A few months ago, I found myself sitting next to a chess board in The Detroit Club. Although I hadn’t played chess for years, my interest was piqued enough that when my friend offered me the chance to play—and enjoy some bourbon at the same time—I didn’t hesitate.

While we played, we talked about how chess is one of the most complex forms of human problem solving. It requires strategizing, planning next moves and counter-moves with an eye on long term goals.

That experience made me want to get better and learn the game.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play chess, but have no idea where to start, there are plenty of resources available online and off that will get you ready for a game in no time.

The Chess.com app for the iPhone and iPad has become my go to resource.



Chess.com has a free online chess app that you can use to learn the game and play against others. The app includes all of the features of playing on their website, but it’s easier to access from your phone or tablet.

I fell in love with the app because it includes an interactive tutorial that teaches you how each piece moves, as well as some basic strategies for winning your first few games. You can also choose from different difficulty levels when playing against an opponent online–you want to start off easy so as not to get frustrated!

You can also find local chess clubs or groups to play.

Go Old School. Read a Book

There are plenty of books available that teach you how to play chess, including some for kids and teens. Some books are more advanced than others, so it’s important to find one that matches your level of skill. Those who are just starting out might want a book that focuses on learning the game in general, while those who have played before might be looking for something more specific like strategy or tactics.

Some great titles include:

  • Chess for Dummies by David Pritchard (for beginners)
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Chess by John Nunn (a good all-around reference)
  • A Beginner’s Guide To Chess by Bruce Pandolfini (for children)

Exercise the Brain

As someone who has a family history of Alzheimers, I was intrigued by the how chess works with the brain.

Chess is a great way to exercise the brain. In chess, players must think several moves in advance to succeed. Chess can also help you improve your memory, reasoning skills and problem-solving abilities. Just like physical exercise, mental exercise is essential for overall brain health.

Learning how to think in new ways will help you apply this skill elsewhere. If you want to improve your memory and your overall mental health, chess can help.

Chess requires me to think clearly, strategically and creatively. I’m still working on it.

Diversity in Chess

It’s worth noting that while the majority of Black players have been men, there are several notable women who have made their mark on the game. In 1992, Rochelle Ballantyne became the first Black woman to receive the title of International Master (IM), which is awarded to chess players based on their performance in international tournaments. More recently, Darrian Robinson became the first female Black Grandmaster at age 20 in 2015 and Tanitoluwa Adewumi won her first national championship later that year at age 22.

Theophilus Thompson is the earliest documented Black chess expert recognized in the United States. In addition to competing in tournaments, he published a book called Chess Problems: Either to Play and Mate (1873).

If you’re ready to gget started, there are fantastic Chess Clubs around the Metro Detroit area – Michigan Chess Association is a great resource.

Chess is a great way to spend time with friends and family, and it can also be a fun hobby. It has been around for centuries, so there are all kinds of resources out there for you to use if you want to learn how to play this game!

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