Learn Chess

Jennifer Shahade

US Chess Safe Play: Real-life Examples

When WGM Jennifer Shahade posted “Time’s up.” on X (formerly Twitter) on February 15, 2023, she was the Women’s Program Director for US Chess. Less than a month later, an article in The Wall Street Journal stated, “former U.S. women’s chess champion Jennifer Shahade alleged on social media last month that she had been sexually assaulted by a prominent grandmaster named Alejandro Ramirez.” On April 5, 2024, US Chess published a Safe Play example that had some of the same elements found in allegations against Ramirez. More 🡢

Norman Tweed Whitaker

Al Capone, Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chess, and Taxes

Part of Al Capone’s sentence was served on Alcatraz Island, where chess master Norman Tweed Whitaker was a fellow inmate. Willie Harris, a journalist living in Denton, Texas, investigated this chess and crime connection. More 🡢

Maurice Ashley

The Saint Louis Chess Conference: Grandmaster Maurice Ashley

The Saint Louis Chess Conference will be October 24–26. If you are interested in presenting, the proposal submission deadline is April 5. Early bird pricing ends on April 30. Keynote speakers are Grandmasters Maurice Ashley and Judit Polgár and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. More 🡢

WIM Aradh Kaur

Wisconsin’s newest Woman International Master

In December 2023, Wisconsin resident Aradh Kaur earned the Woman International Master (WIM) title. Wisconsin Public Radio reported that Kaur was the first WIM from Wisconsin. But that is not true. Marilyn Simmons, née Koput, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1948 and was a WIM. More 🡢

Accusations by World Chess Champions Bobby Fischer and Vladimir Kramnik

Fischer was convinced that some chess players were prearranging games. For example, the ninth game of the 1984/1985 Karpov versus Kasparov World Chess Championship match included a knight retreat in a knight and six pawns versus bishop and six pawns endgame. More 🡢

Secrets of Queen Endgames

Advanced Chess Instruction: Secrets of Queen Endgames

The focus of Secrets of Queen Endgames is just queens, kings, and pawns. Starting diagrams may also show rooks or minor pieces but those are traded off before analysis begins. More 🡢

David Smerdon: The Complete Chess Swindler

David Smerdon: The Complete Chess Swindler

The Complete Chess Swindler: How to Save Points from Lost Positions won the 2020 English Chess Federation Book of the Year Award. The book is by Grandmaster David Smerdon, who later created a Chessable course based on the book. More 🡢

Jennifer Shahade

Jennifer Shahade: Play Like a Champion

Two-time U.S. Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade’s latest chess book is Play Like a Champion: Chess Tactics from the Greats. Its 700 chess positions have answers that range from checkmate in one move to checkmate in 13 moves. More 🡢

Is it hard to learn chess?

Learning the rules of chess can be accomplished in one day. There are six different chessmen. Master how each moves and captures, and use them to checkmate your opponents, to succeed in your chess games.

Where can I learn chess?

The best way to learn is by playing! Right here on SparkChess you can play against different computer personas (start with Cody if you never played before). The game will highlight all valid moves for a piece, so it's easy to understand and learn the rules. Then you can move to learning strategies and openings with SparkChess Premium, which features an Opening Explorer with over 100 opening variations, 30 interactive lessons and even an AI coach.

What is the best way to start learning chess?

While learning chess online is efficient, since software corrects illegal moves, playing chess with others in person can be satisfying. You and a friend or family member could tackle chess together, perhaps reading the rules in a book. Playing on a three-dimensional chess set can be a fun break from our online lives. When in-person chess is not available, SparkChess has online multiplayer for playing with friends (and making new ones).

How can I teach myself to play chess?

While learning chess rules takes one day, becoming good at chess takes longer. One proverb states, “Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe.” With intense efforts, chess greatness can be achieved.