How To Play Chess by Yourself – Is It Possible?

“Only the player with the initiative has the right to attack.” This statement penned by Wilhelm Steinitz is true, but do you know how to castle in chess? Indeed, chess involves mastering moves.

To castle chess, a player must apply the best tactics to attack the opponent. Furthermore, you can play chess by yourself. For more details, here’s everything you need to know.

So, let’s hit the board! But before going deeper. Can you play chess by yourself?

Black Chess Piece on Chees board

Can You Play Chess by Yourself?

Can you self-play chess? Ideally, you can play chess by yourself. Also known as solo chess, it only involves one person. Typically, you need chess pieces but can’t follow the rules of chess. 

Here, you need to apply the proper knowledge regarding the movement of the chess pieces. Nonetheless, you must follow the rules, and if you miss one, you are out! It also contains benefits, such as improving cognitive development.

Importance of Playing Solo Chess

Many people play chess for different reasons. Some do it for fun, while others in tournaments. Whatever the case, playing solo chess has a lot of significance. Therefore, here are the benefits of playing solo chess. The benefits apply to both chess masters and newbies.

New Strategies and Moves

One great benefit of solo chess is the availability of new moves and strategies. What is chess without the best tactics and actions? Moreover, playing chess against yourself allows you to try new strategies and moves before employing them in an actual game. 

Since it involves thinking about the techniques, it improves your decision-making, critical thinking skills, and cognitive development.

Ability to Think Outside the Box

Playing chess by yourself exposes you to new strategies and moves and allows you to think outside the box. It encourages you to think beyond the actual reasoning capacity. But, first, you must devise a method to beat yourself, which can be tricky when you know your moves.

Also, you’ll enjoy all of the benefits of playing chess without the need to find an opponent.

This act expands your mind by putting you into a logical battle with yourself.

Enhances Independence

Another benefit of playing chess by yourself is independence. It allows you to play chess without depending on someone else. Furthermore, you still get the benefits and enjoyment of the game but on your own time when it’s convenient for you.

Boosts Creative Thinking

There’s nothing as important as creative thinking. The ability to come up with solutions by yourself is a plus. In this case, chess boosts your thinking. But how does this happen? Playing chess expands a player’s mind. Solo chess puts you in a battle against yourself, and you must devise new and inventive ways to win.

Improves the Memory

Playing chess is not for everyone. Although it requires sharp individuals, playing chess will greatly improve your memory. In addition, playing chess with yourself keeps you sharp and enhances your ability to recognize patterns. Remember, all this is at your convenience, in the comfort of your home, and not in an uncomfortable environment.

How to Play Chess by Yourself

For many people, playing chess alone seems impossible. However, there are different ways to play solo chess. Here are the essential steps to guide you when playing chess.

Make Preparations

Topping the list of the steps to guide you when playing chess is making preparations. Planning is vital since it will help get things ready for the game. To prepare ahead, do the following.

Assemble the Board

Solo chess is a slow-moving tournament with yourself. Assemble the board in a perfect spot with no disturbance since you’ll play the game over a few days or weeks. Ensure that each piece on the board is in the right spot.

Note that each piece has a specific order. For instance, the pieces should be in the following order: rook, knight, bishop, queen, king, bishop, knight, and rook. In addition, the black-white queen must go on a black square, and the white queen must go on a white square. You will also find eight pawns in the first row of pieces.

Locate a Token

Many solo players face the issue of remembering whose turn during a solo game. It’s normal to forget! To curb this issue, keep track of things using a tiny token like a coin. Move the token from each side to indicate whose turn it is. You can flip the board over to see it from the other side.

Be Ready to Maintain Your Objective

What’s the objective of the game? This is a question you must ask yourself thoroughly. When you play chess alone, you are constantly conscious of your thoughts, and you might get tempted to take advantage to favor one side over another.

On the contrary, you won’t improve as a player. For better results, play chess alone to improve your skills, don’t rely on the winning side. An example is expert chess players who constantly aim to make the best moves instead of looking at the opponents.

Make the First Move on Both Sides

For each side, initiate the initial action. Like classic chess, the person with the white pieces always initiates play. First, choose a white pawn and advance it to one or two spaces. Next, change sides and choose a black pawn to advance one or two squares.

Avoid Using Mirroring Techniques

The player typically moves a pawn in front of the king or queen. The queen and bishops now have access to this route.

The Bishops and Knights Should Leave 

You should set up your pieces for potential attacks throughout the game’s opening phase. Work to move the knights and bishops to the middle of the board before moving either queen. Doing this will put your knights and bishops in a position to attack your opponent’s pieces. To capture the enemy player’s pawns, try not to move too many of your pawns.

