How to not blunder: 5 essential tips for chess beginners
Updated: Jul 13
I am a Chess Trainer with experience with all kinds of players (I am personally 2700 Lichess Rapid, 2200 FIDE) - One of the most common "questions" I get is: How do I not blunder?
I realize that there are many methods available in Chess World, Dorfman's Method In Chess, Kotov's Candidate Moves, and many others - but what should be made clear is that these complicated methods are usually used in "Critical Positions" only
Obviously, I am not a Grandmaster but I have enough experience and friends that are GM to know that "Intuition" and "Intuitive" Play is rather very superior if compared to those of lower levels due to the amount of hard work and time they put in chess books & theory and obviously the talent.
I propose this method, which worked out for beginners at least those who I train (If you're looking to get seriously interested in Chess, I would recommend you to read few books that help to develop your skills in general rather than following just one method) - This usually works for players below 1500~ chess.com after that, Knowledge starts to seriously come in play
This method that I propose, works for players who do not want to blunder - I do think that it sucks some fun out of the game but I see genuine improvement of my students, so thought I'd share here :)
1 - Before every move, see all the pieces on the board and see if any piece is "unsupported" or "hanging" (You get better and faster at this as you go, for stronger players this automatically becomes intuitive)
2 - If something is hanging, defend it (obviously, if there is something better do that - but at least you know what is hanging)
3 - If something is undefended, see if any of your opponent's pieces can capture it, or if it is your opponent's piece that is undefended, see if you can capture it yourself.
4 - If nothing is hanging or undefended, Trust your intuitive thought and think about playing that move.
5 - How do you think? What I recommend is that instead of blitzing out your intuitive move, think for a second about what you would do as your opponent after you play the move (Obviously, intuitively). Start with thinking 1 variation and 1 move (more if you can do so, don't overdo yourself since Time pressure situations may arise). If you're satisfied with the position after your intuitive move of your opponents, CONTINUE.
What I am critical about the "Methods" that have been written about is the fact that they are mainly written about Classical Chess, when most of the Chess Fans usually play Rapid, at least online. Time Management is a huge issue when it comes to following such methods. Obviously, in a critical position it is plausible to implement such but sometimes thinking too much can also be an issue.
Obviously, this is just something that you can use. I am not saying this is the "Perfect Method" but it worked for my online students to improve, so it might also for you. I mean no disrespect to other authors (In-fact, I use Dorfmans Method myself in OTB IRL games) - Remember that there is no "one fixed method" - what increases your rating and gives you result, is the best method. If there would have been one best-fixed method, We all probably would be GMs by now ;)
Best of Luck, Thanks!
Disclaimer: This post was originally written by me over at Reddit. This is just a copy of it. Original Article can be found here