The Beginner's Corner

New to chess? 
Awesome! Welcome to the world of chess. 

I hope the information here will be valuable in your learning and mastery of this incredible game. Here's a list of things you need to learn first.

Chess is a marathon, not a sprint

1. Learn to read/write chess notation.

All Chess moves are recorded in either modern algebra or older figurine notation.

Click the link here to find out more.

2. Know the relative value of chess pieces

  • King Priceless!
  • Queen 9 points
  • Rook 5 points
  • Knight/Bishop 3 points
  • Pawn 1 point

3. Basic Checkmate Patterns

Learn how to checkmate an enemy king with only the following pieces on the board
  • King and Queen against King 
  • King and 2 rooks against King
  • King and 1 rook against King
  • King and  2 bishops against King 
  • king with 1 bishop and 1 knight against King -be warned this can be a bit tricky

4. Practice Tactics

Pick up a chess tactics book (software) to learn about the following tactics:
  • Fork
  • Pin
  • Skewers
  • Decoy
  • Discovered/Double Attack

5. Develop a basic opening repertoire

One should have at least some knowledge of a few basic openings. It is more important to understand the underlying strategy of one's chosen openings rather than to memorize endless variations of moves. For a start, one only needs to solidify the following:

  •  Decide on your first move as White (for example, 1.e4/d4)
  •  Decide on your opening as Black against 1.e4 (example, French/Scandinavian)
  • Decide on your opening as  Black against 1.d4 (The Tarrasch/Semi Tarrasch)

Next, grab an opening book which deals with the opening choice you have decided on and read up on the themes of one's opening. Practice your chosen opening online or with friends to get familiar with it.  Then slowly build your opening knowledge from there. The important thing here is to be consistent with your opening repertoire. Eventually, you'll become something of an expert.

Note: do not attempt to study multiple openings at a time as you may end up confusing yourself. Give yourself a period of 6 months to 1 year for each new opening.

6. Practice Practice Practice!

Practice as often as you can.

Ideally once a day.  If you're a beginner, DO NOT PLAY BLITZ (quick) chess. Try to play longer time controls with increments. This allows you to slowly digest/appreciate/analyze each position on the chess board as it unfolds. You won't be able to do this in blitz.

Also, try your best to find stronger players to play training games against. This is esp important before a tournament. Join a chess club and learn from each other. Remember that chess is as much a social game as it is an individual sport. You will develop lifelong friends from this game, I guarantee it.

7. Have fun!

Chess is all about having fun. It is normal to go through great victories and terrible defeats. If it stops being fun, take some time off from the game and enjoy other aspects of life. It will be there for you when you do eventually return to the game.