Mastering Chess: Discover the Best Moves for Success

Chess is a timeless game of strategy and skill that has captured the hearts of millions around the world. To master this game, one must understand the importance of finding the best move in each situation.

Learning the basic rules and moves of the different chess pieces and implementing effective strategies are key factors to consider.

In this article, we will explore how to find the best move in chess, common mistakes to avoid, and tips on improving decision-making skills on the chessboard. Let’s enhance our chess-playing abilities together!

What Is Chess?

Chess is a two-player, abstract, strategy board game. It’s played on an 8X8 square 64-space board consisting of 32 white and 32 black squares. Each color has 16 playing pieces, which consist of 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 knights, 2 bishops, and 8 pawns.

The objective of chess is to checkmate the opponent. This occurs if the opponent’s king is in a position to be captured (in check) and cannot escape the attack. Unlike other critical games like the game of Go, chess is a game of complete information left entirely to player skill without any random elements. Neither player has any information that the other does not. The entire board is visible and the moves and possible moves of every piece are known at any time.

Chess has a theoretical maximum of 5,949 different moves possible at once. As explained by International Master (IM) Kevin Wicker, the average chess game has 40 simultaneous moves. Unlike algorithmic games like Go, chess only looks ahead by only one move before trying each move to evaluate whether it makes sense. Chess has an objective, complete information, no luck, and is an abstract strategy game.

What Is the Goal of Chess?

The goal of chess is to place the opponent’s king in a position where it is threatened with capture (check), and the opponent has no legal moves to prevent capture (checkmate). Impeding the king results in mate, which means the end of the game from which there is no escape for the opponent.

Impeding the king means that it is in certain danger every turn. Even if the opponent sacrifices most of his or her pieces, you must either check the enemy’s king or checkmate it. Lacking legal moves means that the king cannot make any moves that guys would not be made because they would expose it to capture.

This is the most fundamental goal of chess, upon which all other goal-setting is dependent. For eventually win a game, and depending on the opponent’s actions and inclinations, establishing the goal of chess may include subgoals, including acquiring material and geographical advantages, weakening the opponent’s position, promoting one’s own position, improving or concentrating one’s own position and mobility or restricting and fragmenting the opponent’s position and mobility.

How to Play Chess?

Chess is a classic two-player strategy game where each player has a clear agenda (goal: to win by checkmating the opponent’s king) and must develop a plan to meet this goal (strategy: line-up one’s pieces and attacks and defend the other pieces), and find ways to execute this strategy (tactics: choosing which and when to move each playing piece and what sequence of attacks to with each).

In most games, each player starts with sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. You take turns moving one piece at a time with the other player. Other than when it first launches, chess is a turn-based game that few other games in the 21st century can match for the intricacy of its strategy. Each different piece moves in different ways. Some are simply, like the rook going straight. Others are more complex, such as the unique ‘L’ moves made by knights, the diagonal moves of bishops, and the combination of moves for the bizarre but omnipresent jump, attack, and protect units known as pawns.

You ultimately win the game by putting your opponent in Checkmate – leaving them no option to move their king from attack on the next move or a chain reaction of moves made to defend the king, the player. The key points of the rules of chess are: it is played on an 8×8 square chessboard with alternating squares of white and black; the opening is for what happens immediately when pieces have moved from their original positions; the middle of the game tactics and armies of whatever players are left in the field will be fought for; and the endgame is the positioning and protection of the yet untouched at least one of the two kings.

What Are the Basic Rules of Chess?

The basic rules of chess determine the move sequences and overall objectives of the game, including legal versus illegal moves, how a draw is declared, the Threefold and Fifty-Move rules, and general aspects of characterizing the game. Here are the rudiments covering basis of play, the objective, legal versus illegal moves, board and initial square set up, piece movement types, special moves, attacking and capturing opponents’ pieces, determining check and checkmate, general touch-moving guidelines, and more according to Article 1 of FIDE’s Laws of Chess.

Article 1.1, Basic of Play Rule: Chess is played between two opponents who move their pieces according to certain rules on a square board, called a chessboard. The player with the light-colored pieces (White) makes the first move, and thereafter the players take turns moving, with White moving first.

1.2, Objective of the Game Rule: The object of the game of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s king – this ends the game. An organizational tournament game may be drawn, which is where neither side has the possibility to checkmate the opponent.”

What Are the Different Chess Pieces and Their Moves?

