Is chess easy to observe?

I don’t plan on playing because frankly I don’t think I have what it takes to get good. But it seems like a fun game to watch. I watch starcraft but don’t play it for similar reasons, but it’s easy to follow and enjoy watching the pros for the most part.

Is chess easy to follow if you don’t play it? Or would I just be wasting my time?

Go is much more fun

I have the same question about go. Is my idiot brain going to be too far behind for me to follow it?

Unless it’s one of those “speed tournaments” . . . I don’t see how it couldn’t be easy to follow.

Understanding what’s going on . . . or implications for a given move . . . you’d likely need to be pretty familiar with the game

no point following chess or Go anymore.

Just download Alpha0 or AlphaGo and watch it play itself

I watched a documentary about AlphaGo. It was interesting but I understood none of the moves.

Chess is fairly straight-foward to follow. because it’s all about micro

Go has both micro and macro aspects. You’re fighting each other while simultaneously needing to secure territory, it’s kinda like Starcraft

not gonna lie, the most recent scandal involving mr hans got me intrigued

Commentators on Twitch do a pretty good job of explaining it so that people watching can sorta follow even if they suck at Chess.

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If you’re interested you should try playing at least a little, you’ll understand it better. There are plenty of places to play for free online.

If you really just want to watch catch some master games on You Tube.


If you can pass actuarial exams you can become very good at chess. Most of it is memorizing positions and knowing the optimal way to play it out.

don’t the movesets become prohibitively expansive after like 5 moves?

so really all the memorization is just the first few moves then it’s anyone’s game

I suck at memorization. That was the worst part of the exams. I am good at chess though. At a non-professional level, memorization in chess is extremely overrated.

There are basically three phases of the game: the opening (just about all of which will be thoroughly memorized by grandmasters), the middle and the end game.

If you’re super good at chess you’ve basically memorized lots and lots of openings and all their different variations. Then the middle game is lots of tactics, but the positions will generally cluster into certain types which all relate pretty similarly tactically. And then the end game becomes a bit of a mix of memorizing the optimal way to deal with this given ending position and just having a good sense of the tactics to deal with the position at hand.

Bobby Fischer invented (I think) a different style of chess where you start with a semi-random position in order to make it more interesting because at that level it’s all just like studying for an exam.

I would also add that a big part of the end game is your ability to “understand” what your opponent is most likely to do in response to your moves.

That is, did you learn anything about your opponent during the middle game?

yes, it’s called “Chess 960” or “Fischer Random Chess”. The back row is somewhat randomized, with a couple of rules, and so there are 960 different starting positions, which eliminates the value of memorized standard openings.

Fun fact- the Fischer Random Championship just started today and is going on all week.

Is chess easy to observe?

As an analogy, imagine watching (American) football on television for the very first time, with no sound. You might get some sense of the game, but you’d miss a lot. Then turn the sound on. The announcer will explain some of the subtleties, but the announcer assumes you know most of the basics, which you don’t.

I think observing chess would be similar, except there is no announcer. It’s probably harder to observe, because a player makes a move that may not be obvious, in anticipation of making the next few moves. (Of course a football quarterback may be doing the same thing.)

Any chess player can teach you the rules of how each piece moves, but the subtleties take more time to learn. If you want to learn, find a Chess for Dummies type book or some videos.

I vaguely recall reading some studies about correlation among school children between chess and math, although in my limited experience some of my good chess opponents were not math-types.

Ah but there are now- on YouTube or Twitch. Live announcers including a channel on chess24 specifically dedicated to beginners who know little to nothing about chess!

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Can confirm he’s good at chess. Our head-to-head record is overwhelmingly in his favor, although to be fair I started playing chess after the Queen’s Gambit came out.

Also agree that memorization is not as important at the lower levels since chances are the the game is going to be determined by who makes the last blunder in the game. Funny thing is when I play against @MayanActuary with the white pieces, the first 15 or 16 moves (1 move = both players made a move) have been basically the same every time.