Learn The Ways And Benefits Of Playing Solo Chess


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Chess is a game of skill and strategy. The gameplay requires extreme talents in understanding an opponent’s mindset and identifying their moves before they make them. A lot of the gameplay relies on anticipation and forethought, not to mention, building personal strategies that work for you.

The problem with playing chess, however, is that there is a shortage of people who enjoy the gameplay and are willing to take part in a spirited game. The lack of a partner is no reason not to play chess and develop your strategies though. As it so happens, you need tactics on how to learn chess alone and how to play chess by yourself.

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Today, we shall discuss everything that you need to know in order to learn how to play chess alone. You will learn the benefits of playing solo chess, how to learn chess alone, and even how to play chess with yourself to heighten your strategic thinking abilities. When you know how to play chess alone, it becomes a lot easier to follow through on the methods of utilizing the best chess moves even if you cannot get a read on your opponent. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Benefits of playing chess

There are several benefits to playing chess regardless of whether you play with people or indulge in a little solo chess. The idea is to improve brain activity and sharpen your cognitive functions. Here are a few definitive benefits of playing chess:

  • It enhances your focus, not just in the game but in the real world as well. It is a great game to help people with ADHD to refocus their attention and train their minds.
  • Chess helps improve your memory. You need to keep a lot of winning moves in mind and repurpose them as the game progresses. It also helps you get a read on the possible tactics that your opponent might further use.
  • The gameplay is so intense that it helps you develop perspective and people skills. When playing the game, you will associate with your opponent’s train of thoughts, thus giving you a glimpse into their minds.
  • Chess helps enhance your creative skills. Regardless of whether you play alone or with several individuals over time, you have to think outside the box in order to make the winning moves. Even if you have a set of practiced moves that you know will yield good results, you need to improvise them to fit the currently running gameplay.
  • Playing solo chess and 2 or 3-person chess can make you a better business person. During the gameplay, you constantly need to analyze the current state of affairs and keep improvising your plans in order to win. This develops subconscious planning and decision-making capabilities that further aid in your everyday life, especially in making smart business decisions.
  • It helps you analyze yourself and become self-aware. During the gameplay, you will have to keep track of how you are playing or reacting against your opponent’s moves.
  • Playing chess, especially solo chess, helps prevent dementia, which is a condition where the mental faculties lack definition. Playing chess uses both the analytical and creative sides of your brain.

You see, the benefits of playing chess are really useful in the long run. Therefore, if you cannot find an opponent to play with, you must learn how to play chess alone and keep enhancing your mind.

Now that we know why you should know how to play chess with yourself, let us discuss how to learn chess alone.

20 ways on how to play chess by yourself

If you want to know how to learn chess alone and play solo chess then we have the perfect ways that you can use to accomplish this feat. We have 20 different things you need to do in order to practice how to play chess alone. Let’s take a look at what they are:

1. Choose the appropriate chess set

Start by acquiring a good chess set. An ideal chess set has slightly heavy elements so the pieces don’t get knocked over when you swivel the board and make your moves.

You need to keep track of which piece you put in which position and test out different strategies as you move forward. Furthermore, acquiring an appropriate chess set that appeals to you in terms of design and elemental value will feel more personal, thus inspiring you to practice more.

2. Find an online chess trainer for free

As you know, the chess pieces in a chess game all have different movements and allowances. It is crucial to know what each chess piece looks like, how they, move, and their functions when you learn how to play chess by yourself.

There are several online trainers for chess available on the app stores for both Apple and Android devices. Download a free chess trainer to familiarize yourself with the chess pieces and their functions before you start playing solo chess games.

There are apps like ‘Chess 3D’ where you can play against the computerized program for a while to become finely accustomed to the chess pieces and their possible movements. You can also use these apps to try new strategies which are predefined and develop your set of tactics before you further refine your skills with solo chess games.

Once you know each chess piece well, play the game with integrity.

3. Identify the ideal space in your home where you can play comfortably

Chess is a game that challenges the mind but it is played best in a serene and comfortable setup. Therefore, you need to identify an accessible space in your home where your creative and analytical juices are flowing to enhance your cognitive abilities.

