Questions tagged [learning]

Questions related to learning how to play chess and improving your chess skills. This can also be used for questions concerning "learning" chess engines.

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6 answers
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How do I learn a new opening?

Often times, when I find myself going through the lines of a new opening, one that I would like to start using in my games I hit the concrete wall after a couple of days of studying it. Due to the ...
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  • 1,481
24 votes
6 answers
9k views

Do you find websites like chesstempo useful for improving tactical skills?

I've been using chesstempo for quite a while solving lots of problems per day. What I noticed is that I don't feel that my tactical skills were improving. My results in tournament games were not ...
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  • 1,208
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

When and why should I move the pawns in front of a castled/non-castled King?

I have always struggled with this and I believe there is some rule that someone defined at some point, but I am not sure who (Maybe it was Steinitz). When and why should I move my pawns in front of ...
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  • 16.6k
5 votes
1 answer
158 views

Electronic gadget chess opponent for children

I am looking for an electronic gadget that is a chess opponent, designed specially for children. I want to it be touch screen, where the pieces are large enough so you don't need to use a special pen ...
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  • 6,497
14 votes
11 answers
11k views

Free, simple chess program for beginners

I can't play chess very well, and want a computer game to play against. I've tried two so far - Chessbase (Fritz 5.32) and Crafty Chess. Both had the same problem that even on the lowest difficulty ...
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  • 651
6 votes
1 answer
117 views

Are there any good instructional chess videos in German with captions?

I would like to watch chess videos, and improve my German at the same time, and youtube has a a few videos with captions, but I can't find any videos that are chess-related AND in German AND with ...
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  • 4,283
14 votes
4 answers
1k views

Theoretical relationship between Caro-Kann exchange and Queen's Gambit exchange

Is there a book, or an article, which examines the relationship between these two openings? The Caro-Kann exchange (non-Panov) is 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5, and the Queen's Gambit exchange is 1.d4 ...
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7 votes
4 answers
1k views

Free chess computer game

I am a chess novice. Can someone suggest a good, free chess computer game that I can use to start to learn chess by playing against the computer? Maybe with some different difficult levels...
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  • 181
24 votes
9 answers
8k views

Best ways for improving "tactics"

I have been playing chess for a long time, and I have been around 1850-1900 ELO for quite some time. I have always wondered which are the best ways to improve the tactics. Does playing more and more ...
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  • 405
17 votes
6 answers
3k views

How do I stop blundering my queen?

I have a particular bad habit when I play chess. I play reasonably well (at least by the standards of people I play with), and am quite careful with my pieces. But in about 80% of games I play, once I ...
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  • 281
27 votes
8 answers
5k views

Free learning material

I'm aware of several excellent youtube channels that are free and provide some great insight into the game, such as: Chess Network Online Chess Lessons ChessFriends.com Kings Crusher Mato Jelic YM ...
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  • 661
17 votes
6 answers
8k views

Is it possible to improve by playing mostly blitz?

Can you improve significantly in chess by playing mostly blitz (say, 3 0) games? Or will you eventually reach a wall where the only way to advance is by sitting down for lengthy periods analyzing ...
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21 votes
7 answers
4k views

How much time should be spent playing versus studying?

I have been learning fairly rapidly lately (will probably go about 400 points in about a year), although I am sure that pace will slow with time. However, my learning is actually slowed down because ...
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  • 1,724
39 votes
9 answers
6k views

How do I get a well-rounded understanding of chess openings?

So, it was inevitable. I am making progress in the middle-game. I understand positions better and my tactics continue to improve. My end games are still solid/superior for my skill level so I ...
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4 votes
4 answers
467 views

What is the best automatic chess playing app for a beginning level player?

I play chess very infrequently. Whenever I restart, I take a bit of time to get up to speed. Which chess playing apps are best for a beginner? I would prefer apps that scale up in diifficulty ...
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32 votes
11 answers
4k views

Is allowing takebacks in friendly games a bad practice?

