I read an article that said after the 4th move of chess, there are more than 288 billion different positions available. That’s ridiculous. If you asked me 2 months ago would I play chess, I would have said heck no. Well, I just spent two hours solving chess puzzles and playing people online, so I guess I had a change of heart. The game is fun. It has so many different levels that make you wonder about the next best move.
For me, after playing, I start forming connections with life. These connections stay with me whether I’m playing basketball, arguing with a friend, or thinking of a plan. What’s the next best move that I can make? It’s a trial and error type of game. Sometimes you’ll play the wrong move, other times you play a series of really good moves.
1.) There Are a lot of Variations
Standard chess is very tactical and involves a lot of thinking. Players can play blitz or bullet. This variation is the rapid fire style of playing and it’s extremely fun. You’re more focused on playing a move than you are picking the best move. The fact is that chess has a lot of different variations that anyone can play. King of the hill, three check, and blindfold chess. Most of these variations won’t help you improve as a player. You play them for fun and enjoyment. You laugh with your friends. You get called nerds by the bystanders. Fun.
2.) It’ll Exercise Your Brain
At a young age, our brains have a large plasticity. This plasticity allows them to mold in order to increase performance for actions. Usually, this drops significantly after puberty; however, it doesn’t finish until our thirties and forties.
With that said, has a lot to teach about thinking. Practicing chess can help develop your detail orientation in the world, along with giving your brain something to do. It’s a matter of would you rather allow your brain’s plasticity be used to watch episodes of television, or playing calculating and solving puzzles while playing chess. Chess would increase neural connectivity by far.
3.) It’s Competitive
I love competition. Most of my daily activities are a competition against someone. Chess is a way to express this competitive feeling that dwells in me, and it can be the same for you. It’s not about doing the 360′ no scope on Nuketown, it’s about beating your opponent endless amounts of times while showing no remorse.
You could play online and beat some newbs, or you could get a group of friends, or join a chess club. Chess is a really popular game that we played as children. That doesn’t mean we can’t relive that competitive spirit.
4.) It’s a Good Way to Procrastinate
As much as I love Candy Crush. 2048, and *sigh* Cookie Clicker, they aren’t very stimulating on the brain. As I said above, chess has a lot of variations that make you feel like your acomplishing something as you play. It’s a better form of procrastination. Would you rather procrastinate on the chemistry lab writeup by clicking on a cookie, or would you rather be studying and practicing chess moves.
Personally, it makes me feel smarter. I use chess as a substitute of procratination like TV watching.
Alright, so How Do I Start Playing?
CodeAcademy is a great source for learning how to play. First you should start learning how to move the piece which should take about 30 minutes. You could play against one of your friends, and they would be more than happy to teach you. The next step is about knowning the basic rules for the game. Then you learn the basic strategies for the game. At that point, you have a basic understanding of chess, and practice becomes a significant part of improvment.
As a forewarning this is centered towards people who know how to play the game, but they want to improve. I’ll list off some tips to get better at the game. These include, playing blind chess, solving tactical puzzles, analyzing games, playing against better players, and learning and mastering a play style.
Chess Tactics To Train
Puzzle solving is a great step towards improvement. Once you learn the basic moves, the game is about choosing the best move. You have to think what’s a good move, then how can my opponent counter it? What can I play instead of that move? Is there a better choice? When I was younger, I spent a lot of time playing puzzle games so this style is my favorite. Some people try playing countless games of blitz to improve which is awful.
Blitz is meant for fun and has little connection towards an actual game of chess. Solving tactical puzzles will improve your play style and blitz rating, but the opposite is not true. If you really want to improve, I recommend substituting time for chess puzzles.
Analysis of Games
Study professional games and learn styles. Try out the opening you saw them play and see how it works out for you. Study your own games and learn from your mistakes. Find any occurring themes of your mistakes and correct them.
This helps with visualization of the board and leads to a better understanding of the game. It’s also a pretty neat party trick to whip out. Start by playing small games up to 10 moves, then move into 20, then 30, and keep going. This will improve play style a lot because once you stop playing blind, the moves are visibly easier. It’s similar to squatting three hundred pounds, then moving to the one hundred pound weights.
Choose and Master a Style of Play
There are several styles which include, technical, positional, attacking, calculating, tricky, practical, intuitive, logical, and young. The style should come naturally with playing the game, eventually, you’ll find yourself repeating patterns. Study the games of players who have similar play styles to your own and learn new techniques to perform.
That’s the basics.