So, you love chess and want to play all the time? I sure feel this way often. The only problem is that it can be difficult to find someone to play with all the time. Fortunately you don’t always need another person to play.
You can indeed play chess by yourself in a number of ways. The obvious one being you play each side making the best moves you can find. There are also other ways to play chess by yourself, such as solving chess puzzles, studying your finished games and practicing openings.
This article will explore the various ways to play chess by yourself.
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Chess Vs Yourself – Play Best Moves For Both Sides
When we get asked the question wether you can play chess by yourself, many people actually mean playing a game where you play both White and Black. Of course you can do this. In fact before the computer-era in chess history top players used this approach as opening preparation and to study lines and variations.
Back when you couldn’t rely on computers to guide you to the best move in difficult positions you had to rely on your own analysis. This meant you should really actually be playing chess by yourself. In opening preparation the player could play moves back and forth for each side to analyze which lines were best.
Today this it not necessary, but most top players do it to some extent anyways – although not from start to finish. For the most part these days a Grandmaster will just load a position into a chess computer program like Stockfish or Fritz and get the perfect solution served.
If you want to play a chess game vs yourself it is not as simple as it seems. It can get quite weird because the point of the game should be to make the best moves for each sides. However, when you analyze a position you usually think along lines like: “If my opponent does this, I will do that” and “If my opponent does that, I will do this.” That would be pointless because your opponent is you. This means when you analyze one position and think a few moves ahead, you already know the next actual moves for both White and Black for the next moves.
It is also hard not to be inclined to make suboptimal moves for one side, so the other can take advantage. So playing chess by yourself in this sense is not that common. There are, however, other options that we think will qualify as playing chess by yourself.
Play Chess Online Against Other Real People
The obvious way to play chess by yourself is to go online and find an opponent. It isn’t really playing chess by yourself, but it is still a way to play chess when you are by yourself.
The pool of chess players online has exploded in recent years. There are always so many players online ready to play from all around the world. This means you can play whenever you want a game of whichever time-format you prefer and there will always be an opponent ready at approximately your own skill level.
A slight variation of this solution to playing chess alone is to play against a computer. The benefit of this is that you can adjust many settings to make the game suit your preferences such as:
- What skill level to you want to play against?
- Do you want hints during the game?
- Do you want to play a certain type of player or a certain opening?
- What should be the time limit for the game?
These settings and more can be adjusted in most major providers of online chess. This way you can utilize the time to practice your chess game alone and improve in your weak areas in the process.
Solve Chess Puzzles And Sharpen Your Tactical Skills
Chess is said to be 80% tactics. That means more or less forced sequences of moves that lead to one player winning material or checkmating the opponent.
Common tactics are pins, skewers, discovered checks and and many more that you should always be on the lookout for in your games. Both the ones you can find in your moves, and those your opponent might throw at you.
Because tactics are so important any time you can find to practice solving chess puzzles is time well spent. As you solve puzzle you til gradually improve your ability to spot patterns, where there is a tactic you can use. When you get more familiar with these patterns you can find them quicker and this is a big help in games where you don’t have that much time to look for tactical patterns on each move.
This way of playing chess by yourself is perfect for when you have just a few minutes to spend on chess. You might be waiting for a bus with you phone in your hand, with too little time for a game. Why not fire up your chess app and solve a few puzzles? Take my word – It will help your game
Analyze Your Own Games And Learn From Your Own Mistakes
When you are on your own and you are in the mood for chess you can benefit greatly as a player by analyzing your own games. This is a great way to learn from your mistakes and improve your chess game.
You can analyze games from the comfort of your own home or on the road if you have an app with some of your previous games.
This option works well when there isn’t anything else going on and you have time to sit down for half an hour and put some thought into what went bad and what went well during your last chess session – And how it could be improved next time.
