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Basic Strategies

Attack the Center, Castle, and Develop

The diagram demonstrates a position from a real chess game. Three major things have occurred in this position:

First, Black castled their king very quickly. This is a good strategy for keeping your king safe.

Second, White has done a very good job in attacking the center of the chess board. You can see White has done this because most of the pieces they moved can see (or move to) the center of the board.

Third, both sides have “developed” their pieces. This means getting your pieces off of the back row and attacking the center. Having fast and good development, with a safely castled King, is a strategy all top players use.

Forks, Pins, and Skewers

Forks occur when one piece attacks 2 or more pieces. In the example, a Bishop sits in the center of the board looking at (or attacking) a Knight and a Pawn.

A Pin is another tactical way to win pieces. In the example, you can see a Rook is on the same line as the Black Queen and King. If the queen tries to move diagonally away, left, or right, the Black King will be put in check. As you are not allowed to put your own King in check, the Queen cannot leave. Therefore, the Rook is going to win the Queen.

A skewer can be seen in the example. A Skewer is a reverse pin. With a pin, the valuable piece is behind the less valuable piece. In our pin example, we had a King behind a Queen. However, in a Skewer, the valuable piece is in front of a piece. In the example, the King is in check by a White Bishop and must move out of the way. When it does, the Black Bishop can then be captured.