The different chess pieces are the following and they move in the following ways:

  1. Pawns
  2. Rooks
  3. Bishops
  4. Knights
  5. King
  6. Queen

Pawns: The pawn is the weakest unit on the board, moving a single square forward at a time, but capturing diagonally. On their first move, the pawn has the option to move either one or two squares forward. If a pawn successfully crosses the board to the other side, it can be promoted to any other piece, most often a queen.
Rooks: The rook is the strongest pawn piece and can move any number of squares forward, backward, or sideways.
Bishops: The bishop moves diagonally across the board but only across its assigned color blocks.
Knights: The knight is famous for its movement in an L shape – two squares in one direction followed by one square perpendicular to it. The knight is the only piece that can ignore other pieces on the board.
King: The King moves one square in any direction, but cannot move to a square where it could be captured by an enemy piece on the next turn.
Queen: The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board and can move as many spaces as she wants in any direction.

What Is the Importance of Finding the Best Move in Chess?

The importance of finding the best move in chess to minimize mistakes and gain advantages over your opponent. A game in which two equal opponents always find the best move will always end in a draw, independently of the initial positions and wish of either side to win. But even if we accept this premise, a more skilled player should always have the advantage of playing a theoretically better game.

The art of chess is the moving around of the pieces, attempting to create the conditions where one is almost certain their ‘best move’ will not have an ‘answer.’ The computer era has in some ways robbed the game of this, with apps and computers attempting to identify the best moves in any position. But whereas people can be deceived and blinded, computers – even as created by people – cannot be, making chess all the more egalitarian in this sense.

What Are Some Strategies for Finding the Best Move in Chess?

Some strategies for finding the best move in chess include: survey all candidate moves, systematically analyze them, visualize the position (particularly useful for tactics), seek an engine’s help, find a plan first and only then look for moves, be mindful of the time on your and your opponent’s clock (pace the timing of your move), eliminate moves based on qualitative judgments, avoid setting mental limits on time or process.

Control the Center of the Board

Controlling the shortest distance to the opponent’s side of the board during opening and middle games. Initial chess moves should involve central pawn development or board pieces that defend outgoing central pawn corps to control the center, which comprises the 16 squares d4, d5, e4, e5. These central squares grant domination of all four sides of the chessboard (the middle controlling the surrounding). Control of the center provides safety for the player and danger for the opponent which increases mobility for all the player’s pieces and reduces mobility for the opponent. Therefore, the player has the ability to quickly focus their strongest pieces on one side of the board to create unequal threats.

Develop Your Pieces Efficiently

According to world-renowned grandmaster Levon Aronian, development involves bringing your knights and bishops out, along with your king and queens. This allows you to be flexible with the development of your position to meet changes on the board. Failing to develop depending on the other player’s moves is often a sign of a bad move in chess. Focused and quick development leads to higher chances of playing a good move.

Protect Your King

Visibility Magazine’s Martin Broch Oxfeldt writes in an article entitled Teaching environments for tactical chess training, that after Analysis and Static evaluation has finished the third and final step is dynamic evaluation. This is dynamic because it involves predicting the moves your opponent is likely to play. The board is then reassessed to see how the dynamics of these new positions have changed.

In the case of static analysis, the goal is usually to simply stay out of any extremely poor moves. Dynamic analysis is similar in that you are searching within a range of candidate moves. However, dynamic evaluation follows proactive and safety-first strategies for attacking and defending, respectively. In most games, you do both of these. Even when attacking, weaknesses must be considered. And even when defending, opportunities must be sought. Both pros and amateurs ultimately evaluate a move based on a mix of static and dynamic analysis. However, champions have a stronger dynamic bias, which is what places them in the elite ranks.

The most important static concept in dynamic evaluation is king safety. Oxfeldt explains that just in the same way you evaluate pawn structures and piece coordination for potential future weaknesses on a static basis, you must also be attuned to king safety to avoid imminent disaster.

Create Threats and Attack Weaknesses

Creating threats that the opponent must then deal with is the essence of tactical play. These threats can attack weaknesses, put the opponent’s pieces in suboptimal positions, or create tactical opportunities such as forks and discovered attacks which are covered below.

Continual advancement of one’s position is part of attacking an opponent’s weaknesses. Examine any of Your Next Move’s games, and you will almost always find that one side gave the other a weak pawn, weak square, or square or piece that could be advantageously attacked. The player then attacked these weakenesses to gain a psychological or material advantage.

In the following segment of a game between Ivanchuk and Carlsen, Carlsen plays 40.Ba5 to create a threat to Ivanchuk’s king. When Ivanchuk moved his queen Qh8 to stop the pawn from becoming a queen, this was checkmate as it made it possible for Carlsen’s queen to perform the attacking pawn transformation.

