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10 Tips to Become a Chess Champ

chess player looking at board

To master chess strategies and become a chess champ, it’ll take lots of learning and practice. Here are 10 chess tips to get you started.


Each chess piece can move only a certain way. For instance, a pawn moves straight ahead but can only attack on an angle, one square at a time. A knight’s move is L-shaped. The bishop moves at an angle but can move more than one square at a time. The rook (castle) can move only in a straight line but can go forward, back or to the side. The queen, the most powerful piece, can move in any direction for any number of squares, but not two directions in one move. And the king moves at a stately pace — as a king should — one square at a time in any direction on the chess board.


Move the pawn in front of either the king or queen two squares forward. (Only on its opening move can a pawn move two squares.) This opens pathways for your bishops and queen to enter the game. They move on an angle and can’t get out onto the field of battle if pawns are in the way.


Before you move your queen, rooks or king, move your knights and bishops toward the center of the chess board. You want to get these pieces out from behind the pawns so they can attack.


And front! When it’s your turn, always think to yourself, “What did my opponent’s last move do? What is he up to?” Is he laying traps to capture your pieces? Then decide on your own plan. Always look at all your possibilities. Look at moves that would capture your opponent’s men or threaten his king first. But always double-check your moves before you play them. Ask yourself, “Does my move leave something unprotected?”


Don’t make too many moves with your pawns or try to pick off your opponent’s pawns.


Castling is a move that allows you to move your king to safety and bring your rook into play. Once all the squares between your rook and the king are unoccupied you can move the king two squares toward the rook while the rook moves to the square on the the king’s other side. If your opponent neglects to castle, you might be able to launch an attack on his king. This is the only chess move in which more than one piece may be moved in a turn.


After you’ve brought all your knights and bishops into the game and castled (these moves are your “opening”), the middlegame begins. In the middlegame, always be on the lookout for ways to capture your opponent’s men. Take any chess piece that your opponent doesn’t protect. But look at what will happen to your piece if you take his — will you get picked off? Always be looking for ways to move lots of your men into position to attack the enemy king.


You’ll take some of your opponent’s pieces. Some of your pieces will be taken. You must figure out what is and isn’t a good swap in chess. This is one of the most important chess strategies.

Use these points to figure out whether you’re making a good move if you’re going to lose one of them:

  • Queen: 9 points
  • Rook: 5 points
  • Bishop: 3 points
  • Knight: 3 points
  • Pawn: 1 point

So is it a good idea to lose a bishop to save a pawn? No!


If you see a good move, sit on your hands and look for a better one. Patient thinking is the key to chess success.


After you and your opponent swap pieces and you’re down to just a few men, the endgame begins. Now the pawns become more important. If you can advance a pawn to the farthest row away from you, that pawn becomes a queen. A big success! Let your king attack, too, as long as he stays out of reach of your opponent’s remaining pieces — especially the queen — and does not let himself to be checked.

Your king is said to be in check when your opponent threatens to use one of his pieces to capture the king on his next move. If your king is checked and you have no way to remove the threat — it can’t run away, you can’t capture the opposing piece that has him in check and you can’t block the check by moving one of your own pieces — the game is lost. Checkmate! If you checkmate your opponent before he checkmates you, then you win!

By using these chess strategies and tips, you’ll become a chess champ in no time!

51 Comments on 10 Tips to Become a Chess Champ

  1. I have read many chess books, but the best one that I read wad written for kids. Learning the basics, like these hints, gave me a chance to play longer games and improve.

  2. chessbeginner1 // February 2, 2009 at 6:51 pm // Reply

    these are some rocking tips

  3. Miss_America88 // January 26, 2009 at 10:33 am // Reply

    I know someone before didn’t want to tell but what are the moves that have to happen to win in two moves?

  4. These are great beginner tips, castling is very important and yes, I try to do it before the tenth move (10-15 or so). After so many moves you might have lost the chance to castle and burying your king in your own end where he is covered is safest. The middle of the board is where it hits the fan. just remember that the side pawns are your protection and not to move them away from your king for a while, just until you’ve thinned out the herd a little and also you must keep your pieces covering each other near your king. One opponent piece in there wreaks havoc.

