“I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” – Marcel Duchamp
Are you one of the 62 million people that watched The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix? Would you like to learn chess but don’t know where to begin?
Superprof can help. In this article, we'll be looking at how to start playing chess, buying a chess set, working out your chess goals, budgeting for lessons, finding private chess tutors, and playing chess online.
Buy a Chess Set
You can’t play chess without any of the pieces. Whether they’re plastic, ebony, marble, or even inflatable, there are chess sets for all tastes and budgets.
Each player needs their own set to practise and consider tactics, strategies, and sequences before playing real opponents.
A chess set includes:
- A board with 64 tiles (32 black and 32 white).
- 16 pawns (8 black and 8 white)
- 2 kings (1 black and 1 white)
- 2 queens (1 black and 1 white)
- 4 bishops (2 black and 2 white)
- 4 knights (2 black and 2 white)
- 4 rooks (2 black and 2 white)
You might also want to invest in a chess clock so that you can play games of blitz chess or just manage the pace of your games.
Finally, a notepad and pen are useful to write down the moves. From there, you can practice to your heart’s content.
Outline Your Objectives
Do you just want to learn how to play or are you looking to become a tournament player? Do you already have a good level and are looking to improve? Are you already a member of a chess club and are looking to play against experts?
The answers to these questions will help define how you’ll go about learning to play or improving your game.
A beginner can learn from another player quite easily or teach themselves. Learn about the pieces, how they’re used, and how they move from another player without them being a world-class player. They can also teach you the basic rules of the game.
Advanced players will know how the game works and be more interested in expert strategy, sequences of moves, and improving their game. They may want to master a particular style of play or work on some of the weaknesses in their game. You need to work out your goals before you can start improving your game. For advanced players, this will involve a lot of analysing their game.
Play Games Online
Before you start spending money on chess lessons, consider playing games for free online. There are plenty of websites where you can play a game of chess against people all over the world or against computer opponents. You can also use this practice to improve your game and try out new techniques and tactics.
If there’s a new strategy you’re not sure about, games against the AI are a great opportunity. Start with a few games online, build your confidence, and then move on to play against other opponents. A lot of these sites are free, too.
Budget for Your Chess Lessons
Have you acquired a taste for chess and decided to take lessons to improve your game?
You just need to have a budget in mind.
The following factors will usually affect the cost of classes:
- Your level
- Your understanding of the game
- Where you live
- Your earnings
- Your ambition
From there, you can work out how much you can spend on chess lessons to help you improve your game.
Find the Right Teacher or Tutor for You
When looking for a chess teacher or tutor, you’ll need to think about the right person for the job. Firstly, consider your level, how many games you’ve played, any tournaments you’ve participated in, your rank, etc. You’ll need to find someone who can teach you at your level and help you to play better.
Have a look at various tutors’ and teachers’ profiles to find the right one for you and check what their other students have to say about them. A good player isn’t necessarily a good teacher, after all. Some might be chess grandmasters but not know the first thing about teaching.
You can always change tutors if you make the wrong choice, too.
Browse Tutors’ Profiles Online
If you’re already a decent player looking to improve your game, you’ll need a worthy tutor to help you to improve. From former grandmasters to chess coaches, there’s something for everyone.
No matter what kind of chess coaching you’re looking for, there’s someone out there who can help you. Look at their chess record from tournaments and their chess club to see how they play and what they can teach you. This will give you a good idea of their game.
Get Involved with Chess Culture
Why do pawns capture material diagonally? Who invented the idea of check and checkmate? Who’s the greatest chess player of all time?
To become a real expert in chess, you need to know about the game that you’re playing. Knowing the game’s biggest events can be useful knowledge to draw upon when playing.
You can use your knowledge of excellent moves and strategies when you play. Sometimes, you can win with a strategy that you’ve never used before.
Join Your Local Chess Club
You can get better by playing against a range of different opponents as well as the same players on regular basis.
A lot of schools and towns have chess clubs and, once you’ve signed up, you can play games against the other members of the club.
You can also hang out and discuss chess and the strategies before tournaments.
Struggling with the middle game?
It’s useful to have friends who can help you to improve.
Improve Your Mental Fortitude
Games are won and lost in the players’ heads and much like a poker face, you need the right mentality to win at chess. Given how much strain playing chess can put on your mental faculties, it's important to keep calm to ensure that your decision-making isn't negatively affected.
Revealing your plan to your opponent will only help them to counteract it so you need to be able to analyse games and keep calm under pressure. Remaining calm can be the deciding factor in many games, especially if you destabilise your opponent.
Learn More About Chess with Superprof
If you're interested in learning how to play chess or just improve your game, consider looking for a chess tutor on Superprof. There are tonnes of experienced and talented tutors ready to help you with face-to-face, online, or group tutoring. Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons so think carefully about which would be right for you, your game, and your budget.
Face-to-face tutoring is probably what you think of when you think of private tutoring and is usually the most popular type of tutoring. As the tutor tailors each lesson to the student and will often travel to their student, the lessons tend to cost more than the other types of tutorials. However, with every minute spent focusing on the student and sessions adapted to them, they're also usually the most cost-effective type of tutoring.
Group tutoring is probably the best choice for those on a tight budget as each student will usually pay less if there are several of them attending a class. With chess tutorials, there's also the added benefit of having a greater variety of opponents to practise with and the added incentive of working harder to beat them.
Thanks to websites where you can play chess online, online tutoring is also an excellent way to learn how to play or improve your game. As online tutors don't need to travel to their students and can schedule more tutorials each week, they tend to charge less per hour than their face-to-face counterparts. As long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can benefit from chess tutorials from tutors all over the world.
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof also offer the first session for free so if you can't make your mind up on a tutor or a type of tutoring, try a few different ones out before making your decision.
To become a future grandmaster, you need to first start playing!