Why Am I So Bad at Chess? Our 8 Tips for Getting Much Better

FEB 08, 2023 AT 03:24 PM


Being good at something demands some effort from you. No one is a perfect car driver at first. You need to learn the rules, practice a lot, pass tests, and eventually become a good driver. The same procedure may be applied to nearly any skill, including chess. You should learn the rules and then practice a lot to become a good chess player.

But many people notice that their chess progress is really slow or even unnoticeable at all, even though they practice a lot. Today, we’ll tell you more about 8 of the most important reasons why your chess progress may be so slow or even zero. There are some mistakes every beginner chess player makes. And your progress will depend much on when you notice and solve these problems.


Let’s get it started!

1. You haven’t learned all the rules

It’s like driving a car on a public road without knowing all the rules and without actually having a license. Yes, you may get to the destination point, but there are so many things that can happen to you including a police patrol or a car accident on your way. So, learning the rules is the first thing you should do.

Now, it’s not necessary to pay money to a teacher or to find a friend who can explain chess rules. Just go online or get one of those free chess apps that will help you learn the rules and make it quite fun.

2. You probably play too much

Our brain won’t develop a skill if we just drill it all the time without a stop for some hours. The brain tends to get bored and it won’t remember all those new combinations and chess tricks you are trying to learn. Better choose a slow and steady way to master all those different traps and tricky moves you can apply to defeat your opponent.

It’s always best to put the chessboard away after 30-40 minutes of training or learning and just go for a walk, drink some tea, or watch a funny video on TikTok. After some time, you will feel the desire to learn more and this is a good time to start again.

If you play chess too much, you won’t develop new skills and won’t learn anything new. Your brain will be bored to hell but you need to keep it focused and interested in what you are doing.

3. You don’t analyze your mistakes

To learn something new and get better, we have to analyze our mistakes. Mistakes are gold – they are given to you to learn from. And this is actually the most powerful teacher you can find in the world of chess. If you are playing via an application, take your time and try to analyze what could be done better than you did.

If you are playing with a more experienced opponent, ask them to comment on your moves and give you some hints and tips during the game. Yes, this will make your game much less interesting at first, but in the end, you will learn something new and will become better at chess.

4. You expect too much

This is a very common problem for all beginner chess players. If you only play chess for a month or two, you can’t expect to beat everyone. Also, you can’t expect you won’t make any mistakes and your games will be as clean and brilliant as Bobby Fisher’s best games.

Your skills come with practice and experience. Just keep having fun and playing many chess games and you will notice that you gradually become better. It’s vitally important to not expect that after half a year of slow training, you may beat a professional chess player or you may win in some local chess tournament.

There are always people who play better than you, so never expect you will only win in chess. Every lost game of chess is a wonderful chance to get some new experience and to learn how to play better. So, always use your mistakes as a way to develop new skills and tactics.

5. You play chess too rarely

Playing chess is a skill that is going to vanish or at least deteriorate after some time if it’s not used. The human brain is designed to throw away everything it doesn’t use for a certain period. For example, if you used to play guitar but then suddenly stopped doing this for two years, you are going to forget how to play guitar, and all your skills will just vanish.

The same works with chess. If you want to get better at chess, you should play at least once every two or three days. Also, you should read something new or watch some educational videos, or talk to someone about chess to get better.

If you play once a month, you can’t expect to develop much. In the best scenario, your skills will stay the same even after years of training that way.

6. You don’t analyze the moves before you make them

We know this type of chess players – they see this as a way to entertain themselves and then they lose to everyone. If this is the case with you, you should start taking chess more seriously. Chess is not just entertainment, it’s a kind of sport, and for a reason. When you play chess, you should be concentrated and you should analyze all your moves and what they can lead to.

Also, you should analyze all moves of your opponent and see at least two or three moves forward – what are they up to? You should not just try to make a safe move, but you want to threaten your opponent’s pieces all the time. This is the only way you may win in this game.

7. You concentrate on the opening stage too much

A lot of people start learning chess with a trainer or with an app. And then they stop doing this because they are bored, or they need to pay money, or something else. And they end up having this skill of opening their pieces correctly. This often becomes the only skill they have, so they always try to open up perfectly and just don’t know what to do next.

These kinds of players seem to be professionals at first, but then even a non-skilled player can defeat them easily. If you start learning something, keep on and get some new information at least once a week. Otherwise, you won’t develop much and will have to always start perfectly and then lose.

Pay more attention to endgames. This is what causes most problems for chess players at all levels. Although the correct opening is important, it’s always more important to know how to defend and attack.

8. You hurry up and this makes you lose

When we always lose, this demotivates us dramatically. It’s always important to find proper opponents of the same level. Also, you shouldn’t hurry up and try to play a quick game of chess. Be attentive to every move because it’s always just one or two bad moves that make you lose your game. And it’s always just one or two good moves that make you win the game and become a better player.

You shouldn’t play with people with much lower or much higher skill levels because this will be boring (you will always win or always lose). The best strategy is to always find someone a little better than you and try to defeat this person.

Today, you can play online with computers with different levels and it’s not that hard to find the best fit for you thanks to the chess rating system.

Final words

Chess is a wonderful game that can improve your memory, cognitive functions, and overall intelligence. But it’s fun and cool to play only when you develop. So, remember these 8 factors that stop you from developing in chess and avoid them or consider them the next time you are training, learning something new, or playing with your neighbor.