Hello! Welcome to the first post in a series in which I will lay out a framework for developing better chess. In each post, I will discuss the intended audience, some general principles of the game, some opening principles and some endgame principles. However, I will try to limit each post to what is necessary to improve beyond that rating bracket.
I am going to assume that my readers have some background knowledge on chess basics. This is because I don't think I have much unique to say about these topics, my primary intention is to provide an intuitive guide to developing a well-rounded playing style by getting you to focus on the particular skills required for each level. So... I will just refer you to resources that already do a good job of explaining the basics if you need to brush up.
Here's what I assume you already know:
En passant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_passant#:~:text=The opponent captures the just,to do so is lost.
OK. So now we are all on the same page and ready to begin. This post is for novice players (rating <600 on chess.com). In this post we will cover all the basics required to begin developing a well-rounded playing-style.
Before I begin discussing gameplay, I want to recommend that newer players play longer time controls. This is definitely the number one thing you can do to improve as a newer player. When you play anything faster than 15 minutes per player, I don't think you have enough time to properly think through your moves. There are two types of improvement in chess: 1) finding better moves 2) finding moves faster. Longer time controls let you train the first kind, while blitz helps you train the second kind. As a new player you should be focused on better moves, and worry about speed at a later point. Take your time with each move, keep in mind that even with a 30 minutes time control, you won't need to use all of it, and your opponent certainly won't either. This extra time prevents silly mistakes caused by thoughtless play; you learn nothing by blundering your queen. Conversely, the mistakes you make on longer time control will be strategic mistakes, which you can learn from.
With that in mind, let's look at some of the fundamental principles of chess. These of course are simply heuristics to simplify the analysis of the board. Of course there will be many exceptions, but that's not that important at this level. I would recommend you simply accept these as truisms.
Learn how to checkmate with your king and some combination of rook(s) or queen(s). Knowing these checkmate patterns will give you positions to work towards in your games, where you will know how to finish the game.
Don't accept draws. Generally, when people offer draws at this level, it's because they think they are losing and offer a draw, hoping you won't notice your advantage. Players do this because in tournament play a win is one point and a draw is half. They are trying to salvage whatever points they can muster. So to quote Beth from The Queen's Gambit, think... "hell no".
I realize this is a lot of information. Try applying only one or two principles at a time. Play some games then come back to this post and attempt others. Eventually they will all be part of your repertoire. To be honest, you won't need all of these to escape the 600 rating bracket, but they are all fundamental. The one that is absolutely necessary is to play longer time controls. These opening principles are enough for now. At this level, you won't even need a particular attacking strategy, just think carefully to avoid major mistakes and recognize those made by your opponents. I just want to underline the fact that your opponents WILL make mistakes, effectively handing you the game, you just need to be lucid enough to captalize on it.