Castling is frequently the final move you take in your opening game. Move the king to a position of large safety with this action. Also, you must have open spaces between your motionless king and an unmoved rook in the castle. 

Move your king two spaces in the direction of the stationary rook. Between the king’s starting square and his new position, place the rook behind the king. Look for a chance to capture your opponent’s king if they fail to castle.

Play the Middle and End Game

While playing, focus on the middle and end game. The goal of the middlegame is to attack your rival tactically. You must exercise patience and watch your opponent’s moves at this part of the game. Consider taking the chance to capture a piece if your opponent fails to defend it. Ensure you are not falling into a trap before capturing the piece.

Also, check the effects of the move on your pieces and the security of your king. By conceding your pieces sensibly, you and your opponent will unavoidably capture each other’s pieces throughout the middle game. Therefore, you and your opponent will trade pieces. 

Some trades will be sensible and necessary, while others can harm your men’s strength and keep your king safe. Consider whether the piece you are capturing is as valuable as the piece you are sacrificing before exchanging it.

The rooks are the second-most valuable piece after the queen. Knights and bishops are valued equally. The least valuable item to you is a pawn.

Capture the King

Once you finish the workforce of both sides, end games kick in. Manipulate to threaten and question the safety of your opponents. The main aim is to checkmate your opponent before they do so. When the king can’t outrun the threat and the remaining men cannot withstand the threat, then the king is in checkmate.

Now that you know all the relevant steps to self-play chess, you might think that’s enough. First, however, there are a few things that you need to put together – the rules of chess. If not, then the game will have no meaning.

Man playing chess

The Rules of Solo Chess

As stated earlier, solo chess is a one-player game that does not adhere to traditional chess rules. You can play this game by yourself using the knowledge of how the chess pieces move. You also need to apply the solo chess rules to be effective.

One thing to note is that all the pieces are the same color and can capture one another. So, while playing chess, be sure to follow these basic rules.

  • You must capture a piece in every move.
  • You cannot grab a piece twice in each puzzle (pieces that you captured twice will turn black)
  • The king must be the final piece; if you have it on the board.

Apart from the rules, there are additional tips on how to play chess by yourself. These tips will walk you through the chess-playing process effectively.

Our Tips for Playing Chess Alone

Chess is not a game for everybody. You need a great understanding and a lot of practice to master the moves and every piece on the board. If you are just about to play chess alone, why not incorporate the following tips? They will add extra tricks to maneuver every single piece of the tabletop.

Start Early

Individuals who enjoy playing chess and work or hold a profession must start early. If you have set up the best place to play chess alone, you should start playing early in the morning, perhaps an hour before leaving for work or during off-days.

Additionally, find a location where the chess board is safe and will still be there when you return at any moment. Since you won’t be rushing the game if you start playing chess early, you can leave it there and make your best move. Chess is a strategic game you shouldn’t rush. Additionally, starting a match indicates that you are ready to play.

Set Your Schedule

Playing chess by yourself can help you get better at the game. This mainly applies when you designate a certain playing period or chess game schedule for personal use. For instance, you can play at this time when you have leisure time. But, if you are a pro, don’t get surprised; you’ll play chess for a very long time and drown in it without noticing the time.

Therefore, it would be ideal if you could plan a time to play chess by yourself without interfering with any crucial or everyday tasks. That indicates that there are no distractions, you can focus, and you are at ease.

Consider the Right Chess Set.

A chess set is a combination of tools needed to play chess. It consists of a chess board and pieces – both white and black. There are sixteen pieces consisting of one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. Nonetheless, extra pieces may be available for promotion, most commonly one extra queen per color.

But what’s the need for the right chess set? The right chess set is essential because you will play in order and won’t miss out on any step. But what if the set is fragile or incomplete? Will you be able to play? Of course not!

Therefore, use the proper chess set. A proper chess set should have the right weight. Also, the chessboard should have the appropriate-sized squares, and you can position the chess pieces properly on the squares.

It wouldn’t be fun playing chess alone while the set is incomplete. So, practice independently to brush up on your skills. On the other hand, you don’t want the chess set to become a distraction. So, in general, use a proper chess set. If you don’t have one, purchase one to play chess alone effectively. For instance, if you have a king, it must be the final piece.

Play Chess Comfortably

One outstanding aspect of solo chess is comfortability. You cannot play chess while unsettled or if you are near distractions. Chess requires that you feel relaxed. It might be uncomfortable to play chess against a real opponent, but it can also be unsettling to play chess yourself.

