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How To Get Better At Chess Using Chess.com? Coaches Share Tips

How To Get Better At Chess Using Chess.com? Coaches Share Tips

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You might want to win more blitz games or maybe strengthen your tactical skills and see how far you can go in Puzzle Rush. Whatever your goal is, Chess.com has many features that can help you achieve them.

However, with so many different features, it can be hard to know how to use them all effectively. That's why we gathered an extensive collection of great advice from some of Chess.com's partner coaches to give you tips on how to use all these tools to improve your game. 

Play Features
Game Analysis
Puzzles
Learning
Analytics
Events
Explorer
Practice
Miscellaneous

Play Features

You can play online against numerous bots or a virtually endless pool of players from all around the world. Here's what our coaches advise you to do:

Play Online

"I think that playing online is highly valuable to assess your practical decision-making. Most importantly, not just playing but then reviewing the game, win or lose, afterward. Players of all levels make mistakes, but the thing that distinguishes higher-level players is their ability to never make the same mistake twice."
NM Daniel Shubin

Tournaments

"If you want to play, join a tournament instead of just a match. Sometimes, in tournaments, you can play with players of different skill levels. Some players are playing just like their rating; others, even if they are just rated 1300, can beat you. It doesn't mean they are cheating; they are just strong. If you have time, playing in tournaments on Chess.com is like joining over-the-board tournaments."
Cen-John Rarugal - National Instructor

You can play tournaments on Chess.com

"Play in arena tournaments at least once a week. You’ll find that some strong players prefer playing in these tournaments rather than in regular live games. It will also encourage you to make good moves and play seriously because you’re aiming for the top of the standings."
Cen-John Rarugal - National Instructor

"Playing tournaments and analyzing the games, in order to learn from our mistakes, is the best way to improve."
IM Jerzy Jesus Perez Leiva

Daily Chess

"Playing Daily games is extremely helpful for improving your chess knowledge. You can improve your skills by deeply analyzing the lines you are thinking of during the game. At first, you should try to calculate without moving the pieces (so you can improve your visualization skills) and if you want to double check if your calculations were correct, you can start moving the pieces after pushing the 'Analysis' button."
FM Gabor Balazs

Simuls

"Simuls can be a golden opportunity to play against stronger players. If you're not able to play master-level players in one-on-one games, you might play against them in a simul, which is very fun!"
FM Dalton Perrine

Simuls can be a golden opportunity to play against stronger players. If you're not able to play master-level players in one-on-one games, you might play against them in a simul, which is very fun!
— FM Dalton Perrine

Variants

"I think playing 3-Check is especially beneficial for beginners as it helps students think about looking for captures, threats, and, most importantly, checks. For higher rated players, I think playing Chess960 is especially helpful as it showcases how players perform in the middlegame since opening prep is no longer useful here."
NM Daniel Shubin

Odds Chess

"Odds chess on Chess.com is beneficial if you're looking to train your defensive skills or practice playing while behind in material. It's an excellent training tool for players who tend to give up too easily. This feature will train you not to give up easily, particularly when you're determined and need to win a game."
Cen-John Rarugal - National Instructor

Odds chess on Chess.com

Game Analysis

It's no secret that analyzing your own games and learning from your mistakes is one of the best ways to improve at chess. Here are a few tips on how to take advantage of Chess.com's analysis tools.

Game Review

"This is probably the best feature for most people out there. It provides a comprehensive list of best moves, blunders, etc. It's a great tool to understand what went wrong and what can be improved. I'd say every single game must be reviewed, analyzed, and understood. To some extent, the virtual coach can successfully replace a human coach. However, for beginners and intermediates students, the human approach is still superior to only checking the moves provided by the computer."
Sorin Atanasiu

Game Review on Chess.com

Analysis

"Analyzing your own games is really important because you can learn the most from your own mistakes. The Analysis mode on Chess.com helps you understand your mistakes and you can see the built-in engine's recommendations, so you can learn from those lines, too. If you don't want to see the engine's recommendations, turn it off. In my opinion, however, it's really helpful to have the Evaluation bar on because if it moves a lot after making a move, you'll know that maybe a mistake happened in the game."
FM Gabor Balazs

Tablebase

"Using a tablebase can be great when you want the precise answer to an endgame position."
FM Dalton Perrine

Puzzles

Most chess games are decided by tactics. How do you get better at spotting these tactics? Our Puzzles page can help you with that! And here's what our coaches have to say about it:

Daily Puzzles

"Solving tactical puzzles is essential for improving your calculation, and regular training is very important for sharpening your skills. Daily Puzzles help you with building a habit, so you can learn regularly with it."
FM Gabor Balazs

"Daily puzzles are a great way of staying in touch with Chess on a daily basis and work on your tactics and strategies."
Todd Kay

