Chess is hard because unlike other board games the outcome is more dependent on skill rather than luck.
Chess is logical, adventurous, and requires courage to make certain moves. In every position, there are several candidate moves but usually only 1 best move.
Because of complexities like these, chess is a very hard game to master.
In this blog, we will go through the details of why people find chess hard at different skill levels.
7 Reasons Why Chess is Hard For Beginners:
1. Chess Piece Movements
For a beginner, it is challenging to understand the movement of each chess piece.
Funnily, most new players will grasp the movements within 5 minutes but when you play them with each other their games are cancer to the eyes. 😀
And they always end up in a stalemate draw. 😀 Well not always but most of the time.
Anyways, below is a video of a complete beginner’s guide to chess. It includes understanding the chess board, how the pieces move, and all the A-Z beginner stuff to understand chess:
2. Understanding Your Opponent’s Moves
If remembering your moves was not hard enough, the ability to anticipate your opponent’s moves will surely be difficult.
Chess is not a game of focusing only on your own thing.
You have to keep tabs on what your opponent is doing. It’s a game of strategy that constantly evolves with each move.
The best way to win at chess is to plan ahead and understand your opponent’s every move.
In tournaments, it is very important to study the games of your opponents before competing against them.
It will help you in coming up with defensive and offensive strategies that your opponent might not be ready to face.
Things get hard when you are facing a stranger, and you have absolutely no idea what his playing style will be.
But don’t worry, keep analyzing your opponent’s moves on the board. It will be hard but still doable.
And if he plays something strange, most probably it will be a blunder.
And you must be capable of building on blunders!
It is important to memorize at least one chess opening with white and one with black pieces.
There is no way you can figure out everything on the board right from move #1 in every game. You need to have some pre knowledge of chess openings and traps to win games.
The good news is that those traps will work very well early on against low-rated players.
It is hard to memorize opening moves and tricks and traps but once you get hold of them, you will absolutely fall in love with chess.
Check out some easy opening traps in the video below:
4. Difficult to Cope with Different Styles Of Play
Basically, there are two chess playing styles, tactical and positional.
A tactical player is one who relies on tactics and tries to gain an advantage through tactical combinations, while a positional player is one who is always looking to occupy important squares and gain a positional and space advantage.
Check out our detailed article on different playing styles.
Top chess players are masters of both!
For a beginner, it is difficult to cope with opponents coming up with different styles of play.
It requires a certain level of adaptation and knowledge of position on the board to outdo your opponent.
In other sports, you mostly need to practice the same things again and again to master the sport, but in chess, in order to grow and improve your rating, you consistently need to improve your game and adapt to players of different personalities.
5. Clock Management
Chess is a game that requires time management and sharp thinking. It’s not easy to manage the clock well if you’re just starting out.
The chess timer is an added layer of difficulty to the game because it’s not always on your side.
If you are playing let’s suppose a 3 minutes game and there is no increment or very low increment like a second or two, then even if you have the advantage of a minor piece or a pawn or two but you are down on time, your opponent will be at an advantage.
Clock management makes chess a hard game because when you are in time trouble, your nerves and emotions start playing games, and it’s very difficult to play the right moves in such a situation.
But if you could master it by playing decent moves in time trouble, you will surely find chess to be less hard to play.
6. Struggle To Learn From Mistakes And Hanging Pieces
It can be difficult to learn from mistakes because beginners do them a lot, and it’s difficult for them to remember the solutions of their wrong moves for more than 24 hours.
Also, it is hard to fix all of them at once.
No 2 games are similar and it can take some time to find yourself in a similar position you blundered last time.
Chances are, you will blunder differently in a similar situation. 😀
Chess is a game that requires time, patience, and practice to develop into a better player.
Some mistakes won’t go away easily and to fix them you have to constantly re-analyze your games.
It’s hard, but with experience, you will start remembering more and more of your analysis and games.
As a beginner, it’s enough that you know your mistakes, and if you want to fix them, don’t fix them in bulk, try to fix 1 or 2 of them from each game.
That way, it will be easier for you to remember your mistakes and not repeat them again in future games.
7. Chess Psychology
People who are new to chess often have a difficult time understanding that in positions where you don’t have initiative, you don’t have to attack.
You have to be able to think ahead and see what your sequence of moves will result in.
If you are not sure what moves to play, then simply develop your pieces to the better squares. Or play a move that doesn’t change the situation of the board but keeps everything safe and intact.
The rules of the game are easy to learn but chess psychology is hard to master. It will take some time to become a better strategist in chess!
Also, besides the struggle of finding great moves, it is equally important to be confident in your moves and not worry about the body language and facial expressions of your opponent.
Many opponents will just try to bluff you with gestures and body language after playing a blundering move.
You have to develop the skill of focusing on the board rather than on your opponent.
5 Reasons Why Chess Is Hard To Play For Intermediate And Advance Players:
1. Chess Requires Concentration From Start To End
It is a game that requires attention and calculation from start to finish. As you advance in skill level, it will get easier to concentrate.
But winning will keep on getting difficult because as you progress in rating, you will get matched up with tougher opponents, both in tournaments and online chess.
The hard part is that your games will get longer and longer. They will require more brain energy and you have to constantly try to come up with different plans because your opponent can defend and counter very well.
2. Chess Requires A Constant Skill Polish To Jump The Ranking Ladder
It is not always easy to keep working on your weaknesses.
Naturally, our will to improve is sporadic. But chess requires a constant self-awareness of what we are doing and how we are playing.
The game is not only hard for beginners, but also for intermediate and advanced players in this perspective.
It requires constant skill polish to jump the ranking ladder!
Players should not feel discouraged by their current rating or get overwhelmed when their ranking goes up. And should always focus on improving their skill set by practicing more often and by analyzing their games after every match.
It’s not easy to do but that’s the only way to keep on improving ratings in chess.
3. You Need to Constantly Re-practice Tactics and Strategies
A huge part of chess is theory. You need to constantly work on tactics plus opening and endgame theory.
They are the very basics of winning games at higher levels because the margins to succeed grow thinner as you go up the ranking ladder.
And if you miss spotting a winning position or play the end game with the wrong technique, it will be hard to get any better in chess. A tough opponent won’t give you a 2nd chance in the game to win.
4. Time Troubles And Complex Positions Are Hard To Cope With
In chess, time trouble is a common occurrence. It is when a player has spent too much time on the chessboard finding the right moves.
The result of it is that the player who is low on time will now have less time to find the right moves.
Things can backfire very badly in such a situation because the opponent can bring out the dirty card of flagging.
Position on the board might be in your favor but with flagging, your opponent can win the game on the clock.
Survival in such a situation is even tougher if the game is still in the middle phase!
Since we are emotional beings, and no matter how skillful you are, it is always better not to fall into time trouble and play the time part well in chess.
5. You Need To Constantly Improve On Your Mistakes
Mistakes are a common occurrence at all levels in chess.
One of the most common reasons why people give up chess at an intermediate level is because they find it very hard to improve on their mistakes.
They think they have achieved their absolute best at a certain rating, and now they are not motivated enough to improve any further.
It’s challenging and hard that you need to be willing to learn from your mistakes, and then make adjustments accordingly.
Even if you are Magnus Carlsen, sitting on top of the chess world you constantly need to work on your chess to remain competitive at your level.