Learning to play chess in NYC
March 27, 2011 6:53 PM   Subscribe

I live in New York and I want to learn to play chess. Can anyone recommend somewhere I can get lessons? General tips on learning to play would be great too.

I've always been interested in the game and I'd like to learn how to play. My dad tried to teach me at one point, but I suspect it was so he could beat me at it as he's a sore loser and knew he could beat a total novice. Ideally one day I'd like to be able to play him and I think it would make a nice surprise if the next time I see him I could beat him at it.

I've looked at the meetup groups but I'm not really sure where to start. Ideally I'd like to take some lessons/ find people to practice against, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to start. If anyone has any book recommendations or general tips that would be great too.

posted by SpaceWarp13 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Computer programs like Chessmaster have very good basic-level tutorials.
posted by mikeand1 at 6:57 PM on March 27, 2011

This is probably a better link for Chessmaster on the computer.
posted by mikeand1 at 7:11 PM on March 27, 2011

Best answer: Work through a basic book on tactics like Chess Tactics for Students. Basically, a bunch of puzzles of the "white to win in 2 moves...find the winning move" type.

Once you have some experience, read Best Lessons of a Chess Coach.
posted by sninctown at 7:12 PM on March 27, 2011

You should play and beat some toddlers to get in the swing of things.

If your goal is to beat your father, you should use what you know about his playing. If there are any records of games, figure out what openings he plays and start there. Also his style of play, etc.

You could use your underestimated abilities to lay a honey pot, and then trap him.

If he's used to mating you in mid-game, maybe do two things: learn the patterns of end game positions (assuming, for instance no pawns, which are promoted to queens if they get across the board,) like two kings and two bishops. You can learn these patterns for progressively trapping a piece. Chances are he doesn't know these. Then get good at forcing exchanges of pieces, and trading down all the pawns, which seems pointless, until you arrive at the end game, and are better prepared. End game's are tedious though, but have a lot of learned patterns, so you can rote study that effectively.

tl;dr Most people don't have end game technique, you can force end game by trading pieces constantly.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:26 PM on March 27, 2011

Where in the city are you? There are many places around the city to play. Previous askMe's also list several site on the web from which you can learn and find opponents. I'm partial to http://www.chesstempo.com and http://www.freechess.org/
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:31 PM on March 27, 2011

"This is probably a better link for Chessmaster on the computer."

Ugh... one warning: that download is on the order of 3.7GB. Yes, 3.7GB.

I have no idea what could possible require that much space, but there it is. You better have a decent connection.
posted by mikeand1 at 7:32 PM on March 27, 2011

I only ever played chess within my family, but this Bobby Fischer book was instrumental in teaching me how to think x number of moves ahead in chess.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 7:36 PM on March 27, 2011

Best answer: Learn the standard openings, but don't just learn how. Learn why. Don't bring your queen out too early. Always put yourself in your opponent's seat and figure out what you would do if you were him/her. Don't try for too much too soon. Make your pieces defend each other.

That's some really basic stuff, but it gets you somewhere further than just knowing how the pieces move. After that, it gets complicated. :-)
posted by Decani at 7:39 PM on March 27, 2011

There's a bunch of MeFis that play online at chessatwork.com
posted by the noob at 7:43 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been reading Predator at the Chessboard.
posted by Buffaload at 7:45 PM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I haven't been to Thompson street in a long time but you might want to poke around there. I think both of the chess shops there offer lessons. And Susan Polgar has her chess center up in Queens. Maybe there are more grandmasters offering their services in NYC but I'm not sure where anymore.
posted by cazoo at 8:08 PM on March 27, 2011

I'll agree with Hypnotic Chick that Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess is a fantastic book for learning how to win the endgame.
posted by pmb at 8:20 PM on March 27, 2011

Yeah, go to Thompson Street! There are multiple chess shops there -- even 24-hour ones! I have to imagine that any of your possible chess needs could be met on Thompson Street :)
posted by hungrytiger at 8:43 PM on March 27, 2011

Once you're past the utter novice stage, you could try your chops in Washington Square Park. A reasonably decent chess player I know (better than me at any rate) went there a few times while on business travel and got absolutely destroyed ... but learned a lot.
posted by dhartung at 9:44 PM on March 27, 2011

There are many books. Here are two that are good for beginners:

Logical Chess Move by Move - Every Move Explained - Really, EVERY move explained

Chess in a Nutshell - A standard that covers the basics
posted by noonknight at 11:56 PM on March 27, 2011

The Village Chess Shop, on Thompson Street, offers classes.
posted by Flood at 3:50 AM on March 28, 2011

Best answer: Come play in Tompkins Square Park. (Ave A and E7th corner) More relaxed than Washington Square.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:03 AM on March 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I don't see my dad that often so I have some time and I'm going to check out your suggestions. Unfortunately I don't know any toddlers to fleece in NYC.

I've been trying some online puzzles but will try some of the physical locations too when I have a bit more time, ie after I finish my MA thesis. If anyone is just learning too feel free to me mail me maybe we can have a email game.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 1:50 AM on April 13, 2011

« Older Any laws about heating provided to tenants by...   |   My friends say "omg, your outfit is so cute!...NOW... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.