How to Play Chess: The Ultimate Guide for Chess Players

Reading and absorbing new chess knowledge is one of your chess journey’s most exciting and rewarding phases. You can encounter so many eureka moments and everything seems to slowly fit in place. To learn how to play chess is easy. To learn how to play chess skillfully, that’s the real challenge.

With small steps, anyone can become a skillful chess player over time. But the first steps are important.  In this article, we will discuss the crucial first steps that chess players should know to become better chess players.

How can I learn faster and teach myself to play chess?

The first step to learning is to know how and what to learn. The game of chess for beginners can be daunting at first with so much information. Break down the information and learning stepwise will help you to learn chess faster.

The methods and steps needed to teach yourself to play chess are as follows:

Learn the Basic Chess Rules

This part is all about getting to know why chess is played the way it is. All pieces ready for battle move in a certain manner. Some pieces can perform maneuvers that others can only dream of. Before you dive into more intricate aspects of chess, it is essential to get a good grounding in this.

How to set up a chessboard

Every amateur player must know where the pieces belong at the start of the game. You can read up on how to set up the board using various online resources. You must know to set up the board so well that there should not be any hesitation in knowing where the pieces go.

When beginners play chess online they get the board pre-arranged. Nevertheless, it is important to learn to arrange the pieces on a real board.

Read up on Gameplay

After setting up the pieces, it’s time to get a feel for how the pieces play. The interaction between different pieces is one of the most crucial areas to understand. This is the foundation for tactical play.

Learning to play chess gameplay is the first step towards tactical mastery.

Read up on Strategy

A basic understanding of tactics will help you proceed towards the game’s more subtle areas. It is the ideal stage to learn the endless ocean of chess strategy. The question arises as to how to start learning chess strategy.

You can use books to teach yourself chess strategy. The concepts are basic and with enough examples, you should be able to ingrain them.

Watch Online Chess Courses on how to play

A beginner can use authoritative books that teach you how to play. If you’re more of a visual learner then you can select one of the many excellent chess courses available online. These courses give you just the right information to start playing chess.

Another benefit of online courses is that they provide you with the PGN. The PGN contains all the information from the online course. Learning with PGN helps you to remember the information better.

Play against a computer or another person

Now after all these steps, you have a strong foundation to learn to play chess. It is time to develop your chess skill. Knowledge alone cannot make you a better player. It is essential to know how to apply that knowledge in a game.

Study your mistakes after every match

It will not be surprising that at the initial stages, you will register sweet victories and hard defeats. It’s part of the game. Every defeat in a chess game is an opportunity to learn to play chess better.

You should try to identify where you went wrong, what you could have done better, and what you learned from the chess game.

With every defeat, you can improve your knowledge and skill of the game.

Find someone who plays chess better and practices games

If you want to improve your chess skills, one of the best ways is to find someone who plays chess better and practice games with them.

Naturally, a stronger player has a better understanding of the game. You can also ask them for feedback and tips on how to improve your game as a beginner.

Practice playing online against other players

Online chess brings many benefits. Unlike the old days, you don’t have to travel to tournaments miles away to get exposure. As you play chess as a beginner it is essential to get that game experience. You can use this opportunity to play against opponents of all skill levels.

Also, there are many time control options available online. You can choose the best time control for your needs. For beginner players who want to improve their game, the recommended time controls are 10+5 or 15+10.

Best Books For Chess Beginners

Here is a list of the best chess books to get you started on chess learning:


  • Chess Tactics For Students by John A. Bain
  • Chess Tactics for Champions by Susan Polgar


  • Simple Chess by Michael Stean
  • Winning Chess Strategies by Yasser Seriawan

Best Online Chess Courses for Beginners

Here is a list of Online chess courses that you can watch to improve your chess




How Can I Teach Myself to Play Chess Well?

The easy way to learn how to play chess is to learn the bare minimum knowledge and just play games. You can also use the above approach if you want a solid foundation.

A solid base ensures that all new information that you learn will be easily understood.

Chess Openings with White for Beginners

Beginners should focus on the middlegame and endgame. When teaching yourself to play chess learning opening theory can be tricky. But minimum knowledge of the opening is essential to get through the first 10 moves. Here are some openings you can learn to start with white.

Ruy Lopez: This is a classic opening that starts with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5, attacking the black knight that defends the e5 pawn. It is a classical opening that teaches you the importance of development and central control.

Italian System: This opening starts with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4. It is a simple and solid opening that follows the basic principles of chess.

Queen’s Gambit: This is a classical and solid opening that starts with 1.d4 d5 2.c4, offering a pawn as a gambit. It is one of the most popular openings among grandmasters and beginners alike.

Chess Openings with Black for Beginners

Responding to white is equally important as opening the game. Remember that white has the first move. So you should look to equalize this from the start.

Here are some openings that you can pick up and start playing

1..e5: This classical reply to 1.e4 is the choice of many amateur and Grandmaster players. It is a solid choice that follows the classical principles of chess.

Queen’s Gambit Declined: This opening starts with 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6. Black defends the center and prepares to develop the pieces. It is simple and easy to learn when starting to learn chess.

How Can I Teach Myself to Play Chess Like a Grandmaster?

The journey to becoming a chess Grandmaster is long and arduous. Players must adapt and improve their knowledge and skills at every level. Right from starting to learn to play chess as a beginner to Master level, chess is a continuous learning process.

With sufficient time and effort, you can aspire to play chess like a Grandmaster. You need to have a solid foundation of chess knowledge and a daily schedule.

You might also like Chess For Beginners: Learn Chess the Easy Way as well as Online Chess vs. Over-the-Board Chess.

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Updated 12.08.2023