Daily Puzzle on Chess.com

Puzzle Rush

"Players often focus on solving more challenging chess puzzles, forgetting to reinforce simple chess patterns. Here's where Puzzle Rush comes in handy, offering puzzles arranged from simple to progressively harder ones. Timed Puzzle Rushes also teach us to make decisions under time pressure, just like in our actual games. With Puzzle Rush Survival, we can immerse ourselves in positions and analyze everything thoroughly. I love trying to beat my own record, which encourages me to train with puzzles more often."
IM Pawel Weichhold

Puzzle Rush on Chess.com

"Solving tactical puzzles is essential for improving your calculation skills. I prefer the Survival mode in Puzzle Rush because it doesn't have a time limit, so you don't have to be fast and you can think and calculate deeply. It is also a good motivator to beat your highest scores, so it's not only educational, but it's also fun."
FM Gabor Balazs

Puzzle Battle

"Testing yourself against other people in puzzle battle is a great way to introduce competitiveness to puzzle solving."
FM Dalton Perrine

Rated Puzzles

"Solving puzzles on Chess.com gives us the opportunity to enhance pattern recognition, calculation, and visualization skills. It's an incredible tool that should be utilized by all players, regardless of their level. Just as drilling passes and shots are crucial in soccer training, analyzing games, and solving puzzles are essential activities for chess players. Through them, we refine our skills, build the foundations of our game, and evolve as chess players."
IM Pawel Weichhold

Solving puzzles on Chess.com gives us the opportunity to enhance pattern recognition, calculation, and visualization skills. It's an incredible tool that should be utilized by all players, regardless of their level.
— IM Pawel Weichhold

"Solving tactical puzzles is essential for improving your calculation skills, and regular training is very important for sharpening your skills. I always recommend to my students to solve rated puzzles every day."
Cen-John Rarugal - National Instructor

Custom Puzzles

"My favorite feature on Chess.com is custom puzzles. It’s just amazing! The main idea is that it allows you to select tactical themes and the difficulty of the puzzles. You can pick a topic and drill it until you feel confident. It also collects statistics and shows your score on each theme. Thanks to that, you can know what to work on and ensure there are no gaps in your tactical education. Overall, Custom Puzzles is a flexible and effective tool that I use for my training and recommend to all my students. They start with lower-rated puzzles and gradually go up toward mastery."
IM Zaur Tekeyev

"Improving at chess requires a structured approach to solving puzzles. Beginners should start with Checkmate in One scenarios and progress to Checkmate in Two or Three moves. Online platforms are viable but follow certain rules: refrain from making moves until you are sure of the solution, calculate all your opponent's responses, and try to optimize your position. Limit puzzle-solving time to five minutes per puzzle, occasionally 10 minutes for complex puzzles. If a puzzle proves to be too challenging, opt for simpler ones. Aim for at least 50 correctly solved puzzles per week, focusing on improvement rather than completion."
FM Viktor Neustroev

Learning

You don't have to figure chess out by yourself. Chess.com has a vast library of lessons taught by masters that will teach you everything you need to know to improve your game. 

Lessons

"The Lessons page is the perfect tool for beginner players to really start on the right foot and make sure that they have all of the basics down. I believe that every single beginner should go through the lesson guide. Go through them one by one, and if something is too easy, it will still act as a refresher."
NI Markus Hansson

Lessons page on Chess.com

Videos

"Watching videos by some of the best players in the world is a fantastic way to absorb their knowledge. The video instructors will help you to learn about many different parts of the game that you can improve at."
FM Dalton Perrine

"It's advisable to keep guessing the best moves during the videos to use the active learning process. Do not hesitate to pause the video, analyze the position, and compare your moves and thoughts to what you see in the video later."
IM Jerzy Jesus Perez Leiva 

It's advisable to keep guessing the best moves during the videos to use the active learning process. Do not hesitate to pause the video, analyze the position, and compare your moves and thoughts to what you see in the video later
— IM Jerzy Jesus Perez Leiva

Openings

"The vastness of openings can be exhausting to comprehend, but Chess.com's openings page gives you a gist of all the major possibilities and a thread to understand various chess openings."
FM Niranjan Navalgund

Openings page on Chess.com

Chessable

"Chessable is fantastic for openings, strategy, tactics, and endgames. The MoveTrainer technology allows you to practice and repeat moves on a consistent basis which helps you to improve your memory of key moves and ideas."
FM Dalton Perrine

Analytics

Sometimes, it's hard to have a bird's eye view of your chess strengths and weaknesses. That's where these chess analytics tools can come in handy to help you understand your chess better!

