Reuben Fine’s 30 Rules of Chess


1. Open with a centre pawn.
2. Develop with threats.
3. Play knights before bishops.
4. Castle as soon as possible.
5. Avoid developing the queen too early.
6. Do not move the same piece twice without a good reason.
7. Use your minor pieces to fight for the centre.
8. Maintain at least one pawn in the centre.
9. Make as few pawn moves as possible.
10. Avoid sacrificing without a clear and adequate reason.


1. All of your moves must fit into a plan suggested by a weakness in the position.
2. Combinations are based on double attack.
3. When ahead material, exchange pieces (especially queens) but not pawns.
4. Avoid serious pawn structure weaknesses.
5. In cramped positions, free yourself by trading pieces.
6. Do not bring your king out with your opponent’s queen on the board.
7. If your opponent has one or more exposed pieces, look for a combination.
8. In superior positions, attack the enemy king by opening lines for your pieces.
9. In even positions, coordinate the action of all of your pieces.
10. In inferior positions, the best defense is a counter-attack (if possible).


1. The king must be active in the endgame.
2. Avoid passive pieces that merely defend.
3. Passed pawns must be pushed.
4. The easiest endgames to win are pure pawn endings with extra pawn(s).
5. When ahead material, exchange pieces, not pawns.
6. Do not place your pawns on the same colour squares as your bishop.
7. Bishops are superior to knights when there are pawns on both sides of the board.
8. Rooks belong behind passed pawns.
9. A rook on the seventh rank is usually worth a pawn.
10. Blockade passed pawns using the king.