When I am playing friendly games with my brother, if one of us makes a big blunder that would make it pointless to continue playing, instead of quitting, we undo the move(s) to give a second chance (...
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  • 3,108
17 votes
6 answers
2k views

The moves leading to the winning combination

We've all worked tactics problems. I can do those pretty well. Yet I have never been able to pull off one of these amazing combinations in my games. Not once. These tactical situations don't arise ...
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  • 19.9k
22 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can one improve their over-the-board analysis skills?

I think of analysis as the ability to mentally move through variations, recognize tactical ideas in those variations, and draw accurate conclusions regarding the fitness of the resulting positions. I ...
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54 votes
10 answers
18k views

How do I learn to understand the middlegame?

I am trying to train tactics as well as my general understanding of the beginning/middlegame. I spent a good bit of time understanding endgames, per chessmaster recommendations and those I can ...
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  • 1,724
6 votes
4 answers
867 views

What are some beginner opening variations after an opening has been chosen?

I have seen a ton of questions on how to choose an opening repertoire, but I haven't really seen anything on once you choose an opening, are there specific variations that one should start off with ...
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  • 16.6k
5 votes
2 answers
713 views

Statistics on how a rating or winning percentage corresponds to the (opening, middle, end) game?

Have their been any statistics on how your knowledge on part of the game (opening, middle, end) corresponds to your rating or winning percentage? For example, I have found that if I play opening ...
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  • 16.6k
21 votes
4 answers
5k views

How to get out of "Hope" chess into "Real" chess

I read this article by Dan Heisman on playing 3 different types of chess: "Flip-Coin", "Hope", and "Real". I think I am stuck in "Hope" chess, where I make a ...
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  • 16.6k
10 votes
2 answers
306 views

Practical study for a former player?

I played quite often in the mid 80's to mid 90's. My highest rating OTB was low 1300's (Edited, I had thought I reached 1415, but not according to USCF site-although that doesn't include my high ...
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  • 649
36 votes
2 answers
3k views

Do strong players move their pieces with different relative frequencies than weak players?

This question is an offshoot of Ramon Snir's earlier one about how often different types of pieces get moved, on average, in a game of chess. My question: Do the relative numbers of moves for the ...
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  • 23.1k
4 votes
2 answers
741 views

Does the chess community have a problem with manners and sportsmanship? [closed]

Chess can be such an emotional game, when your intelligence is paired up against your opponent's. It's great fun at times, but at other times, it seems like we get too sensitive. More so than, say, ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Improving the endgame: Principles

I find I am weakest in the endgame, which is arguably the most important part of chess. Usually when I reach the endgame I have an advantage, often a pawn or a "winning" pawn formation, but I am not ...
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  • 2,373
8 votes
7 answers
4k views

Should I practice openings of a famous player if I want to play like them?

I have always liked the way Mikhail Tal played and I noticed on chessgames.com, that his most played openings are: As White: Sicilian (B46, B43, B82, B32, B40) Ruy Lopez (C92, C95, C93, C96, C84) ...
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  • 16.6k
19 votes
8 answers
948 views

How can I make a chess exhibition exciting for 'laypeople'?

I've been asked recently to try to put on a few chess exhibitions for some local kids and their parents in a mostly urban setting, and one thing that I'm keenly aware of is the basic 'uncoolness' that ...
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  • 415
13 votes
6 answers
14k views

What are the differences between tactical and positional chess?

Does one style of play have an advantage/disadvantage over the other? Are today's GMs mostly tactical players or positional players? What GMs should I follow if I want to be more of a tactical ...
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  • 16.6k
27 votes
5 answers
7k views

How can I make chess interesting and fun for beginners and doubters?

I love playing chess, but I find that it is difficult to find people who are willing to commit time to play games with me. I'm not a great player (I've never memorized moves or openings) but I have ...
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10 votes
2 answers
738 views

Can playing blindfold improve playing non-blindfold?

If I play blindfolded or don't look at the board and just visualize the board, pieces and position in my head, can this improve my regular style of play (physically looking at a board). Is there any ...
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  • 16.6k
20 votes
8 answers
14k views

Dr. John Nunn vs Irving Chernev's "Logical Chess Move by Move"

I have the book "Logical Chess Move by Move" by Irving Chernev and personally I find it to be a great book especially for beginners, but I heard that GM John Nunn has really criticized the book. This ...
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  • 16.6k
9 votes
5 answers
854 views

Can you improve in chess subconsciously, over time?

