How Do You Get Better at Chess (10 Practical Tips)

get better at chess

If you love playing chess just like we do, you will agree with us that chess isn’t just a game; it’s a lifestyle

The ultimate showdown of intellect, planning, and strategy. 

You’re not just pushing pawns; you’re orchestrating a symphony of moves, each one building upon the last. 

From the thrill of executing a well-planned tactic to the sweet satisfaction of yelling “Checkmate!”—chess has got it all. 

It’s a battle of wits, strategies, and mind-blowing tactics

But let’s cut to the chase—how do you get better at chess? 

people holding chess pieces

We’ve got the ultimate guide on how to ascend from a mere pawn to a Grandmaster. 

Are you amped up and ready to embark on this fascinating journey of the mind? 

Fasten your seatbelts because the road from amateur to expert is one exhilarating ride, filled with ups, downs, twists, and turns. 

You’ll encounter mind-boggling strategies, tantalizing chess tactics, and maybe even witness a few legendary moves along the way. 

It’s not just about chess; it’s about honing your skills, sharpening your focus, and unlocking a new level of intellectual prowess. 

So, how to get better at chess, you ask? 

Let’s dive in and start mastering the royal game!

1. Start with the Basics

So, you’re chomping at the bit, eager to crush your opponents and declare victory, huh? 

Slow down, turbo! 

You wouldn’t go into battle without understanding your arsenal, would you? 

Knowing the strengths and capabilities of each chess piece is like getting to know your soldiers. 

They each have unique skills and characteristics that make them invaluable on the chessboard.

Take the knight, for example. 

Its quirky “L”-shaped movement isn’t just a random zigzag; it’s a well-choreographed dance, an intricate ballet on the board. 

When you learn to harness the knight’s agility and surprise factor, you’re adding a new layer of complexity to your game. 

Think of the knight as a stealthy operative, capable of jumping over enemy lines, bypassing barriers, and striking when least expected.

Learning the moves is more than just memorization; it’s about developing an intimate relationship with each piece, treating every square on the board as a tactical opportunity. 

So before you set out on your quest for chess greatness, make sure your army is trained, your strategy is sound, and your understanding of each piece is rock solid. 

Then, and only then, you are truly ready to conquer.

Practice your chess moves by playing vs the computer.

chess knight

2. Tactics, Tactics, Tactics

If you’re really serious about climbing the ranks in the chess world, there’s one word you need to embed in your brain—tactics. 

Tactics are short-term calculated sequences of moves that result in some immediate tangible gain

This gain could be material, such as capturing an opponent’s piece, or positional, like gaining control over a crucial square on the board.

This is the golden ticket, the secret sauce, the best way to get better at chess. 

You see, understanding tactics like forks, pins, and skewers is akin to discovering cheat codes in a video game. 

It gives you that undeniable edge, that “aha” moment when you outsmart your opponent and leave them scratching their head.


They’re your multi-taskers, hitting two pieces at once and forcing your opponent to make tough choices. 


They are your snipers, locking down an enemy piece and rendering it useless

And let’s not forget skewers—an elegant tactical thrust that makes your opponent squirm as they decide which piece to sacrifice.

Each tactic serves a specific purpose, and knowing when to deploy each one can turn the tide of the game in your favor. 

So don’t just learn these maneuvers—master them. 

Make them second nature. 

When you internalize these chess “cheat codes,” you’re not just playing the game; you’re owning it. 

And that’s how you level up in the chess universe.

So, if you really want to know how to get better at chess, start by mastering tactics.

Practice chess tactics here.

3. Board Vision

It’s time to take your eyes off that immediate move and widen your gaze

Yes, we’re talking about honing your board vision. 

This is how chess transforms from a mere game into a cerebral spectacle, from tic-tac-toe into three-dimensional chess. 

chess pieces and musical notes

Having strong board vision means you’re not just fixated on the next piece you’re going to move; you’re scanning the entire board, visualizing future positions, and sniffing out potential game-changing opportunities.

Ever heard the phrase, “seeing the forest for the trees”? 

It’s like that, but in chess. 

You’re not just pondering individual moves; you’re weaving together an intricate web of possibilities that span multiple turns

This is how you spot those golden opportunities, those jaw-dropping moves that leave your opponent stunned and demoralized. 

And let me tell you, there’s nothing more satisfying than seizing an opportunity your opponent never even knew existed.

