Getting Started with Odin Chess

Posted on 2022-09-04 by Odin Chess
Updated on 2022-09-09
Tutorials
Chess pieces lined up at the start of a match, white background, blue tint

Purpose

When we started Odin Chess, our goal was to make a website that focused entirely on turning its users into better over-the-board chess players. In order to do that, we decided to avoid certain game modes such as blitz and bullet, which can be entertaining, but often encourage the development of bad habits. Instead, we decided to offer game modes that encourage careful thought, and above all, force the user to visualize the outcomes of their moves in their mind. The following features are listed in order of difficulty, from easiest (for beginners) to hardest (for experienced players).


Chess Notation Tutorial

Understanding Algebraic Chess Notation (also known as PGN or SAN) is essential for anyone looking to improve their ability to study chess. You must be fluent in algebraic chess notation in order to understand chess books. We try to encourage the use of algebraic chess notation by making it the default in all of our game modes. If you're not familiar with it, or would like a refresher, then our Chess Notation Tutorial is the best place for you to start.


Minigames

Put your understanding of algebraic chess notation to the test by playing some of our minigames. You can start by playing our coordinates minigame, which will sharpen your ability to quickly locate a square on the board based on its coordinates.


Vision

Perhaps the most essential of all skills for players looking to improve their game, and yet one of the least emphasized, is the the ability to visualize the outcome of a series of moves in their mind. It allows you to follow along without a board when reading chess books, and more importantly, it lets you plan a series of moves in your head while playing over-the-board. This skill is so important that we have dedicated an entire game mode to improving it. Our vision game mode gives you a set of moves in algebraic notation to memorize, and then shows you a board. You must identify the piece that is out of place. With various difficulties offered, this game mode has something to offer anyone at any stage in their chess journey.


Tactics

Practicing tactics is another essential aspect of becoming a better chess player. By practicing tactics often, you will learn to recognize when you have an opportunity to win material in a game. Most chess websites offer tactics - so what makes the Odin Chess tactics different? The main twist here is that you need to enter the entire series of moves all at once. This will prevent the lazy habit of guess-and-checking your solution as you go along. This is supposed to be hard, but it will prevent you from falling into bad habits that will hold back your chess development.


Play

Last but certainly not least, in order to improve your chess skills you must play more chess. Because we want to make sure that the games you play here are the sort of quality games that improve your ability as a player, we have no time controls. We made the decision not to include time controls in order to encourage users to think hard about all possible moves and variations, and to only make a move when they are confident it is the best one. We also allow users to block the board for n moves at a time, with the goal of building up the ability to visualize longer and longer variations in their mind. This will be the ultimate test of your chess learning journey. The longer you can hold a game in your mind, we think, the better you will perform in your over-the-board chess games.


We hope you enjoy working towards becoming a better chess player - and we hope that Odin Chess can be a valuable tool for you on that journey. If you have suggestions for any of the above game modes, don't hesitate to reach out on our support page - we're always open to feedback.

A hand drawn image of the Norse God Odin playing chess
Odin Chess
The Odin Chess team is composed of several members. We have various levels of chess skill, from beginner to expert, but are united by our love of chess. Writing blog entries is a team effort, and each blog entry is written with the intent of helping our users improve their chess abilities.