Chess For Novices - A Guide for Fresh Beginners and Aspiring Novices

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What Are Chess Tactics?

Studying and practicing tactics is the single best thing that a beginner or novice player can do to improve their game. As the great German player Richard Teichmann put it: "Chess is 99% tactics." For the majority of players, this statement couldn't be more true.

Tactics are the first thing that you should look for on every move. They are the deciding element in almost all games below the master level. They are the guardian and facilitator of strategy.

So what exactly are tactics? A tactic is a short sequence of moves, usually involving an attack or capture, that attempts to make an immediate tangible gain. This will become more clear as you work through the following pages.

Developing Tactical Vision

Important: You must solve the problems more than once!

The Plan: Go over all the problems once. Then repeat the whole series again. You should notice your speed increasing. In fact, you will probably start to memorize most of the problems. You may think that grinding the patterns into your mind by resolving problems is a waste of time, but this is actually the goal! Keep repeating the series until you can solve all the problems almost instantaneously (recognize the correct move in under 10 seconds).

By going over problems multiple times, you reinforce the pattern in your mind. Being able to recall patterns over the chess board during games is what tactical vision is all about!

Before you Begin

Before beginning with tactics, it's recommended that you go through our series on Chess Rules and Basics. Follow the link and get yourself ready if required.

Otherwise, let's get going with Beginning Chess Tactics!

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Chess Tactics - Table of Contents
Introduction - What Are Tactics?
Piece Safety - Exercises (1) - Exercises (2)
Counting - Exercises (1) - Exercises (2)
Tactical Motifs Introduction
The Fork - Exercises
The Knight Fork - Exercises
The Pin - Exercises
The Skewer - Exercises
The Discovered Attack - Exercises
Removal of the Guard - Exercises
Back Rank Checkmates - Exercises (1) - Exercises (2)