New to chess?

The English Chess Federation (ECF) is here to help. There are literally thousands of resources out there, but rather than provide a comprehensive guide, we wanted to help you to see the wood for the trees. Therefore, we have left out many excellent (and not so excellent) resources in the interests of simplicity.

Find a chess club

Find chess clubs in your area by clicking on the map at
Find a club in your area that has an online presence by clicking on the map at
On the same page we list the ECF clubs at and We welcome all levels of player to those groups but you need to be a member or supporter of the ECF – details of how to join us for as little as £10 per year are at

Whether or not you join a club or the ECF clubs online, if you want to play games at any level being matched with players of the same skill, whether beginner or genius level, then the above sites – and – are great places where you can play free of charge. You can choose a username of your choice, so no need to worry what people think about your play if you are new to the game!

Find a trainer

You will need to provide your own due diligence and research, but there is a list of potential chess coaches at

Learning the rules?

Some good places for beginners to start are and


Recently, chess has exploded, and there are vast numbers of chess streams and videos out there. A particularly good series of videos is by ChessNetwork: the Beginner to Chess Master playlist at

Here is an article from a while back which has stood the test of time. It features some great chess streams and videos. Thanks to Danny Rosenbaum and CHESS magazine for permission to reprint it here – Video Chess Resources

Learning resources

Chess Tempo – – great for practising tactics

Chessable –  – a modern way to learn chess, well-suited for those learning a new opening

DecodeChess –  –  uses artificial intelligence to explain the reason behind moves to you.

Forward Chess – – if you prefer reading books on a computer or a tablet, then with Forward Chess you can read the book while you move the pieces around on the computer, so no need to set up a separate board.

Play in ECF Online tournaments

As an ECF member or supporter you can join one or both of the ECF Members Clubs on or Lichess. Club admission is free to ECF members and supporters and will allow you to take part in daily tournaments, which are all ECF online rated.

This will allow you to get experience playing stronger players in the open tournaments or you can play in rating limited events. Playing in the regular tournaments means that you will get an ECF online rating, which provides you with a way of measuring your progress. We also have regular National events and International team events which you can try as your playing strength improves.

Printed materials and courses

New players looking to progress from beginner up the ranks can enrol in the ECF’s Certificate of Excellence course at If you prefer, you can download particular resources in PDF format for free to help your own progress via the links on the page, but you’ll need to pay to take the exams.

Richard James, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, has a website – Minichess UK – which includes a detailed guide to help newcomers to learn chess. You can download the PDF free at

Are you a school looking for help?

The charity Chess in Schools is a great first port of call for any school that needs help with teaching their children chess. Find out more at

The Last Word

The English Chess Federation want to encourage you to pursue chess whatever your level or potential – it’s a great game. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, then please email the office and we will do our level best to get back to you as soon as possible and point you in the right direction. Plus – keep an eye out for our own Twitter feed at, where you’ll see lots of relevant Tweets of chess news, chess improvement, chess in the media and more!