Chess Fundamentals #1: Undefended Pieces

Undefended pieces are the bane of the improving chess player’s existence. After all, it’s difficult to get better when you’re prone to hanging your queen or leaving a pawn “en prise” every few moves! In this video I discuss how you can work to improve your sense of danger by actively scanning for undefended pieces in both your position and your opponent’s camp.

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50 Comments

  1. Best chess video I have found!

    Worth more than lifetime repertoires:)

  2. Ok, I do a similar set up in the first part of your video. My opponents NEVER play like black. I can never win material without losing it. They constantly Queen attack me. I'm stuck at elo 300 and had to grind hundreds of games to get out of being 100. Why is 300 so much harder than 100 players when they are both considered the same skill? I already tell you they would bring their black horse down to e,4 and threaten my horse. Casing me to run away before he comes and wipes me out. If I take his horse first with mine I would also lose material to his black pawn. Weakening my defenses.

  3. Just dropping by to say congrats on the new thumbnails John. They look great! Hope your voice gets better soon, missing the rapid/classical videos!

  4. I have been stuck under 400 for a while. I have played over 600 game. I will have to go back to bare bones basics. I have watched allot of videos and I'm still getting countered left and right.

  5. This just popped up on my rec list… new thumbnail?! So cool. Nice to see all the hard work going into these amazing videos!

  6. Ooh new thumbnail. Will you be making any more videos in the fundamentals series?

  7. Came here after reading a comment on gothem's vid and so far its helpfull thank you

  8. Anyone who can post links to these games ?

  9. until this day, this is the most valuable video about chess that I have watched. thank you so much for sharing these videos with us

  10. Hey man I am stuck in 1200 elo but my puzzle rating is 2100+ how to improve chess game

  11. By far the most interesting part of this was getting insight into how a high level player’s brain works. Most of this stuff isn’t hard to see, but hard to find for a beginner. If that makes sense.

  12. Ive been hooked on chess lately, and Ive watched hundreds of videos so far, but only subscribed to you because you make it very realistic and simple.

  13. I just watched this video after 8 years, very insightful and gift some improvements to everyone watching. Thank You

  14. Thanks for taking the time to make the video!

  15. As I keep playing chess, I re-watch this series every couple of months and every time I internalize something new.

  16. At 20:36 why is that rook moved to G7? Why doesn't black take the free rook?

  17. I just used to know how pieces move from years, wasn't really playing chess at all, recently got into it, was doing a ton of these mistakes which you mentioned in the video. And I must say I'm mighty impressed just how the very basic is very effective against even 1200 rated players. Also, I'm watching this in 2023, watching this 8 years after it was published and this remains the most helpful chess content I have consumed till this date! A mega thanks John! All the best!

  18. it still heps even after 8 years, thanks brother John ❤ +JohnBartholomew

  19. I'm new to chess and this video was very helpful for me. Thank you for helping me to see how effective protecting all my pieces can really be.

  20. Great teacher thats why Teachers are considered above god in land of Bharat also cause Shatrang (chess) was invented in Bharat(India)

  21. I had already looked at this video a couple of times and tried to implement it in my games. However, looking at some other stuff, I kind of forget this teaching. The result is that I have improved somewhere else in my gaming, but my score has remained about the same. It is so true what you say that we need to look after our undefended pieces if we want to progress in this game. My next games will be to focus on my undefended pieces in high priority until it becomes more unconscious to me; like you suggest. Thanks again and again! 😊

  22. Hey John, what chess program were you using when you made this video and is it still in use?

  23. I've said this before you are my favourite chess teacher, how long have u been playing to get to the level you are at?

  24. Thank you for not making an overwrought face on your cover pic or whatever it's called on YouTube. For various reasons I prefer not to associate with excitable people! I play too aggressively and it doesn't always work out well… thanks for giving me a solid grounding.

  25. I feel bad for the opponent. I wonder if he saw this video and realized he was part of a beginner's tutorial

  26. Thank you this video made me go from 100 elo to 200 in 1 day , you are a great teacher. I will watch the rest of chess fundamentals playlist 🙏

  27. Revisiting this after playing chess for 3 years, honestly so grateful for this series that helped me build on basics! Thanks a lot John!

  28. Hey I was wanting a chess coach , and stumbled on this dude.
    Great lesson , easy to recall.

  29. what does the bonus do in chess, what does 10 | 5 means ?

  30. Excellent video! To me, the way you present your lessons so that anyone at any level can benefit from watching your YouTube and Twitch content, is extremely commendable. For example, at 15:16 you explained very articulately how h5 was a bad move. A lot of even the very top chess players do not have this ability you have; they may just laugh when their opponents make a move like h5, and so people who are of a relatively low level at chess find it very intriguing to want to learn more about chess, when you are so good at explaining things to a wide audience.

    -Kent

  31. Just discovered this channel wow. So good. Thanks for content.

  32. I played a game right after watching this. I got an 82% accuracy but lost on time. Safe to say all of his tips help in finding better moves.

  33. TheChessJoker (< see the comments in the stream) is a joke, and a bad one….;- /

  34. Really really really effective. Thanks a ton ❤❤❤.

  35. I am here years later. This seems like the most common sense rule but honestly if you just start focusing on defended and undefended as your priority again you ease in your new repertoire of tactics by accident and you hustle start climbing the ladder again

  36. Man, that’s the video that I was looking for for centuries!! I’m a beginner, and that’s exactly how I want to learn chess. Thank you very much!!!

  37. "Be paranoid about undefended pieces" i think i really need to develop such awareness about my undefended pieces, i knew how undefended pieces are a Tactical motif but i didn't know how important this concept is until i saw this video, the moment an unprotected piece appears Boom ! you Exploit this motif and your suddenly up a pawn! , i had an OTB classic game a few days ago (I'm 1229 fide) against a 1653 rated opponent. i was up a pawn. In the game I was looking for the best square for my bishop, and i found that square and i simply but my bishop there without even considering if my bishop is protected or not, Then suddenly.. CHECK ! and my opponent went on to collect my bishop and secure the win. Next time i will be PARANOID about my unprotected pieces. I learned my lesson. Thank you John 🙏.

  38. I started playing chess a week ago and have become absolutely addicted to the game. I'm currently at 600 Elo and getting better every day. Thank you for this!

  39. That last game was masterful, all the pieces just lined up so well to make a beautiful game

  40. Excellent – very instructive for my lowly level 🙂

  41. This was a phenomenal video. Thank you John!

  42. This video series was mentioned in a discussion I had come across online regarding people who wanted to play chess but didn't have the time and/or desire to put tremendous amounts of effort into memorizing openings, mid game, end game, etc etc. They were more casual players, not looking to climb ranking ladders or the like and were wondering if there was "a place" for them in the chess world. The overwhelming response was in the affirmative, and these videos were shown as an example of knowing some fundamentals which would allow you to play better and enjoy your games if you weren't looking to become the next GM. They were praised for their ability to speak to people on all levels of chess, and for their thoroughness.

    I am looking forward to watching these and learning what I can from them to do just that – learning the fundamentals to be able to improve my game and still play it as a game and enjoy it without the deep diving and learning required by those who MUST win or MUST improve to the highest levels of rankings.

  43. Thank you for the lesson John, excellent video!

  44. This is awesome!! I have learned so much about my game watching this video. Thank you! I want to go play chess now and improve my rating.

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