Type to search

Top Tips From a Local Chess Master


Learning chess at age 6, playing adults at the Geneva Chess Club by 11 and celebrating 40 years as a chess coach and teacher, White Plains’ Sunil Weeramantry is a bona fide expert. In fact, it may be this World Chess Federation Master who finally moves you to dust off that old board and take another stab at the 1,500-year-old game. Lacking the time to train every novice individually, Weeramantry recently released a new textbook, titled Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History. We spoke with Weeramantry, to get some down-and-dirty tips for those who want to up their own game of thrones. 

Three best tips for beginners:

  • “The first lesson is, don’t worry about losing. My grandfather beat me consistently for over a year when I began.”
  • “You learn the game by playing, so play; you learn from your mistakes.”
  • “Understand and enjoy the moves that are played, regardless of the result.”


Three biggest rookie mistakes:

  • “Moving without thinking. Most kids grow up playing videogames, and most videogames are fast-paced and reactive. Chess should be slower-paced and reflective.”
  • “Often, a rookie player will go for direct attacks on the king at all costs, which is a mistake. We use a baseball analogy: ‘When the pitch is outside, you shouldn’t be reaching for the home run.’”
  • “Thinking you’re doing well because you have more pieces on the board. If your pieces are not developed and active, you don’t really have an advantage.”