If you are diving into the world of chess and uncertain of a starting point, or maybe rekindling a forgotten skill.. or just aiming to inspire a new player…this post is intended as a helpful resource.
For the beginners.. just click here: https://www.chess.com/article/view/how-to-play-chess
Then read about some important nuances..these may seem foreign and vague..but they are very important beginner principles to understand..
Now that you have gotten the basics under your belt, it’s time to get into the chess gymnasium and put your mind to work..
..these ideas are absolute nonsense if not applied to the game.. so the question remains..where to play chess?
I recommend for my students and parents of my students to all start out in the beginner zone at lichess.org – start by building a free online profile..try your best here..do puzzles mindfully with intent; daily if possible.. then set aside a few blocks of time each morning or evening to find your approximate skill level against random opponents at standard, blitz, and bullet time controls…
My second recommendation is to build a profile at Chess.com; especially if you would like to play correspondence games through your mobile phone..many clubs have ongoing tournaments at 1-day per move or 3-day per move time controls. A point of warning: there is alot of poor sportsmanship, and occasional clock glitches on the live servers at chess.com ..especially at the fast time controls..don’t take your rating too seriously..&…might as well just mute the chat feature all together..
..then, once you’ve become thoroughly frustrated with your online performance and are apt to throw in the towel because you could never possibly become a grandmaster given the horrendous blunders you’ve given away to such weak opponents …(ha ha).. start to read up a little bit on the history of the sport..it’s important to have respect for the growth of chess knowledge through time..&..to appreciate the changes in pattern recognition from the great classical combinations when compared with the super-human brilliancies from alpha zero / leela / and stockfish.. I reckon that the future of chess most closely resembles team+computer vs team+computer. None-the-less, chess is still a blast and eternally competitive in the human vs human arena ..I’ll be playing til I’m out of moves..
Many story tellers have shared the best legends of chess lore freely in online forums and videos. There are many excellent writers, like Micah Tuhy, that give a deep perspective on chess history by pointing to some brilliant learnable games in their posts. Hakon Hapnes Strand is a former sparring partner of Magnus Carlsen who answers interesting questions often in Quora chess groups. Chess.com also has a good series on the history of chess.
And if reading through all these links seems a bit tedious..there is also that wonderful world of youtube available..the playlist below is full of chess videos that I continuously update with newly suggested content..there’s a lot to wade through..don’t get lost at the sea..I can guide you!
The history of chess will lead you to opening theory..then endgame theory..and then connecting the dots through middle game theory.. these are the junctures where a player must commit to a path…are you a tactical player..can you force the initiative and keep up the tempo..or..maybe you prefer strong positional play until your opponent loses patience.. should you have a preference (yes)..but allow for intuition, initiative, and tempo to be your guiding forces…and think about many aspects..then try to find patterns where your intuitive ideas manifest..until check.. and mate!
If you are an aggressive player..try learning about the king’s gambit.. ..or the giuoco piano might give way to an aggressive fiancetto attack in the endgame.. ..did you get caught off guard by the fried liver attack and want to trick someone else into the same pattern, try this article?
Do you prefer a passive approach.. can you stave off your opponent with stubborn prophylactic positions.. are you able to recognize sneaky play through layers of theory..maybe just sit back in the King’s India Defense and wait for your chance to counter-attack..check out the next link for a detailed breakdown of the infinite realm of the kings indian.
Some prefer to play a straightforward approach..with an almost mirrored effect.. like the the sicilian defense or a variations of the scotch game..beware of scholars mating..if so.. and before you think you have it all covered..I must ask..how will you react to gambits.. what will you play after 1.e4..e5 2.f4.. how about 1.d4..d5 2.c4..
..there are numerous books answering all of these questions and many more..and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface..but opening theory will increase your skillset vastly.. and will guide you toward your sparring partners online.. then, you’ll begin to understand your middle game and endgame weaknesses..this is where 1:1 coaching sessions are extremely helpful.. but first, start with the free resources online from great bloggers like FM Mike Klein / IM Danny Rensch / Coach Daniel Greiner and I’ll do my best to add links to all references above!
..okay, Coach Chad this all sounds great.. i think i could do it.. but it’s still kinda confusing.. this is alot of information….
I know, I know, just take it one day at a time..use a daily puzzle limit to build a routine.. I recommend puzzle rush on chess.com to really build that confidence..when you see the winning move..take it! and keep working for a daily best, perhaps after your morning yoga/meditation!
I also pay close attention to my Quora profile and am often upvoting great chess writing there. For free chess content on a regular basis, just create your own account and then follow my activity by subscribing to my Quora feed through this link.
Below are a few of my favorite answers.
Perhaps online play isn’t really where you’d like to focus your energy, or maybe online play has ignited a deeper passion for the game..if so take the next leap and get registered with the USCF / FIDE / or other member federation in your country. Start to work on your over the board rating at your local club..and make the most of your online play by finding rated club play through the USCF club at chess.com ..find some tournaments that suit you..and most importantly~~have fun with chess~~make your community a stronger community by constantly improving your game…and by always practicing good sportsmanship!
Check back later for a post about my favorite chess books; “Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess” by Bobby Fischer & “The World’s a Chessboard” by Ruben Fine
And stay tuned for my upcoming video series on essential tactical patterns and basic checkmates, coming soon: fall of 2020! Here’s a great resource in the meantime: https://www.chesstactics.org/
Do you have some great games to share with the The Chess Zone community? Let me know in the comment section so we can talk more!
Thanks for stopping by..I wish you the best of luck!