Is Chess Hard To Learn?

Last updated

I often see people who get interested in chess and think that they should give it a try. But then, they soon get demotivated by thinking, that chess is too complex. Being a chess lover myself I feel very sorry for this and so today decided to solve this doubt. And if you are in the same condition then luckily, you landed at the right place. So what’s the reality! 

Is chess difficult to learn? The short answer to that question is: No, it is not difficult to learn chess but it is difficult to master! Chess is a skill that takes quite some practice, in the beginning, to learn it properly but you will need years and years of practice until you become a master at it.

If you have any interest in learning chess, then read on. I will walk you through everything right from scratch explaining all the things that you need to know to learn chess properly. 

Plus I will also share some tips giving you a complete overview that will help you to step inside this amazing world of chess easily with a lot more confidence. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Why is chess not difficult to learn?

Chess is easy to learn because you have to just learn the basics things like how many pieces are there in chess, how they move, how to arrange and set up the chessboard correctly, basic rules like checkmate, castling, en passant, and pawn promotion and implement them in your game. These things are quite simple and can be learned easily with proper practice.

However, learning these basic things will only let you play chess but to take it to the next level, to compete and win games will take some time and a lot of serious practice. 

You need to learn the basic openings and also select the one that suits your style (whether you like to play in an attacking style of play strategically).

Moreover, you need to solve many puzzles, learn tactics, learn the right way of trading the chess pieces (when to and when not to do), and also to evaluate the positions properly. 

Talking about my little sister, I taught her to play chess right from the zero level and now I am seeing decent improvement in her chess playing style. She is very excited about the game. 

Now, below I will share with you all the basic things you need to know in order to learn to play chess and this will give you a complete overview of dealing with chess. So let’s see!

What you need to know to learn chess?

For learning chess you need to know the following things:

  • How to set up the chessboard and chess pieces correctly

It is often very confusing for newcomers to remember how to arrange the chess pieces on the board. I know this because I struggled a lot figuring out will the bishop come after the rook or the knight, on the last file. 

So I myself developed a trick to remember the order of chess pieces.

All pawns on second rank(row), rooks on corners, queens on their color square, bishops hate rooks (because they are fat) so stay little allowing knights to stay in between. Finally, the left-out square is of the king!

This trick helped me never forget how to arrange chess pieces and also helped my little sister. (I know this trick is ridiculous but it will be helpful for you I hope so…)

One important thing that most newcomers don’t know about the chessboard is that the right side corner square of the board facing you must be always a light-colored square.

  • How to move the chess pieces

You must know how the rooks move in a horizontal manner, bishops only diagonally, queens everywhere but can’t jump like the knights. Also please don’t confuse learning the movement of knights.

King moves one square in every direction. Other than that it has a unique property of castling.

A pawn can move only one square but can move two squares on the first move

I actually wrote a dedicated article for this purpose, explaining all the basics of chess boards and chess pieces movement. You can check that out for further reference.

  • Basic chess rules like check and checkmate

Check means that your king is in threat of getting attacked while checkmate means that you lost the game. 

So like this you have to be familiar with the basic chess rules.

  • Special chess rules like castling, en passant, pawn promotion

Castling is a special move in which the king either moves two squares on right or left and the rook moves beside it. (Check out my articles on when to castle and another on which side to castle in chess)

En passant means capturing the passing pawn. Like if you reached near the opponent pawn and were about to capture it but the opponent moved the pawn two steps thinking that you can’t capture it. But actually as per this rule, are eligible to do so assuming the pawn moved only square. (Check out my article for more ideas) 

Promotion means when a pawn reaches the last row of the opposite side then it gets the chance to get promoted to any of the four chess pieces from queen, rook, knight, or bishop. (Check out this article by me for further reference)

  • Chess pieces value and trading of pieces

There is a system in chess according to which chess pieces are assigned some relative values in the form of points. 

Queen is worth 9 points, rook 5, bishop and knight 3 each while pawns one while the king is assigned no value (because it is priceless, check out my related article which explains why king)

These points are important to know because they give an idea of how to trade pieces means how to exchange pieces.

Exchange means, let’s suppose you are playing a game and made some moves and then there is a situation where your rook is attacked by the opponent’s knight while you have a chance to lose a bishop in the same move.

So what do you think, which will be the best idea?

Obviously first moving the rook to a safer place because it is more valuable. So you came to that conclusion because you know their values. 

A few fundamental tips for learning Chess effectively

  • Try to control the center with a center pawn
  • Don’t move flank (pawn front of rooks, bishop, or knight) unless you have a strong reason to do that
  • Learn the piece development process like moving minor pieces before major. Knights before bishops.
  • Castle within the first few moves in order to protect the king.
  • Avoid repeating moves as much as possible (best would be not to repeat but I know it is hard to follow especially during the starting phase of learning chess)
  • At last, don’t just stick to rules but use your mind whenever needed as per the situation demands.

What is the difference between learning chess and mastering chess?

Learning chess and mastering it both are way different. Mastering any skill whether chess or any other requires much hard work and perseverance. 

Here are the top reasons why chess is difficult to master.

  • It takes a lot of time to improve your chess and take it to the master level. 
  • Chess becomes a little bit complex learning various moves and lots of variation. Can you imagine that the number of possible games in chess is way more than the number of atoms in the entire universe!
  • Knowing everything about chess is only half done, you need to apply and for that, you need to play some matches and gain experience. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to do this.


Do you know the best thing about chess?

“Chess is how beautifully simple yet infinitely complex the moment you become serious and dive in deeper into it!”

It is a game that demands focus while playing, evaluating positions, and processing decisions. It is a game in which when you play, everything around drifts in the background. 

The only thing you focus on is the chessboard and pieces. So that is a very nice and unique kind of experience. This is the feeling that brings many players to play chess again and again.

You can only get that feeling unless you a play chess game. So now I urge you to go from here and start diving into this amazing world of chess and pursue your passion.

Good Luck!