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Among games, Chess has probably inspired more study than any other. Hundreds of books have been published about its strategy. If you find Chess exciting, you'll find it satisfying to read one or more of them. For now, here are some basic strategies.

1. Your Opening Move

The most popular opening move is to advance your King's Pawn two spaces. This is known as the "King's Pawn" opening. The second most popular opening is to advance the Queen's Pawn two spaces ("Queen's Pawn" opening).

The second move is typically to advance the other of these Pawns, either one or two spaces. Doing so "opens" the board for your Bishops to move. Your Knights can always move forward to support your Pawns and Bishops.

The aim of your early move is to "control" the center of the board and make it tougher for your opponent to "range" his pieces across the board.

2. Avoid Weaknesses

In Chess, the "initiative" is vital. If you have the initiative, your opponent will have to react to your moves. If he has the initiative, you'll be on the defensive and reacting to his moves.

You keep the game "neutral" at first by positioning your pieces strongly (they support each other, meaning you can capture an opposing piece if it captures one of yours AND in the exchange you do not give up a stronger piece).

You can gain the initiative if you attack your opponent's weakness without creating one of your own.

3. Spot Opposing Weaknesses

This means spotting a piece you can capture without your opponent capturing your attacking piece. And it also means looking at your opponent's Pawn formation and finding its weak point.

Pawns "properly" moved support each other and deter rapid advances by more powerful op- posing pieces.

4. Attack

If the opponent cannot defend his weakness, attack it. You'll gain the initiative. Once you have even a small advantage, it often pays to "exchange" pieces of equal power, to open the board so your more powerful pieces can range over it and threaten many spaces at once.

5. Focus

If you have several pieces positioned to potentially attack a common space, you can dominate that space if an exchange takes place.

6. Go for Check

Once you have the initiative and have your powerful pieces in play and have caused your op- ponent to lose more power than you have, it is time to attack his King. Be patient. Chess is not a game for the reckless!

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