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Chess - starting out

  • 14-03-2021 8:17pm
    Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 6,681 Mod ✭✭✭✭ cdeb

    A thread with general info for those looking to get into the game. The previous sticky is here; I've taken a fair bit from it, and other links are old at this stage, so I've unstickied it.

    If you have new links or suggestions for this thread, post them here and I will update the thread and then delete your post to keep everything tidy.

    If you have a specific question on any of the topics, post on the relevant advice thread, again so we can keep everything together for future posters. I will move posts from here to a relevant thread if necessary.

    General overview
    Chess is one of the most popular games in the world, and getting more popular at the moment with the success of The Queen's Gambit and with the fact you can easily play it online during lockdown. Anyone of any age can play - there is one recent Leinster League game on record between players aged 8 and 93, which ended in a draw.

    If you haven't played since school, or have never played, or have a child interested in playing, this thread will hopefully give you some info on how to get playing.

    Play online
    Online is a good way to get started. Many sites let you play for free. Games can be either real-time (where you and your opponent are online at the same time - these might last 5-10 minutes) or correspondence (where you may only have time to log on once a day or even less; these games can last a couple of months). There's a level for everyone, from the top GM to the weakest newbie, so you won't be out of your depth.

    Online sites will also allow you practice tactics (moves which win material or which lead to checkmate) and other areas such as openings and endings, all of which will help you improve. For new players, tactics are key.
    Advice thread on various online sites
    Advice thread on playing and improving

    Playing a tournament
    Over-the-board tournaments are far more fun than online events and are the logical next step. Games are longer, but there's a social aspect too. They cater to all strengths, although there's fewer rank beginners than online. And if you're an adult player, you'll have to not mind being beaten by kids half your size! A weekender - the most common type of tournament - typically has six games for all players over the course of a weekend, and each game can last 3+ hours.

    Advice thread on playing your first tournament
    Irish Chess Union events calendar
    European events calendar, if you fancy a chess holiday!

    Join a club
    If there's a club nearby, you can usually join by popping in one evening. They will run further events on club nights - they may have a team in the provincial leagues, or operate a club championships or blitz events for example. They'll usually have players who will be able to look at your games and help you improve, and often there's a social element too. Some clubs have a stronger junior element, and others might meet in a room in a bar where players can play friendlies over a pint, so if there's more than one in your area, try a couple out.

    List of Irish clubs and contacts
    Leinster leagues
    Munster leagues
    Ulster leagues

    Other sites
    Agadmator - the most popular chess channel on YouTube. Lively game analysis from a moderately strong Croatian player - usually has live coverage of top events
    PowerPlay with Daniel King, an English GM, typically looking at recent high-profile games
    Chessbase for chess news and views