Quick Guide to Chess Improvement Column

| 9 has brought me a new readership - that's very exciting and I thank both and you, the readers!

I have written 11 chess books and several blogs & articles such as this one (with more to come!) but, so far, all the awards have gone to my column on how to improve at chess, the now famously misnomered "Novice Nook" at (if this link does not work, go to and click on "Novice Nooks**" at the left.

Readers know that this monthly Chess Cafe column is for players of all levels, hardly just for novices. I have had contact with many masters and experts who have told me that they learned something, too (just as I have in writing the column!). Smile There are now 139 Novice Nooks, and they average about 7 web pages long!

Novice Nook has won the Chess Journalists of American award for Best Chess Column 3 times and Best Instructive Lesson 6 times. One key aspect: I pride myself in trying to write columns where you could not find similar material easily in other sources.

In this blog would like to attempt a brief introduction to Novice Nook, so that those unfamiliar with the column can find "chess improvement" information quickly.

Near the top of the web page, there are inter-page links to the three ways the columns are ordered, for ease in finding what you want:

  1. Reverse Chronological (the main ordering with corrections and further links)
  2. Subject - in case you want to look for only columns on Endgames, Tactics, Thought Process, Time Management, Psychology, etc.
  3. Alphabetical - if you already know the name of the column for which you are seeking

Thanks to hyper-linking, my columns are full of links to earlier ones dealing with subjects relevant to the current column. Therefore, many later Novice Nooks include multiple links, and are almost guides. For example, the winner of the 2012 CJA award for Best Instructive Lesson, "Don't Know What to Do? Try Dan's Dirty Dozen" at contains the note:

"I have included a multitude of references in this month's column, so consider this the "Guide for What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do"!"

Another "big link" column was Novice Nook 100: The Best Novice Nook Ideas at

On the other hand, I wrote another "summary" Novice Nook, "My Top Tips for Improvement" at where I purposely did not put in so many references because the entire column would have been full of them!

There are many original articles; I can only mention a handful:

...and many, many more. Think about any subject matter or question which involves chess improvement, and I probably have answered it somewhere in a Novice NookSmile. I can pretty much guarantee that, no matter what your chess-playing level, if you've never read it before and now read a bunch, you will not be wasting your "chess improvement" time.Smile