Fundamentals of Chess Improvement

Play, Play, Play
It sounds simple, but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. No one is more optimistic than kids. It's natural for them to think that at the next tournament, they are just going to do better and why practice if I already know I will do better? It really is the most important thing to do. Starting out in chess, the most common mistake is to lose pieces without compensation (safety). The best way to improve safety is to play frequently. That's why ChessKid or other online playing sites are so important. Strong scholastic players will now commonly play thousands of games as a scholastic player.

Tactics, Tactics, Tactics
The next most important thing to do is to get going with chess puzzles. We refer to doing puzzles as working on tactics. Tactics are the next essential skill your child needs to develop. Once they get a proficiency with tactics, strategy and positional ideas will be much easier to acquire. Tactics skew and interfere with strategy and positional understanding. Once tactics are mastered, positional and strategic ideas go from confusing to crystal clear. Now there is the possibility that if your child becomes very strong at tactics, they might try to use tactics to form strategy. This will be easy to identify and we can correct this easily.

Chess Video Lessons
Watching chess videos will cultivate the strategy and language of chess. ChessKid has a large and growing library of videos.  Notice I haven't mentioned books! You can always accomplish what's needed with books. Until we catch the chess bug, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Geometry Dash, etc are our main competition. Other digital distractions will likely be winning the time battle, so  you may need to consider how best to bring balance your chess player's digital world.

Chess learning moves at a quicker pace when you play lots of chess. One of the keys to success for our club is when our kids play a lot of chess and there is no better way to play a lot than to play on or play with friends! is the core to chess improvement for our chess club. offers unlimited play, an excellent tactics trainer and a growing library of learning videos, chess articles and even tournament play. Sparking excitement for chess is key to creating the desire to learn and couldn't be a better resource.

Club awards are centered around achievement using ratings.

Tournament participation is encouraged for club members at all levels. Competition adds greatly to the overall chess experience.

Chess books are a nice supplement. There are hundreds of chess books available. I recommend the following books as particularly good books for juniors players.

Recommended Books 

If you have a mobile device, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android phone or tablet, additional chess learning opportunities are available. If you use an Apple mobile device and want to access the videos on, you will need to get a browser that supports flash. The Photon browser is one that I have found that works with videos. We also explore supplemental applications for the PC.

Apps for Apple and Android Phones and Tablets
Articles on Improvement Selections of interesting advice from other chess players.
Chess Terminology Learning the language of chess makes the game more interesting. If you are puzzled by a chess term, the following page will explain many of the common chess terms.