The following are all printable .pdf files containing lessons that any beginning chess player can use to learn chess or improve their chess game. All of these are free to use and distribute for noncommercial purposes. If you have any questions, contact us.
Learning the Basics
The following 3 lessons are all different ways to teach chess notation. Choose the one that makes the most sense to you!
This lesson teaches the 3 core elements of all chess games: material, position, and time. These core elements are the fundamental building blocks of all chess strategy
This lesson teaches one of the most basic checkmate patterns: King & Queen vs King
This document gives a very basic explanation of the Swiss System: the method for arranging pairings in chess tournaments
This is a notation sheet ready to print on 8.5" x11" paper. It goes to 120 moves and has two sides
This form, designed by Erik Czerwin, can be used to delve deeply into a single chess position to help a player discover nuances within that position.
This form can be used to help a player review their own game after it has been played. Guiding questions help players discover their strengths and weaknesses. The "Basic" form is meant for beginning players.
This form can be used to help a player review their own game after it has been played. Guiding questions help players discover their strengths and weaknesses. The "Intermediate" form is meant for players familiar with basic tactics and strategies.
This form can be used to help a player review their own game after it has been played. The "Advanced" form is meant for advanced players to systematically review their gameplay.
This document contains the ramblings of a chess coach and provides many tips on how players can study chess.
This page set up by Rock River Chess contains links to a ton of online chess resources to help players play online, learn the game, and practice their skills in a variety of ways.
This page produced by the Illinois Chess Coaches Association contains a listing of just about every chess clock on the market, the pros and cons of each, and links to user manuals and videos.
This page set up by Rock River Chess contains links to various chess organizations in the Rock River and Illinois area (and beyond!). These organizations can help connect players to scholastic programs and state/national programs.
This page set up by Rock River Chess contains links to our partner chess equipment vendors. Purchasing from these vendors by first clicking on those links helps to support Rock River Chess through our affiliate accounts.
Suggested Books for Study
Having a great library of chess books allows you to learn from the best! Self-study using these recommended texts can be a great way to improve. Most of these titles can be found online for relatively small costs. Used editions are just as good and usually far less expensive.
Chess Progress - by Erik Czerwin
THE ideal chess book for the beginner, THE ideal chess book for the improving player, THE ideal chess book for the teacher. Absolute beginners can learn everything they need to know in order to play chess competitively. More experienced players will encounter deeper concepts and be able to approach chess from a new perspective, enabling them to take their play to the next level. Chess coach Erik Czerwin’s unique training method begins by studying the simplest chess positions with very few pieces – and then moves on, step by step, adding more pieces to the board. Complex ideas are always built up from simpler situations, ensuring that the learning curve stays flat. With helpful exercises throughout, Chess Progress is the perfect book for every chess enthusiast.
The Chess Tactics Workbook - by Al Woolum
The Chess Tactics Workbook contains page after page of pre-created worksheets with puzzles for students to practice their chess skills. It has resources to help coaches teach the most basic skills all the way to some basic basic tactics and strategy. The exercises are expertly arranged to gradually increase difficulty while teaching students about key ideas and how to stretch their thinking just a little further. Overall, an amazing resource for any chess coach!
How to Reassess Your Chess, 4th Edition - by Jeremy Silman
Jeremy Silman is not only a skilled chess player and coach, but a very accessible writer. His skill in making Grandmaster-level thinking accessible to the amateur player is unparallaled in the world of chess literature. Reassess Your Chess is a standard text for players who wish to move from the level of amateur to a more professional skill set. The 4th Edition is completely rewritten with lots of new positions and is much more focused on teaching students to use skilled planning methods.
The Amateur's Mind - by Jeremy Silman
Jeremy Silman is not only a skilled chess player and coach, but a very accessible writer. His skill in making Grandmaster-level thinking accessible to the amateur player is unparallaled in the world of chess literature. The Amateur's Mind zeroes in on how amateur chess players think and how to adjust their thinking in order to move away from those patterns of thought. It's really an excellent tome for any developing player who has hit a wall.
Silman's Complete Endgame Course - by Jeremy Silman
Jeremy Silman is not only a skilled chess player and coach, but a very accessible writer. His skill in making Grandmaster-level thinking accessible to the amateur player is unparallaled in the world of chess literature. The Complete Endgame Course is designed for any player to study endgame theory in great detail. Each section is divided by the level of player (by rating) that should understand those concepts. Players can read a single lesson, an entire section, or the entire book. No matter how the book is used, it is simply the most comprehensive collection of endgame study that anyone can find in a single text.
Combinational Motifs - by Maxim Blokh
Arguably the best book on tactics ever published, and the bases of the popular software CT-ART 3.0 (now updated to CT-ART 4.0). Blokh’s book contains over 1200 diagrams, with each problem graded by level of difficulty. Many of his problems contain two problems in one position. That is, the position can be solved once as if it is White to move; and then again, as if it is Black to move.
Other recommended titles...
- My System: 21st Century Edition - by Aron Nimzowitsch
- Modern Chess Strategy - by Ludek Pachman
- Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances since Nimzowitsch - by John Watson
- New Ideas in Chess - by Larry Evans
- Ideas Behind the Chess Openings:Algebraic Edition - by Rueben Fine
Having the following recommended software will be a great resource for any chess player:
A great online, FREE website that has fantastic tools for coaches and players alike. Run on a donation-based funding model, you and your players can use all the features for free and donate if you feel it's worth it.
A Chess database is an invaluable tool. It allows players and coaches to save a games for future study. It also contains a massive database of professional-level games for students to study with.