Top Tips From a Local Chess Master

Some recommendations for those looking to amp their chess game.

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.”

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