After creating opportunities in the game, look to exploit them to gain material advantage. But just moving each piece as part of the moving cycle will not move It will facilitate control in the center and create potentials. One must continually identify these opportunities, stay ahead of one’s planning horizon, and adapt one’s plan based on opponent’s reactions. That is the element of tactical and dynamic fluid play which is sometimes described as finding the thread without which the tactics do not hang together and the game is lost.

Consider Your Opponent’s Moves

You should consider your opponent’s moves before deciding on a move yourself. Their move opens up a new situation which you must now analyze. Part of find the best move chess theory is to understand the moves your opponent will likely make and how to prevent them, delay them or react to them. Try to imagine their plan and then prevent, delay or eliminate possible threats.

If you can’t figure out your opponent’s plan, or you simply don’t know which move would cause them to make a mistake, consider attempting a defensive chess move. You don’t always have to have a plan to make a worthwhile move. You can make a strategic move to pass your turn, known as making a strengthening move. This is a move that can help you develop your pieces or solidify your position without disrupting the strategic logic you have adopted.

If you have gotten to an impasse and it is really important your opponent does not gain any ground, consider this analysis advice from FM Keri, no move is a bad idea if it is good for strength.

What Are Some Common Mistakes in Finding the Best Move in Chess?

  • Not using enough time. Many beginners at chess fail to find the best move simply because they do not take the time to do so. A common misbelief is that faster is better. Yet even in fast games, there is some time to calculate moves and choose the best move for the given position.
  • Having an overly aggressive or cool personality. Misreading the position can happen by having too aggressive or too cool a temperament. Overly aggressive players are more likely to move quickly and less carefully. Players that are too cool might pass an opportunity for a massive attack. Players should need to combine the usefulness of both traits.
  • Having tic moves. Chess experts use their rote knowledge like pawns and moves to decrease the search domain and quickly find the best move. Beginners, on the other hand, are likely to get stuck in a search domain because of their “tic moves.”
  • Not calculating indirect threats. Beginners are often frozen in fear of the primary threat, eg. a direct threat of a major piece like the queen, knights, or rooks. Instead, they should focus on calculating potential indirect threats where a less valuable piece might set up several additional threats and will allow deeper thinking to find the best move.
  • Ignoring the most aggressive move. Beginners often fail to create the best opportunities to attack their opponents. They avoid the most aggressive move because it might be seen by their opponent and lose its effectiveness. Instead, they should focus on exploring the most aggressive move even when it is a forced move because there may be double attacks at different points.

Tunnel Vision

Tunnel vision is when a player picks a target far too early in an analysis and loses sight of the continuing dynamic play-objectively determining whether there is an improvement to their best move. The best way to check for this is to look at other candidate moves that were eliminated in earlier steps of the process because they didn’t seem successful enough to warrant more analysis.

Simply go back to the eliminated candidates and reanalyze them, keeping a close yet open mind. This examines past assumptions and expands the horizon of possibilities. You might discover a better tactical defense or attacking move your opponent has prepared against the best move you’ve chosen. It’s hard to stay flexible moving to the best move in chess, but thrill in playing tactically and attackers, in particular, need to learn when to pounce to either win the opponent’s pieces or end the game.

Ignoring Your Opponent’s Threats

By not addressing opponents’ threats, one could potentially make the best move in chess. A very difficult decision can include ignoring your opponent and taking the opposite approach entirely.

In such situations, not addressing threats might most frequently come up in the initial development stages when the best piece placement falls outside of basic rules. Masters such as Manuel Pérez Candelario in 2002 and dominant chess computer engines have developed by using this advantage of defining best move in chess strategy in more advanced stages as well.

Focusing Too Much on Material

When these pieces are hanging, sure. However, even then one should weigh the position and the possibilities instead of just considering what is in the hand. Top chess coach Romanian Grandmaster Cristian Chirila warns about being too materialistic. It is good to keep a focus on material counting throughout the game but it is not ideal to be all over the place with it, he advises in an article published in One should focus on the side that benefits one’s side right now and consider whether improvements can be made via that route. Combining compensation methods can lead to strong positions. For example, sacrificing several pawns to mix in good piece activity or decisive mating attacks.

Strategies in chess to Focus on the opponent’s threats option – In the game of Paul Morphy vs The Duke of Brunswick and court on the right from the 1872 Duke and Count theme of Opera Paris, Morphy plays a move 14.Bxf7+ that does not allow immediate material return but rather forces rapid checkmate or severe material loss for the Duke after the next few moves. Similar to Morphy’s decision against Duke Karl in th Royal Chess Game, he opts for a strong forcing mate over material gains in Versus Duke Karl J”.

