The minor pieces are bishop and knight (and the major
rook and queen). They are of roughly equal value (3 pawns, we
often say), but have such different powers of movement that they have
very different uses in the endgame.
To improve, you need to become an expert, not about
about your chess. You need to know what there is to be good at,
and what you are good at, and what you are not good at yet.
Practice helps. Books, databases, analysis
especially going over your own games also help. I always type my
games into a computer and I always wince to see what tactics I've
missed. I also enjoy some of the computer's suggestions about
alternative moves: sometimes they're real crackers, even if there's
nothing in it by way of winning a piece or pawn.
James Drake, an occasional correspondent and freelance websoot
"I note your recommendation to play
open openings when starting out to get more experience with tactics. I
wonder if this applies to correspondence games. I've been playing them
over the Internet the last few years and am at the stage where I get
creamed by opponents who know long lines of the Sicilian or Ruy Lopez.
Given that I've been somewhat influence by Purdy's recommended openings
" My question to you is this; I have
pretty much settled on the Colle system for my opening but cannot find
defense that I like playing. I am not trying to be a Grand Master or
anything I just want to be a good solid player. I've been thinking
the Tarrasch and the Modern. The Modern from what I've read can be used
for just about any White opening which I guess is what I would prefer
(I'm not sure that is aggressive enough for me). The Tarrasch is just
answer to Queen Pawn openings; then I would have to learn a defense for
The trouble with the Pirc is that Black will just lurk behind
his pawns, and your pieces won't find much to attack. I play the
Pirc/Modern as Black, and am always more impressed by systems which
threaten to open lines with pawn breaks than any of the piece play
lines. But that's not to say they aren't all dangerous; the player
with a plan will always beat the player without one.
"Club players and home enthusiasts often ask me to recommend
an openings system for White which is safe, yet aggressive and does
not require a superb memory and months of intense learning. In such
cases I invariably recommend the King's Indian Attack" -