Complete Newbie: Where Do I Begin?

goffer17

I know literally nothing about chess openings, tactics, "mid-game", positions, or endgame. All I know are the rules, and any time I try playing someone online I simply get crushed.

What subject(s) pertaining to chess do I begin learning? What are the hands-down best books for that?

Any answers or advice are greatly appreciated

jitterbugflapping
Easy openings
Colby-Covington

Most prominent openings for White and Black.

I recommend the Queens Gambit for White and the Albin Counter Gambit for Black.

That way you'll be covered from both sides, because the Albin Counter is designed to beat the Queens Gambit.

They also come up 70% of the time.

 

hisokaxhunter

go for several apps and watch someone play, study by yourself y they move like that, u can test by trial and error any idea and thought u think is possible in your game after that

MissBlueTally

Have fun. You don't have any money riding on these games

TooManyBlunders

I had a look at one of your most recent losses and noticed the following:

You didn't develop your pieces. You were simply moving pawns randomly while your opponent got their pieces out.

You overlooked tactics (pins) and left your pieces hanging.

You didn't castle. Notice how many times I mention castling in my analysis below.

TooManyBlunders

My advice to improve would be as follows:

Openings: Learn one opening as White (e.g Italian game) and choose a response to play against e4 (I would recommend e5 for now) and one against d4 (I would recommend Queens Gambit Declined). The main idea in the opening is to get your pieces off their starting squares and castle. Here is an example of what happens if you don't develop: https://www.chess.com/blog/TooManyBlunders/opening-principles-who-needs-them-anyway

Middlegame: Learn tactics (e.g pins, forks, skewers). At your level your opponents will gift you many pieces by simple tactics. Also, if you see a free piece then take it! Also watch out for your opponent's Knights and where they can go to (see https://www.chess.com/daily/game/228354026 for a good example)

Endgame: Learn basic endgames such as King and Queen vs King and King and Rook vs King. At your level you will often reach an endgame with one side having a big material advantage. Learn how to use it.

magictwanger

I was down to 430 after a short time on this site.The book The Idiot's Guide To Chess was extremely helpful.It's a very enjoyable read at your level....You'll thank me if you get it.

Good luck.

kindaspongey

"... for those that want to be as good as they can be, they'll have to work hard.
Play opponents who are better than you … . Learn basic endgames. Create a simple opening repertoire (understanding the moves are far more important than memorizing them). Study tactics. And pick up tons of patterns. That’s the drumbeat of success. ..." - IM Jeremy Silman (December 27, 2018)
https://www.chess.com/article/view/little-things-that-help-your-game
https://www.chess.com/article/view/how-to-start-out-in-chess

https://www.chess.com/blog/michechess89/8-tips-to-increase-your-online-rating
https://www.chess.com/news/view/a-new-years-resolution-improve-your-chess-with-new-lessons

https://www.chess.com/article/view/mastery-chess-lessons-are-here
"... In order to maximize the benefits of [theory and practice], these two should be approached in a balanced manner. ... Play as many slow games (60 5 or preferably slower) as possible, ... The other side of improvement is theory. ... This can be reading books, taking lessons, watching videos, doing problems on software, etc. ..." - NM Dan Heisman (2002)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627084053/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman19.pdf
"... If it’s instruction, you look for an author that addresses players at your level (buying something that’s too advanced won’t help you at all). This means that a classic book that is revered by many people might not be useful for you. ..." - IM Jeremy Silman (2015)
https://www.chess.com/article/view/the-best-chess-books-ever
Here are some reading possibilities that I often mention:
Simple Attacking Plans by Fred Wilson (2012)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090402/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review874.pdf
http://dev.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/Simple-Attacking-Plans-77p3731.htm
Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev (1957)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708104437/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/logichess.pdf
The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev (1965)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/most-instructive-games-of-chess-ever-played/
Winning Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (1948)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708093415/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review919.pdf
Back to Basics: Tactics by Dan Heisman (2007)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708233537/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review585.pdf
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-back-to-basics-tactics
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5856bd64ff7c50433c3803db/t/5895fc0ca5790af7895297e4/1486224396755/btbtactics2excerpt.pdf
Discovering Chess Openings by GM John Emms (2006)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627114655/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen91.pdf
Openings for Amateurs by Pete Tamburro (2014)
http://kenilworthian.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-of-pete-tamburros-openings-for.html
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/openings-for-amateurs/

