10 Ways You Look Like A Chess Newbie

So you think you’re a cool chess dude, but is it obvious to everyone else that you’re a chess newbie? Here are 10 pitfalls you need to avoid to help you shed the newbie tag!

1. You don’t know all the rules

Yes, I’m serious. Who taught you to play chess? Your father? A friend? A slightly crazy uncle? The chances are they taught you how the pieces move, how to checkmate, and that was all.  

There are a huge number of newbies who have never heard of the en passant rule, and are blissfully unaware of the finer points of the rules about castling.

Not knowing the rules, and - even worse - criticising others when it’s actually you who is mistaken, is the biggest sign that you’re a newbie.

Visit this link to brush up on the facts!

2. You think all draws are boring

“Boring!”, screams the newbie after a hard-fought game lasting several hours ends in a fair draw.  A draw is a perfectly valid outcome of a chess game, and doesn’t mean that the players weren’t trying. The stronger the players, the more common are draws because those titled folk really know what they’re doing and are hard to beat!

Some games are boring, but judge each one by the quality of the play, not the end result!

3. You’ve never read a chess book

There is a truly enormous wealth of literature about chess, and you’ve never read any of it? There are countless books on chess openings, middlegames, endgames, tactics, strategy, biographies and game collections.

We may be living in an age of online opening databases, and have GM strength chess engines available to buy for under £50, but chess books are important learning materials.  Plus, having a shelf full of chess books is the ultimate in geek interior decor!

Try some of the books recommended here for a start.

4. You don’t play any long time-control games. Ever.

Blitz chess is great fun and very addictive. Rapid chess is cool as well, and allows a bit more time for strategic thinking. But unless you play some chess at standard (long) time controls then you’re never going to deepen your understanding of the game.

As for bullet chess (all moves in 1 minute), it’s the crystal meth of the chess world. Go ahead if you enjoy it, but don’t pretend you’re doing anything other than sharpening your reflexes!  A steady diet of nothing but bullet and blitz chess will make your chess thinking as shallow as a paddling pool.

5. You bad-mouth Grandmasters

“Ha-ha, what a loser!”. “Grandmaster Z is such an idiot!”. “I could beat Grandmaster Y with my eyes closed!”

Becoming a Grandmaster is extraordinarily difficult.  Every player that has earned the right to put the capital letters GM before their name is part of an elite group that 99.99% of us can only dream of belonging to.  

But we’re all human, so when a Grandmaster slips up it shows us how difficult our wonderful game of chess really is. One terrible move doesn’t make a great player a bad one.

If you ever had the good fortune to play a Grandmaster, they could crush you like a bug. Show some respect!

6. You know nothing about chess news or chess history.

Imagine an amateur tennis player who had never heard of Bjorn Borg. What about a local league soccer player who didn’t recognize a picture of Pele?

As an amateur chess player, do you know who these great players are?

Chess has an amazingly rich history, and games from the great matches and tournaments of the past are freely available.  If you can count the names of famous historical chess players you know on the fingers of one hand, and have no idea what is going in the current world of chess, then you are missing out on a massive amount of chess culture and marking yourself out as a newbie.

7. You never resign

Don’t be ridiculous. If you are losing a chess game there comes a point when your position is so hopeless that resigning is a sensible and courteous decision.  Judging when to resign comes with experience, but it’s an essential part of the game.

8. You complain about your opponent not resigning

The opposite of #7, this character takes any opponent’s refusal to resign as an affront to all that is decent and right in the world. If you are easily winning a chess game, then just enjoy yourself! Your opponent is prolonging their own agony and will lose eventually.  Let their refusal to resign be grist to your mill!

9.  You don’t own a chess set

You might play most (and perhaps all) of your chess on the Internet, but real chess is played in the flesh, with a board and pieces. You can see the whites of your opponent’s eyes and sense their excitement or fear as the game unfolds.

Chess sets come in so many shapes and sizes, from inexpensive plastic sets to beautifully carved wooden sets that are passed down through the generations in families.

If you’ve never played on your own chess set, you’ve never played chess!

10. You think anyone who beats you must be a cheat

By far the most popular topic of discussion among newbies is cheating.  Now, there are undeniably some deluded individuals who get their kicks from cheating at online chess by using computer software to help pick their moves. Fortunately, they are in a small minority, so if you lose an online chess game, don’t immediately accuse your opponent just because your ego is hurt. Figure out where you went wrong and come back stronger next time.

So there you have it. 10 things that make it obvious you’re a chess newbie. Of course, you don’t do any of these things, do you?  But I bet you know someone who does...we were all newbies once.


  • 6 years ago


    I love how people still scream against 7 or 8!

    Flash news: YOU ARE A NEWBIE!!!

    Anyway, I'm a newbie too: I didn't recognize the second picture, I thought was Lasker without mustachesEmbarassed

    I don't agree with Natalia 13th rule: I could beat her with my eyes closed...I don't think I could repeat the performance when I wake up, though Laughing

  • 6 years ago


    The one in the glasses is Botvonnik, does anyone know the other one?

