If you are a beginner in chess, I bet you hang your pieces a lot.
This is the case for me, and most of the people that I’ve seen trying to learn chess.
If you are some genius that didn’t hang your pieces as a beginner then you must be quite intuitive.
Most people will have this trouble, it is quite normal. When you are new to chess there are so many pieces to take into consideration.
Add to this that you still don’t have enough intuition to see all the movements of the pieces, and you will undoubtedly hang pieces every now and then.
Do not worry though since there is a way to fix this.
Today I will be sharing how you can stop hanging your pieces so that you can finally move on to the next level.
Hopefully this will make you a better chess player. With all of that in mind, let’s begin.
What is a hanged piece in chess?
Hanged pieces in chess are defined as letting a piece get captured without any form of activity or material compensation.
Ideally, every capture that you make in chess should deliver an activity or material advantage.
Most captures are neutral, meaning they don’t change the position all that much.
However there are captures that are so bad, it is like giving a piece “for free”. I am not only talking about material either.
There are cases where it is fine to give up a piece for extra activity.
A hanged piece is where you give a whole piece without anything in return. Most likely that you just have not seen it being attacked and have not moved it.
Why do some people keep on hanging their pieces in chess?
The primary reason why people keep hanging their pieces is the lack of visualization.
Most commonly, it is because the player is still not used to the movements of the pieces.
Strong chess players are able to identify a hanging piece since they are already well-versed with all of the pieces.
They know exactly how all of them move and are keeping the pattern in check while calculating.
Average to above average chess players still hang their pieces, but not as common.
In these cases it might be a combination of the time control, impatience, or surface level calculation.
Things to do in order to avoid hanging your pieces.
I have three great pieces of advice for you if you want to stop hanging your pieces.
First is that you should play on slower time formats, preferably the classical time control.
In faster formats players are more likely to hang their pieces, especially those that are still lacking in visualization.
Even above average chess players hang their pieces occasionally in blitz or bullet, if you are having trouble with this just don’t play in these time controls.
In classical chess you will have more time to calculate, you will see if any of your pieces are being threatened.
Eventually you will move on to the other time controls, but it is great to have a way to practice before you get there.
I suggest playing classical more than anything, it will help you familiarize with the movement of the pieces.
Next is you should try reading a chess book and visualizing the moves being taught in each chapter. Chess books use notations, which are basically coordinates scattered throughout the chessboard to indicate the moves of the pieces.
These notations are meant to be interpreted without any movable pictures (unlike ebooks today).
This means that if you were to understand the moves, then you have to really visualize it on top of your head or recreate the position on a chess board (while following the notations).
This will force you to become aware of the position of each piece, not to mention that you are actually learning by reading a good chess book.
Once you get used to something like this, it is almost a guarantee that you will hang your pieces very rarely, it is a good approach.
You can read this guide that I made for reading chess books effectively. It will surely help you.
The third advice is to practice blindfold chess. I personally believe that the advice above will work wonderfully, if you can perform those two advice then you will be set. If you are still having trouble though, blindfold chess might save you.
I know it sounds crazy, but you can actually play chess while blindfolded. You don’t need an actual blindfold though, you just need to play a normal game of chess without a chessboard (basically on top of your head).
You don’t need to play the whole game, just try getting some 20 moves in. This would be best played with a partner, but if you don’t have one, you can go to chess.com.
They actually have the blindfold chess option for those that are interested.
Blindfold chess will further sharpen your visualization, so much that you can analyze the position without looking at the board.
You will familiarize yourself with the pieces to the point that it is actually hard to hang them. These are my three pieces of advice.
Is there any other way?
Now, I understand that my advice would not really fit for everyone.
The advice given is meant for those of you who are having a serious problem with this and want to solve it quickly.
This is the way to do it, either you play more classical games, you read a chess book, or you play blindfold chess.
But what if you don’t want to play classical?
After all people have duties and responsibilities, they can’t just dedicate hours into practicing classical chess.
Some people also do not want to read chess books, they prefer a video course or at least an ebook with a movable board.
I have written a comparison between chess videos and chess books. Chess videos might apply to some people and might not apply to others.
Blindfold chess is also off the table for some individuals, it sounds too difficult to perform.
If you can’t perform any of the advice given, I suggest you take the slow way, you play more games.
Over time your visualization should become better, you will see the pieces better and would avoid hanging them in your games.
This is the slow way to do this though, there are just no shortcuts to this. In order to develop your visualization you need some time and training.
If you can’t perform the tips above then you would need to just play more games. You will become more attentive with time and would rarely hang your pieces.
For the majority of people, they stop hanging their pieces since they play so many games.
This is the natural progression, as you play more chess you will start to develop your ability to visualize.
Eventually you will not hang your pieces as often, this will also come as you become more familiar with the movement of the pieces.
If you want to do this quickly then there is a better (and faster) way.
You just have to implement the tips I have given above, which is to (1) play on slower time formats, (2) read a chess book, and (3) practice playing blindfold chess.
These activities will help your ability to visualize develop faster, meaning that you will rarely hang your pieces in real games.
That is all for this article, thank you for reading.