Common Mistakes New Chess Players Make and How to Avoid Them

Are you afraid of making mistakes? You must not be. Taking a wrong step can be a bad move but not a blunder if you learn from it. The same applies to the game of chess, especially if you are a beginner. Newbies usually don’t know when they are blundering in chess until they face a checkmate out of the blue. Well! There’s always a scope for improvement. And, if you are keen to learn and improve your game, knowing these common chess mistakes will be a great help.

Importance of Recognizing and Correcting Common Chess Mistakes

There’s a popular saying that goes by, “First time is a mistake and second time is a choice.” So, if you are making mistakes but not correcting them, you are choosing to lose games in the future. While not everyone can be Magnus Carlsen, even seasoned players keep working on their chess mistakes to play better, always.

The Rules of Opening - Avoid Chess Blunders

If you are new to the game and have no coach (or mentor), you will learn these rules the hard way. But here, we will guide you through the basic rules of opening the chess game. Following these will help you avoid going through a chess fiasco.

  • Control the board’s center or occupy it with pawns
  • Start developing minor pieces like knights and bishops in the first phase
  • Ensure the king’s safety by early castling in the game

These rules are important for newbies as most mistakes arise from not following them.

Now, let’s go through the common chess mistakes to improve your winning odds in your next challenge.

Moving The Queen Out Too Early


Did you know the queen is the most powerful piece on a chessboard? This makes new players think they can ram their opponents by developing it early in the game. When both you and your opponent have access to equal powers, the one who uses it wisely wins. But you can’t merely win any game or sport with just one powerful player. Because losing the team’s strength at the start can put you on the back foot.

Moving the queen out at an early stage will give your opponent a strategic upper hand. The opponent can force your focus on the queen by moving pieces around. This way, he/she can trap you to lose the queen or other pieces in the pursuit of saving the queen. In other words, it turns out to be the worst chess blunders newbies usually make.

Only Thinking About Attacks

Isn’t attacking necessary to win the game? Of course, it is but not always. Attack may be the best form of defense on a battlefield but not in the game of chess. When you attack, you use your power. But when you defend, you can use the opponent’s power against him. Defending an attack helps you save pieces and strengthen your castle. And, when you find a breach, go offensive and break the wall. An overly aggressive approach is one of the worst common chess mistakes you should avoid at all costs.



Even in other games or sports, no team (or player) goes attacking always. For instance, imagine a game of soccer. When a team is forced to stay within its own half, the players have two options. They can either go aggressive and create a chance to lose the ball and the other team hits a goal. Or, they go defensive and suppress the attack by passing the ball to their goalkeeper. The keeper then kicks it to the other half. Moreover, over-aggressiveness can also cause you to lose calm and make wrong moves on the go.

Neglecting Endgame Study

Remember the Endgame? Yes! The one by Marvel Studios. Do you know why Iron Man sacrificed his life while other moves were possible? It was the endgame study Dr. Strange did before they entered the battlefield. The team had only one shot at winning and they took it. Similarly, studying endgames is a crucial part of turning tables when you are stuck at the last part of the game.

The best approach to learning and devising the best endgame is to learn from past mistakes. Study checkmates and learn how to capture the king with different groups of pieces while saving yours. Here are a few concepts and tips that could help you be the Dr. Strange of your 64-square battlefield.

  • Activate the King: Yes! Saving the king is important but how will it survive alone on the field? When the end time approaches, you need to move the king out of the castle into action. Otherwise, it will become super easy to capture your king in the corner while you are still planning.
  • Create Passed Pawns: Wait! Did you consider a pawn as the least valuable piece on the board? Well! The game changes when it transforms. Also known as a passer, a passed pawn is the one with no opposing pawn to stop it. With one such piece on the board, you can still afford to lose a piece. And when your pawn develops to the last square, welcome the queen and launch a full power attack.
  • Go Beyond the Basics: A chess player with a decent experience would know about the basic checkmate options. It’s either a queen versus the king, a rook, or a pair of bishops. Being common, those aren’t the only ways you can capture the opponent and win a game. You can look for other concepts like the ‘queen versus pawn on the 7th rank’ and ‘rock, pawn, and bishop versus the king.’

Playing Too Many Pawn Moves

When a windstorm hits, what’s the first thing you look for? A cover to hide until the storm passes away. Isn’t it? Now, think of yourself as the king of your side on the chess battlefield and the opponents as the windstorm. What’s the first cover you have? It’s the line of pawns standing in the front row. Would you like to blow that cover off and make it easy for your opponent to capture you? That’s exactly what excessive pawn moves in the opening and the mid-game does.

