Chess Plan for Beginners

Chess Plan for Beginners

Apr 6, 2015, 3:35 PM |
The Sole Purpose of this blog is to inform beginners the importance of creating a plan and try to help beginners create a plan that can help them improve their chess. The plan can be simple, easy, and suited to their individual needs.

Background information on how the blog got created:

I recently came to a forum post were an individual asked a question on how to improve. It seemed as if the individual had been struggling in his improvement. I commented on this individuals forum to see what exactly he has been doing. As it turned out he had been doing what commenter's suggested;however, he never established a routine/plan to help him achieve his desired improvement. He also had no way of measuring his improvement.

I than shared a routine in which I do that has helped me through my chess progress. In doing so some of the people on that forum liked my comment. They thanked me and said some kind words. I was so blown away that they inspired me to create this blog. I will admit I didn't have any intention of making this blog. Their kind words helped make this blog come to life. They really desire the credit because I wouldn't of created it otherwise. Those 6 commentors who posted had the following names:
I remember when I was ranked 500. Yeah it may be tough to believe but I used to be that low. I thought I was going to be their forever. I will admit I did exactly what most beginners do. I made a forum asking for help on how to improve.

People came to my forum they gave me some suggestions and advice. Their advice was good;however, none of them ever introduced the idea of coming up with a plan of how to improve.

For example:
They gave me suggests like "study tactics" or "study chess princples".

I was a beginner at the time so I didn't know what chess princples were and I had not studyed any tactics. I did end up listening to their advice and than my ranking went up but than it went down again. It seemed like their advice was good but it didn't seem to be working all the time.

One day I got upset. I started thinking out loud wondering why my ranking still 500 and was not going up. I was all frustrated, angry with myself. I was also angry that I had following everyone suggestions and it didn't seem to be working.

Than the funniest thing happen to me. I had an epiphany. It was almost like one of those light bulb moments. I rememebered something that happened to me many years ago when I was in football. It was something my football coach said to me. I laughed becuase I rememebered what he said that day.

Basically what happen was the football team was on like the off season. The football team was weighting lifting getting ready for the season to start it was the first time I had ever tryed out for the team so I was new. So everyone was weight lifting getting stronger. I ended up asking the coach. I was like coach I don't think I'm getting stronger lol. He than told me well what are you doing. Whats your max? Whats your routine? I was like I don't know. My football coach was in his late 70's (years of age) so he had a shocking look on his face. He than said "Wait a min so what have you been doing for the past 2 weeks"?

I told him I had only been their for 1 week. Bascially me and a group of friends joined the team a week late and during that week we missed. Everyone on the football team was getting put on a work out plan. We was all new so we didn't know how it all worked. After I told my coach we had no plan. He started circling the room as if he was an airplane fixing to take off.

He started calling the other coach's lol. He was like " these kids don't have a routine, they don't have a plan, they don't have a max, they are winging it. What the hell is going on here."
Than he looked at me and said " what work out have you been doing this whole time?" I was like well I been asking some of the other people what they was doing and been doing what they did."

He looked at me and went on a rant said " So let me get this straight you guys have been here a whole week with no plan just winging it going through the motions. You got no idea what your max is. You have no goals for yourself. Than to top it all off you been doing work outs that have been suggested by other people? Who might not even be on your same level. An now you are asking me why your not getting stronger?" I hesitated and was like " Yep I'm going to score so many touch down's."

I think he almost had a heart attack after I said that. I think I was lucky that day since I was new otherwise. He probably would of had me running laps all day lol.

At the time I was nerves becuase I was new lol but looking back on it I laugh and thats bascially what made me laugh and have my epiphany which helped me change my approach to chess.

It was a life experience that helped me. I remembered what my Coach said "If you don't have a plan than your just winging it."  Its true when you think about it. If you don't have a chess plan your just winging it going through the motions. Yeah he was in his 70's but man he was truthful.
The truthful answer is: The day you start to improve will be the day you start pushing yourself to improve.

If people wish to gain muscle they do a work out plan/schedule to try and get stronger.

If people wish to lose weight they do a weight loss plan/schedule every day to try and lose weight.

If you wish to improve your chess you need a chess plan.

I should point out, your plan has to be a reasonable plan.

