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New to Chess/How to Learn

  • #1

    Hi everyone.
    Not sure this is the right place to post this, but perhaps some admins can move it, and hopefully you'll understand.

    I'm new to chess. That is to say I'm trying to learn chess. I know the pieces, how they move, but I'm green to knowing when to move the right pieces, how to advance, i.e. to play.
    What is the best way to learn? To just play? Any good books, websites, videos apart from Chess.com? Any good chess.com articles apart from the general introduction?

    I wonder if learning chess is about learning the moves and he rules, or whether it's actually learning chess-cognition, meaning, learning how to think "chess"; To think of moves ahead, to calculate moves and checks, to inhabit the moves and positions... I mean, it's not checkers, is it?

    So where to beging? Continue to play and learn the "rules", or read a book and watch chess-videos? Or go through games and observe the moves?

    I had to learn on my own, you see, and I'm in my mid-twenties. If I had learned as a child it would be different, but as it is, I need to learn the rules and the mentality ...

    Thanks in advance
    VN (AB-TT)

  • #2

    I would say first learn the basic checkmates: 2 queens vs king, 2 rooks, 1 queen, 1 rook. Then the rules of 'opposition' in basic pawn endgames.

    Then learn opening principles (not to much about specific openings), i.e. controlling the centre and getting your pieces into play. EDIT: Looking at your games, proper development and king safety will help you a lot, but so will thinking about your opponents moves and what squares they are now attacking etc.

    Then go through this website: http://www.chesstactics.org/

    Actually, firstly make sure you're 100% on the rules, the amount of people who have played for a while without understanding insufficient material, stalemate, en passant, castling etc is surprising.

  • #3

    You always keep playing. Early games are probably not so important: They're just practice. You're going to learn to move faster and to hold onto your pieces. Step one is going to be ''moving without actually dropping a piece.''

    When you have that down, try to mind the basic tactics and development. 

    Simple endgames with a few pieces or pawns are also good. 

    If you improve much, learn a little positional play and some opening theory.

    All of this can be done in the community, but it can't hurt to buy a book. Especially tactical puzzles.

  • #4

    First make sure you know the slightly advanced rules such as castling and en passant. Then, just concentrate on playing. Play slow games of at least 30 minutes per side and try to get basic practice in calculation and visualisation. Remember to try and think through your moves to the best of your ability; don't rush. Once you've got a better feel for the game, then look up tactical motifs. Forget about reading books and videos for the time being as you won't be able to make the most of them when you're starting out. They come much later, once you stop hanging pieces or lose pieces to very simple tactics.

    I'm part of a group who play slow games. If you're interested then send me a friends request and I'll play a few games with you and answer any questions you may have.

  • #5

    Go to Chess.com Study Plans for beginners and intermediate players.


  • #6

    Right, thanks alot. I play on here, but I'm just making random moves and I take the others players pieces any chance I get, neglecting what position I put myself in... (that's what I mean when I mention the "mentality"; I'm not used to thinking about putting myself in the line of fire, as most other games are simply about "winning" or advancing...)

    Actually, would any of you mind explaining Castling and Passant to me? In simple terms. Pretend you're talking to a complete idiot.

    Also, which positions constitute check and check mate? 

  • #7
  • #8

    When I started a year ago I was in the same boat, so much information out there but where to start? 

    For you I would suggest looking through the playlists on 'thechesswebsite' YouTube channel, especially the sections on basics, middlegame strategy (which introduces you to basic tactics like pins, forks, skewers etc) and end games. I would also encourage you to look through the famous games section which he annotates at an extremely good level for beginners, not only will this get you familiar with the masters like Tal, Fisher, Capablanca etc, but you will get to see how the games go through the various phases (opening, middlegame, endgame). These video's are some of the most watched chess videos on YouTube and there is a reason for it.

    Also check out chess.com's youtube channel which is very similar and offers a vast amount of instructional material for beginners.

    Above all else... if you want to get better... you must do tactics problems as often as you can, but not so much as to curb your enjoyment for the game. Playing is fun after all and where you put your ever-growing knowledge of tactics to use.