A winning opening move is one where you develop knights and bishops with strategic pawn movement. Your aim should be to progress towards the center and occupy it. An aggressive pawn movement will also leave your king exposed in the middle. This way, you will invite the opponent to take over the center and weaken your spot by the time you reach the mid-game. An optimal pawn structure includes pieces connected to and defending each other. With a strong frontline, you can promote knights, bishops, rooks, and the queen and prepare an attack.

Becoming Frustrated at Slow Progress

Despite years of evolution, the game of chess still goes slow as it progresses from opening through the end. While it tests your patience and requires a calm mind, newbies often lack this skill. And, if you want to know what is a mistake in chess that can make a winning side lose drastically, it’s this one. Frustration leads to mistakes, which in turn, take the winnings away. And, the annoyance of slow progress works as a trap for novice chess players. They tend to either overthink or don’t think at all when making moves.

No one was a born chess player with the utmost calmness and patience. Grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen have achieved it over years of practice and experience. Generally, it would take you hundreds of play hours and studying the game to be an intermediate. However, here are some tips you can use to attain a growth mindset and stay motivated.

  • Start with Clear Goals: Staying real is the key to staying motivated. With that said, newbies often set unrealistic goals when they start their chess journeys. Here, defining a clear objective helps gain a purpose of learning with the right sense of direction. You can start with tactical skills, opening moves, or work towards better ratings.
  • Study Chess Masters to Learn: Chess masters serve as inspirations for young prodigies. And, studying their games gives the latter insights into how to develop pieces tactically across the board.
  • Celebrate Wins, Even Small Ones: When you took your first step or the first bicycle stride, your parents celebrated it. This joy brings in motivation and keeps you moving forward. Similarly, in your journey towards a chess master, learn to celebrate small progressions like executing a tactic, an opening plan, or another. Every small step helps you grow as a great player, piece by piece.
  • Defeats are Not Loses: Want to know what differentiates a chess blunder vs mistake? It’s whether you accept and learn from it or repeat it. A mistake becomes a blunder if you don’t learn from it. So, raise your head, accept your defeat, embrace it, and find your weakness. Game by game, assessing and improving yourself will turn you into a resilient and stronger chess player.
  • Get a Mentor: When you feel stuck, you need someone to give you a push. That’s where a mentor comes in. A coach not only guides you about the game but also offers motivation and support. With the experience of a senior, you can progress towards the path of success, navigating through all challenges.
  • Engage in Diversified Chess Activities: Jack went dull because he did all the work and no play. Don’t be like Jack. Instead, find interesting activities to keep your chess passion alive. You can participate in online chess communities, play games, solve puzzles, watch live games, and do more. Moreover, you will also learn new things in different ways, ultimately improving your game.

Making Unplanned Moves

If plan A fails, you have 25 more characters available. But if there isn’t an ‘A’, how can you think of the next step? The crux here is to plan and fail rather than fail and have no idea of what happened in that 64-square battlefield. So, plan before you make a move, even if it’s a bad one. Building this habit of gameplay will benefit you in a way longer than you can imagine.

When you know why you made a move, you have something to analyze and correct. You may fail once, twice, thrice, and more but eventually, you will win. And when you have played hundreds of games, you can easily find and use patterns against your opponents. So, when an opponent plays a move that you failed at, you know how to beat it.

Are all Chess Mistakes Bad?

Well! Mistakes are good if they make you learn. But can you use them on purpose? Of course, you can. Professional chess players make wrong moves and lose certain pieces for bigger benefits. For instance, you might find an opportunity to capture the opponent’s queen by sacrificing your bishop. So, when you are playing with someone like Hikaru Nakamura or Fabiano Caruana, think 10 times before taking his queen. However, keeping a note of these common chess mistakes will help you stand strong against intermediate players.

The Takeaway – Turn Your Mistakes into Lessons

By now, you might have understood very well that common chess mistakes are nothing more than silly misses. A limited thinking process is often a reason for such faults. However, making the right opening moves, keeping the opponent’s moves in mind, and patience can help improve your game a lot.

The best approach is to understand the basics of the game first, know every piece, and follow the leaders. The next step should be putting your mind into the game, particularly in two areas. One is to know the value of every piece before every move. The second is to understand the opponent’s moves and threats before you start planning a development.

But, most importantly, never forget to enjoy the game. As this prevents you from frustration and your mind focuses more on the battlefield strategy.

Still wondering where to start? Get yourself a chess board first and start practicing at home. Royal Chess Mall brings a variety of wooden and marble boards, crafted carefully by experienced artisans.