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

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Chess for New Beginners

If you're new to the world of chess, and you're looking to get off on the right foot, then you've come to the right place! This step-by-step plan will get you up and running.

First things first: Bookmark this page! We present a lot of links to various articles found elsewhere on this website and the internet. You'll want to have a quick way of returning to this page as you progress through the plan.

Step 1: Learn the Rules

Learn how to play in our section on Chess Rules and Basics. Start with the first article, and read through the section until you have completed the En Passant article. Don't go any further at this point. Also, don't worry if some of the rules are a little confusing - Step 2 will help clarify things for you.

Even if you think you know the rules, it can be helpful to go over them again to clarify any misconceptions you might have.

Step 2: Get Playing!

Now that you've read through the rules, you should get playing as many games as you can! This is the easiest and most fun way to get comfortable with the pieces and the rules. Refer back to the Chess Rules articles from Step 1 for help as you go.

Friends and family are a great source for playing informal games while you're still learning. If you don't have anyone to play against in person, there are some great online sites with lots of other beginners and novices. You can also play against a computer program like Chessmaster.

If you're interested in playing online, read our article on Places to Play Chess Online.

If you're interested in playing against a computer program, read our article on The Best Computer Chess Software.

Your goal during this early phase is to reach the following three levels of understanding, in this order:

Step 3: Learn the Strategy Basics

While you're starting to play some games, you might be wondering "what the heck should I be doing with all my pieces!?" Don't despair! We've prepared some material for you:

In Step 1, you should have read through our Chess Rules and Basics article to the En Passant article. It's time to pick up where you left off.

Start with our article on Understanding Checkmate in Chess and continue to read through each article until you have completed the Chess Rules and Basics section.

Step 4: Get a Good Introductory Chess Book

When you start to feel a bit more comfortable with the pieces, its time to get a great introductory book. We recommend The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess by Patrick Wolff, but there are a lot of options our there.

You can find Wolff's book for cheap on Amazon: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess

This will give you an overview of all parts of the game, and turn you into a fighting beginner!

Step 5: Keep Playing!

As you read through your first book, keep playing as much as you can. It's important to practice what you learn. When you are very early in your chess career, each game you play will open your mind to new ideas and possibilities.

Where to Go Next

Make sure to finish your book! No doubt a lot of material will over your head - don't worry. You'll have a chance to come back to it later. The important thing at this point is to expose yourself to different parts of the game, and begin to feel comfortable at the chessboard.

When you want to take the next step, we've got an improvement plan waiting for you! Check out our Novice Level Plan: Becoming a Competent Novice.

Back - Next
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