I always wondered why ultra-beginners make so many pawn moves. (I don't have any recollection on my first steps, but I daresay after the first Scholar's mate I immediately added 1 and 1.) After all, e.g. rook and bishop are much easier to move - only one rule!

Speculation would be idle and unwanted here anyway - are there any chess psychology studies on the theme?

  • Definitely not answering your question, but making a possibly interesting comparison: in upper-division and grad-level mathematics, very often students choose to do something "relatively elementary", the ramifications of which they imagine they understand. Relevance to the problem at hand is often slightly secondary. I'd not be surprised if, similarly, novices are happier with pawn moves because they imagine (rightly or wrongly) that they can see the consequences. :) Sep 24, 2022 at 22:57
  • @paulgarrett: Fascinating theory. If a corollary would be that Bg5 h6 will invariably lead to automatic Bxf6, Bh4 not being considered for a second (OK, those are beginners, not ultra-beginners), we're after something :-) Sep 25, 2022 at 17:32


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