By SEAN ROWLEY
In the game of chess, several characteristics separate beginners from better players.
Perhaps the most important is the ability to predict the game’s future, or anticipate combinations, by many moves. The more moves a player can anticipate, the tougher it will be for his opponents.
Better players also recognize the importance of controlling board space, particularly the four center squares.
Initiative is also important. A player who places the opposing king in check or jeopardizes the queen essentially takes all decision-making from the opponent.
Some players are aggressive, others patient, but great players aren’t locked in to one strategy or another.
In a typical game, the player moving white adopts a more aggressive posture than the player moving black, since white gets first move. But skilled players can switch from defense to offense in two or three moves, or withdraw into an effective defense just as quickly. Great players also recognize when it is appropriate to switch tactics.