Study Your Finished Games To Find Weaknesses In Your Gameplay
It is great if we win our games every time but usually this will not happen because chess is hard! This means sometimes we lose one here or there. If this happens it is good to take note of what went wrong and try not make the same mistake again.
You can pick out your chess game from your chess app, study the moves you made in order to learn why they were a bad idea or just check for patterns of mistakes that happen often in your games but are easy to spot when we know how. This will help us avoid repeating those weaker moments during future games!
Most chess apps have a very good game analysis feature. You can easily go back and forth between moves and see how the evaluation of each side’s chances change from move to move. You are also presented with the best move in each position.
If you want to make sure you get top feedback on your moves go ahead a load the game in Stockfish. This is one of the best chess computers out there today and best of all it’s free! When you analyze chess post game you should make a conscious effort to figure out why some move was better than the move you played.
- Think about what was the purpose of this move?
- Was it to reinforce protection of a certain piece or pawn?
- Was it to prevent at dangerous chess tactic?
- Was it to add an attacker against your opponents pawns or pieces?
- Was it “just” positional because this is a better square for the piece?
Finding the right reasons behind the best move in any given position helps you to find the best move easier yourself in your own chess games.
Study Openings So You Are Better Prepared For Your Next Game
Chess is not all about chess tactics and analyzing games. There are also chess openings that you can study by yourself!
One great way to improve your chess game by studying chess openings is getting an opening book for an introduction and get to know the first few moves of most important variations. This way you will have some idea what direction your opponents might be going in their next turn, so it can help us come up with our own plan.
If there is one thing I learned from my chess career it is never let your opponents surprise you with a move, even if they are not rated higher than us in chess because chess players make mistakes too!
This will help us play better next time but also take away their chance to catch up on the game through guesswork or other means. It’s much easier to win after our first few moves went according to plan while our opponent has no idea which direction we might be going – So study those chess openings by getting a book or downloading chess openings from chess websites! It will be an excellent use of your spare time to improve your chess game.
Can You Learn Chess By Yourself?
It is definitely very possible to learn chess by yourself. Especially these days with the abundance of high quality educational chess content that is freely available online. You most likely will improve faster with a good chess coach, but learning and improving on your own is without doubt a possibility.
Learning chess is something that is achievable by yourself. You might be even more motivated to improve at chess if you don’t know anyone that can help you out and watch your chess games.
The best place to start at chess is to learn chess rules. Players need to know the different chess pieces, the chessboard, chess moves such as castling, and chess notation in order to play a chess game. You can do this via the internet or through a chess book.
Next, players should study tactics which involve a short-term gain for an opponent with minimal risk of losing material in order to win quicker – roughly speaking.
Let’s now take a closer look at how you can best teach yourself chess.
Best Way To Teach Yourself Chess
The best way to teach yourself chess is to take advantage of modern technology and learn chess with interactive tutorials. These take you right from getting to know the rules to strategy and tactics.
We recommend signing up for a free account at chess.com. Here you can take tutorials that range from very simple ones that show you how and where each chess piece can move to increasingly advanced topics. The best way is to take them in the order they are presented.
We have made a list of how you should start out in chess.
- Get to know basic rules following interactive online chess tutorials.
- Learn simple tactics that you can use in your own games.
- Always play games frequently to practice the stuff you learn.
- Start to explore a few openings for White and Black.
- Watch YouTube videos from Grandmasters explaining strategy.
- Especially as you get better start to review your own games.
Following along these lines you are well on your way to not only learning chess, but you have also taken a big leap in getting good habits that improve your game continually.
These are tried and tested methods that you can use to teach yourself chess. You can even start today.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an accomplished player, there’s always room for improvement. If you want to learn new skills and techniques in chess (or any other game), the best way is to study your own games and mistakes so that they don’t happen again.
You can also get feedback from others by asking them what they would have done differently during the move-by-move analysis of your game. Whether it’s studying openings or playing against opponents online, self-study will help take your skill level up a notch! So go ahead – play yourself today!