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Chess, Skill, and Practice

One simple realization can help all beginner and intermediate chess players learn more effectively. It can also help parents who are teaching their young children!

A chess game is a test of skill.

If you want to get better at soccer, what do you do? You practice the skills you intend to use in a game. If you want to get better at math, you solve problems repeatedly until you are confident in your ability. To learn a language, you have to have actual conversations that will prepare you to use it in the real world.

To improve your chess, you must practice the exact skills you will use in a real game!

This sounds simple, but most beginners don’t do it. What does it mean, and how can you start to apply it?

First, you have to know which skills beginners need in a real game.

At the beginning, chess is about attacking and winning the opponent’s pieces, checkmating their king, and defending against their big threats.

That’s it! Sounds simple, right? The player who practices the skills of winning material, giving checkmate, and defending will win more games, improve faster, and be able to compete successfully in tournaments.

Now that we know the essential skills, we have to answer another question: How do we develop these skills? These is a time tested process you should follow:

  • Learn about the skill
  • Practice the skill repeatedly in exercises
  • Apply it in real games - repeat step 2 if application is lacking

  • On October 19th, Master Chess is launching its Step 1 and Step 1+ courses. Students will learn the essential skills for absolute and intermediate beginners, practice them through large numbers of selected homework exercises, and receive constant feedback on their thinking from a highly qualified teacher. 

    Starting tomorrow, I will be posting sample positions from our curriculum, to help beginning chess players and their parents learn and think about chess more effectively.