I'm always experiencing difficulties while trying to visualize what moves a tutorial (or an answer here for that matter) is talking about unless I have a chessboard with coordinates nearby.

Is this something I should fix, or is it fine to be using a chessboard? and what can you advise someone who want to memorize it?


The easiest way to visualize the board is to practice! I know that sounds trite, but there aren't really all that many shortcuts. Go over games in magazines. Start from one of the positions given as an image and then "make" as many moves as you can in your head. Try to see the position and look for the threats and ideas of each move. If you can only make one move, that's fine - it's a good start.

Similarly, you can use a physical board when you're going over a game. Play out the moves on the board and start to learn the squares by name as opposed to figuring out which square is which each time. That's probably the first step. After you know the "names" of the squares, the rest will start to fall into place.

Empty Chess Board


There are books available that promise to directly improve your visualisation skills (like "Chess Visualization Course" by Ian Anderson, which I haven't read myself).

But the easiest way to improve your visualization skill that might even make you a better player in more regards is: Reading tactics books (like "1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations" by Fred Reinfeld). Trying to find the solution without the help of the board is a great way to learn thinking ahead. A great introductionary book to start with (beginning with 1-move-mates) is "Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games" by Laszlo Polgar). This way you have tons of material to practice your visualization and hone your tactical prowess at the same time!


On Chess.com you can use the mobile app, then click the three bars (menu) and then click 'vision'; this is basically a game where you look at blank board and it says 'g8' then you hit g8 with your thumb then it goes 'c3'etc etc. You are doing this against time you get a score and all at the end of the time but it does help memorizing the spaces, I've found. After you know the board the pieces algebra comes easier.


Rather than relying on any one suggestion you might want to do a bit of them all. A good start is being able, after you are given the name of a square, to say without hesitation what color it is. To make things more precise, it helps to recall, for example, that b5 is the square that the Lopez bishop goes to. What other squares are important in your favorite openings?


I'm an Android user so I can only speak of Androids but there are chess memorization mobile apps. https://play.google.com/store/search?q=chess%20board%20memorization&c=apps&hl=en

I would guess that there are apps for Apple as well that are similar if you are a Apple user. I just don't have a way to give you search results since I'm not a Mac user.


http://chesseye.alexander-fleischer.de/ has a training tool just for this purpose.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.