Insights

"Looking at the insight referring to what stage of the game you are best or worst at is especially helpful to point out what you should focus on next in your chess journey."
NM Daniel Shubin

"There's a lot of useful information you can find out about your play using Insights. It can tell you how you perform in different openings with different colors. Based on that, you can see if you need to fix your repertoire. Regarding tactics, a very interesting feature is that you can compare your data with other players with your rating. If you are worse at tactics than them, you should work on your tactics. If you are better than similar players, then it is a good question why you're rated the same—you probably have other weak areas that are holding you back. Overall, I think it can be a useful tool if you understand the data and can draw conclusions from it."
IM Zaur Tekeyev

Your Insights can show you if you need to get better at tactics

Events

There's always something going on in the chess world! And if you want to keep up with the latest trends, watching current events is the way to go!

Broadcasts

"Watching broadcasts is a fun way of following chess. Commentators do a great job of making the top-level games exciting and helping the viewers to understand what's going on."
FM Dalton Perrine

Live Games

"Try watching games for a minimum of 30 minutes every day, with a time control of at least three minutes. Even with such short time constraints, strong players can still execute good moves. Observing how masters play daily can be incredibly educational. My coach always said that you can learn a lot through observation, and I have personally benefited from it. Dedicate time to watch the games of masters, think for yourself as if you were playing, and compare your thoughts to the moves the masters make."
Cen-John Rarugal - National Instructor

Explorer

Chess.com has a large set of databases that can help you improve your play. Whether you'd like to see what moves the masters are playing in your favorite opening, study classic games, or even go over your own games in a specific line, our Explorer page has got you covered.

Opening Explorer

"As the old adage goes: curiosity is the mother of learning. After playing a game, you can go to the Explorer page if you wish to know what the masters did in the opening that you just played. You can go through the master games in the openings you have played and also prepare beforehand for the openings you are likely to face in your next game. In chess and in life, preparation is the key!"
FM Niranjan Navalgund

Opening Explorer on Chess.com

Master Games

"Learning from master games is a fantastic way of improving. It's important for us to learn from the strong players that came before us."
FM Dalton Perrine

Practice

Practice makes perfect. Chess.com has a series of tools that can help you with any phase of the game.

Endgames

"The legendary Capablanca said: 'In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before anything else,' and it makes sense to pay heed to this advice. If you feel endgames are boring, the Endgames page will change that notion. With interactive endgame training practice, you'll covers the essential aspects of basic endgames so that you can practice to convert winning games and also save positions in tricky theoretical endings."
FM Niranjan Navalgund

Openings

"When working on their opening prep, masters usually play practice games and review their opening lines prior to their games. If you want to get better at openings, repetition helps and you can do it with the Openings Practice feature."
FM Niranjan Navalgund

Practice drills on Chess.com

Drills

"Drills are designed to put you in situations that are common in a chess game. In addition to that, you can adjust the level of the engine you are paired with and practice accordingly. The more you practice attacking, the better you will get at attacking your opponent's king. Not just that, Drills also has a section on defending so that you are well equipped to showcase your defensive skills in your games. When it comes to endgames, theoretical endgames and practical endgames matter equally and these sections will prepare you for the endgames ahead. If you are keen on understanding imbalances, you can also take up the drills and elevate your understanding about them as well."
FM Niranjan Navalgund

Master Games

"Adjusting the engine level according to your level and replaying master games is very helpful to test your understanding of the position from a practical point of view."
IM Jerzy Jesus Perez Leiva 

Adjusting the engine level according to your level and replaying master games is very helpful to test your understanding of the position from a practical point of view.
— IM Jerzy Jesus Perez Leiva

Miscellaneous

There are many other features on Chess.com that you can use to improve (and to have fun!). Here are some pieces of advice from our coaches about these features.

Classroom

"Oh, this is my favorite—what a wonderful tool! It helps coaches teach chess more effectively. This tool is very helpful because your students can physically move the pieces, engaging not just their minds but also their bodies. I love this tool because it helps both coaches and students to engage more fully in the lesson."
Cen-John Rarugal - National Instructor

Forums

"The forums are a good place to ask questions and make friendships with other like-minded chess players."
FM Dalton Perrine

Vision Trainer

"Ever wondered why Beth Harmon looked at the ceiling? The answer is visualization! If you want to get better at recognizing squares and visualizing positions in your mind, getting acquainted with the squares is the first step. Use the Vision Trainer to test your vision. As an added benefit, once you master the squares, you can read chess books without the board!"
FM Niranjan Navalgund

Ever wondered why Beth Harmon looked at the ceiling? The answer is visualization! If you want to get better at recognizing squares and visualizing positions in your mind, getting acquainted with the squares is the first step.
— FM Niranjan Navalgund

Do you have any advice on how to improve using any of our features? Let us know in the comment section below!

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