Take a lap around the house and find a place where the color scheme reflects neutral emotions, i.e., not too happy, not too sad, and definitely not angry. You can refer to articles on color psychology and identify the colors that make you feel most serene. White, light shades of blue and green, brown, and sometimes even gray colors work wonders for your serenity.

If you don’t have such a perfectly balanced corner in your home, you can create one with subtle colored wallpaper and a small table to set up your chess set.

4. Find solo chess puzzle games

Chess puzzles are an innovative solution for how to learn chess alone. Of course, you need to start with a training program to identify the pieces and once you get the hang of them, you can play solo chess puzzle games.

In a chess puzzle, there are specific moves that you need to complete in order to retrieve the answer. This is an excellent strategy to expose yourself to the phenomenon of identifying moves that you may otherwise miss during a chess game, thus leading to the capture of your pieces or neglecting to capture your opponent’s pieces.

There are chess puzzle game apps available on Android and Apple play stores where you can play solo chess puzzles to help identify the appropriate moves. Use these as a training wheel before you start playing solo chess to develop your strategies.

5. While setting up, start with the white pieces

An excellent way to learn how to play chess alone is by first learning how to set up the board. Most of the pieces in a chessboard are aligned in a mirror effect but the king and queen are always switched for black pieces and white pieces.

Another important point to bear in mind when setting up the board is the placement of all the pieces. Their positions are ideally designed to facilitate free movement. For instance, the knight is set one slot away from the edge so it can leap 2 and a half steps over the pawns to capture any threats. Similarly, the bishop is placed next to the kings and queens so they can protect them on a diagonal plane.

When you start learning how to play chess alone, start by organizing the white pieces first. They are easier to identify with and you will start to notice possible moves that you can make from the get-go.

6. Contemplate every move you make

A common mistake among solo chess players is handling an oversight. For the most part, you need to contemplate each move that you make on the board regardless of whether you are playing against someone or playing solo chess.

The reason behind this transgression is you have a mental bias about how to make a move without capturing the pieces of the other color since you are playing both. However, you must bear in mind that the solo chess gameplay is a means to learn how to play against people.

Therefore, before you make a move, contemplate the possibilities such as:

  1. Errors in moving a piece,
  2. Looming threats,
  3. Opportunities to make a capture,
  4. Consequences of the capture,
  5. Possible outcomes that the opponent is open to playing
  6. If moving a piece puts your own pieces in harm’s way,
  7. Checking the protection on the major pieces on the board such as king, queen, knights, and bishops.
  8. Developmental gameplay errors may occur after a certain number of moves.

It is important to contemplate all the possibilities in foresight since in a game of chess you cannot take back a piece that you have played already.

7. Don’t always play mirror moves in solo chess

Don’t make mirror movements for both colors otherwise, you will hit a dead-end.

Each chess piece that you play from both sides should be played with unique moves. If you start with the white pieces and mirror the movement in black pieces then you won’t find a lot of new strategies and varying outcomes.

Keep in mind that in solo games you are playing against yourself. If you play a mirror game, you cannot prepare for sudden moves made by your opponent. After all, in a tournament or even when you play a casual game with another chess player, they will deploy different strategies instead of mimicking your moves. You need to do the same if you are awarded the black pieces, so take this time to play unique games even if you play solo chess matches.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t mirror your moves at all. Sometimes, you may face an opponent who does in fact mimic your movements. You need to develop a strategy for that too so you can use their mirror moves against them. Thus, you must also play mirror moves sometimes and look for new ways to capture the pieces in the other color by opening up the board.

Prepare yourself thoroughly for both scenarios so that you can play against unique moves as well as capture your opponent’s pieces if they keep copying your moves, at least in the beginning when both sides may look alike.

8. Write down the series of moves you make as per their effectiveness for posterity

Just like a football game, you need to retrace the game plan. When playing solo chess, take note of every move that you make and the possible outcomes along with how the game progresses from there.

If you are testing new opening and middle game strategies, try alternative moves for certain steps and see if you can checkmate the opponent faster or put them at a disadvantage at an early stage. This trick from how to play chess with yourself will come in really handy when you play with others.

You can execute different strategies, make a note of them, and study the play afterward. You will start to notice distinctive patterns in which you can defeat your opponents by following a defined strategy developed from your personal trials and errors.

