Of all the things you might think about doing to get better at chess, the only sure way to improve is to play as much as possible. If you play every week at your school you will get better, but if you also play somewhere else then you will twice as good, as you will have double the chance to put your ideas into practice. If you’re lucky enough to have family members to play with, or friends, then that is great, but even then it can get a bit boring playing the same person lots of times. It is better to play lots of players and then see loads of different strategies being used.


There are other ways to play new people though. In Melbourne, Chess Kids runs a series of tournaments throughout the year called RJ Shields which is a great introduction to competitive chess. Kids have to use a clock, play touch move, and they get to play 7 games in a day all against different players. The RJ Shield tournaments are finished for this year now, but check out the results from the most recent event in Melbourne. Find out about more tournaments you can play in from this page.


Another way to play is online, though we have to be careful and smart as some sites may not be appropriate. Luckily, Chess Kids working with one of the top American sites can help kids to play safely online against other kids from around Australia and New Zealand and even further away. You can find out about this on our Chesslings site.


Every time you play a game you should try to learn one thing from the game. This can be anything from a new trick or checkmate to a new opening move, or a new strategy in the middlegame.  Then if you play just in your school class for 10 weeks per term you should learn 10 new things that you will remember and use in your games. If you play outside school once a week, that will be double the things learned, and the more you play the more things you will have to use in your future games. Also, when you solve puzzles, remember how you did it, and it will another thing you can use in your games. So the more you play, the more you will learn, and the better you will become. Easy! Try these puzzles that happened in Chess Kids classes


White to play and win


What is white’s best move here?



Here are the positions from the last blog post I wrote. There was one unusual checkmate, and two that were based on the very usual checkmate on a back rank.

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