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35

It's normally a very good idea to castle early, but 'as soon as possible' is not really a correct rule. It depends on a number of factors, including your choice of opening, and your opponent's response. Leaving your king in the middle of the board is a bad idea. Your pieces can be pinned, you're much more vulnerable, and your rooks can become isolated, ...


21

Its far better to thoroughly understand a small number of openings than it is to mindlessly memorize a large number of openings. Frequently, if you know why a set of moves is considered optimal, then you're in a better position to adapt once the board gets "off the opening". However, if you have a wide set of openings memorized, you may find that while you ...


20

Ever since I learned about "the Barasona opening", I've had a hard time not starting all my Blokus games with it. The basic idea is that your first four pieces leave no possibility for an opponent to move "through" your corner, without the use of his one-piece. The pieces you use are F, X, W, and then N or Y. You can see a picture of the Barasona in ...


17

1000x more important (and more fun!) than even studying theory is.. improving your tactics! The best place I know for this is chesstempo.com. You can easily get up to 1700~1900 USCF never learning any theory at all (casual players are usually 800~1400), and I've even met a few players over 2000 (master level) who have never studied any theory! However, if ...


16

First of all, I want to insist that my answer is not 'dogmatic'. It is rather the way I like to think and rather a guideline instead of a deterministic answer. $$ --------------------------------------- $$|. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .| $$|. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .| $$|. . . O X . . . . . . . . . . . . . .| $$|. . O X . . . . . , . . . . ...


14

Don't forget, you get a resource card for each resource you touch when you place your second settlement. If you're still finding things going slow, here's some random ideas you can use: For each player, remove a Year of Plenty or Road Building card from the deck, shuffle them up, and deal one to each player. That should get things really going. Give each ...


13

In addition to the points you made, controlling the center means that your opponent will then have to form his or her attack on the wings. Think of not only what it does for your pieces but what it means for your opponent's. Picture the movement pattern of a knight - if you control the center, the knight can attack all eight squares. If your opponent's ...


12

Moving your bishop like that is called a fianchetto. There are a lot of openings which fianchetto the king's bishop; what you are describing sounds somewhat like the King's Indian for white. The advantage of fianchetto-ing your bishop is that it very quickly puts the bishop on the long diagonal, its most powerful position. However, it takes two moves, and ...


12

That appears to be the Scholar's Mate, the four-move game that ends with 4. Qxf7#. In chess, Scholar's Mate is the checkmate achieved by the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6? 4. Qxf7#. The moves might be played in a different order or in slight variation, but the basic idea is the same – the queen and bishop combine in a simple mating attack on f7 ...


10

I think there are three basic strategies for the UK: Focus on India - with this approach, the UK cedes Africa to Germany. On the first turn, the UK builds a factory in India and uses its transport to move its two troops in Egypt to India, as well as the Egyptian tank and Syrian infantry into Persia (to move into India next turn). The fighters that start in ...


10

My experience with Blokus is that it pays to not be confrontational. If the board splits into two 1v1 games, and players A and B are being confrontational and denying each other access wherever possible, and players C and D are being semi-cooperative and leaving gaps to work around each other, then players C and D will naturally get more of their pieces onto ...


10

"Cramped" openings are generally used by players who are good at piling up strong defenses for the opening and who hope to encourage overextension on White's part, in order to take advantage of it; or to fend it off till it has passed, and then muster an attack of their own. After 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5, which is the common continuation of the French Defense, ...


9

@invisiblejon - The Late Bronze Age was developed months after the game as sold in the box. I added some additional developments for those gamers looking for something meatier. (The publisher didn't water anything down.) ...and I like Irrigation as a first purchase too!


9

At a high level, an "Indian" in Chess is just advancing the pawn which is in front of a knight by one square. King or Queen indicates which side the advanced pawn is on. This move will usually be followed by the fianchetto of the bishop nearest the pawn. This puts the bishop in front of the knight and allows him to control one of the long diagonals on ...


9

This is called the "Exchange" Variation of the Ruy Lopez. Not only is there an early exchange of bishop for knight, but it usually soon leads to an exchange of queens on d4. This queen exchange brings about an early "endgame," effectively cutting out the middle game. Most players are not particularly fond of the endgame, so they don't consider this an ...


