Feeling LOST? Is Chess hard to learn?

Learning How to Play Chess 

Is chess hard to learn? Most individuals have played or attempted to play chess at least once. However, very few individuals truly invest the time to master the intricate rules and tactics required to succeed or even just play the game properly. 

Mastering chess is so challenging. It is a game with many playing pieces, each with its moves and actions and almost endless combinations of moves. 

Family playing chess

Is Chess Hard to Learn?

Chess is quite a simple game to pick up and play. There are only a few unique, basic rules and information on how the pieces move and the checkmate needed. But mastering the game of chess is hard. It demands a significant commitment of time.

What You Should Know Before Playing Chess

Most people can pick up the fundamentals of chess in about an hour and play the game correctly after a few practice matches.

For practically every board game, players create their own house rules, yet chess is a universally standardized game that should only follow a specific manner. To play a game of chess, you should be aware of the following:

  • How to move the chess pieces: Playing chess involves six different pieces: the king, queen, bishop, knight, rook, and pawn. Each one has a distinctive movement pattern, some of which could be challenging for a typical beginner.
  • How to play chess: Since the game’s goal is to checkmate one’s opponent, learning how to checkmate is probably the most crucial lesson for novices.
  • The chess rules: Simple things include setting up the board, deciding who moves first, only making one move each round, and figuring out how to take the other player’s pieces. Other less apparent rules include castling, en passant, and pawn promotion.
  • You can learn the last two while playing, but before beginning a chess game, go through the fundamentals of checkmate. Since playing a full game is not a requirement, chess players typically study tactics such as the foundations of the game and openings after that.
  • If you can find the right tutorial online or have a skillful chess teacher, learning chess is far simpler than learning other board games. 

Chess mastery is difficult to achieve. Do you believe you have what it takes to succeed Magnus Carlsen? That’s not exactly how it works, though. Although beginning to play chess is quite simple, getting better at the game can be very challenging. 

It can take years for the ordinary chess player to develop to the level of power they desire because everyone has a unique chess learning curve.

The International chess Federation determines a rating, a number, to represent a player’s level of mastery (strength) in the game (FIDE). You can earn the FIDE named player title if you meet certain requirements, including +2,300 rating points. Anyone can earn the three main titles of GM (Grand Master), IM (International Master), and FM (FIDE Master).

13,733 FIDE-titled players are currently in action, including 1,715 Grandmasters, 3,874 International Masters, and 8,144 FIDE Masters. Comparing these figures to the overall number of players active in the FIDE database (360,784). You might notice that the number of masters to players is incredibly low. 

Just 3.8 percent of chess players master the game (FIDE to Grandmaster). When you start evaluating the more challenging titles to acquire, statistics get pretty frightening. Fewer than 0.5 percent of players can display their GM title, while just about 1.1 percent of players are International Masters.

Why is chess so hard to succeed? When it comes to opportunities and ideas, chess is a vigorous game. In his work “XXII. Programming a Computer for Playing chess,” Claude Shannon claims that there are 10120 different outcomes from games that begin in the first position. (Do not use your calculator to try to calculate this amount.) 

This quantity is comparable to the roughly 1080 atoms in the observable universe. Amazing statistics, premature giving up, the lack of free high-quality material until recently, and the low expected income of professional chess players make chess a highly challenging sport.

Leaving too Soon

This is the main reason most chess players never reach the level of a master. Each person learns differently and at a different pace. Some people find it easier to master the game of chess. This translates to the length of time a chess player should be consistently pushing themselves to get better through practice and study.

Lack of Free High-Quality Content

Until recently, every chess player in the world had to hire a top-notch chess coach to achieve a respectable chess formation. Few grandmasters could impart “the chess secrets” to their students.

Fortunately, there are now websites where you can learn the fundamentals of chess for free (chess.com, chess24, and lichess). The user interface is excellent; you can use tactics, play with individuals from around the world, review the lessons they have accessible, and analyze your games. All things are free.

