Chess Resources

Have you ever wanted to play chess but felt overwhelmed by the whole process of having to learn the game, memorize the different pieces and execute tactics that keep you two steps ahead of the opponent. While the game of chess does seem like an unforgiving hobby, as in, one can never truly call themselves a master at the game. But, there’s no need to take the game that seriously anyway. Here you are going to find out about the main chess resources that can help you improve your game and be a better player in no time.

Getting Started

There are thousands of books that have been written on chess. Like other types of online games, there are also hundreds of online chess resources to help you improve your game. While this vast supply of resources is great for those who want to learn how to play chess, trying to figure out where to start is often times a hard nut to crack. The following lines are going to guide you to dependable resources that help people learn chess by catering to the specific needs of students.

Some learn to play chess from a friend or family member, while others learn chess from studying books or using one of the many online resources. There is no substitute for a good coach, so getting a private tutor is preferred by some individuals. Other options include, chess workshops, lectures, clinics and chess camps, all of which are used to improve a person’s game. When it comes to online sites there are plenty of options for a person to choose from.

Online Resources

The following are some of the best online resources for those who want to learn how to play chess without having to spend a dime.

ChessGames.com

One of the best ways to learn any game is by playing it. For those who want to look for old-school versions of chess, this is the place to go. The site is home to more than 600,000 different games and also sports a powerful search function, making it the perfect way to find the chess game you are looking for. There are many games that also give annotations and others that show comments and useful tips on the game by other users.

ChessMagnetSchool.com

If you are up for spending $30 a year then ChessMagnetSchool.com is an interesting online program that is designed to train students at all levels of the game. Here you will find 5000 interactive lessons, puzzles and exercises that cater to players at all skill levels. Each of the lessons are grouped according to playing strength and focuses on a specific topic before displaying various puzzles that helps a player learn new tactics. While there is no audio track to hear the lessons out loud, each lessons does provide lots of audible cues and hints that’s useful. All of the lessons have been provided in a clear and easy to understand format, making learning all the more enjoyable, and a particularly useful program for chess players at all levels.

ChessBase

ChessBase is another online resource where those who are interested in chess get the latest news in the game. What sets ChessBase apart from other chess news sites is that it also gets you a major source of information and guides that helps improve your game. The site also provides in-depth endgame analysis of the game. While the site is free to use, there are quite a few products that you can pay for that helps you improve your game.

The Internet Chess Server

The Internet Chess Server is a great resource for people to learn how to play chess without having to spend any money. The Internet Chess Server offers users most of the features of ICC, but without the cost. Though there aren’t any grandmasters there or extra perks such as radio commentary on live tournaments.

Chess Tactics Server

This site allows users to test their chess skills even though there is not much variety on the training that is offered. That being said, Chess Tactics Server does offer answers to over 23,000 problems. Users can sigh in for free and get familiar with the chess board interface. Once signed in, they can also browse through various problems, or just ask around for tips by other users. All you need to register yourself on the site is a valid email address.

The Week in Chess

There are many chess players who also like to keep themselves updated on the various chess tournaments around the world. The Week in Chess is one of the best sites which provides you with extensive coverage on all major chess tournaments worldwide. For those who are looking to learn the latest tactics and strategies to improve their game, this is one resource that will definitely help you. There is no easier way of learning to play chess then by learning from the masters of the game.

Stand Alone Software

For those who are looking for basic instructions on chess, the following are considered to be the best options when it comes to learning how to play chess.

ChessMaster

This is probably one of the best known softwares for learning how to play chess. The software is widely sold worldwide and contains a game module and three sets of lessons to help users learn the game. The software is also available in several editions such as, the Grandmaster Edition and a version called “The Art of Learning.” There’s also a less expensive version called “The 10th Edition” for those who wish to spend less than ten dollars. What makes ChessMaster unique is that it offers all the bells and whistles that learners enjoy. This includes, various display options where users get to choose the type and color of the chessboard they are going to play on. The huge array of options coupled with informative lessons on how to improve one’s game makes ChessMaster a great tool for beginners.