  • 6 years ago


    who are the players in the picture? i guess this makes me a noob, but im not ashamed to ask. Im sure i know the names, i just dont know the faces...

  • 6 years ago


    @ DylanAM:

    I like it! The Sicilian Anti-Noob! Now for some opening facts...

    This variation is nonexistant at the elite level, but is very common at one of the very lowest levels of chess. White's move 3.Qf3 (sometimes 3.Qh5 is also seen) is, oddly enough, an anti-developing move that threatens mate on f7. However, the reply 3... Ne5! forks the only development White has. After White replies, Black can play 4... Nxc4 making White's previous 2 moves "anti-developing".
    White should never attempt this variation for fear of falling (or cementing their place) into the category of "Noob"

  • 6 years ago


    Laughing Lol i can't stop laughing about the 10 ways you look like a Newbie

    Best topic of the month

  • 6 years ago


    "You might play most (and perhaps all) of your chess on the Internet, but real chess is played in the flesh, with a board and pieces."


  • 6 years ago


    Originally posted by NightHawk0085:  "My personal favorite (if I were to handle the black pieces):  1.e4 c5 2. Bc4 Nc6. 3. Qf3 Ne5!"

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that loves that variation.  I hereby declare this line the Anti-Noob Variation of the Sicilian Defense.

  • 6 years ago


    @ echecs06 -thank you! Smile

  • 6 years ago


    My problem is with 7 (a little): If you are a newbie, you may not even have a clue about how hopeless your position is, so, you are just chugging along, pushing the pieces in sweet oblivion...When the first sign of danger raises its ugly head, you still have the reflex-time of a mastodon to recognize how close it could be to defeat. When you feel actually losing, you still have the memory of a vague instruction from dad that you should make the most of your defeats and you could still learn brilliant (?) evasive moves! Plus, I had several disasters easing up to stalemate because of the carelessness of an impatient "victor". Good article though, congrats!

  • 6 years ago


    I'm a newbie, and I always will be. I can't be interested in chess history. Even if I would read some history about chess, the next moment I have forgotten it. Just because I choose to and I don't find it interessting. There isn't much chess history (I know, because I did read some before) that is really valueable to me.  Games played in the past don't count as history ofcourse.

    Another thing, respect is earned. I will never laugh about someone when making a mistake or something else. No matter if it's a GM or another player. It is ridiculess only GM's should get respect. Getting the GM title should be an honour and the fullfillment shouldn't come from others that are paying respect, but from yourself, because you got that achievement. 

    The right discription should be, you bad-mouth other players. Chess is a community with it's culture. bad-mouthing is always bad.

    I find it ridiculous to "show some respect", as having respect is some form of might/power. I like to treat everyone like I would be treated, and after that I will make up my own mind if someone should earn my respect.

    I would not like to be treated differently by people if I had a GM title.

  • 6 years ago


    A few true comments about no 7- there have been plenty of occasion where it's looked hopeless and i felt like resigning but the tables turned in the end and i won, almost miraculously- such is the wonder of chess!

  • 6 years ago


    LOL. That is excellent. Well done!!!

  • 6 years ago


    I don't like blitz nor bullet at all. Blitz could come handy, but I like to ponder about the position and get maximum out of it, eventhough it rarely happens :).

  • 6 years ago


    The reason why I like blitz games is because it's near impossible to cheat. Even if it's just reflexes, blitz also rewards quick thinking which is a great skill to improve as well in this modern age.

  • 6 years ago


    Let me see here: 3, 6 and 8. Proud!

  • 6 years ago



    I think that you more right then you know. I think this rules are not only based on the subjective opinion of the staff on this site, but also on the opinion of staff on  other chess sites, members of the various chess federations and so called "high ranked players". It is a world wide conspiracy!Surprised

  • 6 years ago


    I would add this to the favorites but the thing that does it is broken.

  • 6 years ago


    100. You lost 100 times to ekpea in 100 games, definitely a newbie.

    You can ignore the first 99 pitfalls to avoid to help you shed the newbie tag; the 100th pitfall is the most important of them all.

    When you're down to 99 lost games, avoid ekpea, and you avoid the newbie tag.

  • 6 years ago


    Rosequeen, you tell other players to have respect for your rating, but you're not respecting their right to play as long as they want to and as long as they can.  If it really bothers you, why would you even play the lower rated players?  How would that help you progress as a player anyways?  And if it has to do with time controls, then don't enter long games.... or don't play with bonus time.

  • 6 years ago


    I would like to make an addition: using the following system universally as white:
    e4, Bc4, Qf3 and pray that f7 stays unguarded (and similarly for black).

    My personal favorite (if I were to handle the black pieces):
    1.e4 c5 2. Bc4 Nc6. 3. Qf3 Ne5!

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