- 01. Purchase a Chess Set
- 02. Know Your Goals
- 03. Practise Chess Online
- 04. Work Out How Much Can You Afford to Pay for Lessons
- 05. Finding a Teacher or Tutor to Suit Your Needs
- 06. Check Online for a Tutor's Tournament Records
- 07. Understand More Than Just Chess Rules
- 08. Learn How to Play Chess With a Club
- 09. It's All About Mental Strategy
- 10. How Can Superprof Help?
Chess is beautiful enough to waste your life for.
— Hans Ree
Did you know that 62 million households tuned in to Netflix to watch The Queen's Gambit in the first 28 days after it was released? Were you one of them? Did it ignite a desire to learn how to play chess?
If the answer is yes, you're in the right place. Here, you can discover how to start learning chess, beginning with choosing the right chess set, finding private or online lessons and setting your goals.
Are you ready?
Purchase a Chess Set
First step, get yourself a board and a set of chess pieces. They don't have to be expensive — plastic, marble, wood — as long as you have a complete set and the right board.
It's important that players have their own set to practise — even advanced players need their own board and pieces for working out tactics and moves before they play against their opponent.
Check you have a complete set (especially if you buy a secondhand board and pieces).
A chess board has 32 black squares and 32 white squares (so, 64 squares altogether). The pieces needed are:
- pawns x 16 (8 black, 8 white)
- king x 2 (1 black, 1 white)
- queen x 2 (1 black, 1 white)
- bishop x 4 (2 black, 2 white)
- knight x 4 (2 black, 2 white)
- rook x 4 (2 black, 2 white).
A chess clock is a good investment when you're ready to focus on your game time and pace.
It's also useful to have paper and pen nearby so you can note down your moves as you practise or play.
Know Your Goals
Knowing why you want to learn how to play chess is important as it can help you decide where to go for lessons — private tutor, chess school or online lessons?
Ask yourself whether you're learning chess or taking lessons:
- for fun or a hobby
- to play in a competition or tournament
- to improve your knowledge of chess rules
- to help improve your rating or learn advanced tactics.
At first, most players new to the game can learn the basic chess rules and how the pieces move by teaching themselves. There are online resources to help you learn the difference between the queen and king, or the rook, bishop and knight.
You can also learn the moves for each piece and some simple tactics from another player.
More advanced players may find they need help with specific tactics, specialised moves or their game strategies, such as their opening or endgame. Advanced players may also need help analysing their game and working on their weaknesses.
Basically, if you understand your level and know your goals, it is easier to find the help you need to improve.
Practise Chess Online
If you're a beginner, it might be best to start playing games online for free — then you can decide if you're still keen enough to hire a chess teacher to give you lessons. Online games allow you to play against a computer opponent or with a live opponent somewhere else in the world.
Playing online is a cheap and effective way to improve your game. If you want to test out new tactics or moves, playing online with a computer opponent is often the best way to see if they work.
There are lots of online chess resources to choose from.
Work Out How Much Can You Afford to Pay for Lessons
Once you've decided to start learning chess, either as a beginner or to improve your advanced player skills, your next step is to consider your budget.
There are several factors that will affect how much your chess lessons will cost, including:
- level — beginner, intermediate or advanced
- age — children or high school aged kids will be cheaper
- learning preferences — private, small group or online
- teacher level — amateur player to grandmaster
- goals — hobby to tournament ready.
Make sure you know how much you can afford for your chess lessons, remembering that if you want to improve, you may need a series of lessons.
Finding a Teacher or Tutor to Suit Your Needs
Before you start searching for a chess tutor, think about the skills and qualities the right person will need to help you achieve your goals. Take a look at your own level — what is your rank, how many tournaments have you played in, what is your win rate?
Then, check the potential tutor's profile, looking for:
- whether they are at a higher level than you
- what other students have said
- what style of lessons they offer.
Remember, a grandmaster may be the best chess player but an average teacher — and a player with a lower rating might be the best teacher.
It's also okay to change if things aren't working.
Check Online for a Tutor's Tournament Records
Everyone deserves a great tutor, however, if you're an advanced player looking for help to reach your peak, you'll need the best teacher you can find. Whether this person is a former grandmaster or a professional chess coach, help is available if you know what to look for.
Researching a potential tutor's records and game history is the best way to find out what they might be able to teach you. Look at their tournament records, talk to players at their chess club, and get to know their game.
Start learning chess with a Superprof tutor.
Understand More Than Just Chess Rules
Where did the idea for chess come from? Why do pawns move forward but capture pieces diagonally? Why do players say check and checkmate? Who is the world's best chess player?
Becoming a grandmaster needs more than knowing the rules of chess and a few tricky tactics and mind-boggling moves. The best players also study other players — their moves, their tactics and their strategies. What did they do to win? How many moves did they take?
Enrol in online chess lessons with Superprof.
Learn How to Play Chess With a Club
Playing against the same opponent time after time will help both of you develop your skills, but it is also important to play against lots of different players.
If your children are learning chess, check to see if there's a chess team at their school. For yourself, there's a good chance your local community centre will have a chess club or even a team. Once you join, you can play against other team members as well as other teams.
Playing with your team or club members is a great way to learn new strategies and improve your game.
It's All About Mental Strategy
Knowing the rules of chess is essential, and working to develop your strategy and signature moves may help you win but, at the end of the day, chess is a game of mental strength and agility.
Inside the heads of the player and their opponent — this is where players either win or lose. Keeping your cool and not giving away anything to your opponent is of utmost importance, every step of the way from your opening move to when you say 'Checkmate'.
Click here to learn chess online
How Can Superprof Help?
For beginners who are ready to start learning chess, through to advanced players who are keen to improve their skills, there's a chess tutor on Superprof waiting to help. In Australia alone, there are over 1000 tutors with experience and talent and who offer group lessons, or private online or face-to-face tutorials. There are pros and cons to each type of lesson, so have a look to see which will suit your learning style, your goals and your budget.
Face-to-face chess tutoring
Most people instantly think of face-to-face lessons when they hear the word 'tutoring' and it remains the most popular form. This style of tutoring is usually the most expensive as your chess teacher customises the lesson for you alone, and will often have to travel to carry out the lesson. However, because you are receiving 100% of the tutor's attention, the benefit usually outweighs the cost.
Chess lessons taken with a small group of learning players are usually the most cost-effective as the tutor's fee is shared amongst students. The other advantage of group learning is that you have a ready-made opponent for each time you play. Children often benefit more from group lessons in the initial stages.
Learning chess online
If you have a good quality webcam with a built-in microphone and a stable internet connection, online chess lessons are a perfect way to learn the game. An online tutor will usually be more budget-friendly than tutors who work face-to-face, plus you have the bonus of the same personalised attention every time. The other huge plus is that being online means you are not limited to tutors in your local area — they could well be teaching you from the other side of the world.
In all cases — online, face-to-face or group learning — most Superprof tutors offer the first class for free as a trial.
Will you be the next grandmaster of chess?
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