You must feel comfortable because you must compete against yourself when playing chess alone. But how? Your attire, the chair you are sitting in, and the shoes must be comfortable.

These things shouldn’t interfere with your time playing chess by yourself. When you remove those distractions, your chess game will be more successful. Always play chess by yourself only if you feel comfortable doing so.

Find the Best Playing Spot

Ideally, playing chess by yourself shouldn’t be done quickly. The best venue you can find to practice chess is in your own house. At some point, you might leave the chess game on the table and come back to it later on your own.

That is why you need a great chess set and should locate it in your home’s ideal location. First, you might look for the perfect place in your home, such as a corner or spot conducive to playing chess. Allocation is where you feel at ease and confident in your ability to play chess by yourself.

Try Chess Puzzles

To master the game, why not play chess puzzles? Chess puzzles are especially good for beginners. However, it is also essential if you don’t want to play a whole chess game by yourself immediately. In addition, the chess puzzles are vital to up your tactic and strategy skills.

The main difference between playing a full chess game by yourself and playing chess puzzles is that chess puzzles have a preset answer or solution.

You must solve the problem to win the game. Therefore, the best course of action is to engage in a classic chess match with yourself.

Initialize the White Chess Pieces

You must first begin setting up the chess board to play chess efficiently by yourself. Then, since you already own a quality chess set, feel at ease, and discover a fantastic place to play chess. Set p the chess board with white pieces to mimic playing against a real opponent. 

Gather all-white chess pieces and properly arrange them on the chess board. Then, you can flip the board, walk to the opposite side, and set up the black chess pieces afterward. The same thing will make it appear like you are facing an opponent.

Give Each Chess Move Enough Time

Some chess players, especially younger players, play chess alone yet don’t appear to understand the point of doing so.

They frequently strive to play through their game as though it were a quick game. However, when playing alone, you must provide adequate time for each turn; if you don’t rush, you can play well and gain from playing chess alone.

Play as if you are staring at your opponent. Try standing up and moving to the other side of the table rather than taking turns moving the chess pieces while seated on one side. Instead of making sudden movements that won’t help you in your chess game, standing up and stretching will offer you time to have new eyes on the board.

Don’t Copy Moves

Another issue with playing chess alone is failing to recognize when replicating our moves. Like having your movements mirrored, sometimes playing chess alone does not work well in this manner.

When you keep repeating the daily chess moves you make, you will eventually feel stuck in the game and like you have run out of new ideas or methods.

This can occur most frequently when you rush the chess movements, so you should try to give yourself adequate time between turns by standing up or even making a move the next day. Just take your time; hurrying will just make things worse.

Using Chess Notation

Since you’ll be playing chess by yourself, you would probably adhere to the other things, such as allowing time between turns or moving the following day.

You must record chess moves to keep track of your game. If you are a newbie, this will help you become comfortable writing chess notations and make playing chess alone more effective.

For better results, note down the chess moves even if you decide not to postpone your chess games for the following day. Then, with each turn, you can play a chess move and record it, giving you the necessary pause. 

You still need to record the chess moves for the next day. With each turn, you can play a chess move and then record it, giving you the necessary pause. Play chess using chess notation; this can help you be more effective if you wish to play chess against yourself.

Apply a Marker

You need a system or easy approach to remember who has the move-making turn so that you can play chess alone effectively. Although not the best for being able to analyze the games, this method can be used as an alternative to writing chess notation.

But after a few hours or even a full day of not playing, it effectively recalls who will move next. To remember who will move next, you can use any marker, including a coin or a bottle cap.

There are suggestions like placing a bottle cap in front of the chess board for the player who will make the next move. Then, when you return to the game, leave the marker in place and make sure you can see it.

Play While Thinking of a Regular Chess Match

You should not be biased when playing chess alone. The problem with this is you already feel that white will win or black should win this game. So instead, you should think of a regular chess match and play as if you are playing with a real chess opponent.  

Don’t play the game as if you have selected the winner in your mind. When you think of a regular chess match, you would feel the same excitement or nervousness when playing serious chess games.  

If you do not play and think of a regular chess match when playing alone, then it won’t be as effective as you want it to be. So again, the best way is to give the right amount of time to every move you make.

Plan and Adhere to Your Chess Moves

It’s pretty challenging to play chess alone. Grandmasters play chess by themselves and take it seriously, so you must concentrate and carefully consider each move you make. When you concentrate and plan properly, you can learn much about yourself and your technique.

Some chess experts claim they could recognize their strengths and limitations by playing alone with equal concentration and forethought.

You would probably spend an hour of your day if you were playing chess by yourself without any intention of paying attention to the game or making sufficient preparations to compete with your ideas.