Chess sales are lower than many other sports (soccer, basketball, football, etc.) As a result, many people fear this and prefer to focus their time and energy on other things. Although earning a living from chess might be challenging, the chess industry has been reviving thanks to the technology boom.

Chess professionals now have more options to experience benefits beyond simple self-gratification. 

Why is Chess so Hard for Some?

How complicated is Chess? Chess is a challenging game to master since there are so many pieces (16 for each player), and they all move differently. The player has too many possibilities because the openings are different and vast.

Chess is a challenging game to learn because of the intense and widespread competition. While the game is competitive, it has peculiarities that make it challenging to understand. Chess is a difficult game to master by nature for a variety of reasons:

There are Numerous Parts

Contrary to well-known board games like checkers, learning this one can be a little challenging due to the sheer number of pieces. There are a whopping 32 units (16 for one side and 32 for both), which is a huge quantity to manage. Most candidates step back only by the visual element of looking into that quantity.

Every Item Has Distinctive Movements

There are six different sorts of units to study in addition to the many other parts, each worth some work—the complexity increases by the necessity of incorporating each of these groups simultaneously.

It’s advisable to learn each piece individually (even simply getting a basic understanding), with the rook coming first and the pawn coming last.

It Has Unique Gaming Rules

Chess features many in-game rules that make it both exciting and difficult. En passant, castling and pawn advancement are a few examples of rules that could cause problems.

There are Prerequisites for Winning Draws

Chess is not one of the several board games distinguished by its inability to host a draw (though this is not always true). The situation becomes more complicated when there are factors like a deadlock, a permanent check, or just a simple resignation.

The fact that you don’t want to draw a winning position forces you to be alert when these circumstances arise.

There are Numerous Theoretical Possibilities

This is what most beginners find overwhelming while learning the intricacies of chess. It is more difficult to comprehend the opening ideas since they consist of many early movements intended to gain an advantage. These concepts increase the complex nature of chess problems, making them more difficult.

Openings are too Big

Not only are there too many openings to learn, but some go all the way to the middle game. Someone starting would find this amazing because they don’t understand how someone could memorize so much.

Some even mistake boarding this ship immediately, which is never a good idea (you should learn the endgame first).

Much Uncertainty When Playing Middlegames

When the middle game begins following the game’s opening phase, what specific goals must you meet? The ability to recognize patterns and patterns visually comes with experience. A novice who lacks those qualities will undoubtedly run into the position’s intricacy.

In the endgame, things are more difficult to observe. Some of you would assume it would be simpler because there are fewer pieces in the endgame. No, not at all. Only a select few players completely master this game stage because the spaces and tempos are so nuanced.

Even in the eyes of a reasonably skillful player, one seemingly innocent move can be the one that ends the game.

The Complexity of Attacking

Forcing premature attacks is one of the new players’ most frequent errors. They are unaware that attacks are complex enough to provide a challenge for even some experienced gamers. Few people have the intelligence, tactical skill, and calculating capability to mount an attack successfully.

Fighting Back is Considerably Trickier

So what about defense if attacking is difficult? It has more problems than only self-defense. You typically have to play crowded positions with few options but severe penalties. This kind of pressure and demanding characteristics make defense a difficult skill to master.

There is a lot of memorization required. It is not advisable for anyone just beginning to do much of it. Only a few crucial situations would occur frequently and call for some magic for you to remember. Memorization is difficult, whether it’s a well-known conclusion or a trap you wish to avoid initially.

There are Too Many Choices Available

What comes to mind when you just leave the board and consider a move? There are simply too many possibilities.

Don’t worry; this is a common psychological phenomenon called paralysis by analysis, which causes your decision-making to paralyze if there are many options. You will eventually have to climb this mountain, but it is doable if you give yourself enough time.

There are Numerous Things to Discover

Even without considering the sheer quantity of pieces, chess is inherently complicated. The opening, middle, and endgame notions are difficult to comprehend. Even after years of studying every concept, you may still feel you lack sufficient knowledge.

