How to start playing chess
Chess for Kids
The first step to chess is learning the rules. This book from renowned chess tutor Michael Basman shows you the rules, skills and techniques using visual guides. He covers the history of chess, the goal of the game, essential tactics, how to join clubs and more. And you don’t have to be a kid to learn from this book—anyone new to the game will like this easy introduction.
There are plenty of YouTube channels devoted to chess. They teach everything from how to play the different phases of the game to learning specific moves and techniques. This is my own YouTube channel, where I’m compiling videos to help someone new to the game learn how to play in an accessible, step-by-step format.
This website is one of my favorite tools to recommend. It’s an online space to learn and play chess with people all over the world. Lichess is a nonprofit project that hosts a free chess server powered entirely by volunteers and donations. I recommend the “Learn” section of the website to see how the pieces move, how to win the game (i.e., get a checkmate) and how to improve your skills.
Once you’ve learned the rules, the best way to continue learning is to play against someone—or even against a computer! Chess.com offers both options. There are many places you can play online, but I find Chess.com is worthy of its popularity. While operating on a for-profit model, Chess.com has a lot that you can do on its site for free. It’s also international, so no matter what time you get on you’ll always be able to find a game to join or start your own.
Niles District Library Chess Club
Now that you’ve practiced a little bit online, you can start playing face to face. Chess is best played across a board, in person. When you’re low on time, you have to be quick with your decision-making. If you touch a piece, you have to move it. You learn so much this way, and luckily there are chess clubs all over the world. Here at home you’ll find the Niles District Library Chess Club, which meets weekly and hosts tournaments on the first Saturday of every month.
U.S. Chess Federation
When you’re ready to get serious and want to compete at a high level, you’ll want to join the US Chess Federation. The federation’s mission is to empower people, enrich lives and enhance communities through chess. You can also find a lot of resources on its site, including national and international matches, ratings of players and more.