If you’re looking to work on your chess skills, but don’t really have anyone to play against, then you have two choices.

You can play against the computer, or you can set up a board and play against yourself.

Now before you scoff at that second idea, let me point out that there are some benefits of playing against yourself. I’ll cover those down below.

But first, let me tell you how you can sit down and play a game of chess against yourself.

Steps To Play Chess Against Yourself

If you’ve got a chess board at home, then you have everything that you need to get started playing chess against yourself.

  1. Set up the chess board just like you would for a game against someone else. Playing solo chess is the same chess board setup.
  2. Start playing by making your initial moves. Just remember, white always goes first in a game of chess.
  3. Just play through the game. Yes, you know the moves the “opponent” is planning, but sitting on the other side of the board and really taking your time to think about it from the “opponent” side gives you a whole new view of the game. So, don’t rush it!
  4. Avoid thinking ahead too many plays by getting up and walking away from the board to clear your head between moves.

As you can see, playing solo chess against yourself is really no different than playing against someone else.

You just have to train yourself to think about a strategy against yourself.

Overall, this is a great way to break out of your comfort zone and really stretch those mental muscles.

closeup of person play solo chess

Other Ways To Play Chess Alone

If you’re looking for other options than just setting up a board and going through the moves for each side as mentioned above, then there are a few other options for you.

You can do the following:

  • Chess puzzles
  • Chess drills
  • Practice some chess lessons
  • Practice some chess openings
  • Analyze some chess games

These are all things that help improve your chess skills without needing an opponent for practice.

10 Benefits Of Playing Chess By Yourself

Whether you’re playing chess with another person or going solo, the game itself offers up a lot of benefits for your brain.

You’ll be better at things like critical thinking and problem solving.

person playing chess alone

Here’s some of the top benefits of chess for your brain:

  • Chess helps keep your brain healthy to protect against things like Alzheimer’s (source)
  • Chess makes your smarter, with better cognitive ability (source)
  • Chess improves your memory (source)
  • Chess exercises both sides of your brain (source)
  • Chess boosts your creativity (source)
  • Chess improves your problem-solving skills (source)
  • Chess improves your ability to focus and your concentration (source, source)
  • Chess improves your reading ability (source)
  • Chess helps you develop empathy and the ability to see another’s viewpoint (source)
  • Chess improves your planning skills (source)

As you can see, there’s a lot of good reasons to set up that chess board and play a game against yourself.

Final Word

If you’re looking for a way to pass the time when you’re alone, then playing a solo game of chess is a great option.

You’ll gain all of the same benefits that chess offers when playing against a partner, and you may even have fun.

Plus, it gives you a chance to work on improving your game.

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