Learn Chess - Starting Out

Jan 22, 2016, 7:42 AM |

I wanted to write about some of the books and resources that I used to learn chess 20 years ago, and what things I would do differently now if I had to learn it all over again from the beginning.  So, I will go over exactly what I did in the past and how I would study this time, going over every class rank to where I am now.  This post will go over how I learned chess and I hope it helps others who are studying or just starting off. 


Bobby Fisher Teaches Chess

"Robert James "BobbyFischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was an American chess Grandmaster and the eleventh World Chess Champion. Many consider him the greatest chess player of all time.[2][3][4]" - Wikepedia

Bobby's book is the best selling chess book of all time. Personally, I have seveal copies - I buy it randomly in bookstores, and have given it many people as gifts who have asked me how to play and learn chess. The book goes over the rules of chess, basic tactics and checkmate patterns, and is laid out like a mini workbook with spaces to put your answers.  The book builds up to more and more complex problems and questions which gives the reader the chance to build up their skill as they learn.  

The book is available at most book stores, and online at marketplaces like Amazon.  Learn Chess with Bobby today!

Given the chance to do it over, I would not change a thing. This book taught me chess when I started to learn, and I couldn't recommend a different book.  It is the all time best chessbook for a reason. 






Winning Chess Traps - Irving Chernov

"All classes of players, weak or strong, need the vital information in this book to avoid pitfalls or to catch the unwary napping. Each of the 300 traps discussed in this collection -- introductory explanation, opening moves, diagram of position when trap is sprung, concluding moves to checkmate or win material -- is complete in itself. Winning Chess Traps is a thorough and practical book, a classic that belongs in any basic chess library"  - Amazon

I really enjoyed this book 20 years ago so much that I bought it again.  I stupied this book with a board out, and worked through all the lines and sidelines.  When I got the end of a sideline, I setup the board at the start poistion again, and continued through all the lines.  The book contains 300 traps in mainline openings, and sort of points out bad moves along the way, each time the opening is sort of refuted, until you reach the mainline.  There are traps for both black and white to play ranging from winning a pawn or piece to queen and mate.  

Catch them in the opening!




At some point, the player who is learning will get mated quickly, or lose a piece to an opening trick / trap / swindle etc, and will need to learn some opening theory.  But what to pick to study?  Why are all the opening books a collection of confusing lines to play?  When I first started to play, my Uncle who introduced me to chess went over a few lines of the Ruy Lopez, because of its classical nature - attack the center and develop the peices with coordination.  I happened to find this gem of a book in my local bookstore which rarely carried chess books to begin with.  




Mastering the Spanish

This opening book is quite different from others.  Instead of just going over some lines, with dozens of sidelines, the book is sectioned off by pawn structures, with the typical plans for both sides in each structure.  By mastering the pawn structures, you learn more about chess openings, than any book which is just "lines".  

This book, and others in the same series, is sadly out of print, but cann still be found online.  I wish more books were still written in this manner, it would give players the chance to see how to plan, and why certain moves are played in today's top games.  

I can't give this series enough praise. 



Other resources:

  • Chesskid.com
  • FICS Chess Server - Play for free
  • MyChessBooks.com Chess Book and DVD Reviews
Comments / Suggestions? Let me hear them!