So, if you’re eager to up your game, don’t just think one move ahead; think three, four, or even five. 

As you cultivate this expanded board vision, you’ll find yourself anticipating your opponent’s moves, setting traps, and unleashing devastating counters. 

Once you experience the thrill of a well-executed strategy, you’ll never see chess the same way again.

4. Endgames: Your Secret Weapon

The real magic of chess happens in the endgame. 

That’s where you separate the amateurs from the champions.

Endgames is the phase of the game where most pieces have been exchanged and both players are left with fewer resources on the board

This stage usually involves fewer pieces but is rich in complexity and strategic depth. 

Mastering the endgame is like learning the art of the knockout punch. 

You can jab and weave all you want, but if you can’t deliver that final blow, what’s the point? 

In chess endgames, the primary focus shifts from middle-game objectives like piece development and king safety to new goals, like promoting pawns to queens and optimizing the activity of the king

In essence, the endgame is the “final battle,” where every move could mean the difference between a win, a draw, or a loss.

Endgames like “King and pawn versus king” aren’t just obscure scenarios; they’re essential building blocks to becoming a formidable player. 

They teach you the essence of piece value, positioning, and the ability to convert an advantage into a win.

What about “Queen versus rook”? 

This isn’t just an exercise; it’s about understanding the raw power of your pieces and how to wield them effectively. 

Mastering this helps you simplify complex positions, turning an equal game into a winning one effortlessly.

So the next time you find yourself poring over opening theories, remember this: the endgame is where legends are born. 

Make sure you’re as prepared for the last moves of the game as you are for the first. 

After all, in chess, it’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts.

chess pieces and magical sky

5. Analyze, Don’t Criticize

So you took a hit, suffered a loss, got toppled over on the chessboard. 

Big deal!

Every loss is simply a lesson in stealth mode

Think of it as your personalized masterclass, a one-on-one tutoring session in how to become a stronger player. 

When you lose, don’t hang your head in shame; instead, relish the opportunity for self-improvement.

Grab that game transcript and dissect it. 

Go through your moves with a fine-tooth comb. 

Where did you slip up? 

Was it a tactical error, a poor strategic choice, or a simple blunder? 

finger touching chess king

Identify those weak spots because that’s where your goldmine lies.

And hey, if you really want to ramp up your game, go one step further. 

Use chess analysis software or seek the opinion of better players. 

The more angles you can see your mistakes from, the better you can understand them—and avoid them in future games

So the next time you find yourself knocked down, remember: It’s not a setback; it’s a setup for your next great victory.

6. Chess Openings: Not Just a Fancy Start

Think of the chessboard as your stage and chess openings as your grand entrance. 

Trust us, this is your moment to make an impression, to set the tone for the entire game

Your choice in the opening isn’t just a series of moves; it’s a declaration of your style, your strategy, and your tactical prowess. 

The Queen’s Gambit. White gives up a pawn in exchange for development.

So, pick wisely. 

Whether you’re a fan of the intricate Sicilian Defense or the iconic Queen’s Gambit, let your opening be your battle cry.

The Sicilian Defense, one of the most popular chess openings for Black.

Why does this matter? 

Your opening lays down the groundwork for your middlegame and even your endgame. 

It helps you secure key squares, develop your pieces, and control the board’s central landscape. 

It’s like laying the foundation for a building; get it right, and everything that comes after is steady and robust.

If you’re bold, go for aggressive openings that stake a claim right at the heart of the board. 

More of a strategic thinker? 

Opt for defensive setups that lure your opponent into overextending. 

The point is, don’t just randomly move pieces; make a deliberate choice that complements your game plan

So go ahead, make that opening move with flair and purpose, because this is where you lay the first stone in your path to victory.

7. Learn from the Greats

You’re sitting down, staring at a chessboard, and pondering your next move. 

What if we told you that a treasure trove of chess genius is just a tap or click away? 

That’s right, we’re living in a golden age of information, and when it comes to chess, the world is your oyster. 

Want to level up your game? 

Dive deep into the legendary matches featuring titans like Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen, and Boby Fischer, among many others.

5-time World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

These aren’t just games; they’re masterclasses in strategy, tactics, and psychology. 

Watching Kasparov’s aggressive playstyle, Carlsen’s positional genius, or Fischer’s incredible focus can not only inspire you but also teach you invaluable lessons. 

Watching how the legends played is a great to get better at chess.