Therefore playing chess alone can still be beneficial if concentration and planning are your issues or weaknesses. However, if you are having trouble with those in the first stage, you may require a lot of practice to build attention and chess preparation because you need to focus and make plans to defeat yourself.

Play With the Method or Techniques You Just Learned

Chess for one player also involves certain methods and techniques. So if you try to play chess but don’t know how to play against yourself, grab a chess book and read some of the most well-known chess techniques, or search online for some chess moves you can learn or study. 

Additionally, search the internet for chess tactics or strategies, pick one up quickly, and practice it independently without playing against anybody else for a while. Then, once you understand the strategy or tactics, apply them when playing against yourself. 

This act will help you recognize your strengths and shortcomings. Then, you can follow the strategy or tactics you have learned and do your best to develop the greatest countermoves if you want to keep it simple, especially if you are just starting.

Use the Best Openings

It’s usually preferable to start playing some of the chess openings you are interested in mastering and believe you need to learn when playing chess alone. When you play your greatest openings alone, you have the advantage of being able to spot hidden weaknesses or develop that opening even further. 

Therefore, play the best opening game from both sides to be more effective; first, play your best opening with white, and then play your best opening with black. Then, the next time you play against a real opponent, you’ll have a better chance of improving with those openings.

Don’t Favor One Side

When you play alone, particularly if you are a less experienced player, you start to expect one team to win the match.

If you need to play a standard chess match, you should follow the above instructions because doing otherwise would not help you. When you believe one side will triumph, you will frequently reverse your actions since you’ve already decided who will triumph.

Rather than just playing the game to the end and helping yourself to get better and maintain the proper level of play, you are not playing by yourself to deceive yourself.

Compare Your Moves to the Grand Master of Chess

Comparing moves with a well-known chess game is another efficient strategy for playing chess alone. It’s similar to taking your notes and comparing them to the norm. By doing this, you will examine each move of the grandmaster of chess.

What specific advantages come from contrasting maneuvers with those of the grand master? You would attempt to contrast your strategy with the master’s strategy when you have a chess move that you have copied from a well-known game.

If your move results in a mistake, play without strategy or tactics, or worse, if your move causes you to lose the game entirely, you can presume or think that move was the greatest one. You will benefit and play chess more effectively if you play alone, especially if you are just starting.

Use a Chess Clock

What’s the need for a chess clock when playing? First, to become accustomed to using a chess clock and to help you get used to the sense of playing in a time-limited chess game, you must play alone with a chess clock.

You might reply that using a chess clock will make me play faster. That is correct but not necessary; you have to set the chess. If the feature is available on your chess clock, you can pause it. 

Go through the entire process instead of trying to beat the clock. Finding where you fall short is the goal; if you’re a newbie, you might not know how to use a chess clock. Therefore, being able to halt your chess clock can be helpful to you.

Set the Mind to Win

Have the mindset of a winner if you want to play chess efficiently by yourself. Therefore, you must play chess against yourself to try and checkmate your opponent and win the game every time, regardless of the chess color you are using.

Especially if you are trying to play chess against yourself, you would want to play your strongest game and try to win. So you can give yourself the best practice possible by trying your hardest to win.

The best benefit of single-player chess is that you’ll come up with many fresh concepts for when you play a typical game.

Make Notes

You should give yourself some time to take notes on the actual chess game after each game or solo chess session.

What error came into existence? How did you take to prevent that? For example, one efficient method of playing chess alone is when you can respond to that. 

Because you can rapidly review the notes after each game, you can try to avoid mistakes and enhance your performance. You’ll improve more facets of your play if you start taking notes after playing chess by yourself.

Don’t Play When Angry

Some people try to extend their frustrations by playing chess alone. However, playing when angry is not advisable because it might make you dislike chess and impact your actual game. On this note, teach your loved ones how to play chess and encourage them to play alone. 

You ought to advise them against playing chess when angry or upset. The same effect occurs when playing chess against a real opponent but also when playing alone. Therefore, to succeed in your next chess battle, take time to develop your game.

Checkmate concept in chess


Chess is a game that has become very popular. Today it is played from home to school. The most interesting part is that there are various chess tournaments where the winners get medals and even cash prizes. Also, you can play solo chess online. For this reason, it has become a career for many. 

However, you can play chess alone. Solo chess involves competing on the board against yourself. It contains rules to guide you when playing. However, it is quite different from regular chess. So, if you desire to play chess alone, don’t worry. 

It is pretty straightforward but also requires a bit of concentration. So, set up the board and play like the pro you are!

Leave a Comment