7 Reasons You Suck at Chess
- You Only Play Games
- You Play Bullet and Blitz
- You Don’t Study Chess
- You Haven’t Learned an Opening
- You Move Your Queen Early
- You Use Chess Engines Too Frequently
- You Haven’t Paid Your Dues
If you’re still a beginner at playing Chess, asking yourself, “why do I suck at Chess?” might cross your mind like it did to me. Especially if you’re just starting out on Chess.com because you start you at 1200 which is way too high for a new player. You’re going to lose most of the games you play since you’re starting at such a high rating.
But I have good news. The solution is simple.
Chess isn’t some impossibly complicated game that only magicians and God-like people can become good at. Although it might feel like that, Chess is just like any other skill or game. It requires consistent practice, study, and determination for a long sustained period of time before you’ll get good.
1. You Only Play Games
Playing game after game only makes you marginally better at the game. I played hundreds of games before I sat down to study an actual opening. When I finally did, my ELO went up 200 points in the next two days.
The best example of this is from my own life. I played with two guys that only played games. They didn’t study Chess, they didn’t know a real opening and just played random moves. I played games and I also started studying Chess every day. Who got better fast? Me. And it didn’t take long at all before I started beating them with ease.
Don’t just play games. Do puzzles and study Chess theory more than you play.
2. You Play Bullet and Blitz
Another mistake I made for my first few hundred games on Chess.com was playing shorter time increments like Bullet and Bullet Chess. As a beginner, you need much more time per move to really look at the position and carefully analyze the board.
You see Grandmasters like Hikaru playing Bullet and Daniil Dubov playing 3-minute Blitz games and think, I should do what they do. This isn’t the case. They’re Super Grandmasters, they can do whatever they want. Until you’re a higher rated player, playing Bullet will be a complete waste of time.
I would even stay away from Rapid Chess as well. It’s still not enough time. Stick with classical 30-minute games.
3. You Don’t Study Chess
I realized that studying Chess is much more important than playing Chess. If you just play games all day, you will only improve in small increments. Playing only gets you so far. Studying the game is more important.
There is an immense amount of theory in the game. Even just an opening like the Sicilian Defense, studying the theory of just that opening would take you years. And playing the Sicilian won’t improve how you play it very much. Studying the theory and then practicing playing the opening will be exponentially more beneficial and will also save you a great deal of time.
You’ll improve at a much more rapid rate by studying more than you play.
4. You Haven’t Learned An Opening
Do you know a Chess opening yet? I played for over a month before taking the time to learn an opening. When I did, I instantly became a much better player. Opening exist for a reason, because they are proven Chess strategies that are effective at winning the game.
Learn one opening for White, and one opening for Black. Then just practice those two openings over and over until you get really good at them. Then learn another opening. Then how to counter an opening your opponent plays. The more openings you learn, the more tools and weapons you’ll have in the game.
Think about how many openings Grandmasters know. They know nearly every opening in the game as well as how to play against every opening. This is a major aspect of the game that makes them so good at it.
5. You Move Your Queen Early
Again, you see this nearly every game below 800 rated players. They are obsessed with moving their Queen out as soon as possible and try to capture their opponents entire army with just the Queen.
I know she’s pretty. She’s savvy and very mobile. But you will never improve if you do this every game. There are only special circumstances in which you should be moving your Queen out early and then continue to move the Queen afterward. And 99% of those special circumstances never happen as soon as you’re past 1000 ELO.
I did this as well when I first started, it was fun. Going for the Scholar’s mate every game and checkmating the opponent in 4 moves is fun. But this simply won’t work against a player who is over 1000, which is still a very low rating.
6. You Use Chess Engines Too Frequently
This is common amongst younger Chess players as they have had access to Chess engines nearly their entire lives. The problem with using Chess engines too frequently is they eventually become a crutch and you end up relying on them one too many times.
It’s better to practice the fundamentals of Chess and forget about Chess engines for a while. They are a great tool, but should only be used sparingly for specific analysis. Take a break from Stockfish.
7. You Haven’t Paid Your Dues
You may have heard the phrase before, “You gotta pay your dues”. This is a great phrase not about Chess, but about any skill or sport. In order to excel past the casual player, you have to pay your dues. Put in the work. That means, if you want to really get good at this game, you need to be practicing nearly every day. And not just practicing, but practicing diligently. This means studying Chess, playing Chess, doing Chess puzzles, analyzing the games of the greats.
I hope this post on why you suck at Chess helped you. If you liked this post, you might also want to read the guide on how to get better at Chess.