Not Considering All Possible Moves

Not always considering all possible moves is another common chess mistake. Players often think they are considering all possible moves, but in reality, their thought process is focused on only one probable move during their turn. This may often be the first move that strikes them when opening the game or a move that seems logical and important. This causes players to miss checkmate threats, hanging pieces or pawns, and finally even makes them miss the best move in a situation.

So, to not focus on just one probable move, players can consider these points to widen their consideration scope. Practice to improve skills, let intuition help, pay attention to tactical opportunities, and always ask the What if? question.

How Can You Improve Your Ability to Find the Best Move in Chess?

The most important things you can do to improve your ability to find the best move in chess are to 1) play regularly, 2) study, 3) practice training to visualize the board and memorize its patterns, and 4) learn to develop and recognize artificial intelligence mistakes due to the current limitations of artificial neural networks. There are a number of chess training sites and apps, and partnering with others who are competitive and want to improve is a very helpful component to learning. Undertake the following studies:

  • Work through Bobby Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games. Fischer provides deep annotations with alternative move options for both him and his opponents with discussions of why he and his opponents did or did not play a certain move.
  • Studying the games of GMs Averbakh, Kotov, and Lutz: Averbakh and Kotov are the experts in the understanding and applicability of principles, showing what happens when a player goes wrong and demonstrating via many examples how the principles can be followed. Lutz shows an in-depth focus on how patterns and environment affect the dynamics of a chess game. Understanding the essence of what they are trying to show is instrumental in becoming a strong and successful chess player.
  • MIT’s course on Artificial Intelligence by Patrick Winston: While this is again broader than just chess, an understanding of basic artificial intelligence models such as parallel and serial models of processing can assist a chess player in constructing a new kind of artificial intelligence chess program to study and assist them.

Study Chess Strategies and Tactics

Reading chess books and watching online videos to learn the best strategies, openings, and tactics is the most important part of being a better chess player. Study the teachings of some of these influential chess players.

  1. Robert James Fischer.
  2. Garry Kasparov.
  3. Aron Nimzowitsch.
  4. Josh Waitzkin.
  5. Bobby Fischer.
  6. Judit Polgar.
  7. Studying Play Magnus Apps

There are many television documentaries and shows along with thousands of books on them and other topics that explain their strategy. As an exercise to learn from the best players, take a book that details the best games of any of the above players. Look at and think about each move in the game. Remember that these books are usually written for people who have already been playing for some time and are at a certain advanced level.

Practice Regularly

Practicing the game of chess or doing tactics training regularly will vastly help in knowing how to find the best move in chess. A study of problem-solving in chess by Fernand Gobet found that sixty-one percent of variance in performance was explained by the number of hours of practice. This lesson from chess can be extrapolated to virtually all domains where skilled performance and problem-solving are involved. The more problems you solve, the better and quicker you become at it.

Most regions and academic institutions have chess clubs. Those that don’t can frequently chat with opponents while playing chess online or join chess learning sites such as or Lichess to get a sense of community and feedback. By practicing and learning, a new chess player in the United States or the EU can progress to Expert 2000-2199 level. With more practice, they can aspire to reach Master 2200+ levels.

Analyze Your Games and Learn from Your Mistakes

You should analyze your games to take lessons from them. Review the best games of the masters. Compare different plans and pick a few plans to redeem. Jonathon Grant, a chess coach on Quora, recommends his student focus on lines that the player makes very frequent and basic mistakes on. They spend time doing research and spend more time understanding the move. It is generally easier to find the best move in chess when you have run some deeper lines in the game and not simply taken the first opportunity presented.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Find the Best Move in Chess?

What is the first step in finding the best move in chess?
The first step is to assess the current position and identify any potential threats or opportunities.

How to Find the Best Move in Chess?

Can I use computer programs to find the best move in chess?
Yes, there are many chess engines and programs available that can analyze a position and suggest the best move.

How to Find the Best Move in Chess?

Is it better to focus on attacking or defending when looking for the best move?
It is important to consider both options and weigh the risks and benefits of each move before making a decision.

How to Find the Best Move in Chess?

Are there any particular strategies or techniques for finding the best move?
Yes, some common techniques include analyzing pawn structure, controlling the center of the board, and creating threats to your opponent’s pieces.

How to Find the Best Move in Chess?

How can I improve my ability to find the best move in chess?
Practice and studying different tactics and strategies can greatly improve your ability to find the best move in a given position.

How to Find the Best Move in Chess?

Is there a “perfect” move in chess or is it subjective?
It is subjective and ultimately, the best move will depend on the specific position and style of play. However, using sound principles and analyzing the position can help guide you towards the best move.

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