The lessons that are provided by ChessMaster are divided into three segments, the ChessMaster Series, the Larry Christiansen course, and the Josh Waitzkin course. For those who are just starting out with learning the game of chess, the ChessMaster Series will be a good place to start. The lessons you will find here are systematic, clear and to the point, making it one of the best chess resources. Younger students also get to take advantage of exclusive ChessMaster features, especially the one where all the basic rules and tactics of playing chess are read out to the user. Also, after each lesson, students are asked to solve various problems by choosing their moves on the board. This level of interactiveness allows players to progress at their own pace through lessons that are set according to their skill set.

The ChessMaster Series is divided into three segments, beginners, intermediate and advanced. The beginners lessons offers those who are new to the game clear and detailed instructions of how each piece moves on the chess board, what are the basic tactics one can use in a game, and how a player can learn to be strategic. The best thing about using ChessMaster Series is that the interface is interactive and easy to use. The ChessMaster Series also tracks student progress and helps them develop the skills that are thought in each lesson before they can progress to the next.

The Intermediate lessons provide tips from Bruce Pandolfini, a famous chess coach. There’s also a rating exam designed by Pandolfini that helps users assess their overall progress based on a series of challenges. The Advanced lessons allows users to review the moves in famous chess games and make the correct move, before showing the user the actual move that was made by the grandmaster.

The software offers a great module where students get to play against dozens of opponents according to their skill set. This exposes them to various styles of playing and enables players to learn new tactics and strategies. There is also a coach who will warn players if they are making a bad move, and then suggest an appropriate one for them. The ChessMaster software also offers other specialized tools and resources that are aimed at the more experienced player. The software also includes analysis of various famous games for users to study. But these are only for students who have been playing chess for a while and are familiar with the basics of the game.

Think Like a King

This is another software that is available for PC and Macs. TLAK offers exceptional quality when it comes to the language being used and the instructions that are given. The software offers a treasure trove of informational content for beginners and advanced players. This is also the reason why Think Like a King is the only scholastic software that has been endorsed by the United States Chess Federation. The only difference between TLAK and ChessMaster is that the former does not use snazzy visuals, but prefers a clear and simple chess board interface for their lessons. There’s also no soundtrack included in the lessons unlike ChessMaster. This may be a good thing since it allows the player to concentrate more on the lesson rather than being serenaded by the music. To be fair, the soundtrack in ChessMaster is an optional function.

Think Like a King offers seven electronic books (or volumes) where chess has been explained in the form of text and interactive exercises. These lessons are referred to as ‘Workouts’ and provide the user with in-depth information on the various tactics and strategies that they need to know of while playing chess. Volume one offers beginner’s guidance, volume two covers the basic tactics, while volumes three and four teach students how to focus on openings and develop a mindset that enables them to play keeping the endgame in mind. The last three lessons offered in TLAK are focused on advanced players and covers additional topics that are more complex in nature.

Those who are new to TLAK get to take a tour of the tutorials and other game workouts before getting started.

Chess Tactics for Beginners by Convetka

This software is based on a book by Sergey Ivashchenko. Like the best-seller it is based on, this book focuses more on the different tactics that one can use during game play. The program features around 1,300 exercises that focuses on various tactics and strategies in the game. The program also generates statistics and bar graphs that shows users of their progress. A build in chess engine and visual hints are two other major features of this software.

Learn To Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster

This software program is targeted to beginners and mainly kids between the ages of 6 and 12. The software features various programs that cover the rules of the game, such as pawn promotion and castling, and some common checkmates and ways to finish a game. Since this is a program that has been developed mainly for kids, the storyline is told in a cute cartoon, and revolves around the efforts of two children (one the son of the white king) who must learn to play chess by going to a chess training academy to pick up the skills needed to face a challenge posed by the black king. This program is a solid introduction for beginners who want to learn the basics of playing chess. The program is fun and interesting and can engage students for hours, you can see the chess video here: