Chess Study Plan For Beginners

It is common to hit a point in chess when you just aren’t improving at a fast rate anymore. At that precise moment, it is important to create a study plan of how you will achieve your goals.

Below is a chess study plan for beginners or players rated below 1000 Elo that helped me improve more than 300 Elo points in a short period of time.

Please note: I understand that not everybody has the same amount of time to dedicate to chess, so I have divided this study plan in small sections. Feel free to complete these at your own pace!

In addition, this is a very specific study plan. If you have alternate resources to study from that are not the books/websites that I recommend, that is totally fine! Just make sure to proportionally divide up your time the way that I recommend here to continue following along with the plan.

A Chess Study Plan For Beginners

This study plan uses several different tools to help you improve:

  • Chess strategy book
  • Chess tactics tool
  • Online chess playing platform
  • Chess endgames book

For a chess strategy book, I highly recommend Logical Chess: Move By Move by Irving Chernev. It islogical chess easy to read and simple to understand. For the chess tactics tool I highly recommend ChessTempo.com. Its basic version is free to use and also has high quality tactics.

I would recommend either Chess.com or Lichess.org for the online chess playing platforsilman's complete endgame coursem. They both have a high number of players on them and supported constantly at the time that this article was written.

For the chess endgames book, I would recommend Silman’s Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman. This book is amazing because it is divided up by rating categories instead of topics like other endgame books are organized.

Having gotten the prerequisites out of the way, here is the first study section:

Section 1: The Basics

  1. Pick an opening that starts with 1. e4 to play as White from the list of openings here. Then, pick an opening to play with the Black pieces against 1. e4 and 1. d4 (if you already know what openings you are playing, you can skip this step).
  2. Start doing tactics on ChessTempo.com (or your preferred tactics website) and do so for 1 hour. Tactics are one of most important things to improve as a beginning player. Keep it up!
  3. Play blitz (<10 minutes per side) or 15 minute games online. Play 2-3 short games after having studied tactics. This will give you the opportunity to exercise your skill for your openings and tactics.
  4. Next, we will begin studying from Logical Chess: Move By Move. Read through the first 10 games and follow along with a chess board or online analysis board.
  5. It is important to take a brief pause here and play 1-2 quick blitz games online and try to use your new knowledge.
  6. Study the “Overkill Mates” from Silman’s Complete Endgame Course and stop at the section titled, “The Box.”
  7. To wrap up this section, go back online and play 3-4 quick blitz games to exercise the ideas that you learned.

After completing these steps (it’s a lot, I know, but it really will help you!), take a short rest of a few hours/days depending on your schedule, and get ready for Section 2!

Section 2: Building Upon Previous Knowledge

  1. Learn the variations of the openings you have chosen. You can use the Chess.com opening explorer or a similar tool to do this.
  2. Continue doing tactics on your preferred tactics website for 1-2 hours.
  3. Play 2-3 short blitz games online and try to use the opening variations that you learned in the games. Stay on the lookout during the games for tactics that you have practiced.
  4. Continue studying from Logical Chess: Move By Move. Read through the next 10 games and follow along with a chess board or online analysis board.
  5. Take a quick break and play another 1-2 quick blitz games online.
  6. Study the sections “The Box” through “Stalemate Alert!” from Silman’s Complete Endgame Course.
  7. Lastly, play 3-4 online blitz games to practice what you have learned in this section.

After completing this section of the study plan, make sure to take a break for playing. Don’t take too long of a break, or you will start to forget some of what you learned!

Section 3: Almost There

Throughout this final section, it is as important as ever to play many games online (or over-the-board if you have the opportunity) to practice the techniques that you learned.

  1. Refresh the main variations of the openings you chose in Section 1 (or had already known from before).
  2. Continue doing tactics on your preferred tactics website for 1-2 hours.
  3. Play 3-4 short blitz games online and try to use the opening variations that you learned in the games. Stay on the lookout during the games for tactics that you have practiced.
  4. Continue studying from Logical Chess: Move By Move. Read through the final games and follow along with a chess board or online analysis board. If there is something you do no understand, feel free to ask a more experienced chess player about it!
  5. Take a short break and play another 3-4 quick blitz games online.
  6. Study the sections “Summing Up” through “Final Thoughts” from Silman’s Complete Endgame Course. Make sure that you are doing the tests that Silman provides in the book for you because they are very helpful!
  7. Lastly, play 4-5 online blitz games to practice and review what you have learned in this study plan.

Final Thoughts

One of the most important things to take out of this study plan is that tactics and playing games are key to improving at chess. Your tactics skill, if left unused, will eventually begin to degrade and decrease in strength. It is important to keep practicing your tactics online.

In addition, playing chess games is the best way to practice the skills that you have learned. However, try not to get caught in a cycle of games. If you are on a losing streak, stop playing and take a break! You can always go back and play later.

 

I hope you enjoyed this chess study plan for beginners. If you did, feel free to comment your thoughts below and don’t forget to share this article with your friends!

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