What are Chess Lessons?

Need a new hobby? Worry not since there are tons of activities you can engage in without exerting too much effort—like chess for instance. By taking chess lessons, you will not only be effective in playing chess but the skill you learn can be applied in real life. With proper chess lessons, you will understand and master different strategies that are highly beneficial.

Why Do You Need Chess Lessons?

Playing chess has its own benefits. Aside from being a good activity to pass the time, you can also develop new skills while playing it. Whether you sign-up for online chess lessons or not, your ultimate goal is to learn from someone who knows the game better than yourself. But, once you start learning, you’ll realize that chess will teach you the following skills:


Hone Strategy

If you are not good at strategizing, don’t worry. Chess lessons can properly hone your skills in formulating effective moves for your future tournaments. You will start learning the basics and will proceed to the advanced ones once you understood and mastered the skill. Choosing the right type of lesson will also help.


Improve Critical Thinking

Without critical thinking, you don’t have a strategy. Everything you need is already in front of you. If you’re a good critical thinker, you can predict, anticipate, and prevent any attack. Besides that, being a good critical thinker in real-life situations can help you solve problems faster, especially at work or school.


Better Decision Making 

Every move is a decision. That’s why you need to carefully plan a move. Playing chess is like having a decision tree in your head. You weigh in the different possibilities and choose the best action. In real life, this thinking process can help you become more decisive and analytical when making life decisions.


Promote Creative Thinking

Chess is not a straightforward game. You need to deceive to score and to prevent the enemy from unraveling your game plan. If you take the right lessons, developing your creative thinking would not be a problem. Your coaches will help you unlock your potential and improve your creativity in playing chess through one-on-one sessions.


Practice Abstract Reasoning

Abstract reasoning is your ability to perceive patterns and reach logical conclusions about it. In chess, abstract reasoning is an important skill. Sometimes, the patterns are not evident. And if you can see them, you can use it as leverage. In real life, this skill improves your ability to understand non-verbal ideas faster and easier.


Better Time Management

In chess competitions, every turn is timed. Chess players can’t exploit time by prolonging their turn. With proper time management, you can assess every possibility without putting too much thought into a particular aspect. Thus, if you’re an overthinker, taking chess lessons can help you think better under time pressure.


Heightened Focus

Since there are time limits per turn, you need to give your 100 percent focus in every game. Distractions can cause delays, and delays lead to overthinking. A wandering mind can set you off track and lead you to wrong decisions. With chess, you can hone your focus not just in the game but also in real life.


More Adaptability

Being adaptable is key to survivability. Every move you make doesn’t only affect your strategy but also affects your opponent’s strategy. Thus, your strategy must not be static. With chess lessons, you will learn how to adapt to every situation and find a way to win against your opponent.


Good Situational Thinking

The moment your opponent makes a move changes the gameplay’s direction. With situational thinking, you can adjust your strategy according to the odds of the current gameplay. Situational thinking can help you act accordingly in real life. It makes you dynamic and proactive—and this can only be achieved by taking chess lessons.


Gain Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is about your perception of the elements around you and their effects on your environment. In chess, these refer to the chess pieces, their positions, and the opponent’s possible moves. Through chess, you will be more aware of your surroundings and you’ll make wise decisions based on the things presented to you.


Boost Confidence

When playing chess, building confidence is essential. A player with low confidence will result in making poor decisions. In every move that you make, you must believe in yourself and in your capabilities. Chess is an excellent way to reinforce your self-confidence. It can improve your skills in decision making and critical thinking.


Practice Sportsmanship

There are winners and losers in almost any game. Losing in chess matches is nothing but normal. Every chess master was once a novice who lost to better players. Being a good sport can help you see areas for improvement. It can also help you move on from failure and defeat.


Gain Hands-on Learning

The theories and concepts about chess remain as such until you apply it. The application of your learnings is the best way to be good at chess. Constant practice can mold and expose you to different kinds of opponents. At chess schools, you are exposed to different people with different ways of thinking.


Core Features of Chess Lessons

There are a lot of free online chess lessons. That’s why there’s no excuse for you not to join chess lessons for beginners. However, not all chess lessons are the same, and every school has a unique teaching style. Thus, when subscribing in chess lessons, there are several core features that you should consider:


Level-based Learning

When subscribing to chess lessons, you must first look if they provide level-based learning arrangements. Some schools mix students with different levels in one class. This system may be disadvantageous for beginners. Thus, a chess school curriculum must provide learning levels that match the skill of the incoming student.

Introduction to the Basics

A good chess lesson starts with the basic concepts, principles, and theories. As beginners and refreshers, you can supplement your learnings by reading basic chess lessons in PDF format. You may utilize these resources to learn the basic principles and use them as an additional information source.

