The Secret to Winning at Chess

By John Kyle / June 16, 2015

Chess may be the greatest game ever invented. It can be played for fun by children and beginners, who can enjoy the interesting talents of the various pieces and the simple objective: Kill the King. However, depending upon the skill of the players, the game opens up to many deeper levels of complexity. Chess masters are rare and celebrated around the world. The ability of these masters seems supernatural, and in some cases it may well be. However, every single one of them has employed the same method to become winning players. Would you like to know the secret?

Play chess. That’s the secret. Of chess and everything else in life. As Macklemore paraphrased Malcolm Gladwell, “the greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great cause they paint a lot.” Keep playing, practicing, playing some more. This applies to not only chess but anything else you want to “win” at, such as your musicianship and being an entertainer.

OK, OK, you want an actual chess domination tactic. Here you go. You know how some people are able to quickly see many possible moves and outcomes, and develop complex strategical plans? I call these people “chess freaks.” If this is you, go play some chess while the rest of us talk, hmmmkay?

Alright. This tip will give you a fighting chance against those monsters, and will certainly help you beat everyone else. Are you ready?

Most people lose at chess because they fall victim to unperceived threats. It only takes one or two of these preventable costly losses to become cripplingly disadvantaged. Each turn, they’re playing out of fear because they haven’t properly prepared.

So, here’s what you do. Despite your opponent’s annoyance, at the beginning of your turn, take all the time you need (or are allowed) to observe every single opponent piece and determine every single threat it poses to any of your pieces across the entire board. Do this systematically. Breaking the board down by quadrants makes this much easier. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have the perspective you need to make a good move, whether defensive or offensive, or even strategically once you’ve done this long enough. Then I’ll be calling you a chess freak too.

By the way, annoying your opponent is another great tactic to winning at chess.

I want to hear something you do, in chess or life, that increases your odds of winning. Something that most people don’t do, out of fear or impatience. Leave a comment below.

About the author

John Kyle

Hi, I'm John Kyle, an independent music artist finding my way on the Rock Star Path. I originally started this site to be another one of those marketing sites disguised as a music success blog. You know what I'm talking about. I've decided to cut the BS and give it to you straight. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. I haven't figured out how to be a successful music artist, but I'm going to die trying. Hopefully my adventures and struggles will help you. Maybe you can help me. We're gonna make it.