Sports & Games

Chess 101: Learn About Chess, Memorable Matches, and Different Strategies and Moves to Perfect Your Playing Style

Written by MasterClass

Jun 10, 2019 • 2 min read

MasterClass Video Lessons

Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess

The quintessential game of strategy and tactics, chess and its antecedents have captivated players for more than 1,400 years. From its origins as a pastime for kings and noblemen, chess has become the most widely played board game in the world—and one of the few sports where individual games have risen to the level of political or historical events.

The rules of chess are straightforward, and they take just a few minutes to learn. However, the strategy of chess and the ability to visualize the complex relationships between players and pieces takes years of study and practice to master. Learning how to play chess at a high level means studying all aspects of the game, from memorizing the main lines and variations of the most common openings to learning how to contest the center of the board to developing a strong grasp for tactics for the endgame.

But chess isn’t just an intensely intellectual game. It’s also an intensely psychological one. Every player must find and develop a strategy that suits their individual strengths.


The History of Chess and 3 Memorable Chess Games

Chess is one of the oldest and most widely played games in the world. It has attained a cultural and intellectual significance that few other activities can match. Chess is so deeply rooted in our lives that individual games—like Bobby Fischer’s victory over Boris Spassky in 1972, or Garry Kasparov’s loss to Deep Blue in 1997—become significant historical milestones. Learn more about the history of chess here.

What Is Chess Strategy? Learn the Difference Between Chess Strategy and Chess Tactics

Developing a successful chess strategy requires time, effort, and patience. There’s only one downside: chess has no universal strategy. Tactics abound, with opportunities and pitfalls for both players. Part of learning the game of chess is also discovering and playing to your own strengths while learning to recognize your weaknesses. Learn more about chess strategy here.

What Are The Best Opening Moves in Chess? Learn 5 Tips for Improving Your Chess Opening

The study of chess openings has been a major part of the game for hundreds of years, with countless books devoted to analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of various sequences. Over the course of his career, former World Champion Garry Kasparov assembled a personal database of more than 20,000 openings and variations. At some point in your development as a chess player, you’ll need to look at openings. But what’s the best way to go about it? Learn more about the best opening moves in chess here.

What Is the Queen’s Gambit? Learn About the Chess Opening and How to Perform Black’s Responses

Approaching chess openings can be an intimidating part of learning the game. There are hundreds of possible openings and hundreds of well-studied variations based on those openings. Among these thousands of possibilities, the Queen’s Gambit is one of the oldest and best-known openings, one used to great effect by many grandmasters from the nineteenth century until today. It’s also a great opening for beginners. Learn more about the Queen’s Gambit here.

What Is the Sicilian Defense? Learn How to Perform and Defend Against the Chess Opening With a Step-By-Step Guide

There are few more complex or studied chess openings than the Sicilian Defense. Known since the sixteenth century, it is now recognized as black’s most popular and best-scoring response to white playing 1.e4. But don’t let the word “defense” fool you—the Sicilian is an aggressive, complex opening with many variations, and in the modern era has been a staple of many grandmasters’ repertoires. Learn more about the Sicilian Defense here.

Become a better chess player with Garry Kasparov’s MasterClass.