Introduction to the Game’s Technical Rules

The chess pieces are the instruments of the game. Chess camps must provide an in-depth understanding of each piece, including their moves and limitations. If you check online chess video lessons, the explanations are limited only to the moves allowed per chess piece.

Free Trial Option

Online chess lessons must provide a free trial option to let potential clients try the platform. Free trials can be limited or timed access to some or all of the features of the platform. With this, you can gauge if you can commit time and resources for chess lessons.

Modular Approach

An online chess school must provide a way for learners to learn new concepts easily. Lessons must only teach one to two new concepts per module. In this way, students will gain an appreciation for the class. The modular approach makes lessons light and digestible to young students.

Accessible Learning Options

Online chess schools must provide access to their learning system. They must give synchronized access on all devices to let their students access their lessons anywhere. Besides that, digital class notes must be provided to guide the students while watching pre-recorded lessons.

Sample Videos

Aside from teaching you how to play, chess schools should also use actual chess competitions as enrichment activities. By watching these videos, you can formulate assumptions and conclusions regarding the player’s moves. Also, you get to learn techniques and strategies from professional players.

Onsite Coaching

Once lessons have formally ended, chess schools must continue to provide onsite coaching and mentoring. This can help learners gain new insight arising from different circumstances. Aside from chess-related matters, coaches can support and encourage young learners to strive hard and do their best.

Inhouse Competitions

The best way to commence interactive chess lessons is through competition. Students can apply their learnings and compete with their friends. Competition is also the best way to reinforce friendship and sportsmanship among learners.

Further Learning Enhancements

Learning doesn’t end at the chess camp. A good chess school must provide further reading activities for their students after formal classes.  The best lessons of a chess coach and other PDF materials may give insights on remarkable chess matches.

Types of Chess Lessons

You might’ve tried free online chess lessons for beginners. But, they’re not enough if you want to learn more. Just like chess lessons in NYC or anywhere in the United States, there’s a big possibility that you’ll start with a placement test. After determining your skill level, you will be ranked accordingly in the following levels:



This level or type is suitable for young kids, teenagers, or adults with no meaningful learning experience playing chess. The lessons must introduce the game’s history, basic moves, understanding the chess boards, and frequently used terminologies to the students.

Best for People who have zero knowledge of chess and players with skill levels ranging from 0 (unrated) to 400 points

Pros of Beginner

Proper Introduction to Chess

Some people, especially kids, learn chess from peers and relatives. Most often, they don’t undergo a formal orientation and training. Starting at this level can help them build a solid foundation about the basics of chess.

Focus on Basic Before Hands-on Training

Beginners don’t immediately duel with other students. They must first learn the basics of the game. In the first few classes, students will undergo comprehensive lectures and discussions with the coach.

Safest Level to Start

Under this level, coaches will use a zero-based learning approach. It means that the phasing is slower, considering that the students don’t know anything about chess. If you enroll in higher levels, coaches will deviate from zero-based learning and shift to level-based education.

Best for Slow Learners

Not all people can absorb new information and learn it. At the beginner level, slow learners can take advantage of the slow phasing so that they can process information little by little. Aside from slow learners, some kids would benefit from slow-phased learning as well.

Cons of Beginner

Slow Phasing

Not all learners are fast learners. Students who are quick learners might find this level too slow for them. This might discourage them from attending classes. Students who can learn fast must enroll in higher levels that match their skills and ability to learn.

Slow Advancement

At the beginner level, some students may find it discouraging to start at the lowest level. They might think that there are many more levels to reach.


Advanced Beginner

This level is suitable for individuals who have a working knowledge of chess. The distinguishing factor between beginner and advanced beginner is that the latter can play without assistance. Thus, this level will focus on enhancing their skills and teaching basic strategies.

Best for People who have a solid foundation about the basics of chess and players with skill levels ranging from 400 to 1,000 points

Pros of Advanced Beginner

Focus on Strategy and Tactics

In this level, coaches will focus more on situational examples rather than theoretical discussions. The coaches will exhibit case-to-case scenarios to provide learning to students. Lessons will deal with basic strategy and escalate to more complex strategies.

More Hands-on Participation

Unlike raw beginners, advanced beginners will be using the chessboard more often examples and exposition. In this level, coaches will elaborate on chess piece formations that affect your every move. Thus, coaches expect that you already know the algebraic notation used in chess.

Cons of Advanced Beginner

Weak Foundation in the Basics

In some cases, students with a high skill level don’t have a deep understanding of the basics. Instead, they “just know” how to play and win the game. Unfortunately, this situation is disadvantageous. The student may have a hard time coping with the lessons.

