How do you teach a complete beginner chess?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

When teaching a complete beginner chess, it’s important to start with the absolute basics and gradually build up their understanding and skills. Here is a step-by-step approach that can be used to teach a complete beginner:

1. Introduce the Chessboard and Pieces:
Begin by introducing the chessboard and explaining how the squares are organized in an 8×8 grid. Teach them about the two different colored squares and how to correctly set up the board. Next, introduce the names and movements of each piece – the pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen, and king. Make sure they understand how each piece moves and capture opponents’ pieces.

2. Explain the Objective of the Game:
Clearly explain that the objective of chess is to checkmate the opponent’s king. Emphasize that capturing the king is not allowed, but rather, the goal is to put the opponent’s king in a position where it is under attack and cannot escape capture.

3. Teach Basic Checkmates:
Start by teaching the simplest checkmate – King and Queen vs. King. Demonstrate how to use the queen to corner the opponent’s king and checkmate it. Once they understand this concept, move on to King and Two Rooks vs. King, and King and Rook vs. King checkmates. These basic checkmates will help beginners understand the importance of coordinating their pieces to achieve winning positions.

4. Practice with Simple Exercises:
Provide simple exercises or puzzles where beginners can practice the checkmates they have learned. Let them solve these puzzles on their own, but be available to offer guidance and explanations if needed.

5. Play Mini-Games:
Introduce mini-games to make learning more enjoyable. For example, you can play a game where the beginner has a few pieces and you have only the king. The objective for the beginner is to checkmate your king as quickly as possible. This will help them practice their attacking skills and gain confidence.

6. Teach Basic Opening Principles:
Explain the importance of controlling the center of the board and developing pieces in the opening phase of the game. Teach them basic opening principles like controlling the center with pawns and developing knights and bishops to active squares. Emphasize the importance of protecting the king and not leaving pieces unprotected.

7. Emphasize Piece Safety:
Teach beginners the importance of keeping their pieces safe and avoiding unnecessary captures or exchanges that could weaken their position. Explain concepts like pins, forks, and skewers to make them aware of tactical threats and opportunities.

8. Analyze Completed Games:
Encourage beginners to analyze their completed games, whether they win or lose. Help them identify any mistakes or missed opportunities and discuss possible improvements. This will help them develop their critical thinking skills and learn from their mistakes.

9. Gradually Introduce Strategy and Tactics:
As beginners become more comfortable with the basic rules and principles, gradually introduce them to more advanced concepts like pawn structure, piece coordination, and tactical motifs like pins, forks, and discovered attacks. Use practical examples and mini-games to reinforce these ideas.

10. Encourage Regular Practice and Play:
Lastly, emphasize the importance of regular practice and playing games to improve. Encourage beginners to play against other beginners or use online resources to play against computer opponents of varying difficulty levels. This will help them gain experience, apply their knowledge, and continue to improve their skills.

Remember, teaching chess to a complete beginner requires patience and understanding. Each individual will learn at their own pace, so be flexible and adapt your teaching approach accordingly. And most importantly, make it fun and enjoyable for the beginner to keep their interest and enthusiasm alive!