7 Tips on How to Play Chess Alone

If you’re someone with a shiny new chess set, lots of eagerness to learn the game, but a shortage of people to play against, this article is for you. That’s because it deals with the practice of learning how to play chess alone, from setting up the board, to strategising your win, to how playing chess against yourself is actually beneficial. 

Is it Good to Play Chess Against Yourself?

You might not have heard about learning in this way, but it’s much more commonly practised than you might realise, with some of the greats like Bobby Fischer often honing their skills against themselves. So to answer the question- yes, it is good to play chess against yourself as it is a simple way to learn the game and discover what sort of player you are as well.

How to Play Chess Against Yourself: 7 Tips to Follow

So, to help you do the same, we look at 7 tips for you to get the best out of your self-playing chess practice.

1. Find a Quiet, Comfortable Place to Play

The basics of knowing how to play chess alone begin with trying to find a nice, quiet, comfortable, and appropriate place to do so, as you’re going to be wanting to take your time. It’s very possible that you might want to leave the game and come back to it hours later, as it’s not meant to be played in a hurry.

Above all, you should be looking for an area where your chess set is unlikely to be disturbed and all your carefully thought-out moves lost.

2. Use a Good Quality Chess Set

Whilst the chess set you use to play solo chess isn’t vital, it is advisable that you use one with a bit of weight to the chess pieces to minimise the chances of them being knocked from their positions. What’s more, it will undoubtedly make the whole experience more enjoyable and increase the likelihood that you keep practising.

A good quality wooden chess set or marble chess set would most certainly fit the bill.

3. Set Up Your Chess Board 

Your next job is to set up your chessboard and you’ll be wanting to place the white pieces first, as this is typically how a chess game will start. Of course, you can either set up the board to simulate the beginning of a game or set it up as if you were part-way through, although this might be best left until your skill is a bit more advanced and you want to practice getting out of particular situations you might encounter during a game.

4. Fully Consider Your Moves and Take Your Time

Whether you’re using a Lord of the Rings-themed chess set or the solid wood variety, the principal of solo chess is the same - to develop your game. When playing chess against yourself, you have to remember that you have the liberty of time, so take full advantage of it by really deliberating your next move and the ramifications of doing so.

Standing up and going off and doing something else in between moves and sitting on the opposite side of the board each time will also help you feel like you’re playing against an opponent.

5. Use a Marker to Keep Your Place

One thing that can really derail your solo chess efforts is losing your place, which is really easy to do when you leave the board for any period of time as you play chess against yourself. Whatever you use to do so is kind of irrelevant, so long as it allows you to remember which side’s move is next, but many solo chess players use a bottle cap or coin to mark the side that had the last move.

6. Try to Avoid Copying Your Own Moves

When playing chess against yourself, one thing that can quickly lead to stalemate is when you start copying or ‘mirroring’ your own moves. Although you’re playing both sides, you need to think like two separate people to have a worthwhile game, so it’s an idea to have one strategy for the white pieces and another for the black pieces.

Mirroring can often happen when you don’t think your openings through and rush your moves and then you can end up not getting much out of the solo game at all.

7. Keep an Open Mind About Who’s Going to Win

Bias can be a real problem when playing solo chess, as you may have a preconceived idea about which side is going to win based on where each chess set piece is situated on the board. Having bias one way or the other may have an effect on the amount of time you spend on the ‘losing’ side’s moves, so it’s best avoided if you want to get the full benefit of the solo chess process.

Wherever possible, you need to remain thinking that you’re playing an opponent, rather than yourself and then you’ll keep the same intensity throughout, regardless of who you might think is winning.

Practice Playing Chess Against Yourself in a Regular Basis to See Your Game Grow

Solo chess can really help you develop your game and it’s particularly useful when opponents are a bit thin on the ground. Getting the absolute most out of it will depend on how you approach it, however, if you follow the tips we’ve given, you’ll have a much better chance of doing so. There are other things you can do, of course, but the advice we’ve provided here should set you fair for success.

If you’re looking for the finest quality wooden, metal, or marble chess set choices online, we’d recommend that you take a look at our website www.officialstaunton.com. There you’ll find our comprehensive catalogue of chess equipment that’s backed by our industry-leading customer service.

If you have any trouble choosing from the many available, give our friendly team a call on 01948 880 060 and we’ll be able to guide you to your perfect option. A good quality chess set can serve you well for a lifetime, so it’s worth choosing one that really inspires you to play.

Thanks for reading our blog. We hope that it helps you enjoy solo chess and all that it offers to players of the game. We’ll be back with more tips and advice from the home of top-quality chess equipment again soon. See you then!