Learning Expectations

At this level, coaches expect the student already possesses the necessary competencies to be ranked as an advanced beginner. However, the students may not have a firm grasp of these competencies. Thus, they’ll have a difficult time during discussions.



This level is an amplification of the advanced beginner level. If you enroll for intermediate chess lessons in Chicago, for example, the institution may ask for certifications that you’ve accomplished introductory courses on chess. The middle level already requires a higher level of understanding of chess.

Best for People who want to join in tournaments and players with skills levels ranging from 800 to 1,200 points

Pros of Intermediate

Tournament Eligibility

The student already has the necessary competencies like superior tactical and decision-making skills that can win tournaments. Competitions have technical requirements, and being at this level can guarantee that you’ve satisfied most, if not all, of the requirements.

Higher Level Lessons

In this level, intermediate players delve deeper into board vision and situational awareness. Sessions will include strategy development, implementation, and critique. Students will hone their critical and creative thinking, abstract reasoning, and adaptability. 

Cons of Intermediate

Harder Lessons

Students at this level might find the lessons hard and complicated. Since courses will focus more on strategy, students also need to work harder in understanding the concepts.



The advanced level focuses more on advanced strategy and onsite coaching. At this level, most students already have experience in local tournaments and competitions.  Advanced chess lessons aim to strengthen further their strategic thinking and situational awareness.

Best for People who want to join national tournaments and players with skills levels ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 points

Pros of Advanced

Access to Acclaimed Chess Competitions

Players who can reach this level can participate in famous competitions. With the help of their school, players can enlist themselves and represent their school in competitions.

Exposure to Agents

By joining acclaimed competitions, players will have a chance to be noticed by agents of famous chess teams. This is an excellent opportunity for them to be part of chess teams that compete nationally and internationally.

Cons of Advanced

Difficulty in Reaching this Level

The advanced level is already hard to reach. It is hard to rank higher, considering the level of competition within the community. Career and gifted players strive to reach this level to be professional players.



The term “professional” is interchangeable with “experienced.” Being a professional player means that the player has won and joined several nationally-recognized chess tournaments. They are enrolling in chess lessons because they are planning to join the major leagues.

Best for People who want to join higher tier tournaments and players with skill levels ranging from 1,200 to 1,2400 points

Pros of Professional

Tutelage under Grandmasters

Being an experienced player means that you will be under the mentorship of grandmasters. Chess lessons from a grandmaster will delve further on strategy critique since students will have to watch pro matches and study the players’ moves.

Cash Prizes for Winnings

Professional players receive a hefty cash prize if they win in the major leagues. Aside from that, their host states might recognize and award them for bringing honor to their state.

Cons of Professional

Limited Opportunities

Reaching this level is challenging. Sometimes, it requires sponsorship. Most often, only the best and brightest can reach this level.

Higher Fees

Grandmasters might ask for high mentoring fees for professional classes. Non-career players might not find this as a good investment, especially if they don’t intend to join national tournaments.

Who Needs Chess Lessons?



Some people find chess as a hobby. They like to play with friends or relatives. Enrolling in chess lessons can help you enjoy the game better. With proper instruction, they can appreciate the game and play like a pro.



Chess can hone the mental abilities of people. How much more for children? Since their minds are still developing, teaching young kids chess is a good brain exercise. It can help them do good in school as well. Chess lessons can be a suitable summer workshop for kids as well.


Tournament Players

Learning is a never-ending process. That’s why even experienced players enrolled in professional chess lessons to hone further and polish their skills.



Chess is a good game to pass the time. The elderly can learn chess so that they have something worthwhile to do. Besides that, it’s a good brain exercise for them since most elders are just staying at home and doing nothing.

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends on the curriculum of the chess school. Chess lessons for beginners often start slow. Some schools use a modular approach, consisting of one topic subdivided into several smaller topics. 


For advanced levels, coaches tend to shift to a practical approach. Aside from the course structure, the time per session also dictates the number of new learnings per session. Coaches also need to provide time for practical application.

Yes, you may teach yourself chess. There are many free online chess lessons out there. You can also read ebooks or watch chess video lessons for further enrichment. However, self-studying can only reinforce the basics. There are things that you only learn in paid chess lessons. That’s why it’s still worth the penny to enroll in chess lessons.

Physical and online chess lessons depend on the student’s level, session duration, and the instructor’s skill. On average, prices range from $20 to $50 per session. Also, group sessions are cheaper than private chess lessons.

Yes, some schools provide packages for a particular semester. Most chess schools provide discounted packages during the summer because many kids will be looking for summer workshops. Packages differ in prices and, sometimes, cheaper than regular rates.

According to a study of 4,000 Venezuelan students, the students’ intelligent quotients increased after four months of playing. However, many experts don’t support this conclusion. But, what harm does learning chess do to you? Whether it can increase your IQ or not, just play it for the sake of fun.

