When people think of playing a game, it's something they just go and do, at best after a quick review of the rules. For the most part, players pick up game skills and strategy as they go along.
Indeed, whether checkers, poker or snakes and ladders, in-depth study of the game rather takes the fun out of things, doesn't it?
Not so with chess.
Sure, you can set up your chessboard and learn each piece's basic moves and point value but to get any satisfaction out of playing this king of games, you have to know what you're doing. That is unless you're happy simply capturing your opponent's pieces - and having them capture yours willy-nilly, with no real strategy involved.
Have you ever heard the saying 'Anything worth doing is worth doing well'?
If you want to play a satisfying game of chess and gain any level of mastery, there are no two ways about it: you have to take chess lessons. Where can you find such lessons, then?
In Glasgow, that's much easier than finding chess lessons almost anywhere in the UK...
Take Chess Lessons in School
Because much of this game is about strategy and deploying tactics, playing chess is an excellent way to hone cognitive and analytical skills. Also, if a chess player doesn't focus on the game s/he's playing, s/he's liable to have their hat handed to them in short order, even if their opponent is less skilled.
Cognitive skills include those mechanisms that allow people to learn, remember, reason and focus.
Cognitive skills are important in all walks of life - in business and in managing one's personal affairs. That's why cognitive skills-building work is such a large part of compulsory education programs. When you think about it that way, it's easy to see how chess fits right in.
As a chess player, you must remain focused on your game and reason through the various gambits and openings you might use to best your opponent. From your opening gambit through the middlegame and onto your endgame, you have hundreds of possible defenses to invoke and attacks you might employ.
Naturally, you have to remember them all and reason which one would be best. That means you have to be able to think several moves ahead and also intuit which moves your opponent might make.
With all of the thought processes going into a game of chess - and all of the skills kids pick up while playing this game, it stands to reason that chess in schools is a fantastic idea. CSC thought so, too.
CSC stands for Chess in Schools and Communities. It's an initiative meant to teach people of all ages and walks of life how to play the game, and it's found a fair bit of success in Scotland.
So far, they've established an active presence in St Bride's primary school in Govanhill but they support many other schools in providing chess lessons. Those schools are:
- Bishopton primary school
- Mauchline primary school
- The Glasgow Academy
- High School of Glasgow
- Saint Paul's High School
- Saint Patrick primary school
- Springburn Academy
If your child attends one of these schools, you might see about interesting them in learning how to play chess. If your child is enrolled elsewhere, why not see about that school partnering with CSC?
After all, CSC is currently giving chess lessons in Birmingham schools... let's not let Glasgow fall behind!
Chess Lessons in a Chess Club
Chess players are an eclectic lot, coming as they do from every walk of life and ranging in age from young to old. Thus, it stands to reason that they would form a club to attract like-minded individuals and play to their hearts' content.
Of course, every city in the UK boasts their share of chess clubs; you ought to see how many such clubs thrive in London alone!
Still, Glasgow is no outlier when it comes to chess clubs. Let's take a closer look at some of them.
The Glasgow Chess Club
This aptly-named group formed 15 years ago to provide chess enthusiasts a place to learn how to play chess or, if they already had the basics down pat, to get better at their game. They've met and exceeded their goal.
Today, they have four chess instructors and more than 300 members, most of which have participated in their chess classes and participated in tournaments around the city and throughout the UK. If you'd rather build your chess playing skills with a personal trainer, you can find one there too.
As long as pandemic conditions continue, you can look over their list of coaches at kwchess.com.
Also, with summer coming up, it might be worth it for you to check out their chess camp offer if you have younger chess players...
This group of chess enthusiasts really put a lot of effort into their website; it more resembles a computer game than a place you might meet avid chess players. Unfortunately, their vivid graphics - while eye-catching, are very distracting; the colourful background makes it hard to read what's on their page.
You can avoid confusion by directing yourself to the tabs on the left side of the page. Specifically, the third one down, called Learn. Hovering your mouse over it reveals another menu, the first selection of which is Lessons.
For some, learning from videos, graphs and texts is fine. However, if you're not an autodidact - you'd learn better from a teacher than on your own, this may not be the website for you. You'll never know until you try!
What we really like about Team Glasgow's offerings is the community atmosphere. Every lesson allows for a generous comments section where you can read what other chess hopefuls had to say about the material presented. Also, they present several games, completely notated, for you to follow along.
Chess players from around the world can access Team Glasgow's page and play along so, once you get good at playing chess, you'll become a member of an international community of chess players. Nice!
This chess club lets you know in no uncertain terms that, thanks to the pandemic, most of their in-house activities are suspended until the all-clear is given. Or, at least until the UK and Scottish governments give the partially clear go ahead.
While you're waiting, there's plenty to be had from the Chess Scotland website.
For instance, if you have school-aged children, you might check out their Juniors tab to see if they are active in your child's school (in case the above-mentioned CSC isn't already partnered there) and otherwise learn about children's tournaments and other events.
If you're new to chess, you will surely appreciate all they have to offer under the Newcomer's tab.
At first, that page looks rather disappointing because, with its stingy two paragraphs, there's not much information there. Especially because the first paragraph directs you to an online chess site that explains chess basics. To get to the good stuff, you have to click the link at the end of the second paragraph.
There, you will find a well-populated list of chess instructors, complete with their FIDE grade numbers and contact information. Would you be happy to know that there are six of them in Glasgow alone?
That beats Manchester's chess lessons offerings by a mile!
Learn How to Play Chess with a Private Chess Tutor
Today's conditions dictate that much of our life plays out online. The merits of such living are debatable but perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky to have the technology that makes virtual living possible. Could you imagine not having this level of and access to connection while enduring a pandemic?
Standard educational models have been severely tested this past year; schools and teachers, parents and students have all had to make major adjustments.
One group of educators took it all in their stride; online tutors have been honing their craft ever since 'online' became a thing.
Sure, in the early days of the internet, when distance learning pivoted away from satellite training and moved into cyberspace, online tutoring was strictly academic. Since then, though, tutors have been giving lessons via webcam on virtually every subject from personal fitness to... chess!
Taking chess lessons online is a huge leap forward from correspondence chess; the way games were played over long distances a century ago. Today, you only need to call up your favourite web browser and type in your query: chess tutors online.
Or you could simply turn to Superprof.
Superprof has hundreds of chess tutors all over the world, ready to meet you online and teach you how to play. No need to worry if they're just some con trying to pry cash from your wallet, all of Supeprof's chess tutors have been vetted and their credentials verified.
Credentials such as their International Chess Federation standings and other ratings, as well as their experience playing chess. Besides that, the best chess tutors' profiles come complete with student testimonials to complement our star rating system.
Anyway, you don't have anything to lose as most Superprof chess tutors offer their first hour of lessons for free. So feel free to scout around, find the right Superprof chess tutor for you and get busy learning! The tournaments await...
Now, discover what happened when one aspiring chess player searched for chess lessons in Leeds.