Skip to Content
Tech tips

5 insider secrets to using

It took nearly 600 years for chess to evolve from a recreational activity into a fully-fledged sport. It was only in the 1800s that it became formalized, and what is regarded as the first official World Chess Championship only took place in 1886.

The sport’s popularity ebbed and flowed over the next century, but it has never seen such a surge in player interest like it did last year. The Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” exposed chess to a generation that probably wouldn’t have cared otherwise. Want a brief history of chess? Tap or click here to check out a cool video. saw a 160% increase in players compared to the year before. And this happened a few weeks after “The Queen’s Gambit” was released. By the end of November last year, the website had almost 3 million daily active players. If you are new to the game, we have five pro tips to improve your skills.

1. Use the puzzles section to practice

There is no denying that constant practice makes perfect. That’s why it’s important to increase your skill through the puzzles section. Created by chess masters, the Chess Puzzles section teaches tactics, pattern recognition and awareness.

Interactive lessons range from rushing against the clock, racing against other players and solving a daily puzzle. In total, there are over 150,000 puzzles available, which gets more difficult as you progress.

2. Make an animated GIF of your game

Figured out a sweet move and want to show the world? With the Chess GIF Maker, you can create an animated GIF of your game and share it with friends. The dedicated page on makes it easy, as you only need to input the URL of your match.

Once you have selected the board color and style of pieces, click on Create GIF and your image will be generated. A separate page will then open, where you can save the GIF to your computer.

3. Hop into the forums to pick up some new tricks

The best place to ask for advice, pick up some new tricks, or message fellow chess players will be in the dedicated forum section. Open to players of all levels, the forums span several topics like a general discussion, game analysis, showcases and endgame studies.

There is also a thread where players offer up knowledge in chess lessons, where to find the latest books and resources along with local chess events.

4. Create and manage your own club

The global pandemic has put a serious damper on social activity, and that includes chess. If you want to create your own online chess club for free, the website provides you with all the tools and resources you need.

As the website explains, hosting it on comes with “tons of features to help you organize communities and host events online.” The guide on the site will show you how to create a club, manage it, invite other players and schedule a match.

5. Avoid distractions

A chess match at a venue is serious business. Concentration and focus are at an all-time high, as there is a lot at stake. Playing at home and online, however, it is easy to fall into distractions or lose focus.

The best way to beat distractions is to put your computer in Do Not Disturb mode. Here’s how:

For Windows computers, right-click on the Notification icon on the taskbar. Hover your mouse cursor over Focus assist and select Alarms Only.

On a Mac, hold the option key and click the Notifications center icon. When Do Not Disturb is turned on, the notifications center icon will be grayed out.

Keep Reading

Canadians play chess while submerged in ice

Free virtual classes to master your Apple devices

Tech smarts in 2 minutes a day

Get my Daily Tech Update and the Digital Life Hack. Just one minute each and arm you with the tech knowledge you need to impress your boss and friends with how smart you are.