12 Principles

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Top 12 Chess Principles

This video (click above) is in English and I’ve summarized it here:

Guideline “Ways to Win!”


Direction: “There is no random win,” quote from Bruce Pandolfini

  1. Move with Purpose
  2. Play for the Center
  3. Advance both Center Pawns
  4. Develop all the pieces
  5. Castle Early
  6. Answer all Threats
  7. Look for Double Attacks
  8. Make a Plan
  9. Take the Initiative
  10. Control Open Lines
  11. Simplify when Ahead
  12. Play for Mate (Checkmate)


In Detail

  1. Move with Purpose


  1. Play for the Center

If you Control the middle (D4,D5,E4,E5) -> control the game


  1. Advance both Center Pawns


  1. Develop all the pieces

Don’t make needless pawn moves that don’t help with the game

  1. Castle Early

After you have developed your pieces


  1. Answer all Threats

Whenever your opponent makes a move, find out, which pieces he is attacking, and make sure you defend against the move.


  1. Look for Double Attacks

Try to do this yourself. Create a fork. It is really hard to defend against a double attack in a single move.


  1. Make a Plan

Checkmates do not happen randomly.

It is hard to win a game, if you do not have a plan; e.g.

    • Attack the king with two rooks
    • Take all his pieces
    • Give the king a bear hug with your queen

Find out what your final destination is on the chess board; you can’t use the GPS, if you don’t know where you’re going.


  1. Take the Initiative

Do not wait for your opponent to attack you.

Find a way to get through towards the king.

  1. Control Open Lines

Rooks are great on open files and bishops are great on open diagonals.

Rooks do not do well when they are hiding behind pawns.

Rooks do well when they are on an open file; they can control the entire file.

Make sure the bishops have room and freedom to come out and attack.

  1. Simplify when Ahead

It is harder to see the entire chessboard when there are more pieces.

Even if you trade pieces, you’ll still be ahead, because your opponent will be down one. And you don’t have to worry about it sneaking up on you.


  1. Play for Mate (Checkmate)

Don’t continue taking pieces if it’s unnecessary and you can just checkmate him.

Checkmating the king is as if you captured all the opponent’s pieces.


These are Comments to the video that I found helpful:

1) Like I said you should always come up with a short plan (or plans) that have 2 faces.

A plan A and a plan B for every plan that you are making.

Plan A will be if your opponent doesn’t defend and plan B is what will you win IF your opponent defends correctly


2) Be aware of the 4th and 5th rank.

There might always be a way for you or your opponent to win a piece (or more) that is not defended in those 2 ranks by some trick. Even if you can’t see the trick you should always keep your pieces defended with pawn so that most of your opponent tricks don’t get materialized.


3) Bishops worth more than Knights in open positions and Knights worth more if the position is closed.

(Open means that pawns can move freely and closed means that pawns are blocking each other and cannot move any more. Therefore you have to judge if you want to give away a Bishop for a Knight or the opposite).


4) Knights are the only pieces that can attack the piece that is attacking them!

Which means that if you have a bishop attacking your opponent’s Knight, your opponent can move the Knight in such a way that now the Knight is attacking your Bishop but your Bishop is no longer attacking the Knight! So don’t forget to double check what is going on every time a Knight is moved!


5) Knights have 4 blind spots (you can google that and find more about it).

Basically there are 4 squares that a Knight needs 4 moves to get to those squares. So if you are not sure where to place a piece that you don’t want to be attacked by a Knight better place it in one of those 4 Knight’s blind spots!


6) 2 Rooks sometimes worth more than a Queen!

So don’t get frustrated when you are up a Queen and still lost the game because you don’t have any Rooks, it might happen and you should be aware of your opponent sacrificing their Queen to win 2 of your Rooks!


7) Create outposts for your Bishops and Knights,

try to find holes in your opponent’s position that you can insert one of your own piece that is protected and can never be attacked by your opponent. Your piece will stay there forever if you want to!


8) Play against higher rated opponent and analyze your games with Stock Fish

(or a coach) to see where you went wrong or what opportunities you missed.

Just remember that if you had played these moves you would have beaten a higher rated player! That will make you understand chess in a deeper level and see that chess isn’t all that hard after all, you just have to take it one move at a time!


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