Chess is a board game that’s been around for 15 centuries. It’s believed to have originated in India before it spread throughout the world. This complex game can be difficult to master for both adults and kids, but with the right tips and practice, you can improve your skills. Here are 6 tips that will help you (and your kids!) play chess like a pro!
Let the Internet Serve You
There are plenty of blogs, specialist websites, and Youtube tutorials dedicated to the game. Many of them are produced by experts, and much of the material is free. Spend some time studying different strategies and tactics, and absorbing as much information as you can. If your kids are interested in the game, help them explore kid-friendly tutorials with you.
It’s possible to connect with other chess players by joining online forums and Facebook groups (although I recommend careful supervision if your child wishes to join any online chess groups). You can also access free online chess lessons and custom-made courses that are suitable for everyone from beginners to experts. Once you’ve understood the basics and know how to move the pieces correctly, you can read about tactics, gambits, and opening/endgame principles.
Play Against Others Positively
You can play against others online or in person, and it’ll help you learn new strategies and improve your skills. In order to progress, it’s important to play against opponents who are stronger than you. This will force you to raise your game and think more carefully about your moves.
It can be frustrating losing games, but it’s all part of the learning process. So next time you’re feeling down about your chess skills, remember that even the greats like Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov lost games. The key is to get feedback from other players on your games. Ask them what you could have done better, and what mistakes you made. This feedback will help you learn from your errors and become a better chess player overall.
If you and your child are learning together, you may each take turns beating the other. I always try to model a positive losing attitude with my kids and to encourage them to have fun even if they are losing too. We can always play another game, so what does one lost game matter? Of course, if one of you is always beating the other, it may be time to find a new opponent, as a few wins can help encourage a new player.
Find A Chess Club
Joining a chess club is a great way to improve your skills and help you stay keen. You’ll be able to meet other players who share your interest and make new friends in the process. Clubs typically have members of all skill levels, so you can find opponents who are at your level or slightly higher.
My girls joined a homeschool chess club one year and had fun playing with other children their age. One of the teachers facilitated the group, rotating the players to ensure that students didn’t just play against their friends, and offering tips or strategy lessons as needed. It was a fun, positive environment the kids looked forward to each week.
Most clubs have experienced players who can give you advice and help you learn new strategies. Clubs typically meet once or twice a week, giving you time to practice what you’ve learned in between meetings. The clubs may also have tournaments that you can participate in, which are great opportunities to test your skills against others.
Get A Chess Coach
You can find chess coaches online, through friends, at your local chess club, or by attending chess tournaments. Your relationship will be unique to you and your coach. It’s important to find someone whose playing style, personality, and goals match up with yours.
Coaches can help you (or your child) with your opening repertoire, give you guidance on studying specific areas of the game, help you prepare for tournaments, and offer general moral support. They can help accelerate your improvement, provide much-needed motivation and help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that chess players experience. If you’re serious about taking your chess game to the next level, finding a chess coach should be high on your list of priorities.
Study Famous Games
If you study famous games, not only will you see how the masters play, but you can also learn from their mistakes. There are many websites that feature collections of these. You can also find annotated games, which have commentary from experts explaining each move.
Not only will this give you a better understanding of chess, but it can also inspire you to try new strategies. There are plenty of these resources available online and in libraries. You and your child may also be inspired by chess-themed movies such as The Queen of Katwe, a movie about an African girl who learns to play chess and competes internationally.
One way to motivate yourself to get better at chess is to set goals. Decide what you want to achieve, such as playing a certain number of games by a specific deadline. Perhaps you want to research the strengths and weaknesses of each chess piece. Alternatively, you may aim to become a certain rating or win a specific number of games in a row.
If you don’t achieve all that you desired, don’t give up. Be patient with yourself and set new goals—modify the original ones if necessary.
As a two-player board game, chess is perfect for a date with your child or spouse. It’s also easy to take with you on an outing to the park, coffee shop or a friend’s place. Most people have a basic understanding of chess, even if they don’t play seriously, so they feel less intimidated when invited to play.
If you apply these 6 tips you and your kids will soon be playing chess like a boss. You’ll have gained a good understanding of the game and acquired lots of experience and skills along the way. You’ll enjoy playing chess as never before and will have an ever-increasing circle of like-minded friends.