I am a begineer level player on chess.com with rating around 1500. I play daily 2-3 games with 15|10 mins time control for each player. I find it difficult to get time to study chess books, and was thinking of playing against a Chess Engine. I have Shredder Chess installed in my system.

How can I make use of it to help improve my games. I set it at the highest strength and play though I have the option to take back and replay my moves. How to make the best use of the Chess engines?

  • 2
    Use blunder check and evaluation graph.
    – SmallChess
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 8:05
  • 1
    Play some more blitz games (like 5+2) to train your eyes! Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 9:38
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    @kjetilbhalvorsen what's a blitz game and where can I find them to train?
    – iamserious
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 18:20
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    A blitz game IS A game with very short time controls, like(5+2) which means clocks start at Five min and you gain two seconds each time you move. You can play blitz at chess.COM. Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 22:39
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    1500 rating on chess.com is not beginner Commented May 13, 2015 at 15:14

5 Answers 5


For computer engines it is much harder to simulate a "human" style than just playing good. If you want to improve your play against humans, play against humans. Use the engines to analyze your games. As already commented, fast or blitz games (but please not faster that ~5 min, as the "quality" of the games decreases rapidly at this point) are a good way to learn to "see" quickly dangers and opportunities, and to have more tactics as usual on the board (as positional play becomes only important after you don't lose most games tactically).

I recommend lichess.org, which is free and offers (at least) three nice features: Computer assisted error checking after games, training positions from real games, and invitation by eMail

  • 2
    You can also import your old games to Lichess to be analyzed.
    – user11153
    Commented Dec 1, 2014 at 12:02

A computer chess engine obviously shows or plays the best move according to its strength. But in accordance to your improvement in chess given the fact you are a beginner, playing against the highest strength computer might not help you to have the best results. Chess from human point of view and computers point of view are very much different though obviously the rules are same.

As you are a beginner let me explain you how computer thinks and how beginners should. A chess engine plays its best move, by calculating thousands of positions, and many variations from a single position. All it does is Math and because it is a computer it does it quick and accurate. But beginners can't do that. It is needed to learn the various concepts and ideas of chess to understand a particular position and your improvement in chess depends on how well you understand a particular position.

Let's say you are playing against computer and you end up in a bad position so you take back your moves and make other moves, and then again somewhere end up in a bad position. This does not help you to understand what is going wrong in your chess or how can u improve or what is your actual strength, because how much ever you try, you end up in bad positions because obviously the strength of the engine is so high up to the level of GrandMaster or even higher.

Use your chess engine to analyze your game after you finish it. Playing games of 15:10 time control is good for beginners, do no go into blitz now but a couple of games now and then is fine for fun. Its good for you to play long time control games because there you have more time to think and understand positions occurring from it. You will have time to think of a proper plan which you think is best for a position and then you can make your move accordingly. This also helps in analysis after the game. While analyzing, when chess engine shows some other moves/variation as a better one.. check that line(variation) out completely and there you can find what the plan of the computer was and how was it different from your plan for that particular position.

Check this great article, it helps you with various aspects of chess and helps you plan your study in chess from the level of beginners to Advanced. :)



I play against a computer and humans regularly. The difference is that a computer is quite happy to throw the 'rule' book away and just do what works in a given position, whereas humans can get fixated on particular ideas.

As an example, I was analysing a position involving a pawn 1 square from promotion. All of the humans were focussed on finding a way to get the pawn to queen, but completely overlooked a completely different tactic forcing mate. It's good to start thinking like this 'unconstrained' way.

The other thing that computers are good at is defending. Even strong human players can crumble quickly in the face of a seemingly overwhelming attack. Computers don't get emotional and can keep finding 'must' moves to keep the game alive (which is extremely annoying), you can learn a lot about the art of defense by playing a computer from a position where you have sacrificed significant material for an attack.


As stated above, I would stick to playing games against real people and then analyzing them with your computer engine.


I have a game on my phone and I play face to face a few times a month. When playing against an AI keep in mind that the AI runs through every possible move that can be made then choose the best in its favor. The options it generates is limited to the level it's on. IE level 1 usually means it thinks for 1 second versus thinking for 12 seconds on level 12. Unlike a human this could cause it to capture a pawn that's in front of a rook on its third play. Not a joke this happens rarely but on low levels it will happen. I also have it set to offer to resign to let me know when it sees defeat but I don't except so I can get in the practice of taking all of its pieces before checkmate or draw.

Edit Playing on the highest level means every move the AI makes has been calculated through to checkmate. Lower it to a level you can't dominate then increase as you become able to dominate it. Don't back up a single play. Play until you see losing is unavoidable then back up to where you think you made your worst mistake. Also play face to face as often as possible, being able to see an opponent's reaction to taking a piece can tell you if it was a key to his attack or defense while the AI probably will only think less than half of a second longer.

  • 2
    Your answer really just about playing an engine in general but does not offer anything for the question.
    – SmallChess
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 23:49
  • "Playing on the highest level means every move the AI makes has been calculated through to checkmate." This makes no sense. That's impratical. Commented Aug 26, 2020 at 4:53

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