Chess For Novices - A Guide for Fresh Beginners and Aspiring Novices

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Becoming a Strong Chess Tournament Player (Part 3)

Playing over Master Level Games

Part of your study should involve playing over instructive master level games. This is the easiest (and usually the most enjoyable) way to become familiar with a wide variety of strategic concepts from the opening, middlegame, and endgame.

You wont be able to consciously recall all of the ideas you pick up from these games. But the more game you play through, the more your chess knowledge will expand. A big reason for playing through games is to develop a better instinct for the "best moves" over the chess board.

Check out our page on The Best Chess Books for Beginners and Novices (Part 2) for our recommended game collection books.


If you've worked through our series on Chess Strategy, you should be familiar with fundamental opening strategy.

Specific opening lines are another matter. Novices and developing players often focus a large proportion of their study time on learning opening lines and specific systems. This is a mistake! It's far more instructive and effective to rely on general opening principles as your guide, and then spend your precious time on other areas of study (reminder: the most effective use of study time is tactics).

We recommend you take a look through the openings articles you find of interest at the Exeter Chess Club. In particular, check out the page on Choosing an Opening Repertoire for some advice on which openings are best to play as a novice.

Strategy, Endgames, and Other Areas of Study

There are many other areas of study that you can devote time to: General Strategy, Endgames, Pawn Structure, Attack, Defense, etc. Trying to sift through all of this information can be overwhelming and deflating. The best way to work on all of these areas at once is to play through master level games (as described above).

If you're really interested in focusing on one of the areas above, check out our recommended resources guide: The Best Chess Books for Beginners and Novices.

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Chess Improvement - Table of Contents
Beginner Level
Novice Level - Board Vision - Part 2
Tournament Level - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Thought Process
Best Books for Novices - Part 2 - Part 3