https://www.chess.com/blog/ForwardChess/book-of-the-week-openings-for-amateurs
https://www.mongoosepress.com/catalog/excerpts/openings_amateurs.pdf
Chess Endgames for Kids by Karsten Müller (2015)
https://chessbookreviews.wordpress.com/tag/chess-endgames-for-kids/
http://www.gambitbooks.com/pdfs/Chess_Endgames_for_Kids.pdf
A Guide to Chess Improvement by Dan Heisman (2010)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708105628/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review781.pdf
Studying Chess Made Easy by Andrew Soltis (2009)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708090448/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review750.pdf
Seirawan stuff:
http://seagaard.dk/review/eng/bo_beginner/ev_winning_chess.asp?KATID=BO&ID=BO-Beginner
http://www.nystar.com/tamarkin/review1.htm
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627132508/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/hansen173.pdf
https://www.chess.com/article/view/book-review-winning-chess-endings
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708092617/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review560.pdf

Colby-Covington
Botvinnikfan720 wrote:

You really don't need to study the Italian Game, the Ruy Lopez, or the Queen's Gambit at this stage as there are lots of variations and traps that people could trick you with.  The Fried Liver attack etc. At your level the last thing you want is to get duped by some clever trap.  

Just share some of the openings you are currently studying so the OP can relate.

Queen's Gambit is one of the most played openings at any level, it would be most advisable to study it early and the Albin Counter in conjunction with it.

Colby-Covington

Which opening would you attribute your success to?

The Colle system is nice, but doesn't come up very much, so whatever he's learning for Black will be unrelated.

Schools generally start by teaching QG and the Albin Counter together as they complement each other perfectly and truly come up very often.

Colby-Covington

Interesting. What is your prefered time control? I'd expect some gambits from a Blitz player.

kindaspongey

"... For players with very limited experience, I recommend using openings in which the play can be clarified at an early stage, often with a degree of simplification. To accomplish this safely will take a little study, because you will have to get used to playing wiith open lines for both sides' pieces, but you can't eliminate risk entirely in the opening anyway. ... teachers all over the world suggest that inexperienced players begin with 1 e4. ... You will undoubtedly see the reply 1 ... e5 most often when playing at or near a beginner's level, ... After 2 Nf3, 2 ... Nc6 will occur in the bulk of your games. ... I recommend taking up the classical and instructive move 3 Bc4 at an early stage. Then, against 3 ... Bc5, it's thematic to try to establish the ideal centre by 4 c3 and 5 d4; after that, things can get complicated enough that you need to take a look at some theory and learn the basics; ... Of course, you can also play 1 d4 ... A solid and more-or-less universal set-up is 2 Nf3 and 3 Bf4, followed in most cases by 4 e3, 5 Be2 and 6 0-0. I'd rather see my students fight their way through open positions instead; however, if you're not getting out of the opening alive after 1 e4, this method of playing 1 d4 deserves consideration. ... a commonly suggested 'easy' repertoire for White with 1 Nf3 and the King's indian Attack ... doesn't lead to an open game or one with a clear plan for White. Furthermore, it encourages mechanical play. Similarly, teachers sometimes recommend the Colle System ..., which can also be played too automatically, and usually doesn't lead to an open position. For true beginners, the King's Indian Attack and Colle System have the benefit of offering a safe position that nearly guarantees passage to some kind of playable middlegame; they may be a reasonable alternative if other openings are too intimidating. But having gained even a small amount of experience, you really should switch to more open and less automatic play." - IM John Watson in a section of his 2010 book, Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 4

"As Black, I think that [players with very limited experience] would do well … playing 1...e5 versus 1 e4 and 1...d5 versus 1 d4. … [After 1 d4 d5, if] White plays the most important move, 2 c4, inexperienced players might want to begin classically with 2...e6 followed by ...Nf6 and ...Be7 …" - IM John Watson (2010)

createsure

Books are great, but I want to point out that there are myriad chess videos on YouTube, and that is a very easy way to get some initial tips quickly.

Daybreak57

OP, I agree with Botvinnikfan720.  I would advise that you learn the Colle rather than the London System though because there are some tactics you will have to "memorize" before you start playing the London System.  I see too many people play the London System where they push h3 too early.  Rather than learning that bad habit by learning the London, learn the Colle Instead.  There are few games in Logical Chess Move by Move that show you exactly what you have to do in the Colle System.  If you buy that book I suggest you look for those games first, then, play though other games as you have time.  Maybe limit your master game study to 1 game per day at first.  At my level though the Colle isn't that good, but at your level anything is good.

The only thing now that I'd like to add that if you are planning to learn the queen's gambit I have to say that you are going to undertake the longest memorizing Choir you will ever face in your lifetime.  Good luck!  I learned e4 first before d4 c4.  But it's possible to start with the queen's gambit.  It's your choice, not theirs, or mine.

Colby-Covington

How long have you been playing?