9

It hasn't been ignored; this is called the Ruy Lopez Exchange variation, and is extremely popular in tournament play. 5. Nxe5 is considered a small mistake (for the reasons you mentioned), but moves like 5. O-O and 5. Nc3 are perfectly acceptable, and are played by grandmasters all the time.


9

These would be classified as A00: Irregular Openings. Starting with 1. a4 is Ware's Opening; 1. b4 is Sokolsky's Opening; 1. g4 is Grob's Attack; 1. h4 is the Desprez Opening. As you've noted, these are not played often. The database at chessgames.com shows only 548 games starting with 1. b4, 260 with 1. g4, and just 10 each for 1. a4 and 1. h4. White has ...


9

It seems that the move to play for White is an extension on the upper side or in the lower side. Clearly, the lower side is more interesting for the following two main reasons. $$W $$ --------------------------------------- $$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | $$ | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | $$ | . . O . . . . . . 1 . . . . X . . . . | ...


8

A good question to ask yourself here: does everyone in my playgroup have the same distaste for blue cards that I feel? If so, if they're predisposed to ignore them in favour of "cooler" cards, you could easily make a killing by snapping them up. I will agree that something like the Pawnshop (3 victory points, that's it), doesn't seem like an exciting card, ...


8

On e4 the White pawn is strong, controlling the important central square d5 (which Black has given up some control over by playing c5). You might think that it is just as good to control d6, but d6 is less central. The loss of time is also significant. You spend a move to put the pawn on e5, and then another move to defend it with the queen. You will have ...


8

I think this is a pretty suspect line for White. Consider this advice from Ludec Pachman, in his book Modern Chess Strategy. He gives four general principles to guide beginners in the opening. Place the pieces without loss of time where they can develop their greatest power. Do not move a piece that is already developed unless there is a strong reason for ...


8

Key assumption: Every player places both of their initial settlements according to what will get them the most resources (so we don't have people going for port combos, weird 12/2 superstitions, etc.) I just downloaded the rules and have the Beginner's Setup in front of me. If you don't, then this won't make any sense! We all agree that it suffices to ...


7

White has a slight advantage in the Accepted line, but it will depend what level you play at. Even at the higher levels both Anand and Kasparov have played it. You give up the center in the QGA as black, but white has an isolated Queen's pawn to deal with. There are too many alternatives for the QGA to go over them all here. In general, white is taking ...


7

A variant on your, "give players more starting resources" idea: After each player gets his or her starting resources, let each player take one (or two) resource(s) of his or her choice. That way, each player can assess what he or she is "short" in and fill that gap (albeit temporarily). Another option that you can use with, or instead of, the above: Start ...


7

The 4-4 spot in the corner is a well balanced move on the 19x19 board. It has some influence on the corner and gives you strength in the center. I don't like it as much on the 13x13 board because the center is small and strength facing outwards often turns into over concentration. The main use of a strong group is to attack weaker groups elsewhere on the ...


7

This site suggests third-from-the-left (your 4) followed by far-right (your 1). This opening has the following strengths: It empties bin F* early in the game, allowing Mi to play a single pebble from F into her mancala each time a single pebble lands there. It empties bin F at a time when at least two of the pebbles from F (those landing in J ...


7

Really, the most important thing is to have the ability to deal with monsters that are in the way without having significant delays. Whether that is being able to effectively sneak past things or just kill them outright. If you're trying to jump around to locations to pick up clues to seal, you want to make sure you can get to locations and not have ...


7

I agree that it is pretty rare for taking these to be right, although I have to say I would usually prefer taking one to taking 3 bucks unless I know I will have money issues. There are a few circumstances, however, when it makes some sense. If you start with a rock resource because of your wonder, or happen to have built a rock resource, and are not ...


7

There are a few good books about handicap go. Handicap Go is a really good one, but it's out of print. Get Strong at Handicap Go has a lot of examples of good play by both White and Black. The main thing you don't want to do in a high-handicap game is help Black's stones get stronger. If Black plays correctly you won't be able to avoid this, but then you ...



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