I'm not a chess master by any means, but I love playing and I can beat pretty much all of my friends. Here are some basic principals that will give you a leg up in your next match.
  1. Control the middle
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    There are many opening sequences that can work. The main thing to consider in the first few moves is to aim to control the middle of the board. The picture attached is the opening that I usually use.
  2. Build offense while you build defense
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    Just like any team sport, your pieces need to work together. You shouldn't let your defensive strategy limit your mobility. Structure your pawns in a chain, but make sure your other pieces have space to get out and attack.
  3. Force the move
    Chess is all about being a step ahead. It's easier to predict where the game will go if you force your opponent to make a certain move. That could mean putting them in check or just threatening a vulnerable piece.
  4. Chess is math
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    Chess isn't math but you can tell who is winning with some simple math. Position on the board is the most important factor but you can also assign a numerical value to each piece. Pawns are 1, bishops and knights are 3, rooks are 5 and queens are worth 9. This is an oversimplified framework but also a good guide to decide whether or not a trade might be worthwhile. In the end game (once most of the pieces are gone), even a slight difference in material (pieces) will make all the difference.
  5. Play a shit ton of chess
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    Like anything, you just have to put in the hours. I play on an app called Chess Time HD, my username is Gogogorosh. Come find me, let's be nerds together.