Chess Lessons by Lee Duigon: Lesson Seventeen

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Chess lesson: Time to start learning one of the openings. Remember, though, that every opening has many variations; so don’t be discouraged when your opponent makes a move that you haven’t learned yet. It takes time.

Giuoco Piano, aka “Italian Game,” or “Quiet Game.” The object of this opening is to get your knights and bishops set up near the middle of the board while holding that territory with a pawn or two, and then, usually, castle. This should make your whole chess army ready for action–while at the same time not creating unstable situations that require immediate action. That’s why it’s the quiet game. Here’s a sample.

1. e4, e5 2. Nf3, Nc6 3. Bc4, Bc5 4. either Nc3, Pc3, or 0-0; Black plays Nf6, Pd6, or Nc6

Rather than try to memorize a whole lot of moves, set up a board, play these four, and then play against yourself to see how a game shapes up. You should wind up with questions, maybe quite a few of them.

In beginners’ chess, players haven’t learned the openings and anything can happen. Giuoco Piano is good for beginners because it puts you in position to respond to a variety of enemy actions.

When the fighting starts, it often winds up focusing on who will control the d5 and d4 squares. Before long, you’ll want a rook backing up whatever forces you’ve assigned to the E or D files.

But I don’t mean for the lesson to get complicated. Set up the first four moves, then experiment. And have fun!

– Lee Duigon on May 3rd, 2019

Thank you very much for all the chess lessons you gave me, Mr. Duigon! I’m glad to share these amazing lessons with my friends on my blog!

Lee Duigon’s blog can be found here: https://leeduigon.com/

Explore the world of Obann with Jack and Ellayne! : https://leeduigon.com/books/

Chess Lessons by Lee Duigon: Lesson Sixteen

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Let me introduce the subject of chess openings. This is not cutting-edge opening theory. It’s just me, going by experience. And I think we ought to start with general principles. Way too many openings for anyone to learn, but these general principles pretty much always apply.

1. Try to be strong in the center of the board: either directly, by moving pawns and pieces there, or indirectly from somewhere on one or both flanks, stationing your men so that they can get to the center quickly.

2. Knights are best somewhere around the middle of the board. Chess saying, “Knights on the rim are dim,” is usually true.

3. Usually it’s wise to castle as soon as possible.

4. Develop as many pieces as quickly as you can–don’t leave them in their starting spots unless you have a good reason for it. “Develop” means to put them in position to attack or defend as needed.

5. Rooks do best when they have room to shoot to the other end of the board, and when they are in position to support or defend each other. Sometimes the Queen can join them, forming what we call a battery. Try not to cut them off from each other unless there’s a good reason for it. (Any chess move ought to be made for a reason. But you’d be surprised how hard that can be for a beginner to learn.)

6. Bishops like clear diagonals, the longer, the better. If your Bishop winds up bottled up behind your own pawns, we call that a bad bishop. Try to position bishops where they’ll have some room to operate. Unlike Knights, Bishops can be tucked into corner squares and still be powerful.

7. Remember that pawns can never move backward; so when you move one forward, it ought to be for a reason–either to defend something (Pawns are good at that) or to open up room for your stronger pieces.

8. Pawns that wind up back-to-back, aka doubled pawns, can’t defend each other and are best avoided–until you know a lot more about chess. Then it’s not such a big problem.
If you keep these principles in mind, practice them, and use them to direct your moves, you won’t be discomfited by any opening which your opponent might use.

– Lee Duigon on March 13th, 2019

Are you looking for some good books to read? Well, may I recommend to you…

The Bell Mountain Series!!!

Chess Lessons by Lee Duigon: Lesson Fifteen

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All right, let’s try this–nothing ventured, nothing gained. My friends and I sort of invented this opening before we were old enough to read chess books. It served us well until we got better at chess.

We call this the Playground Opening. It will work if your opponent is inexperienced, or if he takes you so lightly that he isn’t really thinking. You have to be playing White to do it. Here it is.

1.e4, e5 2. Qh5, g6 [this is the careless move that kills him] 3.Qxe5 check, Ne7 4. Qxh8, $#@#$!

After this, your chief concerns should be to get your Queen out of there and develop more pies (Nf3, Bc4, etc.). The temptation is to leave the Queen in Black’s territory and pick off some Pawns–but don’t do that, she might get trapped.

Remember that the opponent, in chess openings, very often doesn’t make the moves he’s supposed to make. Don’t let that discourage you. Just keep playing and try to gain experience.

Let me know how you make out!

– Lee Duigon on March 3rd, 2019

I highly recommend the Bell Mountain Series by Lee Duigon!!

Lesson Sixteen is coming next Wednesday!