In practice, there is none. Interactive chess lessons at chess schools can teach you different strategies in playing chess. And in every strategy, you’ll learn that there are flaws and loopholes.

The option to take online classes is comfortable and probably a cheaper way for some students. Online courses are usually conducted through Skype, Zoom, or any similar service. You just need to have a webcam, earphones, and a quiet environment. Just like the physical setup, teachers will still provide discussions before board practice.

Some schools provide an online platform for their classes, and you need to register to have access. You may get free downloadables or lessons as well. Besides, some platforms offer a free subscription but with limited access to courses and some features. If you wish to attend more sessions, you must subscribe to a premium account.

Yes, some schools provide online lessons for kids. The curriculum for online classes is usually adjusted to the kid’s learning ability. Schools may also request the parent’s guidance in setting up the computer.

For most chess coaches, the best age for children to start learning chess is seven to eight years old or around second grade. However, some gifted children can start at four to five years old. 

Practicing is key. Chess lessons are just formal guides to aid you in learning new concepts and strategies. Practicing with a person or a computer can help you apply the learnings. Applying the concepts is your ultimate goal to improve your skills.

Knowing the basics well gives you an advantage when learning more complex chess concepts. But for beginners, the basics are crucial. The basics must teach learners the following:

     - A brief history of chess

     - Getting to know the board and the pieces

     - Terminologies used in gameplay

     - Rules in moving chess pieces

     - Understanding of the coverage and power of each chess piece

     - Advantages and disadvantages of each chess piece

     - Strengths and weaknesses of each chess piece

Formulating a strategy must come later in the curriculum. Students must first master the basics before going for strategy. Chess camps must focus on strategy rather than hands-on games. Coaches must teach their students how to form a strategy by showing them different kinds of scenarios.

The Elo Rating System is a scoring system developed by Arpad Elo to rank the players accurately. Before this system, the USCF uses the Harkness system. The Harkness system only takes into account the wins and losses of the players. Elo, a master chess player himself, thought that the Harkness system doesn’t account for the player’s level.


Thus, Elo developed an equation that uses the opponent’s ratings, the number of games played, and the number of wins and losses. This statistical estimation assumes that the performance rating is the “best approximation” of a player’s skill because Elo believes that chess skills are unmeasurable.

The USCF used the Elo Rating System for many years, and the refined the computations using the Glicko Rating System of Prof. Mark Glickman. However, the USCF decided to put nomenclature on the levels to provide easy identification within the chess community. Below are the classifications and the ratings required:

     - Senior Master, 2400 and up

     - National Master, 2200–2399

     - Expert, 2000–2199

     - Class A, 1800–1999

     - Class B, 1600–1799

     - Class C, 1400–1599

     - Class D, 1200–1399

     - Class E, 1000–1199

     - Class F, 800–999

     - Class G, 600–799

     - Class H, 400–599

     - Class I, 200–399

     - Class J, 100–199

Impressive chess skills are nothing if you’re discourteous and unethical. The best online chess lessons must not forget to teach you about proper game behavior. Making unnecessary noises and movements to distract the opponent is rude behavior. 


Young chess students must also learn how to accept defeat and how to recognize victory humbly. Nobody likes a braggart.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Choose the Right Chess Lessons for You


Step 1: Know which lessons fit your current capability

Is this your first time? Have you played chess before? Those are the questions you need to ask yourself. If it’s your first time, find a lesson for starters. Don’t take the advanced ones because you’ll only get confused. Most of all, you’d be wasting your time and money.


Step 2: Check the credibility of the lesson provider.

If possible, choose a known or famous service. Known ones already have a reputation, which means you can count on them to provide you a lesson that won’t put your money to waste. If you are hesitant, there are still other options. The key is to take your time.


Step 3: Compare prices and plans.

Plans differ due to the kinds of lessons offered. Each plan has a unique set of features that are intended for specific skill levels. If you’re a beginner, you should choose plans that will teach you the basics. The plan’s pricing depends on the level and the number of lessons per level. Also, you have to consider other fees like utility fees, penalties, and miscellaneous fees.


Step 4: Know if the lesson provider has the features you seek.

Check all the features they offer. Some chess lesson providers don’t offer the same service as the other. This is why you are not encouraged to rush the selection. Ask representatives if possible and clarify. They usually provide a list, so you can just view and tick all the features you think you need for your future lessons.


Step 5: Check if there is a trial version or a free sign up option.

To gauge if the teaching style matches your needs, you must first get the free trial. Try out first the free lessons and see if the instructor is effective in teaching chess. Aside from that, check the lessons on the website. Even if they’re grayed out, you can assess if the lesson plan is advantageous for you.