Years ago, I was a bullet-chess (1 min. games) addict. I played daily and often. Then I stopped for about 4 years (and played off-and-on). My rating was mediocre - around 1400 on Yahoo Chess. ...
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7 votes
1 answer
613 views

What software is good for deliberate practice in specific areas?

Is there software that tracks unassisted game play and categorizes player's strengthens and weaknesses in a way that allows the player to focus on the most valuable deliberate area practice relative ...
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  • 4,089
10 votes
7 answers
3k views

How can I generate legal random chess setups?

Is there a free online website that attempts to generate "legal" random chess setups X amount of moves into the game?
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  • 4,089
22 votes
9 answers
3k views

What are some activities besides chess which help improve chess play?

What activities, be they physical or mental, do you use to improve your chess? Have you recently taken up something and noticed a positive change in your game? One thing I can think of is exercising ...
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  • 16.6k
27 votes
12 answers
2k views

What is the easiest possible way to start teaching children how to play chess?

As a followup to What is the earliest possible age to start teaching children how to play chess?, I'm wondering: What is the easiest possible way to start teaching children how to play chess? The ...
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  • 4,089
9 votes
5 answers
1k views

Must a player play tactical openings to learn tactics?

As has been said, Chess in 99% tactics/calculation. So, if a player is aiming to increase his tactical abilities should he play tactical openings like the King's Gambit, or can he play something ...
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66 votes
22 answers
29k views

What is the earliest possible age to start teaching children how to play chess?

My daughter is 4 years old, and she plays checkers very well for her age. She asked me if she can learn how to play chess too. So I am interested in what is the best age to start teaching her. Is it ...
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  • 841
9 votes
4 answers
779 views

How much time should be spent on learning an opening?

I know this can be a subjective question depending on the opening, but in general, should on spend time on a few openings at once or should one concentrate on one opening for a while and play it every ...
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  • 16.6k
12 votes
6 answers
1k views

Should a beginner move from fundamentals to opening theory?

After learning the fundamentals, should one start learning openings or should there be something else in between?
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  • 16.6k
19 votes
5 answers
7k views

What openings are recommendable for beginners to study?

I am a beginner. With reference to opening theory, which opening should I start learning? My friends are suggesting the Ruy Lopez.
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  • 199
9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there any website that generates and hosts board position with PGN as input?

Is there any website out there that takes PGN input and generates and hosts board positions (To show as image in the question or answer), till the time we get something like this done on this website ...
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  • 3,311
10 votes
5 answers
4k views

How can one become a very good chess player without studying chess or openings?

I heard that Capablanca never liked to bother with openings, would never study chess or read books. Despite all this, he became world champion. Is this an exception to the rule? Have times changed ...
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  • 16.6k
14 votes
4 answers
19k views

Is there any chess software that tutors beginners?

I am a beginning chess player, and I want to learn more about openings, the middle game, and the endgame. Can anyone suggest any good chess software that 'tutors' beginners?
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10 votes
4 answers
2k views

What are techniques to improve the number of moves thought through in advance?

I read somewhere that on average a GM can think up to 10-15 moves ahead in tactical positions. Is there any specific technique to improve this depth? Please do not provide a generic answer on how ...
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  • 3,311
7 votes
1 answer
932 views

What is most important for improving chess skills? [closed]

There's a lot of advice out there about how to improve your chess skills, some say, study openings, others say practice is more important that theoretical knowledge. I'm aware that the advice depends ...
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75 votes
12 answers
23k views

How do I analyze my game after playing?

What techniques do you use to analyze your games or other people's games? How much time do you spend on analyzing the game? Are there any tools (electronic or manual, such as a piece of paper) you ...
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  • 16.6k
21 votes
4 answers
974 views

What other games or chess variants are useful to improve your chess skills?

I know about Chess960, and you can play that online at lichess.org. Furthermore, I like playing Go as well. But are there any good variants and other ways to train that you use, and you know to work ...
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