Best way for an adult to get started learning chess?


I never had the opportunity to really learn chess growing up. I understand how all the pieces move, but I don't know any strategy. A friend of mine and I made a gentleman's wager to learn chess together. At the beginning of a night out, whoever wins a game of chess has to buy drinks for the night. So now the game is on!

Could anyone please recommend books, web sites, strategies, exercises, etc. that would help me learn this game quickly? I'm a beginner, but obviously not a child. Thanks so much for your help!


There are lots of good chess books for beginners recomended by a good teacher called Dan Heisman at this page. Smile


I would recommend 'Logical Chess: Move by Move' by Irving Chernev.  Chernev was a popular writer of chess books and this one is regarded as a classic.  He goes through 33 chess games and comments on every move to explain what is going on.  It's a great book to get if you have learnt how the pieces move and don't know what to do next to play a good game. Smile


Playing good chess also means learning about tactics and there is a great website which teaches this in plain language -  


Good luck! 

I would also recommend 'Logical Chess: Move by Move' by Irving Chernev, and after that maybe you could check out 'The Amateur's Mind' by Jeremy Silman. They both helped me alot (even though I am still no good, it's my fault and not the fault of the books :)

I have asked myself the same question. The advice given above is good. Heisman has written a few nice articles filled with advice on how to set up an improvement schedule.

Maybe the most common advice is to start with tactics. There are a lot of good books on tactics. It all boils down to personal taste but you might want to try some software for Tactics training. CT-ART 3.0 is available as a demo from I think a full version costs 20-30USD.

Euwe's book called something like Masters vs Amateurs is also very good.


Good Luck and Keep us Posted on your progress!


The book that helped me the most (in the beginning after I learned how the pieces move) is Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess. It teaches most of the basic tactics by showing diagrams and telling what move you should make and why. Starts out very basic and gets more complex. You can probably get it on eBay for $5 or less.

 I have a short eBook that would probably help you too. It's free. Send me an email if you want it.

Let me recommend a very good book that helped me a lot on my tactics. The good thing about this book is that it's for all levels. It's called "Chess 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games" by Laszlo Polgar. This is a giant book but if you want to improve your tactics (and tactics are one of the most important parts of chess, especially for beginners) than this is your one book that will do it.

One has to have a good strategic base there are to many possibilities in the "game" one has to narrow it down & play with a plan, I recommend reading my website: But beware of the other guys tactics(sacrifices).

Yes, as one member said the "Novice Nook" column at Dan Heisman's website is very good to read. You should also play chess online against human opponents and ask them to help you review the game once it is finished. Another thing you should do is search for the "Chess Tactics Server" which will help you to understand and improve your tactical ability by practicing chess tactical puzzles.

I learned as a child, but haven't played for many years and trying to get back into it. I think the Chessmaster 10th edition program is good just for the games it lets you play against the computer with different personalities, skill levels, etc. I don't know how everyone else feels about it, but I like this aspect of the program. its about $20. Also Weapons of Chess by Bruce Pandolfini is not bad, since it emphasizes the inportance of pawn structures.


Haplo, I do not like the idea of playing the computer program every time. You must have a lot of practice with human opponents. I think it would be more effective in your chess learning to play mostly human opponents rather than computer opponents. There are a few reasons for this:


1) After the game you will be able to go over the games with you human opponent where they can explain what you have done wrong and what you should do next time, when reviewing your games with computer programs it just spits back chess moves, no explanations. I only use the computer programs to see the evaluation of certain opening lines and also to check my games for tactical opportunities that I missed.


2) When you are playing the ChessMaster program for example, you program it to a certain level then it will play at that exact level and make a certain number of mistakes at that level. You want your opponents play to be varied. You do not want to get into the mode of playing a computer program where you expect it to make a certain number of mistakes in the game. Also you do not want to always play the computer program at its highest level. For one, this will frustrate you when you are always losing, and also you will never get a chance to test spotting tactics in games.


But when playing a human you will get a variety of players, mistakes each game, playing strengths, and styles. This is what will help you the most to improve your chess ability. Only use the chess programs to review your games for mistakes, not to actually play against them.


However, this is only my opinion. So feel free to do what works best for you!


"Chess 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games by Laszlo Polgar"

Although László Polgár's name is on the book as author,  the book was actually compiled by Susan Polgár.

The best advice i can give you is to watch your board and play more offensive and deffesive but be ready to counter

My advice is this:

1. Make sure you have a book set at the right level to work through (I'm currently working my way through Yasser Seirawan's "Play to Win" series, which I can recommend).

2. Make sure you have an electronic opponent to practice against.  My favourite is Shredder (on the PC), but most people go for Fritz.  Also note there's some good programs for PDAs (PocketGrandmaster, Pocket Fritz 3).  If all else fails, you can buy some very cheap software for ordinary mobile phones (ChessMaster is my favourite).  The software for phones doesn't have much in the way of features, but it'll certainly be able to give you a good game.


My advice is this:

1. Change your avatar if it resembles Oscar the Grouch.

2. Study tactics, i.e. do tons of chess puzzles! These 1-2 move combos need to be recognized in-game 100% of the time. And 3-4 move combos need to be recognized on a regular basis, or else you'll be doomed to consistently lose games to higher rated players who have these patterns down pat. 99% of games are lost because you "missed" an attack on one of your pieces, or the position was even till your opponent moved a Knight, and then a pawn, and then all of a sudden that little pawn is forking your Knight and Bishop.

3. Repeat steps 1-2; trust me, they really work.


The Exeter Chess Club has a helpful website ...


Learn tactics and basic opening theory.  There are many websites online that can help you with this.  Dan heisman's site is awesome for the beginner.  He always stresses piece safety and playing long games.  I would recommend first learning basic tactics.  Then go to chess tactics server at and do at least 100 puzzles a day.  What's great about that site is that after doing a few puzzles it will only give you puzzles at or a little above your level.  The first ones will be hard but after 10 mins they'll be right where you want them.  Its totally free to sign up and you can set it to stop after every puzzles failed.  This way you can see the solution and figure out the tactic.  Remember:  do not go to the next puzzle until you fully understand what is going on.  Also, sometimes its more important just to see the solution instead of figuring it out on your own.  You brain remembers the patterns very efficiently.

Learn good opening principles like control the center, knights before bishops, don't bring out your queen too early.. etc etc.  There are many sites on this stuff.  Don't worry about openings right now.  Mistakes in the opening are merely just tactical mistakes.  Learn your tactics and you'll excel at chess.  Every GM,FM,NM or IM that comes into the live room here, when asked, says that tactics are the most important aspect of chess. 


Good luck and remember that chess is a game and it should be fun.


Chess puzzles are great for learning but you have to understand the mechanics of the puzzle you just went through before moving on to the next. Also try a program like Chessmaster. It's got a good teaching program built in and a good selection of levels for beginners


So many excellent recommendation already given - I do not want to add any books. Rather an advice(s) which helped me immensely -

Look into every possible check and capture at every move.

Also look into every possible move at any position - even an apparently duffer's move! This applies for your opponent's moves also - analyze every possible opponent's move.


Find a good coach,

English and spanish


Read one or more of the following:

Logical Chess Move By Move - The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played AND Practical Chess Endings: all by Irving Chernev

1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate (Chess lovers' library) by Fred Reinfeld  

Common Sense in Chess by Dr Lasker

Chess Fundamentals - My Chess Career and Last Lectures by J R Capablanca