, this might work if your opponent does not know what they are doing, but if they do then it will only end in disaster.

Yes, you need to have good pieces to win a game of chess but remember that this is not “checkers”. Chess is full of strategies that require smart thinking rather than just placing down your piece and hoping everything will fall into place. You must be prepared for any situation.

You should never try to put yourself in danger because you may lose an important piece which could cause you to lose the game.

2. Think before you move

This is probably one of the most important tips when it comes to playing chess like a pro. Here at GistFocus, we highly recommend that you think about your moves in advance so that you won’t regret them later on.

Do not just randomly place down your pieces because there might be an unexpected checkmate waiting for you or even worse, end up losing a piece because of it.

When you are starting out with the game, do not get discouraged if you lose all of your matches. Keep practicing and try to use what little knowledge you have about this classic board game. If possible, play against other people who know how to play chess well.

You can also read about the different kinds of strategies that you can use on this website for more tips on how to play chess like a pro and win your next match.

3. Start the game with a pawn

In chess, you usually start the game with a pawn in the center of your board. If you are playing white, then this means that it will be on the second row from left to right while if you are playing black, it will be on the eighth column from left to right.

Although this may seem easy enough to remember when you have everything else in place, it is actually quite confusing for beginners so we highly recommend that you write down where each pawn should go before starting a new match.

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This way, things will not get too complicated for anyone involved and no one has to take extra time to study where each piece goes because they can easily find it on their written notes later on.

More importantly, writing everything down helps keep track of the different pieces and their current location, which will make it easier for you to plan out your next move.

4. Know when to take a break

One of the best things about playing chess is that there are no time limits involved. You can play for as long as you want or until someone wins the match. However, if this is your first time then we highly recommend that you limit all matches to 30 minutes each to give yourself a better chance at winning without going overboard with your strategies.

This way, you get a good idea of what level everyone else around the board is in and how well they can strategize without being too serious about it.

If possible, try taking breaks between games because this gives you some time to study your previous moves or even ask chess experts for more tips on how to improve your game.

5. Have fun!

Last but not least, do not forget to have fun when playing chess like a pro. This is why the game has been around for centuries and will continue to be popular in today’s era because it is one of those things that brings people together no matter what their age or background is like.

It encourages communication between different kinds of people so they can come up with new ideas about the game and maybe even share something else with each other while playing.

More importantly, you get more out of this than just winning matches against your opponent because you get the chance to meet new people who enjoy chess as much as you do.

6. Get the Knights and Bishops out from behind the pawns for an attack

Chess piece The King

Source: UGC

This chess position is an excellent example of how a player can use their pawns to protect their more valuable pieces.

This position is advantageous for the white knights and bishops because they are free to attack the black pawns. The black knights and bishops are stuck behind the pawns and can’t move. This gives the white pieces a clear advantage.

The knights and bishops are hiding behind the pawns because they’re not strong enough to defend themselves. By moving the pawns out of the way, the knights and bishops can be used to attack the opponent’s king.

7. Watch your front and back

Chess is a thinking game. Your opponent can’t just do whatever he wants, and you have to be mindful of what moves your opponent might make next so that none of their pieces get captured or taken hostage without protection from the other side’s king. Always think two steps ahead when playing chess!

8. Don’t waste time moving the same piece twice

If you need to move a specific piece more than once, then that is called an “underpromotion”; for instance, if you have the option to move your queen three different times with three different pieces, then you can promote it into a rook or knight depending on where your opponent’s pieces are.

However, if you waste time moving one of those pieces twice during this opportunity, then you’ve underperformed and probably lost the game already!

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9. Don’t underestimate pawns

Pawns are not as weak as they seem. They’re gross fighters who will do whatever it takes to protect their friends. If necessary, pawns are allowed to sacrifice themselves for other chess pieces – that’s just how they roll.

A pawn can even attack a queen, so white would definitely have some trouble trying to get close to black’s king without being attacked by one of those dorks!

10. Develop your pieces first

If you want to win chess games, then you need to know how each piece moves on the board. Before you move any other piece, learn how each chess knight, bishop, rook, and pawn moves first because that will give you an advantage over your opponent.

If you waste time moving all four of your main pieces before learning what they’re capable of doing strategically, then it can result in lost opportunities for capturing key enemy chess pieces.

11. Bring the best out of every piece

Every single piece on the chessboard is capable of so much more than most people give them credit for. For instance, chess bishops aren’t just good at attacking diagonally; they can also attack vertically and horizontally! Before you whip out your next move, make sure you know what all the pieces are capable of doing first to use their strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses.

12. Pinpoint weak spots on the board

A pin exists when a piece is closely surrounded by enemy pieces because it can’t move or capture other chess pieces without getting captured itself first. If you fail to plan around this disadvantageous position, then your pinned piece may end up losing its match if you’re not careful with how far ahead you plan!

The same goes for any other piece that might be trapped in a corner or surrounded by other pieces. Always be mindful of your own surrounding pieces and how they’re going to affect the outcome of the game.

13. Take advantage of spaces between other players’ pieces

When there are big gaps in between enemy chess pieces, then that’s called an “open field,” and that gives you a great opportunity to use each one of your chess pieces strategically!

You can take control over filled-in spaces next to one another by using your stronger pawns and knights (they move over multiple squares at once) and promote them into bishops, rooks, or even queens later if needed!

Be extra careful when attacking without wide open space around your king’s side because you could easily lose it all if you aren’t careful.

14. Avoid repeating moves and sequences

I know this sounds really obvious, but it’s surprising how many people repeat the same move over and over again or use a specific sequence of moves to get from one chess piece to another without giving it much thought first.

In addition, if your opponent sees that you’re following a set pattern each time you play, then they’ll most likely be able to predict what you might do next so beware! If an expected move has already been used by either side more than once during a single chess match, then the person who made that move must try something different their next turn before reusing any prior situations they’ve tried already.

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15. Attack in the Middlegame

A Chess Board Game Player playing his turn


The middlegame of a chess game is where the battlefield becomes most congested – that’s when both players are trying to develop their pieces into stronger positions while completely surrounding enemy pieces with their own.

This is where games are typically won or lost, because if you don’t keep track of everything going on in the center of the open field, then you could find yourself losing important pieces without even realizing it! Before taking any risks, always carefully consider how your next move might affect the entire outcome of this heated match.

16. Exploit your opponent’s weaknesses

Always be mindful about what weaknesses you’re seeing in your opponent’s side of the board. Keep track of any new developments that they create on each turn and see if there’s any way you can take advantage of it!

For instance, if they move their queen out in the open to attack one of your pieces, then you can take control of that space and threaten them right back with a powerful attack. Pay close attention to what your opponent is doing and be mindful not to fall into any traps they might set along the way!

17. Keep your king safe at all times

King safety is one of the most important things when playing chess because you need to protect this piece from being captured. Remember: checkmate only occurs when a player’s king is placed in a position where it cannot escape capture by moving off the board or protected by another chess piece (ie: blocking).

Never take unnecessary risks with your king by doing something like walking it right into the center of a battlefield where your opponent’s pieces are surrounding you! Always make sure to use good planning and strategy when moving any chess pieces around.

18. Sacrifice for greater gains

One of the most important yet underused strategies in chess is called “sacrifice.” When you sacrifice a piece, you’re giving up one of your weaker pieces (pawns, bishops, rooks) in order to gain a tactical advantage over an enemy position that will help win the game by taking control over another space or forcing a checkmate on a weak side.

This is typically only used as a last-ditch effort because if it doesn’t work out then you’ll be at quite the disadvantage so beware!

19. Wind the Endgame

The endgame of a chess match starts once most pieces have been moved off the board and are when each player has a few key pieces remaining. The object here is to whittle down your opponent’s forces as much as possible, while still paying attention to their own movements as well.

You want to slowly start trading off your opponent’s remaining pieces with one of your own whenever possible because this will help you take control of more territory on the board later on.

20. Improve Your Memory With Chess Tactics

It can be quite tricky keeping track of all the different chess tactics that keep popping up over and over again during a single match! One way I find helpful for improving memory is by forcing myself to out a list after each game of tactics that I think about during the game.

This helps me remember what happened more clearly when replaying in my mind later on, so give it a try yourself and see how well you do!

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