9. Swiveling the game board or moving around the table

It may seem easier to just sit in one place and swivel the game board but this could develop stagnant thinking patterns. Instead of swiveling the board, consider placing two chairs opposite each other and moving around a little.

When you make the effort to change your seating position between moves, subconsciously you train your mind to look at the game board with a new perspective. Thus, it becomes easier to look at the different ways in which you can move your pieces, be it of any color. It will inspire you to continue unique gameplay that will further aid in strategizing and implementing different moves.

As a sedentary player, you will get accustomed to playing solo chess really well, however, as a dynamic player, your eyes and brain synchronization will be much higher, thus enabling you to identify alternative moves simply because you look at it from a different vantage point. It will further equip you to play chess in stressful tournaments where the gameplay keeps changing with every move.

10. Watch chess tournaments to identify good moves

Much like in games of poker, it is important to watch and learn games of chess from professional players. Watch the best series of Bobby Fischer, Miyoko Watai, Viswanath Anand, and other professional chess grandmasters to learn their moves. You will often come across options to checkmate using minimum moves. You may even find innovative ways of castling, sacrificing one piece to capture your opponent’s bigger pieces, etc.

11. Practice castling at an early stage

Speaking of castling, it is a very important, not to mention durable strategy, especially for beginners. It is the trick in which you can secure your King in the corner position of the rook by exchanging their places.

This move is only possible if you haven’t moved the King or the subsequent rook before that. You can castle the King in solo chess play within the first 3 moves on both sides. This way your Kings are secure and you open up the board. It will provide possible options to move your pieces around, thus making the gameplay more challenging when you learn how to play chess by yourself.

12. Plan your next moves but don’t let it influence the other color piece’s movement

When you make a move in chess, think 2-3 steps ahead. However, while you conduct forward play, ensure that you calculate the moves of both sides but don’t sway from your goal of trying to win both sides.

In simpler words, let’s say you are moving a white piece on the game board. Now consider the possible moves that can be made with the black pieces assuming that you are playing against someone. When you finally move on to make the move on behalf of the black pieces, don’t get swayed by considering what moves you had planned when playing the white pieces. Play the black pieces independently with no consternation.

This is a good way to identify if you missed a possible error or capture it when you look at the board from one side.

13. Google new strategies and try them out against yourself

Remember what we said about checking the strategies played by grandmasters?

Well, you can find new and improved opening strategies, tactics for mid-game plays, and even new ways to checkmate your opponent in fewer moves. In order to use these strategies effectively, you need to try them out when you play solo chess.

The intent behind this phenomenon is to identify new strategies and their consequences on the current gameplay. Since your opponents may know the popular strategies too, you can do the following:

  1. Try out popular strategies, one game at a time, and play the other side’s reactive move diligently. It will help you identify ways to beat the odds if your opponent uses these strategies.
  2. Personalize the popular strategies with your patented moves to throw people off their game. Your opponents may expect to react to a popular move but if you personalize it, it becomes unexpected, thus flustering them.

14. Try out the best opening moves in a round of solo chess

There are several strategies for when you open a game of chess. There’s castling, defensive play, offensive play, and even personalized play to offer unprecedented vantage points.

When you play solo chess, it is an incredible opportunity to practice these opening moves and determine how to bypass them. Ideally, your white pieces will use a certain type of opening move and your black pieces will counter those. This way you can check which opening strategies work well for you and which pose a potential threat to your pieces. Furthermore, you can determine the best course of responsive moves when your opponent uses patented opening strategies.

The opening moves impact the entire gameplay so take some time to try the best opening strategies when learning how to play chess alone.

15. Download an app with a grandmaster who can provide automated feedback

Along with chess puzzles and apps that aid in how to learn chess alone, there are also apps that help in perfecting your gameplay by receiving automated feedback from grandmasters. This is not to say that the grandmasters will personally partake in the conversation but it is the next best thing.

You see, in a game of chess, despite the possible variations, there are a finite number of moves that you and your opponent can make, which is easily computable with permutations and combinations. The chess grandmasters have tried them all and shared the benefits and pitfalls of them all. The game developers use this information to create their algorithms such that the program can detect possible downfalls or advantages to your move.

Additionally, the programs also identify moves used by grandmasters and provide prompts. Not only is this a good way to boost your confidence when playing chess but it also helps you recognize moves that could get you in trouble.

