I am a novice player who is trying to brush up on the core principles for successful chess.
Instead of focusing on specific openings in the beginnings of a game, I am trying to play to certain principles, namely:
- Control of the centre by a combination of pawn and minor pieces.
- Early development of minor pieces
- Not losing momentum, or hindering development, by having to move the same piece twice.
Specfic Problem: I am currently having trouble with tripping over myself by moving pieces in the way of each other so that I end up not adequately defending pieces, or defending pieces come under attack. I often lose a pawn in the center which I was trying to defend, i.e. I failed in taking a square I wished to hold (d4, e4). This tends to happen by a pawn being taken and then the attacker pawn is defended by another pawn, so that my developed minor pieces can't retake without losing material in the exchange. So I think I might be pushing forward too early with my pawns. (I usually move e4, then some variation of knights, then bishop. I also don't know where to place my bishops (the only places I know for tactical/strategic advantage are pinning an opponent's minor piece against queen or king, or to aim them at the opponents weakest square (f2, f7).
General questions: Are there any other early-game principles? What order do you generally develop? How many turns does it take you to make a push for the centre? What squares do you move your minor pieces to for strategic or tactical opportunity?