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Getting Started.png

Chess can be challenging to play and learn. Playing against real opponents can be even more intimidating. We've created a pathway for players from absolute beginner to tournament ready. Follow our guide to get started with over-the-board chess and learning to play this beautiful game.

Learn to play the game*

(FREE and complete curriculum for self-learning)

You can't win any game unless you learn the rules. Our friends at and have very comprehensive lessons for new players. I personally recommend ChessFactor. The site is completely free and has a complete curriculum from beginners to 2000 rated players. For players learning how the pieces move up to advanced tactics for skilled players. Follow the links to the left to begin your chess lessons.

Join US Chess

In order to play rated events, you must join the United State Chess Federation (USCF). Joining USCF allows you to play in any rated event in the country. You will receive a unique USCF ID which will track all of your game for your lifetime. Your ratings are used for tournaments to pair you with others of similar skill level. Sign up for US Chess at the link to the left.

Play your first rated games

Once you become a US Chess member, it's time to start competing against other players. The best place to start is the Albuquerque Chess Club night. Every Thursday, players may play rated events against other similarly rated players. This is a great start because of the free entry and availability of opponents.

Thursday nights at 5:30pm. Slice & Dice Eastside. Free entry.

Play your first chess tournament

Now that you've played your first games, you can face greater challenges at larger events. These events will have longer time controls and more players with the chance to win cash prizes or awards. Follow the link to the left to find upcoming events in New Mexico.

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