GM Ben Finegold’s Message to Beginner Chess Players

Ben goes over the most common mistake new players make. [02-01-2022] !NordVPN

Sponsored by NordVPN

Broadcasted live on Twitch — Watch live at

Signup or gift a Premium membership to get access to their lessons, remove ads, improve your chess, AND help Ben at the same time!!
Upgrade your membership or join! –

Buy Merch today!

Watch live at

Please consider a donation at:

Follow me on Twitter:

#benfinegold #chess #lesson #NordVPN


  1. Appreciate the help Ben. I played a little as a kid but never had a coach. Only picked it back up after the queens gambit. After advancing very quickly from about 400-800 but then I hit a wall. Took a break and now I’m trying to start over.

  2. Not only is Chess hard, but being a good teacher is even harder!

  3. Have to take a sec here to point out how yeah the scholars mate is 'baby's first trick' but when kids are super bad at something, sometimes they need that pick me up to get them to not be discouraged. Really nice of him.

  4. Ben is very generous to use the word "beginner" for someone who can't yet remember how the pieces move. That sounds more like a "pre-beginner" 🙂

  5. I'm not a beginner, but as someone who used to be a beginner, and was one for longer than I knew I was I really love the way you explain stuff in your videos. You're probably one of the nicest people in ChessTube.

  6. I think he mistakes a beginner for someone who doesnt know the rules

  7. One time when I was in 4th grade, I forgot how pieces moved, and I thought the rook could jump over other pieces like the knight can. So every game I would just start as white taking my opponent's rook and then capturing all of their pieces and checkmating them
    My friends didn't like that very much

  8. I love this video. I’m currently teaching my son how to play chess and it’s really reset my paradigm on how I should be teaching him

  9. To think some people were calling him of all people elitist – the irony

  10. Very true. Anyone who wants to know what it's like for a beginner, go try Korean chess!

  11. Don't call Han's lawsuit frivolous. A Conneticut court just awarded a $1 billion damage award for questioning the Sandy Hook shooting. The final award will be well above $2 billion. Free speech died on that day. I know what many will say. Alex Jones is the worst person on the face of the earth, he deserved what he got, boo Alex Jones!! Please educate yourself. Research legal precedent.

  12. Ben is the greatest chess streamer on the planet

  13. Yep, back when I was a kid, I always forgot how stuff moved when I was first taught, lol! Without knowing how the pieces move, tactics fall on deaf ears as you'd never have a grasp on it because there's so much going on at once. My grandpa (and my teacher) did have some ways to help get it down. Namely by the piece shape. Rooks are mostly straight so they move in straight lines, Knights have a L-shaped head, Bishops have the diagonal cut in them, Queens have 8 points for 8 straight directions all around and Kings are like the queen but one. But Pawns… They have nothing. So I'd forget the possibilities of those more than others. I also never remembered castling or En Passant after being shown them for a while.

    If one forgets those times they had while learning, they may just assume "beginner" means "knows how the pieces move but doesn't have much idea on tactics". Then they get nowhere. So it ends up being a thing of knowing your audience before giving the lesson.

  14. I think a kind of flipside of this – but definitely not for people just learning the movement of the pieces -, sometimes having some more theoretical knowledge means you have more vocabulary with which to observe your own practice, so it can be easier to learn.

    Like, it can be easier to simply remember things about a position if you've been exposed to some ideas which help describe/name chunks of it, even if you don't quite understand how these concepts should be applied or leveraged in practice directly.

    (just to be clear, this can of course simply overwhelm you, so ymmv)

  15. Ben, I really like your talk. So empathetic and grounded.

  16. Wonderful video – gives me a motivational boost. Thank you!

  17. I learned more from this video than from reading Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual 5 times. Go Ben!

  18. This is super helpful. Teaching my 6 year old now, and it's great to remember this stuff.

  19. I think the same goes for language learning. I can't remember anything unless I see the same word over and over again. As an adult learner, it is very difficult.

  20. Amazing how many people during the Live Chat said, "How can someone be that new and watching this channel?" Well, guess what…there are a lot of us! I just learned pawn's only capture diagonally! I turn 43 this year and have never played chess…always wanted to…never got around to it, but I am thinking of starting with my kids. Thank you, good sir!

  21. My favorite Ben finegold is the compassionate still a little bit mean Ben.

    Never change.

  22. I like when Ben is.serious every once and a while. I know he's a nice guy I've seen him like this before, it's been awhile actually he's been doing it more lately, quite a bit more. I remember the first time I saw Ben was at St Louis I think teaching classes. The first time I thought he's funny and the kids like him but then I saw another and he was sarcastic and kinda mean to the kids and I thought maybe he's not so nice. But after awhile you just learn his style and he's actually really a funny sarcastic nice guy that is usually just kidding although he can be an ahole like we all can some more than others. I remember I saw him be honest about how long it took him to start to be good a couple years ago. I've always liked him but I really became a fan after that video. He can come off as he's superior and just mean if you don't know his style

  23. I used to play shogi, which the pawns simply take the piece in front, so I had a hard time to see the diagonal pawn moves.
    Now, I am having a hard time to see that the diagonal pawns are not defending each other in shogi.