There is no Reliable Method of Assessing the Position

For every specific position, there has been a lifetime-long search for “the move,” and we can say we have it. Opening theory and chess engines inform us of this move.

The difficulty of assessing positions is evident because the opening and engine move constantly collide (different engines have various assessments).

Taking Unfamiliar Roles Often

If the player is familiar with the position, which can happen but does not always, moves can be easily-arranged. This implies that you would typically need to develop something original. You would have to swim into fresh waters where you were sure to err. Studying ought to follow a progression.

Like learning algebra, learning chess requires knowing the theories to solve issues (formulas). Additionally, everything should take order because skipping processes will cause confusion and waste time.

The Games are Lengthy 

Chess experience, which you gain by playing numerous games, may teach many things. The length of the games is a problem. When someone says you need “experience,” they mean you need more patience.

Since you have fewer opportunities to absorb information in such a lengthy manner, the learning curve is significantly higher.

Time Constraints Might be Demanding

Chess has a time limit set for a specific style of play. Players may hurry their actions due to the increasing strain and tension, which could harm the progress.

It takes some time to get used to fiddling with the clock, and it takes even longer to get used to having time constraints.

Experience is Necessary for Pattern Recognition

Humans are pattern-seeking creatures; we are adept at identifying similar things under normal circumstances. Chess is a bit complex; therefore, you need some practice to develop this skill; you can’t just start playing well immediately.

This makes the development seem a little hazy, which might irritate individuals even when it’s completely normal.

Kids of different ages playing chess

22 Tips and Tricks That Make Chess Easier to Learn

How hard is chess? People who find it difficult to learn chess either do not learn the game properly or are unwilling to start with the fundamentals.

Before you can run, you must learn to walk, and the first steps listed here are those steps. Starting to learn how to play chess and how to improve your online chess rating and potentially participate in a tournament.

Discover the Parts and How They Operate

Knowing how each of the 16 pieces moves is essential before you start playing chess. Eight pawns, a king, a queen, two bishops, two knights, and two rooks are in a chess game. Each piece has certain guidelines for how it can move on the board.

Children learn the fundamentals of chess very fast; novice adults take a bit longer but spending a little more time completely comprehending each move, learning chess, and building strategy become much simpler.

Discover Piece Development

One of the most important aspects of playing chess is developing your pieces. You’ll be likely at a loss if one or two pieces repeatedly move in a row.

Piece development is when you move your rooks, knights, bishops, and queen from their original starting squares. Castling is a further aspect of chess piece development. You can tell when you are starting to learn and get better at this board game when you have a good notion of how to maneuver your pieces like chess masters.

Learn When and How to Castle

The castling move, which only involves the King and one rook, is the only time you can move two of your pieces at once. This is a fundamental move you should master early and is not for skilled players.

If you want to completely comprehend the laws and raise your expertise in this area, We strongly advise reading our comprehensive guide to kingside or queenside castles in chess. A few hundred words cannot adequately convey how to execute this unique move or when it is best.

Discover Special Maneuvers

The castling move is unique, but others will improve your chess play and simplify learning the game.

You have a pawn move dubbed “En Passant” that differs significantly from a typical two-square first move or a single-square advancement move. It entails capturing an opposing piece while avoiding the square that it is standing on. Again, this is only possible under unique circumstances; you only get one shot.

Many chess players either aren’t aware of it or neglect to play it. However, it can be another crucial component in understanding the game and your attacking possibilities with advanced pawns.

Take Up Forking

Although the fork is not a particular move, it can be devastating for your opponent if you have the chance to fork two of their pieces. You move one of your pieces to an undefended square so that it is not in danger, but in doing so, you set up a pattern where you will simultaneously attack two or even more of the enemy pieces.

For you to capture one of the others regardless of whether they move one piece or not. Once more, there is a lot to learn about forking, including how and when to take these actions, recognizing an opportunity when it presents itself, and protecting yourself from fork attacks.

Don’t Check Immediately

You shouldn’t be in haste to checkmate the king, especially if you will put yourself at a disadvantage. Checkmating your opponent is not always a winning move for you.

Competitive chess players will establish a pattern of pieces in movement patterns that all support one another before attacking. They won’t be aiming to make single movements to gain a check.

You will not gain any tempo and will not be in a better position if you check the opposing king but lose that piece immediately. Remember how you will defend that piece or region of the board when checking.

The Longer you Keep Your Pawns, the More Valuable They Become

Many novice players believe that you should sacrifice pawns. This is somewhat true, but they are also crucial components of your strategy. Therefore, realizing this will improve your chess skills.

The longer the game goes on, the more precious pawns become, and they are essential for defending your more expensive pieces in the opening and middle game. If you have more pawns than your opponent has toward the end of the game, this could make a big difference in your prospects.

You have a clear advantage if you make passed pawns since you may be able to open up opportunities for pawn promotion to another queen. This possibility could keep your adversary from fighting you and attempting to stop your promotion prospects, leaving them vulnerable to additional attacks on the king. 

Never hang your pawns and offer them up for free because of this.

Learn How to Defend and Support Pieces

Hanging a piece is your worst move in a chess game. You are hanging your pieces when you move a piece to a square where your opponent can capture it and have no method of taking it back. You will lose the piece because you effectively hanged it.

Without putting themselves in danger, your adversary will gain a free piece. It’s also advantageous to predict when your rival will make a move similar to your own, and you might gain free pieces off the board, particularly pawns.

Swapping Pieces

The time is now to spend some time learning the value of the chess pieces. Each is valuable in its own right, not because it directly impacts a score or position in the game, but rather as something to consider throughout the inevitable exchanges.

Even when playing chess for entertainment, it is crucial to comprehend each piece’s points or centipawn value before exchanging. You must visualize and prepare the exchange or exchanges to complete the sequence without losing more points than your opponent.

You shouldn’t start the conversation now, or at least attempt to postpone it if you can’t ensure that things will be fair at worst in the end.

Learn the Pieces you Need to Checkmate and How to Do it

Directly checking your opponent’s king puts them in check, but getting a checkmate is the only way to win a game. In a checkmate situation, your opponent cannot play a move legally, and the game is over.

There are various interesting and beneficial mating patterns to learn, depending on the pieces you have left over from the game and the ones you have kept. Patterns that chess masters will commit to memory.

There are several exact movements and tactics you can use to accomplish checkmate in the lowest amount of time when your opponent has only a king or possibly a king and a few supporting pieces left, and you have a material advantage with perhaps a queen, a rook, or a couple of bishops.

There are also the easiest chess checkmates to master, with the ability to end a game in just two or three moves. They include the smothered mate, scholar’s mate, and fool’s mate endings, all of which you have probably heard of and which beginner chess players have undoubtedly encountered.

If you are a beginner with difficulty learning the game of chess, it may be more necessary to focus on how to win a game rather than some of the more intricate opening strategies you can keep later.

Don’t Stress Over the Initial Move

The London System, The Ruy Lopez, The Queen’s Gambit, and other opening systems are reasons why people find chess difficult to understand. Before attempting to comprehend the intricate permutation of potential opening moves, you must first understand how chess operates.

You can come back and start focusing on mastering only one or two opening strategies. If you have mastered the fundamentals, you can make good defenses and have mastered certain special moves and offensive tactics. It will be much simpler for beginners to understand chess if they ignore the opening strategy.


You can never improve without practice, making it the most apparent but crucial item on the list. You will gain confidence and skill in these parts of the game as you learn new chess strategies, like fork attacks, mating patterns, and others.

Don’t Stress About Failing

Losing at chess, like losing at anything else, is difficult to handle, but you will advance far more quickly by avoiding the disappointment of failing when you are learning the game. At this point in your chess education, your objectives should be to be able to execute some of the moves you are learning and to outplay your opponent in terms of advantages and pieces.

By doing this, you’ll develop a memory bank of information you can draw from during the following games and learn to identify specific positions and how to play them. Therefore, to make chess simpler to learn, make a successful attack or fork of your opponent the aim rather than victory.

Avoid Playing too Much

The issue arises from playing too many games. You may be eager to spend more time learning chess, which is excellent.

The number of games you play each day should be minimal. Perhaps a good ceiling level would be nine at most. You can’t win them all if you play too many games; you will eventually lose some.

You’ll become increasingly frustrated if you lose and don’t separate your emotions from them. You can act irrationally gung-ho or, even worse, repeat mistakes from previous losses. Play just a few games daily, and focus more on learning chess’s theory, tactics, and literature.

Join Chess.com

One of the best methods to learn chess is to play games online, and sites like chess.com will give you many tools to help you understand the game faster. You can practice and study several categories of chess abilities and test your knowledge with daily puzzles. A vast collection of learning resources is available.

There are daily restrictions on how much of this content you can access on the website with a free account. Still, upgrading to a premium membership costs nothing and gives you access to far more effective and speedy learning and chess-playing options.

The best part is that you may study from various chess resources wherever you are, thanks to the mobile app. In bed, during your commute to work, or anywhere you have a mobile device.

Examine Your Play

The benefit of having a premium chess.com account is that you may conduct the most crucial analysis of the games you play. Reviewing your previous games may show your blunder and what movements you should take differently.

Limit Your Use of Blitz

Blitz chess is fantastic, but it’s not always the ideal method to pick up the game’s fundamentals or advance as a beginner.

Time constraints put additional pressure on your ability to think clearly, leading you to make more mistakes as you become more preoccupied with the passing of the clock and the potential loss that could result from running out of time than choosing the optimal course of action.

When learning chess, often play with much larger time constraints. Although it may take some time, you will eventually progress and make fewer mistakes, which means you may even lose fewer games and prevent the disappointment of feeling like you are not getting better.

Set Manageable Improvement Targets; Don’t Worry About Your Elo

Your elo rating will alter according to how well you do in games when you play and learn online. Don’t worry about it too much, but do make goals based on trying to raise your score. Your elo score will take care of itself as you learn and practice the game’s mechanics if you set small, attainable goals in this area.

If your elo is 600 and you’re trying to increase it to 1000, it will take time, and you might give up before you succeed. Set manageable, minor goals for yourself, and treat yourself regularly when you succeed.

View Videos

Watching chess videos on YouTube may be quite educational as well as enjoyable. You’ll be able to view tutorials, in-depth discussions of various tactics and moves, and games played by skilled players who explain their thoughts on their actions and those of their adversaries.

They will go into great detail, and you will learn a ton from them. They frequently make the finest movements possible while also pointing out what to avoid doing.

Study Books

Reading chess books can seem a little archaic these days, but they can be an even more valuable tool for learning the game. There is no navigation back and forth to reach the appropriate spot on a video. With chess books, you may highlight the passages you want to refer to again, and the explanations can go much further in depth.

Many of the most well-known chess grandmasters have books you may read or purchase for certain playing areas, such as solitary volumes focusing solely on one opening theory and all its options.

Order a Course

When someone mentions purchasing a chess lesson, your initial thought is probably, “Why, when there is so much free knowledge available on the internet and YouTube?” There is a ton of free content available, so your question is legitimate.

When you spend money on something, you try to get as much out of it as possible, which motivates you to finish any given work. Whether it’s a business course, a language course, or in this case, a low-cost chess course, it doesn’t matter.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of courses to pick from; while this may initially seem overwhelming, shift your viewpoint and realize that it is a blessing.

Choose what you want to study and move forward, whether it’s a specific opening, additional game strategies, or something more in-depth. There is much to learn about chess to be able to learn it all in a single course that will improve every area of your game.

For a small amount, you may enroll in an excellent course that goes beyond the fundamentals in one comprehensive bundle.

Learn How to Write Chess

Learning how to write chess moves is something that a lot of chess players neglect to do. It is a unique way of writing and recording moves you make during a chess game. If you want to participate in a chess competition, you must know how to do this, but you shouldn’t wait till then.