For example: I will give you a metaphor.

Lets pretend someone wanted to lose weight. The individual person starts a weight loss plan. If someone decided to add a routine of eating pies every day in their weight loss plan the chances of the plan actually working are not realistic.

  1. So form a plan that is realistic and reasonable.
  2. When you make a chess plan figure out how much time you plan to invest in this plan every day.
  3. Try to keep set goals for yourself to monitor your progress.

I will be showing you a chess plan I have used. It is a very simple plan. I decided to invest at least 2 hours a day on my chess plan.

Everyone has a set amount of time they have that is free to them. I know some people who have chess plan of only 15 min, 30 min, or even some who have chess plans of over 5 hours. Depending on how much free time you have.

Figure out how much free time you have and want to invest in your plan every day. Once you have a time frame than try to schedule things around your allowed time.

My time I decide to invest was 2 hours.

I than did a break down of what I plan to do every day.


Let me give you an example lets say for Monday chess work out.

  • Review & comment on 1 of my games.
  • Review or watch a Master game.
  • Do a 1-3 tactical puzzles.
  • Review/Understand some Opening Game = Opening theory.

The reason I have this one highlighted in red instead of the other ones is because usually I change this one every day.

  • Review & comment on 1 of my games.

Bascially I look at 1 of the games I played and try to review all my mistakes. I check it with computer engines and different databases to see what is the best move compared to my moves.

I than comment on each move trying to figure out what I was thinking when I made my move. Once I finish writing my commentary and reviewing I than post my game to my forums. So other people can see them to give me idea's of where I might have gone wrong as tips.

Here is an example: I was playing black in this example.

All together maybe this task might take me from 30 mins to 1 hour depending on how long the game is and How much commentary I add.

This game in particular took me about 1 hour becuase I did alot of variations and commenting etc. As you can see very length commenting which doesn't have to happen. I just chose to do that so depending on your time span you can be very flexible.

The goal of doing this is so you can see were your mistakes are. It will also help you prevent these mistakes in similar positions next time. Lastly it might even get you good feed back from other people with different idea's. This is just 1 game here. Which if you check out my forum you can see I have more that I have done before to continue with my plan.

Total time used: 1 hour

  • Review or watch a Master game.

Some people love reading books and going over Grand Master games in books. I like watching video's. So for this what I do is very simple. I go online to youtube and search chess video's. Some chess players who are on youtube like reviewing Grand Master games as well so its easy to find some online. Also if you play a certain line you can try and find a Grand Master game that might feature that line.

For Example: If your tryed to learn the Sicilian Defence from the black side or white side. You can find videos of that. Also you can just watch some nice video's that are catchy.

The goal of reviewing and watching Grand Master games is very simple. If you plan to improve as a chess player you have to try and see how good people play. It will give you helpful tips, It will also expand your idea's, and make you see things you might have not thought before. So going over Title player games is very helpful. Not only are you looking at your games seeing your mistakes but you are also seeing how strong players handle positions similar to yours to help you learn. Which is why I do this step.

For this step I usually do 30 min to 1 hour depending on how long it took me to review my game.

In this case my game took me 1 hour so I would watch 30 mins worth of video in this case each 1 of the videos I posted are about 10 min each so 3 videos get me to about 30 min total.

Total time used: 1 hour 30 mins

  • Do a 1-3 tactical puzzles.

These usually take me less than 5 mins. I usually do about 1-3 so it doesn't take me that long. The amount you do here will totally be up to you. Depending on how much time you set for yourself. I would like to point out has a Tactical Trainer so you can even just use theirs if you wanted to.

Total time used: 1 hour 35 mins

  • Review/Understand some chess opening theory.

The reason I have this one highlighted in red instead of the other ones is because every day I change it. You can see from below what it gets changed to the text that are highlighted in red.

Chess has 3 different phases

  1. Opening Game = Opening theory
  2. Middle Game = Middle game planning coming up with idea's
  3. End Game = King and pawn endgames

Chess also has 2 things which need recognition

  1. Mating Patterns
  2. Pawn Structures

For example: I will use a health metaphor

Its almost like having a healthy balanced chess meal for the week you need to have all chess food groups represented.

