The game of chess and the game of life are very much similar. Both require strategy. Both require planning ahead. Both require caution. Both will make-or-break your self-esteem unless you find a way to utilize patience and pay attention to the little things.
I have put together some things I have learned over my 15 years that may help you learn from my mistakes. Enjoy!
Do not make careless pawn moves. They cannot move back.
- Think twice before taking action.
Do not “castle” if it brings your King into greater danger from attack in your chess game.
- If you can develop something other than your last-ditch effort, your chances of success improve vastly.
After castling, keep a good pawn formation around your King.
- Always protect your most valuable assets. Even if a defensive move, it’s always good to have a second line of defense.
If you only have one Bishop, always put your pawns on its opposite color in your chess game.
- Taking a proactive approach can prevent the unexpected.
Trading pawn pieces is a good strategy when you are ahead in material or when under attack.
- Only negotiate down from your original goal when it is a win-win situation.
If cramped for moving space, free your game by exchanging material in your chess game.
- Take away some unnecessary “clutter” so you can use the best resources.
If your opponent is cramped, don’t let him get any freeing exchanges.
- Always seek to empower yourself, not to put yourself at a disadvantage.
Study openings you are comfortable with in your chess game, at the experience level you excel at.
- Use strategies you have mastery in.
Play over the entire games, not just the current opening.
- Always have a plan, not one step ahead but a minimum of two. It really helps to have a whole setup.
Blitz chess is helpful in recognizing chess patterns. Play often.
- Try to think of the quickest, most efficient direction leading to win-win.
Study annotated games and try to guess each move in your chess game.
- Think like your opponent and practice empathy at the same time.
Stick with just a few openings with White and a few openings with Black.
- Try to limit your adversary’s options.
Record your games and go over them, especially the games you lost.
- Don’t repeat mistakes! Always learn from your failures.
Show your games to higher rated opponents and get feedback from them.
- Ask experienced adults/teachers/mentors for advice.
Use chess computers and databases to help you study and play more.
- Never limit your options or your mindfulness, build relationships with a wide variety of different personalities.
Everyone blunders. The champions just blunder less often in their chess game.
- Everybody makes mistakes.
When it is not your move, look for tactics and combinations.
- Pay attention to the ideas of others.
Always ask yourself, “Does my next move overlook something simple?”
- Measure twice, cut once. Double check your plan of action to make sure it’s good.
Don’t make your own plans without the exclusion of the opponent’s threats.
- Think about what your rival would do if you take action.
Watch out for captures by the retreat of an opponent’s piece in your chess game.
- If your challenger fizzles, think about how you can learn from their shortcomings.
Do not focus on one sector of the board. View the whole board.
- It’s just like the principle of meditation that encourages you to plan your whole day in advance. Think about the big picture.
Write down your move first before making that move – it helps avoid blunders.
- Things always look different on paper than in our mind.
Try to solve chess puzzles with diagrams from books and magazines.
- Use a variety of sources to help you succeed.
Watch your time and avoid time trouble in your chess game.
- Think before you act.
Bishops are worth more than Knights except when they are pinned in.
- It’s easier to retreat into isolation that to face up to our mistakes.
A Knight works better with a Bishop than another Knight in your chess game.
- It’s more productive to use at least two different resources, giving you a variety of ways to overcome obstacles.
Have confidence in your chess game.
- If you have a positive attitude, you will be a positive person. Whether you think you “can” or you “can’t”, you are right.
Play in as many rated events as you can.
- If you want to achieve success, never close your mind to any option.
Always play for a win in your chess game.
- Try your hardest at everything you do, otherwise, what’s the point?
Junior at Stanton High School