16. Use a chess clock to time your gameplay

Most tournaments are conducted with a chess clock. When you learn how to play chess alone effectively, it is ideal to start using a chess clock. This way you will be prepared to make quick decisions during a time crunch without getting flustered.

Using a chess clock in solo play also enables you to tune your cognitive abilities and make decisions quickly based on the current move made by an opponent. It is a great way to practice time management for chess games, especially in contests.

17. Play both sides in solo chess aiming to win

As we have mentioned, do not entertain biases in your head. When you play both sides of a chessboard, you need to aim to win on both sides. Of course, the outcome can be one or the other but you need to play as though you are competing against a worthy opponent.

Don’t let the moves you made on one side of the board affect your moves on the other side. Play both sides of the game board independent of each other. If you have difficulty developing the mindset for solo chess, you can always play against a computer program in the initial stages till you can think independently in a solo chess match.

18. Take notes of your gameplay and winning strategies in solo chess

Much like tracking your moves, you also need to track your winning strategies. Maintain a notebook where you can write down the specific moves you made that led to your winning game.

Once you have all the different strategies handy, try them out in a single game from both sides to identify how your opponent may be able to bypass your blocks or threats.

19. Keep switching between 3-4 opening moves and middle game moves

Once you have your opening moves and middle game moves, personalize the whole strategy however slightly. Now take the time to play more games where you keep switching between your strategies such that your moves are unpredictable for the most part.

When learning how to play chess with yourself using the switching moves, you can determine useful tactics to circumvent a good strategy if your opponent uses them. Consequently, practicing to make different moves in the opening and middle games will also keep your opponents on their toes, which is a helpful tactic in a mind game like chess.

20. Play solo chess in the early days and keep up with new strategies

As a beginner in the world of chess, solo chess is your best friend. You can learn how to play chess alone, try out the patented strategies in solo chess, and perfect your techniques.

However, once you become a good player, don’t abandon your R&D chess techniques. Any time you come across a new strategy or get some ideas during gameplay, or you simply want to refine your skills, come back to solo chess and try out what you learned. You can even sharpen your skills by yourself.

These are excellent means of learning how to play chess with yourself and once you develop your skills, you can transfer them to a live table against worthy opponents.

Why should you learn how to play chess with yourself?

As there are benefits to playing a game of chess so are their benefits for partaking in a little solo chess action. When you know how to learn chess alone and how to play chess with yourself, not only are you empowering your mind for future tournaments and games against people but you also have the rare opportunity for self-reflection. These qualities enable you for better navigation in the real world.

Here are a few reasons why you need to learn how to play chess with yourself:

  • Firstly, it enables good memory and critical thinking skills. Not only are you tracking the movement of other people but you are critically analyzing every move you make. Thus, when you play against others, you will stay 3 steps ahead of them since you know the moves and the possible outcomes.
  • It prevents mental degradation, dementia, etc. Since you don’t feel the need to wait for another individual in order to sharpen your mind, there are two things that happen at this point when you play solo chess.
  1. Your mental faculties are constantly sharpened to prevent any senility over time as you age.
  2. You develop intense independence, i.e., you are not reliant on anybody to get any of your job done.
  • You can deploy a new strategy you learned lately and try it by yourself. This way, you are prepared for multiple outcomes.
  • You can also find out the possibility of improvising a tried and tested move by yourself. You are open to a lot of alternative methods of playing since there is no one around. You can try all the new strategies and various ways to deploy them for maximum benefit on the game board.
  • It enhances your creative skills and energies. Therefore, you can train your brain to think outside the box even when you are under extreme pressure. Not only will it make you a great chess player in competitions and tournaments but your creative thinking abilities from solo chess matches will enable sound business strategic planning and financial planning.
  • Since you battle yourself in a solo chess match, you can analyze each move and practice impartial behavior. This is a helpful trait in the real world. Not only can you identify different methods of doing something yourself but since you put yourself in other people’s shoes to play the solo chess game with integrity, you become more tolerant of other people’s thinking processes.

There is absolutely no downside to learning how to play chess alone and partaking in solo chess games. It opens up new dimensions for your personal growth as well as prepares you for playing a spirited game with others. It is definitely a great way to introduce yourself to 6the gameplay and learn new strategies.

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