But don’t just watch—analyze. 

See how they maneuver their knights, how they control the center, or how they set up lethal traps. 

Take notes, dissect their strategies, and try to understand the rationale behind each move.

So the next time you find yourself stuck in a rut, remember: A world of chess wisdom is at your fingertips, and inspiration is just a click away. 

Turn that inspiration into action, and who knows? 

You might just be the next legend in the making.

8. Clock Management

Hear that? 

It’s the relentless ticking of the clock. 

In the fast-paced world of speed chess, time isn’t merely a commodity; it’s your very lifeline. 

Forget “time is money”; in this context, time is points, victories, and bragging rights

And that clock beside the board? 

It’s not just an accessory; it’s an integral part of your game strategy

So, the question is: will you let it be your best friend or your worst enemy? 

The choice is entirely yours.

chess king

Getting comfortable with time management takes practice. 

You need to understand not just when to make a move, but how long to spend thinking about that move. 

Are you going to blitz through your opening to save time for complex middle-game skirmishes? 

Or are you the type to maintain a steady pace, keeping your opponent on their toes?

And let’s not forget about the psychological aspect. 

A well-timed move can fluster your opponent, forcing them into mistakes. 

On the flip side, poor clock management can rush you into blunders that cost you the game. 

So practice, practice, practice—until the sound of ticking becomes your battle drum, urging you on to victory. 

In speed chess, mastering the clock is just as crucial as mastering the board. 

Make it your ally, and you’ll not only survive but thrive.

9. Practice Makes Permanent

If you’re looking for a magic pill or a secret hack to skyrocket your chess game overnight, I’ve got some news for you—there isn’t one. 

Yeah, sorry to burst your bubble, but when it comes to improving your chess skills, there’s just no substitute for putting in the work

So, what’s the best way to get better at chess? 

It’s simple: Play. 

Play a lot. 

Play everywhere and against everyone.

Don’t limit yourself to just one platform or opponent. 

Go digital and conquer the online chess realms, where you can take on players from around the globe. 

But don’t neglect the real-world board, either. 

Feel those pieces, read your opponent’s body language, and savor the tactile experience. 

Heck, challenge your grandma if she’s up for it. 

You might be surprised at the wisdom the older generation can bring to the table—pun intended.

The variety of experiences and opponents will sharpen different aspects of your game. 

Online play hones your ability to read patterns quickly, while offline play helps you understand the psychology behind the moves. 

Different opponents bring different strategies, allowing you to learn, adapt, and grow. 

So when it comes down to it, the recipe for chess improvement isn’t complex. 

Just play, play, and play some more. 

The more you engage, the quicker you’ll ascend from novice to know-it-all.

10. Mental Toughness

Here comes the last, but arguably the most crucial, piece of advice: building your mental fortress

Because let’s face it, chess isn’t just about moving pieces on a board; it’s essentially a mental showdown. 

We’d go as far as saying chess is 90% a mental game

So if you’re not mentally prepared, you might as well wave the white flag before making your first move.

Keeping your cool isn’t just a nice-to-have skill; it’s a must-have. 

At some point, you might face an opponent who is visibly anxious, their hand trembling slightly as they move their queen. 

This is your moment, the perfect time to go in for that sweet, satisfying checkmate. 

But here’s the catch—you can only seize this opportunity if you’re mentally composed enough to recognize it.

How do you build this mental strength? 

Learn to control your breathing. Practice mindfulness. Maybe even dabble in some mental exercises or visualization techniques before a game. 

The goal here is to train your mind to stay calm and focused, even when the clock’s ticking down and the stakes are high.

So as you’re mastering openings, refining tactics, and learning from your losses, don’t neglect the mental aspect of the game. 

Build that mental fortress and make it impenetrable. 

When you’re as cool as a cucumber while your opponent is sweating bullets, that’s when you know you’ve truly leveled up in chess.

Ready to Become a Chess Maestro?

Start aplying these 10 practical tips on how to dominate in chess as soon as possible and you will see the results FAST. 

What are you waiting for? 

The board’s set, the pieces are itching to move, and victory is just a checkmate away. 

Now, go unleash your inner grandmaster. 

Let’s make some killer moves!

Remember, in chess, as in life, always keep your opponent guessing and never let them see you sweat. 

Keep practicing and soon you won’t be asking “How do you get better at chess?”—you’ll be the one giving the advice!

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