Junior Chess – How to Improve

We would all like to improve at chess. Below are the six key things you can do to get better and they work for everyone from beginners to grandmasters!

1. Play Regularly

It’s always good to play friendly practice games, preferably every week. You can:

  • Play with friends and family
  • Best of all, join a junior chess group, your school club, or a local club, where, as well as playing, you will get advice from stronger players
  • Play online. See our Play & Learn Online page for some options
  • Play against a computer.

2. Play Competitive Chess

Dorset Junior Chess Champs

There is nothing like a serious competitive game to improve your skills.

  • If you have joined a school chess club sign up for inter-school matches and school tournaments.
  • If you have joined a local club you can play in local leagues. As well as the Bournemouth & District League and Dorset League there is the Bacchus League which is suitable for beginners.  Your club may also have an annual club championship.
  • Play in face-to-face tournaments.  Please see our tournaments page.
  • Play in online tournaments.
  • Play in the Delancey UK Chess Challenge.

3. Study

There is no getting away from it, study improves your chess a lot!

There are three broad options.


  • Either streaming from a website or purchased (as a DVD or download).
  • The big advantage of these is that many people find them more engaging than books.
  • The disadvantage is that you get less content for your money than with books


  • Offer much more content for the same money than videos.
  • However, they are harder work and if they don’t get used all that extra content gets wasted. It is just a question of learning styles and tastes.

Learning By Repetition:

  • Offered by one major online website in particular.

There are many sources of videos.  Some of the major providers of streaming videos are listed on our Play & Learn Online page.  One of the largest providers of high quality purchasable videos is chessbase.com

Books can be purchased from many online shops including:

Learning by repetition is an idea that has been revamped by an online site, chessable with its MoveTrainer software. There is a limited amount of free material on here, but most is purchased. The interactive board and text training is moderately priced but the videos are quite expensive.

4. Do Puzzles

Doing puzzles regularly (at least once a week, preferably most days) is a great way of improving your imagination and your calculation skills.

You could try our own puzzle staircase, the Delancey Activity Booklets, the websites on our Play & Learn Online page which feature puzzles, or buy a book of puzzles.

5. Analyse Your Games

Once you start playing competitive games it is very important to analyse them afterwards to understand what you did right and wrong. Make sure you keep your notation or have a copy of the game downloaded if you played online.

To get the most out of this it is important to analyse the game yourself, or with another player (preferably stronger than you), before analysing with a chess engine.  Try to write down your key findings from your analysis. Only then look at the game with a chess engine to check if you came to the right conclusions.

6. Coaching

B&DCL Junior Chess Castlepoint Library 070919

Coaching, either as part of a group or one-to-one is a great way of quickly improving your skill level. In general one-to-one is more effective than in groups and face-to-face is better than online.

Coaching can sometimes be costly, though Dorset Chess offers some free coaching for beginners.  Contact Nikki Forster at [email protected] for details.

All Enquiries

Contact our Junior Chess Co-ordinator
Nikki Forster at [email protected]