Create an imbalance in the position (different advantages and disadvantages for each player).
Then develop pieces to capitalize on advantages and limit opponent’s advantages.


Protects king.
Activates rook, especially if center file is semi-open or open.
Castle if center is opened.
Castle before attacking opponent’s king.
Can delay or forgo castling if center is closed or if queens are exchanged early.


Bring all the pieces into play.
Avoid moving the same piece more than once, if possible.
Maximize the mobility (number of legal moves) of each piece.
Do not bring the queen past the second or third rank until the middlegame.


A bishop placed on b2, g2, b7, or g7 and surrounded by pawns is known as a “fianchetto.”
Fianchetto is an Italian word that means “on the flank.”
Fianchetto bishops are well protected and place pressure on the center of the board.

6k1/pbppppbp/1p4p1/8/8/1P4P1/PBPPPPBP/6K1 w - - 0 1


Must know a few openings in order to reach equal middlegame positions.
Memorization of lines is inevitable but not terribly important for an amateur since opponents rarely follow book lines deeply.
More important to understand the ideas, structures, and plans of an opening than to memorize lines.


Attacking players prefer 1. e4 as white and the King’s Indian Defense against 1. d4 as black.
Positional players prefer 1. d4 as white and the Caro-Kann (against 1. e4) or Slav (against 1. d4) defenses as black.
Select a few openings and play them exclusively in every game for at least a year.
Review games that lead to a poor middlegame position and find better lines.
After a year consider learning a new opening.

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