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Top 5 Mistakes That Every Beginner Makes in Chess

ByDave Stopher

Aug 28, 2021

To help you figure out and correct what you’ve been doing wrong if you’re new to the game of chess and want to improve, I’ve touched on some of the most common mistakes that every beginner makes in chess. 

5. Developing the queen too early


When you’re new to the game of chess and its rules, you often make the common mistake of trying to activate the strongest piece, the queen, too early. This usually puts it in danger and causes us to lose tempo and structure to your gameplay. Due to constantly having to move the queen around to defend it from threats made by enemy pieces, we give our opponent a lead in development. They can develop their pieces while we use all our moves keeping our queen safe. 

4. Leaving pieces undefended

Piece coordination is a chess term you should familiarise yourself with if you’re a beginner, it means having pieces on active squares where they can initiate fortified attacks. Your opponent can easily take advantage of your undefended pieces through tactics such as double threats; something you want to prevent at all costs. Therefore, it is important to have as many of your pieces defending each other as possible. 

3. Not sheltering the king


The safety of the king should always be the top priority of every chess player. A big mistake that every beginner makes in chess is taking the risk of not castling at the right time, and after losing the chance to do so as the game progresses, making the king an easy target to attack by exposing it in the center. Even when you can’t see an obvious threat from your opponent, castle as soon as you get the chance to and ensure your king’s safety in the long-term. 

Another point to keep in mind is that castling serves no purpose if you weaken it by advancing the pawns that are there to protect the king, or doubling them by exchanges. 

It is also always good to keep defending pieces near where you castle to maintain a solid structure around your king and prevent enemy pieces from coming too close to initiating an attack. 

2. Delaying piece activity and development at different stages of a match.

Beginners can be frequently found making the mistake of delaying the development of their pieces throughout all different stages of a chess game. An example of this is playing excessive pawn moves in the opening. During the opening, the only purpose that pawns should serve is controlling the center. Hence, instead of moving your pawns too much in the initial phase of the game, focus on developing your other pieces.

A similar mistake that beginners make regarding piece activity is that they miss how essential it is in the middlegame to bring the rooks into the play and preferably connect them after clearing the first rank. 

This is more often than not, repeated in the endgame when players don’t activate their king. Despite being limited in its moves, in endgames, the king is inarguably amongst the topmost useful pieces. Thus, it is of paramount importance to anticipate when a middlegame is going to end so that you can make use of this significant piece. 

  • Moving for the sake of it or moving too quickly


One must always have some idea behind every move. Of course, this is something that comes with experience. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is important, even as a beginner, to know that carrying out a bad plan is better than not having one or playing absent-minded moves. 

Concentration is the key to success in chess and the game demands it the most from beginners. It is crucial as a beginner to take your time playing your moves. If you’re new at chess and all you play is blitz, then it’s no wonder why you’re not making any progress. Moving too fast without considering the consequences of your actions is the last thing you want to do if you recently started playing the game and want to get better at it. Avoid playing on short-time formats as doing so will not bring any improvement to your gameplay. To maximize learning as a beginner, you should try to play games where you have at least 10 minutes to think about and make each move. 

Other than that, try not to panic in situations when you’re low on time and proceed to establish a patient strategy. As terrible as getting flagged for taking too much time in a game of chess sounds, it is important to understand that making careless, impulsive moves when failing at time management will only further weaken your chances at winning. 


This concludes my list of the top five mistakes that every beginner makes in chess. If you found it helpful, make sure to check out one of these free websites where you can practice and play online chess with random players or against a computer. With minimal ads and various time formats to choose from, your experience playing chess will grow and you can stretch yourself more and more as your skills develop.

free online chess at coolmathgames.com

chess at chess.com

Some additional articles you may find useful,

All the top chess grandmasters are on a level of their own. One has to be extremely focused, vigilant, and strategic throughout each game to become the best of the best. See: Top five chess players

Here is an article talking about some of the best chess openings that will help you get better in the early phase of a match. See Best chess openings

Nearly everyone who plays the game wants to get better at it, one way or the other, See: Tips to get better at chess


Maybe a Yarm School  could learn a few things for their next mega-chess-tournament