Sunday, March 25, 2007


Learning Chess Openings

Earlier this month I started playing around with software intended for serious opening study called Bookup. I had heard of it before but for some reason I had never used it.

It allows you to record and study your "opening book." I created a few for some openings I play and Bookup has really helped me learn these openings better. Learning and knowing the ideas behind the opening moves is critical but so is having quick and reliable recall of the correct moves. Especially in some of the popular highly tactical lines. They also have various opening books you can purchase that plug into Bookup. It comes with an analysis engine and can be used to study any phase of the game.

There is a free version, an express version and a professional version. I bought the express version after downloading and using the free trial version. You can get the trial version here.

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Learning Chess

Recently, I have been helping a five year old learn chess. We are starting at the beginning with the board, the names of the pieces and how they move, basic checkmates, simple endings and so on. I have found several useful online resources to help.

First, there is Magic Theatre which has a great variety of instruction and movies perfect for a child first learning chess. They recommend ChessBase Light which is free and you can download it from here.

At the moment I prefer Pawn 2.86 which is also free and easy to use chess game with a child friendly interface. I can save stored positions that he can practice against on his own playing against the computer. Pawn talks and helps him see and make legal moves. We will eventually start using ChessBase Light but for now we are using Pawn.

Another resource is USA Chess which has summer chess camps in many cities including Houston, Katy and The Woodlands.

Begin Chess also looks good but is more advanced than my student at the moment.

If you have favorite web sites for chess beginners that I have not listed in the side bar please send me a note.


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