How I Learned to Play Chess

I think everyone in this world knows how to play chess. We all know how the pieces move and played once or twice against a friend or two, and lost!

Chess was a high IQ level game to me and I never thought I would actually learn to play well enough to beat a computer, let alone a human opponent. This is my journey of how I learned to play chess for real.

Chess.com

It all started when I wanted to find a place to play online against my friends in real-time. Fortunately, there are lots of sites that do this. Chess.com was one of the top search results, so I signed up for a free account.

At that time I didn’t know how to play chess. All I wanted to do was interact with my new buddies over a game of chess.

My friends did not show up to the game, so I decided to explore on my own. 

In the Chess.com app, I saw a section called lessons. 

I started to take those short and sweet lessons. These lessons taught me how the pieces move, chess openings, and many more chess concepts. I like that the lessons combined a video explanation, followed by an interactive game. I was so addicted that I took a paid plan to watch more lessons.

I learned:

  • Opening principles
  • Chess tactics
  • Mating patterns
  • Common endgames
  • Time controls

And many more.

I didn’t stop there. I took to YouTube and learned how to play like a pro.

I learned some of the standard chess openings. My favorite opening is the Italian Game for white.

Italian Game

I learned some chess gambits. My favorite is the Fried Liver attack which also happens after the Italian opening.

Fried Liver Attack

Two of my favorite chess teachers are Nelson from Chess Vibes and Levi from Gotham Chess. Both of them are international masters and excellent chess teachers.

My Chess Rating

Chess has a rating system. You start off with some arbitrary number (100-400) then every time you win or lose, your rating goes up or down by 7-8 points.

The more you win, the more you increase your ratings and get to play against higher-rated opponents. This rating system is very close to the official Chess Federation rating system. Magnus Carlsen is the highest-rated chess player in the history of chess with close to 3,000 ELO rating. Regular chess Grand Masters have around 2,400-2,800 rating points.

Over a year of playing chess, I crossed the 1,000 rating mark. You are considered a chess beginner when you are rated under 1200 points. I am hoping to break 1200 soon but at this level, my opponents are very hard. I have to up my game to get to the next level.

Why Chess is Fun?

Although every chess starts from the same setup, a normal game can end up in a completely different configuration. Not two games are the same, and that’s the reason I love playing them over and over.

It feels great to see your plan coming together. I and my brother loves to play chess while trapping each other’s pieces.

In chess, you can see what your opponent is planning to do. So you have to outsmart them.

Chess has three phases:

  • Opening
  • Middle game
  • End game

Each of the phases is equally important and full of interesting patterns. Some like to play gambits and win pieces in the opening. Some like to build a mating net in the middle game. And some like the pawn race in the end game.

All that on top of the rating climb, makes chess super addicting. I find myself spending hours playing chess back to back.

I invite you to a game of chess on Chess.com or in real life someday.

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