Gone are the days when you had to find books or someone to teach you how to play chess. Thanks to the internet, you can learn all there’s to know about playing chess from the comfort of your device.
To learn how to play chess online, you need to find a platform that suits your learning preferences. Once you learn the basics, you can start solving puzzles and playing against computers as well as people, analyzing each game to improve your skills.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of learning chess online, providing you with the best resources to master the basics and become a better player. So, read on to find out how to learn to play chess online.
Step 1: Choose a Platform to Learn the Basics
Using chess apps and websites exposes you to a diverse range of lessons and puzzles at all levels. As such, you won’t need to look for another platform to advance to higher learning levels.
Online courses, on the other hand, are often more level-based. So, once you complete a course, you may need to find a new one to progress to the next level. Not to mention that course exercises are often limited in number and aren’t always interactive.
It’s true that most chess players have an account and play on more than one website. There’s also no rule against taking multiple chess courses simultaneously.
However, beginners can become overwhelmed when receiving information from multiple sources. So, it’s best to start with one platform to delve into the basic rules of chess.
Chess University’s Intro to Chess is a two-section crash course designed to teach beginners and first-time players the fundamentals of chess.
The first section consists of 20 video lectures that cover all the basic principles and rules of chess, as well as more advanced concepts like strategies and tactics. The second section consists of 70 practice puzzles and their solutions.
This course is completely free, making it ideal for those who want to learn chess but aren’t ready to pay for chess lessons yet.
Chess.com, the most popular chess platform worldwide, is an all-in-one website that offers a wide array of chess lessons, puzzles, and game analysis tools. These features are limited without a paid membership, though.
You can, however, play for free against bots or other players from all over the world. You can also watch live matches of other chess players.
Chess.com has an app available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app has the same features and options as the website. The only difference is that you can play with some bots on the app while offline.
While not as well-known as Chess.com, Lichess is another leading chess platform that offers lessons, puzzles, analysis tools, and matches against bots or other players. Most chess learners and players who’ve used both platforms agree that Lichess is on par with Chess.com.
The difference is that Lichess relies on interactive chess boards and instructions to teach. Chess.com, on the other hand, does so through videos and interactive tutorials.
Like Chess.com, Lichess has an app available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Nevertheless, because Lichess is powered by donations and volunteers, all of the features on the platform are completely free, with no ads or ad trackers.
In 29 video lessons, six-time world champion Garry Kasparov shares his chess fundamentals, strategies, favorite techniques, advanced tactics, and many more.
He also delves into his journey, mental toughness, and other topics, such as the benefits of computers in chess training and the significance of relentless analysis.
This MasterClass paid course is ideal for beginner-intermediate chess players looking to gain invaluable insights and lessons from an international grandmaster.
The downside of this course is that it solely consists of video lectures, with no exercises or puzzles to apply the lessons to.
Step 2: Solve Chess Puzzles
While learning how to play chess online, you’ll be able to solve chess puzzles. These puzzles often present unique scenarios in which you need to determine the best moves to gain an advantage.
Such scenarios allow you to practice various tactics and techniques, developing your strategic thinking and problem-solving skills before playing the full game.
You can find unlimited free puzzles on Lichess. Chess.com, on the other hand, provides a limited number of free puzzles per day.
While neither platform requires you to create an account to solve puzzles, signing up allows you to save and track your progress. This makes it easier to pair with opponents of a similar skill level.
Step 3: Play Against a Computer
Playing against a computer is the best way to practice the basics and tactics you’ve learned. You get to put your newfound skills and strategies to the test against an opponent. As you gain confidence in your abilities, you can challenge yourself by increasing the bot’s difficulty level.
What’s more, chess matches against bots are often untimed. So, you’ll be able to take your time and consider each move without feeling rushed. Even if you make a mistake, you can undo your move and try another one.
In most cases, the bot will evaluate your moves as you play, telling you when you make an excellent move, a blunder, or a mistake. When the game is about to end, it’ll let you know how many moves you have left to mate.
Step 4: Play Against Other Players
Many chess learners find the transition from playing against bots to humans to be daunting. So, they only play against bots. The problem is that computers look for the “best” move, which can become repetitive after a certain number of games.
Playing against other humans, on the other hand, can introduce you to new playing styles and strategies. As a result, you’ll have to adapt and think creatively every time you play against someone.
Still, if it’s too stressful for you, you can start by playing one game against a human for every 2–3 games against a bot. With time, playing against other players should become less intimidating, and you’ll be able to participate in more online matches.
Step 5: Analyze Your Games
The best part about playing chess online is that you can analyze your moves and decisions after every game.
Many online chess platforms provide advanced game analysis tools that allow you to review every move made on the board. This includes weak moves, mistakes, blunders, and missed wins.
They also offer alternative moves that could have helped you win faster or avoid making an error.
Game analysis also helps you recognize recurring patterns in your play style, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses. As such, you’ll be able to identify which strategies and tactics need improving.
Just keep in mind that Chess.com limits the number of times a free member can analyze a game per day.
Step 6: Analyze Other Players’ Games
Just watching chess games won’t help you learn how to play. However, if you watch a game with the intent to analyze every move, you can:
- Get a better sense of chess patterns
- Learn new tactics from top players
- Improve your analytical skills
Both Chess.com and Lichess broadcast live tournaments. However, the best platform to watch and analyze games is Chess 24. Its broadcasts include computer analysis, game standings, and a variety of other features. You can also make your own moves on the live board.
There you have it: how to learn to play chess online. Whether you’re a beginner chess player or want to improve your skills, online chess courses and websites are a great place to start.
You’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the game’s fundamentals while practicing on puzzles or against bots and other players.
All you need is a good internet connection and an internet-enabled device, and you can begin your chess learning journey right away!