There’s Hope for Terrible Chess Players

NM Dan Heisman shows a beginner’s first error-filled tournament game, then shares a hopefully inspirational story about that beginner.

Dan now has over 280 videos on this channel . Thanks to all for helping us meet our goals of 5,000 subscribers!!

NM Dan Heisman has been a full-time chess instructor since 1996 and is the author of 12 chess books, the TV show “Q&A with Coach Heisman” on and the radio show “Ask the Renaissance Man” on the Internet Chess Club. Radio personality Howard Stern was one of Dan’s students. Dan tries to answer comments on YouTube but for a quicker, more comprehensive answer (or questions about lessons), contact Dan via email, skype, or phone via Dan’s website . His Chess Tip of the Day is @danheisman on Twitter, which won the award for “Best Twitter Feed” in 2021 from the Chess Journalists of America. #Chess #ImproveChess #ChessInstruction #ChessThinking #ChessThoughtProcess #ChessImprovement #InstructiveChess #ChessMicroInfluencer #ChessEvaluation #WinChess #SlowChess #ChessStrategy


  1. Not sure whether you used Lichess because of the previous comment about the board being "better" than ICC's board, but I like ICC's better.

  2. Very interesting video!!
    What are some of the "right things" you did to improve so fast? Other than not playing hope chess.
    May be you could do a video series like "My chess journey from 800 to 1900 in 1.5 years"

  3. “I’m not crying; you’re crying!” Very inspirational video Dan.

  4. The key to improvement is self-reflection. I know a lot of players that play chess constantly for decades and do not improve at all, it is obvious they do not figure out what they are doing wrong and correcting it.

    Congrats on 5k subscribers!

  5. This looks like so many of my opening games it's hilarious. And also very instructive!
    Bd2 being a bad move because it doesn't actually stop black taking the pawn is not one that had occurred to me and I'm sure I've played that similar 'out' of the pin many times before.

  6. Thank you for making this video. I must confess I definitely relate. When I was young I had an interest in chess, and would play often against my dad. He did his best to teach me and I enjoyed the games but I never really improved. I thought much like you did that you just make a move, wait for your opponent to make a move and then work it out. I thought I was pretty smart and I was good at games so I should be good at chess, right?

    I also heard that the pros can see ten moves ahead in their minds, and as I couldn't do that I wouldn't ever really be that good at chess because I couldn't see that far ahead. I didn't really think to approach chess as something I could learn and improve through study and practice, and I wasn't really presented with a way forward. The school's chess club was just a group of students playing hopelessly against each other. So I didn't really play much and did other things with my time.

    Now in my late 30s I've decided to have another crack at it. I've known the rules of chess but have never really learnt how to play properly. And I thought it was about time. It seems the learning environment has really changed! I've gone through a few teaching apps on my phone, and video lessons etc. I use lichess and for puzzles and to have regular games. I use their engines to go over and review my all my games. A friend shared links to archived pages of your Novice Nook column, and as I found them full of great ideas I searched out your YouTube channel.

    I've found that my game has very much improved and I know there is a long journey ahead of me, but I am definitely enjoying it! Your tips on how to improve, not just on the tactics of the game itself, are very instructive. People forget that you have to do more than teach a subject, you have to teach how to learn the subject.

  7. Very good point for beginners. Hopefully some will watch & be inspired to not quit because they are "lousy". We all have to start somewhere.

  8. I'd love to go from this level to 1900 in 2 years. Still about 500 rated and stuck it feels like, only 4 months left until I hit 2 years. I feel like being young and having a coach and being around players IRL would help a lot. Being smart enough and good enough at studying to be valedictorian probably doesn’t hurt, either.

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