Top 3 Mistakes Novice Players Make
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Top 3 Mistakes Novice Players Make

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Novice players are categorized as players who have blitz ratings under 800. They can be any age and range from brand new players to experienced pawn pushers looking to reach the beginner level. In this post we will take a look at data from 30 novice players and how their training impacted their success. There are three common mistakes that we see in the data among novice players.

#1: Not Analyzing Games

The biggest mistake we see among novice players is not analyzing their games enough. It's not easy to understand how to go about analyzing games, so let's walk through an example. The first step is to play a game that is long enough to be worth analyzing. A time control with an increment is preferable. 15+10 for rapid, 5+5 for blitz, or best of all would be a 30 minute or slower game!

After the game ends, click on the analysis button:


After the analysis tab pops up, click on retry mistakes and try to find better moves:

retry mistakes

And the third step, this one is important. Click on the analysis tab and step through the game trying to find at least one takeaway that you can put a sentence to. For example: watch for weak doubled pawns around the opponent's king.

Spend time after all of your slower games and games with increments doing some game analysis. This will help prevent bad habits and create good ones.

#2: Wasting Time on Endgames

"Wasting time" may sound harsh, but it's mostly true. There are five basic endgames that every novice player should learn:

  1. King and Two Queens vs King
  2. King, Queen and Rook vs King
  3. King and Two Rooks vs King
  4. King and Queen vs King
  5. King and Rook vs King

If you learn these five endgames there will be no doubt you can finish off any game with a significant advantage. A combination of solid tactical play and knowing strategic concepts will take you much further than learning endgame nuances. For premium members, the last three can be learned on’s Winning the Game Lesson and practiced with’s Checkmate Drills.

#3: Not Studying Strategy

Two resources for learning strategy on for novice players are the lessons and the articles. Lessons – The lessons are a fantastic resource for learning chess strategy online. This is the top recommended resource for novice players! Strategy Articles – strategy articles by IM Jeremy Silman and others are highly regarded at the novice level.

Further Reading

For more information on recommendations for novice players, please check out my Novice Study Plan or leave your comments below.

NM Matt Jensen

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