I've always loved chess, but never was really serieus about it. Lately I've picked up trying to get better and bringing up my game to a new level. I started playing online a lot and currently watching videos on chess on daily base.

Chess.com is providing the needed lessons on all the basic things but as a beginner there is so much stuff to learn.

What should a beginner focus on (think about openings, end games, ways to mate, etc.)

Also I was wondering if anyone an easy way to learn the chess notations, I get how the squares are lined up and everything but I need practice (maybe software or a paper method anyone knows of).

5 Answers 5


A beginner should focus on playing games, solving tactic puzzles and playing through annotated master games.

If you play through master games with a real board instead of at the computer, you will quickly learn the notation as well.


Pretty much what has already been said. At this stage games are pretty much always decided by blunders. Work on thinking 3-ply (half-moves) ahead when considering a move (so you move, opponent moves, you move - what is your evaluation of the resulting position).

Tactics, learn the different motifs and spend time on puzzles. I'd focus on a site like http://chesstempo.com that has the ability to work on problems in a non-timed mode. There are lots of good books that introduce people to tactics:

  • Learn Chess Tactics by John Nunn
  • Chess Tactics for Kids by Murray Chandler

Learn mating patterns:

  • The Art of the Checkmate by Renaud and Kahn
  • How to Beat Your Dad at Chess by Murray Chandler

A good book that teaches endgames based on the reader's playing strength is Silman's Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman. It starts out with the basics and works it way up through different sections until it is teaching you what IM Silman thinks a national master needs to know.

A good starting collection of master games to play through is Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev. In addition to playing through annotated master games, trying to play guess-the-move with master games is useful as well. Pick a player (winning side typically), play through the 1st 10 moves or so, then cover it up and start trying to figure out the move to play.

Look up Dan Heisman and possibly read some of his articles on improvement. I'm not sure if they are freely available online any longer at http://chesscafe.com, but there is a collection of them in the book A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best Of Novice Nook.

Most important of all play slow time control games, record your moves, and afterwards analyze your games without the assistance of a chess engine. Try to figure out where you made mistakes, where you could have made a better move, and do the same for your opponent.

Don't try to learn everything at once. Just focus on improving a certain aspect of your game, then move on to another area.


You are already playing online and watching chess videos, so you know how the pieces move, probably have a good idea about their relative strengths and values and are beginning to get an idea of how to co-ordinate your moves to try and achieve mini-plans.

What should a beginner focus on (Think about openings, end games, ways to mate ETC.)

Definitely the first thing to learn is ways to mate. If you don't know how to finish your opponent off then you can only win if your opponent resigns or by luck. Start with Queen and King versus King, then 2 Rooks + King versus King, then one Rook + King versus King, then 2 Bishops + King versus King.

Next I would spend some time learning a couple of King Pawn openings, something like Ruy Lopez or 4 Knights for the first one just to learn about developing the pieces and then the Kings Gambit to learn about the fun of just attacking your opponent!

The third thing I would do is study tactics and combinations. Learn about forks, pins, skewers, overloading defenders, stuff like that. The best way to do that is to work from a book with lots of combinations.

Also I was wondering if anyone an easy way to learn the chess notations, i get how the squares are lined up and everything but i need practice(maybe software or a paper method anyone knows of).

You are definitely going to need this at an early stage because the other learning stuff is going to come from reading books.

One possible way to start is to find questions and answers in this forum where extracts from games, whole games, example moves and solutions are given. These are given in diagrams which play out the moves which are written written alongside. Here is one recent example - Why does the Hyper Accelerated Dragon avoid the Rossolimo?.

By all means use the autoplay features to scroll through the moves but then set up the position on your board with your pieces and physically play through the moves. The position on your board when you have finished should match the position on the screen board after you have scrolled through the moves. If it doesn't you can scroll back through the moves and undo the moves on your board to see where you went wrong.

  • Thats an helpfull explanation thank you, i already know about things like forks pins and skewers and try to put those into my games. And since the openings is something where all games start my focus will be on that for now :)
    – MickBoe1
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 16:26
  • It is certainly good to get to roughly know at least one or two basic openings. However, you have to understand that after a couple of moves you will be out of knowledge anyhow. From that moment on, all opening knowledge becomes basically useless, and tactics and strategy become of prime importance. Just be sure to move on to those before long. One can study openings forever without making much progress on any other aspect of the game.
    – Jester
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 16:56

I liked learning and playing in chess24.com It is a place to see others games also. One way to learn is to see others games and tactics which they have applied.


Tactics teach position: the answer is to learn tactics.

Try these!


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