  5. Thanks for the help! I’m in chess club so in need help

  6. My dad cant beat me anymore. Thanks!

  7. level 10? Which chess program are you speaking of? There are many different chess apps, all with there own level system.

  8. Honestly….. Has anyone every play the computer on level 10 or the highest level and won even once?. I am good and out of 125 games on level 5 I have won 12 I am goning nuts and truely addicted to try and beat it concesntly..but not even close

  9. Green, probably the best way to get better at chess is to 1) study chess books from the library, and 2) keep playing. Experience will help a lot.


  11. Hi fellow Scouts,

    I’m glad some of you found the tips helpful! I remember when this article came out a couple years ago–it was a lot of fun to work with the author, Nancy. The graphics were really neat, too.

    Castling is a good move! Almost all chess masters and Grandmasters try to castle within the first 15 moves of a game or so. Although the king may look “blocked in” in the corner, it is actually safer there. If castling appears to leave you getting checkmated early, it is probably because not all of your pieces have been mobilized. In the opening, be sure to get ALL your pieces out–don’t waste too much time with the pawns!

    –Jonathan Hilton

  12. grodon vs. krogre // December 10, 2008 at 7:13 pm // Reply

    this is really good imformation, it might just help me beat my dad (he’s really good) and beat at least 1 person in a tournament. P.S.i have heard this stuff B4.

  13. I know the two move, the four move, the three move, and many more. Some of the easiest ways to block these involve a knight moving in the opening.

  14. Ok tips for beginners, most of which can be found in a beginning book at the library.

    This is not a great feat at all; being good at chess has nothing to do with age. It’s all experience. If a 10 year old that had been playing for 1 week beat a 30 year old that was completely new, I wouldn’t be surprised a bit. Keep in mind, I’m not bashing Jonathon, just pointing out the obvious.

    G-dog: Castling is a extremely important part of winning chess. Ask anyone at an intermediate/above level of play.

  15. some good tips, some not so good tips. take these with your grains of salt
    * please excuse spelling =P

  16. chess marine // December 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm // Reply

    a royal checkmate

  17. Great tips for beginners. I’m at an intermediate level, though, so these are already drilled into my brain.

  18. Ray the gray // December 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm // Reply

    This is pretty awesome

  19. I agree Joe, These aren’t really great tips. Castling puts your king in a corner so its hard for him to get out of trouble it should only be used if it needs to.

  20. they’re not that great i dont get how thats supposed to help me win.

  21. cool i love chess thanks for the info

  22. i beat my dad, he captured 3 pawnes and i captured all his pieces

  23. evry time i use these tips, i lose horribly

  24. Thanks for the advice, chess is my favorite game.

  25. This will help me inprove my chess game, thanks

  26. lord of the rings freak // November 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm // Reply

    another tip: always always always get pawns to the other side asap

  27. i am in the state champions chip.

  28. Thank you!

  29. I think I really liked that.

  30. TERMINATOR v.2.0 // November 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm // Reply

    I all ready injoy chess but this will definitely help me beat my granddad (hese a GREAT player !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  31. i like checkers better

  32. these are good tips, why is nobody posting here, post, people!

  33. i love chess!!

  34. even thuogh i am achess champ it helped me alot

  35. Yo,checkmate!

  36. well i am a chess champ myself but that was helpful.

  37. I agree with royal 😀

  38. monkeybrainz // November 7, 2008 at 5:20 pm // Reply

    chess is awesome. i have beaten my dad b4. i was about 2 get creamed, but i found a move 2 put him n checkmate (he’s really good).

  39. I know a move to checkmate in 2 moves, thanks for the tips

  40. i have a 4-move winning strategy but i won’t tell you guys because if i do,then everyone else would do that and it would be difficult if two people were doing the same thing. but it does kind of involve the same strategy you stated there.

  41. royal is right

  42. checkmate

  43. thanks those are good tips

  44. i really want to learn how to play chess these are good tips

  45. Ya this should help my chess game out! Hey Bernardo (Troop 25) good not being concited

  46. Bernardo (Troop 25) // November 1, 2008 at 5:48 pm // Reply

    I’m the best at chess in my school, it’s good that there’s tips here, so can my opponents be stronger for me, yeah!

  47. i love chess thank you.

  48. O.K. that was 10 minutes of my life

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