    There are many more things to consider of course, like post-analysis of your played games to see where you are going right/wrong, but all that will come in time. If you have a friend or relative to play and learn alongside you that will also help... just get them to signup here :)

  • #9

    OK, so is a En Passant this: (If you're playing white) and the Black's pawn moves two forward, the white pawn can "take" the black pawn by moving into the "trajectory" of the initial two-square move? I.e. a pawn can be taken not just by taking the square it's on, but by taking the square it moved through on its initial two-square move?

  • #10
    Vladimir_Nabokov wrote:

    OK, so is a En Passant this: (If you're playing white) and the Black's pawn moves two forward, the white pawn can "take" the black pawn by moving into the "trajectory" of the initial two-square move? I.e. a pawn can be taken not just by taking the square it's on, but by taking the square it moved through on its initial two-square move?

    Correct, but also the capture can only be immediate, you can't capture en passant after making another move first.

    In effect you're capturing the pawn as it moves past your pawn 'in passing'.

  • #11

    Youtube thechesswebsite. This channel is a goldmine of chess knowledge.

  • #12

    Hey vladimir...search for a guy named Nimzoroy here. He can help you. Call me a liar if what i tell you is false. Go and good luck in your games.

  • #13

    There's a lot of excellent information on Wikipedia but regarding the basics & rules of chess, you'll find those on the Learn pop-up menu (on the green bar).  If you just google the query you have then you'll soon find it but prefix with 'chess' to narrow the search results.

    Otherwise you can just post any question on this forum & someone will help you.

    Also, if you're shy about playing other people, then play games against the computer but remember to choose a level of ability that suits you !

  • #14

    Hi Vladimir,

    A good starting point would be to watch the video series "Everything you need to know" by IM Daniel Rensch here on this site, I believe.




  • #15

    You need to be able visualise the pieces and how each one moves, I would recommend searching youtube or checking out chess.com basic background information on chess. 

  • #16

    For starters you should just play a couple of games to gain experience.  And don't be shy to ask questions here on the forums.  I would also recommend that you play slower.  Blitz in my humble opinion is too quick for a beginner player as it does not leave you with much time to think about your moves before you play them.

    There is a format of the game here on Chess.com called "turn-based" chess where you are allowed a couple of days per move.  Play up to five or so of these games simultaneously and think about every move before you play it.  There is also an "analysis board" option where you are able to play through your moves on a virtual chess board before making them in the actual game!

    Use Scottrf's link to learn the rules etc.

    After doing that I would recommend taking some time to read through the following list of articles (from the oldest at the bottom up):


    Good luck!

  • #17

    The best way to learn is to use tactics trainer=chess .com

  • #18

    Tactics, tactics, tactics, then more tactics. After a couple weeks of that, get into studying GM games (in as great of detail as your patients allows). Feel free to message me if you want to play/study.




  • #19

    The remark about Silman's website is spot-on; his books are over your head right now but get 'em anyway and just keep going through them til it makes sense.

    The Amateur Mind

    How to Reassess Your Chess

    The Reassess Your Chess Workbook

  • #20

    I'm in much a similar position to yourself, having only just begun to play and study this wonderful game very recently (within the past 2 months) and am also in my mid-twenties.


    I signed up for a diamond membership here a few weeks ago and have found the "Chess Mentor" resource extremely useful for learning different tactical concepts (the "Introduction to Tactics" course is great, going through it a second time), checkmate patterns, and countless other things. I had been using a couple of books ("Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" and Bruce Pandolfini's "Ultimate Guide to Chess") but love the interactive nature of Chess Mentor.


    Tactics study has helped me to noticeably improve in my games against my peers who have never done any kind of studying. It seems to me that the more you study different patterns, the more easy it gets to spot opportunities that you or your opponent could exploit and to act accordingly. I have a long way to go before hitting intermediate level but I can attest as a recent beginner to the usefulness of plenty of tactics study, as well as studying different checkmate patterns, opening theory and some general strategy.

    I'd really recommend signing up to a platinum subscription to get unlimited access to Chess Mentor and the Tactics Trainer along with everything else. Lots of content to learn from and you can easily track your progress, as well as for a cheaper price per month than you'd pay for your average chess book.


    The study plans on this site should give you some good ideas of how to go about your study. Best of luck!


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