  24. Thank you Ben. I am fluctuating between 1000 and 1100 for a year now

  25. Needed to hear this, thanks Ben. Been having some rough games online lately and feeling like I'm just no good at the game. Started playing in earnest a few months ago after being familiar with the game since I was a kid.

  26. I just imagine Ben finegold asking a 4 year old sincerely if he plays golf or tennis

  27. I have ADHD and I've never had any 'natural' aptitude for chess. Every game was an agonising lesson in futility for me, my dad would always beat me when we played, friends at school would always beat me. So I just thought that it wasn't for me. However, I started learning to play early this year, and I've went from being a 200 to a 1200. I beat my dad and my friends all the time now. Hard work pays off, and hard work beats 'natural talent' 9 times out of 10. Hard work is the natural equaliser

  28. When i was 9, I was 600.😝

  29. At 15:05 – the question is asked "how many legal moves do you have?". The reason the answer is six is because it is also a legal move to resign! Great video, Ben.

  30. This really rings true to me. I tried teaching my nan some chess the other day but it quickly became clear that she just didn't share the same understanding of the game I did. I was trying to explain how the Knight can fork pieces and she admitted that she didn't see why it worked, even with the position on the board right in front of her.
    I realized I was starting waaay too high level and probably should've just stuck with how the pieces moved.
    At the same time, I remember a time when I was like my nan, and it's kinda crazy to think how much stronger I am now than then – I hardly feel like I'm a good player, but I can see I'm much stronger than I once was.

  31. It is really a rare and valuable thing to have a GM level player who struggled for a long time when he was young. It makes him uniquely able to understand what beginners are actually experiencing. Start slow and very basic, learn to move the pieces, then learn to not hang one every game. And that alone can be a long term, years long project, especially if you are young or have limited time.

  32. 0:28 "there were 2 kids who always lost every game"

    Me: So what happens when you match these two against each other? Checkmate, Ben.

  33. Ben's message to begginers:
    Ur not begginers, u just suck

  34. I love how Ben, even though he's a GM, really knows what a beginner is. Some 2000 ELOs on cc will go "oh, you're a beginner" after you play for like a year and can find some pretty nice tactics, even though they're not master level tactics.

  35. I would like to hear how Ben Finegold when he was a beginner, handled being bullied by stronger chessplayers, when there was an aspect he wasn´t an expert at. When he talks it sounds like it was expected that people were experts before even starting. Like it can´t be tolerated that you were a kid and had a childhood. Like meanness is the only way to progress. So the idea of creating a better world means nothing to him, except if he thinks it should become meaner? Or?

  36. Ben Finegold: " – Maybe I told him there were 6 possible moves and there were only 5 and took his money. MUHAHAHAHAHAAAA!" I wonder if the situation was the other way around and it was Mike Kummer who took Ben Finegold´s money. Longlife hatred and shame on Mike Kummer. Typical Finegold-strategy. Like when he talks about for example Garri Kasparov being mean like it´s the most admirable personal character-trait in the world and yet says that he doesn´t like Kasparov because he knows him. Makes so much sense these contradictions.

  37. I remember my first tournament. I had prepared a bit, learned the basic opening and a few tactics. I was in a round robin of three games. I lost the first two games and I played against someone else from my club that also lost their first two games. She played a weird reaction to king pawn opening and I think I had a checkmate at move 6, the king was smothered and couldn't get out of my queen's diagonal. I had to ask a tournament official if it was checkmate.

    After that, I knew that I would win in chess as long as I fought through the losses and kept learning. I read the books my club had during my classes, I played during lunch, I was obsessed. I started winning a lot more.

    I ended up 1100 USCF after two years which I was proud of. Chess club moved to mornings so I stopped going but I play online sometimes. It's a life long journey.

  38. "..basically we live in a world thats mean"


  39. As someone that teaches kids chess in a school setting I really appreciate this. I do tend to start off with how do the pieces move and a few things like this but I tend to want to get into stuff like back rank mate, ladder mate a little bit too early probably.

  40. proud I solved the legal moves puzzel then remembers it's for players that think bishops can move straight forward through pawns

  41. "everything is very difficult if you don't know it"
    "you get very good at chess if you play a lot of it. That's how you get good at anything"

    This guy isn't only a chess genius, he should talk to 16 year old kids in schools. I wish I had someone tell me these things when I was that age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *