Characteristics of a Good Chess Player

This article gives a short summary of chess including its history and the different phases in a regular chess game. It also lists what are the characteristics that one can follow to become a good chess player.

What is Chess

The history of chess begins in ancient India where it was known by the name 'Chaturanga'. Chess is basically played by 2 persons against each other on a black and white chess board. It has 64 squares arranged in an 8x8 matrix. Each player has an army to begin with which consists of a king, a queen, two knights, two rooks, two bishops and 8 pawns. The objective is simple- to trap your opponent's king, such that there is no safe square for the king to move towards, upon which you can call a "checkmate" and win the game.

Each of the six types of pieces moves differently, with some having the ability to move like others in addition to different movements of their own. Even though the king is present, the queen is considered to be the most powerful piece because of the limited power of the king.

A chess game can be divided into three parts:
Opening - In the opening you develop your pieces usually towards the center of the board and try to gain control of some areas of the board.
Middle game - In this phase, you and your opponent employ different tactics and strategies and threaten, attack, capture or even lose many pieces and only some pieces remain on the board. End game - This is the last stage of the game where one will be left with only some powerful pieces and a few pawns.

So what are the qualities or characteristics of a good chess player? Let's find out!

Understanding and Analyzing

When it comes to chess, a good chess player usually starts with the basic rules of the game and the power of the pieces. Keeping this in mind is crucial as novices can make a lot of simple mistakes that can cost them the game. Understanding the concepts clearly and deeply is of utmost importance. He should be able to analyze any given position clearly such as finding the advantages and disadvantages of a particular situation. He improves his technique usually by playing a lot of games with other chess players, both weak and strong. He is often familiar with many openings and will be expert in a selected few which is frequently played in clubs and competitions.

Reviewing the game

After each game it is important to review it as he will later find many benefits for that such as finding out where he went wrong or what could have been the alternate set of moves that he could have played during his chance to move. He writes down all chess games using simple chess notations and stores it or refers it later. He will also use a chess engine (i.e. the use of chess software) to analyze his game and find the opportunities or threats that his human mind often missed or couldn't calculate deeply.

Reading chess books and solving chess puzzles

As with any trade, the proverb "practice makes a man perfect" stands true for even chess. Brainstorming and solving a lot of chess puzzles can help a good chess player to see patterns in his game which are always useful. There are many ways to do this. These days one of the simplest ways is to download various chess apps on a mobile or PC which contains a lot of challenging puzzles to solve. He can also buy chess books written by grandmasters or other strong players and use that to improve his game.

Training and keeping oneself updated

Keeping oneself updated about the games of one's opponents or others strong players such as grand masters is another way to improve. It gives a good player a chance to compare the strength of other players and also to measure the competition out there in the real world. Also it is a chance to meet with other new players with whom he can make good friendships and possibly help each other out or just enjoy their company. They will always have a lot to talk about as they share the same passion. A good chess player will usually play in a chess club or train with a chess coach if he can afford to. There are many grandmasters and strong players who give chess coaching for free or for a very nominal amount both online and in person.

Power of combination

Another important thing while playing is to remember to use all of your pieces and not just the same ones over and over again. A good chess player knows that chess is a game requiring the teamwork of all his pieces. So he combines his pieces together and then waits for the golden opportunity to strike the deadly blow. Some great players use combination of pieces beautifully, making chess a form of art at times. Chess is a game which requires constant calculation and analyzing. After every move, a good player has to re-evaluate his position to find new opportunities and threats.

Conserving time

Keeping an eye on the clock is generally a good idea especially if one is playing in tournaments. Tournaments are mainly about time control and pressure with playing games back to back. As one participates in more and more contests and tournaments this will become second nature but it's still important to not take too much time for making each and every move. A good chess player knows this and always keeps track of the clock taking only seconds for simple moves. A lot of time will usually be consumed in analyzing a given scenario especially for beginners.

Listens and corrects his mistakes

A good chess player will know his weakness and will not be intimidated by it when others point it out. No one is perfect in chess. There will always be holes in your playing style or things which you do that others can take advantage of, if they are familiar with your techniques. So when someone points something out, a good player will give ear to it and will try to eliminate it the next time he plays

Parting NoteAt the end of the day remember that chess is just a game and don't let your victories or defeat go to your head or take anything personally. It takes years of hard work to develop your skill and be an extremely good player. So keep practicing, playing and learning from your mistakes and may the best player win!


Author: Nomita Mitra24 Aug 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 4

A good article created by the author covering all the important aspects of the game of chess. It is a mind-game that involves constant thinking and needs a lot of concentration for both the participants.
The game has various good effects in our practical lives. It helps in creating confidence and finding solutions to numerous practical problems of our day to day life.
The 'Queen' is the most powerful in the game of chess. It acts as the commander of an army and always comes in rescue of the other pieces from any impending danger. On the other hand, the 'King' though head of the board, is virtually powerless. The same situation is observed in real life also. The heads of many states are head by coronation only and the real powers lie in the hands of their prime ministers or army commanders.

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