You can learn chess play more quickly if you can read and write chess moves as soon as possible. You will improve as a chess player, be better able to follow online chess teaching and game analysis, and your elo rating will rise faster than a rat up a drainpipe after you learn how to read the moves.

The Top 10 Chess Myths

People say the darndest things about chess and chess players, especially other chess players. Here are some of our top royal game-related urban legends. Some of these myths are categorically false, some are unpopular opinions, and yet others are debatable claims that may or may not be true.

Learning Chess is Difficult

Chess is not the simplest game to learn, but it is also not the hardest. You must learn the moves of the six pieces, and the pawn, the piece with the lowest value, has the trickiest moves. The rules for attacking and defending the king, including casting, are necessary. 

Then there are certain guidelines for games in which neither player prevails. This myth has one true element: learning to play chess well is extremely difficult. One out of every 100 players succeeds in mastery.

Chess Has a Long History

The earliest direct descendants of chess may date to roughly 600 A.D. The game is now 1400 years old as a result. Chess will be “thousands of years old” if it survives another 100 years, which would round up to 2000 years. 

Chess as we know it, with queens and bishops moving like modern pieces, can be securely dated to the end of the 15th century, roughly the time Christopher Columbus discovered America. This places the age of the contemporary game at just over 500 years.

Chess is a Time Waster

This is more of an opinion than a myth. Chess is, of course, “only a game.” It also incorporates aspects of logic and aesthetics, which is uncommon in games. If these are time wasters, chess must also be. 

In the current world, many individuals consider anything unrelated to economic development to be a waste of time. Chess is most likely a time waster for those people. Okay, fine. Let each person select the pleasures in life that they desire.

You Must be Intelligent to Play Chess

There is a correlation between general intelligence and chess prowess. Minimum intelligence is necessary. After all, chess requires the most effective use of several highly developed brain regions. Chess players are people from various walks of life, many of whom become masters. Some really intelligent people like to play but never go past the novice level.

Nerds Play Chess

Since everybody can play chess, this isn’t a myth. It is just as much for everyone else as for nerds, geeks, eggheads, and scientists. Chess is exclusively for nerds, and those who feel the need to call others derogatory names should speak about it, but this is categorically untrue. 

So what if it were true? People who are intelligent, awkward, or quirky people have contributed more to humanity’s growth than anybody else. It is their prerogative to play chess if they so choose.

Computers are Superior to People in Chess

The best chess players in 2006 were better than 99.99% of humans, although they match well when playing the best players. If computers earn 20 to 30 rating points per year, as some experts believe, then soon humans won’t be able to compete with the greatest machines. 

Computers are constantly trained by teams of human professionals that program them in psychological topics like opening repertoire. 

Chess is a Sport

We risk offending the numerous brilliant chess organizers who have worked for years to persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to accept chess as an Olympic sport. 

It is not a physically hard exercise to swiftly click on a computer screen or lift little pieces of wood. Chess players don’t always have a slender, trim, or athletic build, as any number of images from recent high-level chess events will demonstrate.

Chess is not a Sport

Here, we make up with the same organizers who came dangerously close to persuading the IOC that chess is a sport. The Asian Games of 2006 will feature chess as a medal sport. A match between two of the best chess players is tense, and a player’s nerves can make the difference between winning and losing. 

For a month-long match, grandmasters drop a significant amount of weight.

Men are Better Than Women at Chess 

Indeed, women have not yet outperformed males in chess competitions. Numerous explanations could apply. One possibility is that male chess players are frequently skilled at making female competitors uncomfortable. 

The Polgar sisters are popular for showing the chess community that women can play extremely well. Maybe one day, we’ll find that women are even better players than males. Nobody truly is aware.

Women playing chess


Chess is an exciting game since it may be a difficult experience that someone chooses to master. In the end, the difficulties make life beautiful since they lead to long-lasting benefits. If you stick with them, you can eventually resolve most of these problems and keep trying daily. 

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