On Monday I will do opening theory (which are like fruits and vegetables lol)

On Tuesday I will do Middle Game (which are like the Meat, Fish and Alternatives lol)

On Wednesday I will do End Game (which is like the bread, other cereals, and potatoes)

On Thursday I will do Mating Patterns (which are like food containing fat and foods containing sugar. LOL Oh yeah you know its true. Those mating patterns are the junk food of chess don't lie to yourself LOL. We know the truth.)

On Friday I will do Pawn structure (Milk and dairy products etc.)

I think you get the point. Going back to my chess work out plan for Monday.

I would use the remaing time I had which is 25 mins to go over opening theory for my Monday Work out.

Which can be done in alot of ways. Online Video's about openings, Chess Databases, or Game explorers even has one.

So you can spend 25 mins going over a line to learn the theory/moves of what you can play or watch a video of a opening. Here is an example

LOL funny enough that video is almost exactly 25 mins so their would be the end of our work out for Monday.

Total time used: 2 hour which is what I wanted.

So just to review the Work out I did for Monday.

  • Review & comment on 1 of my games.
  • Review or watch a Master game.
  • Do a 1-3 tactical puzzles.
  • Review/Understand some Opening Game = Opening theory.

If you want to see example of Tuesday's would be like.

  • Review & comment on 1 of my games.
  • Review or watch a Master game.
  • Do a 1-3 tactical puzzles.
  • Review/Understand some Middle Game = Middle game planning coming up with idea's.


  • Review & comment on 1 of my games.
  • Review or watch a Master game.
  • Do a 1-3 tactical puzzles.
  • Review/Understand some End Game = King and pawn endgames.

Again this is just the plan I use that I made based off my time of 2 hours of free time. I feel confident with it so far. I mean it might not be earth shattering but at least it is something. I feel as if I have gradually improved as well. I use to be ranked 500 and than I decided to do a plan and go 1 step at a time.

Set a goal of 600 for myself than when I reached it. I set new goal to 700 all the way up. Now I am almost 1700 on and on some other chess sites I play I am over 2000.

You have to start from some where even if its not the best plan in the world. At least its a plan. A bad plan is better than no plan.

I just want to be clear I am not a Title player. This plan I made was just one I created suited to my free time and I honestly don't know if it will get me to become a Title player or not.

However, Even though I am not a Title player I have seen improvement in my games. I can't promise you doing this plan will get you to a title ranking;however, I can promise it will help you begin to formulate a plan to help you improve gradually.

I will add alternatives as well.

I am learning pawn structure and mating patterns;however, I'm 1700-2000 now in ranking.

If you are a beginner maybe instead of learning pawn structure and mating patterns you can substituting those 2 for a different 2 like trying to learn how the pieces move and learning the value of material.

So with that in mind I will also try and create a nice plan for Beginners. If you want to use my plan that is perfectly fine again its very flexible. You have the power to substitute stuff for other stuff when you need to. Just remember this blog is to help you think of ways of making a plan. If you want to use some of my idea's that is perfectly fine. If instead you want to use some other stuff you can always substitute them in.

Beginner plan

  • Learning a line to play (some brief Opening Theory)
  • Learning Chess Princples
  • Learning how the pieces move
  • Learning how to castle short and long
  • Learning how to do En Passant
  • Learning the value of each piece
  • Learning Tactic Puzzles (10-30 each day)

Alternative things you can substitute in later on

  • Piece development
  • Initiative
  • Defending your King
  • Attacking your opponents King
  • Fighting for squares
  • Formulating plans in the game
  • Piece Activity
  • Calculation
  • Targetting/Attacking weaknesses
  • Provoking weaknesses
  • Defending weaknesses
  • Building a repertoire
  • Fighting for a section of the board
  • Queen side Attacks
  • Kings side Attacks
  • Center Attacks
  • End Game Mates which their are alot of those LOL.

King + 2 bishop vs King

King + 1 bishop + 1 knight vs King

King + 1 queen vs King

King + 1 Rook vs King

King + 1 queen vs King + 1 rook

These are all other things which can be used to improve your chess as well. If anyone esle has any thing I missed feel free to tell me in the comments and I will add them.

Thank you for reading and I hope this has been very informative.