The best chess software to learn chess depends on the learner’s level of knowledge. But there is some straightforward advice to make a good choice on what chess software to use.

If you are new to chess, start with carefully choosing a chess software program that covers the rules, basic strategies and tactics in depth. There are plenty of good programs to choose from later that will help you build this initial knowledge.

You should have chess software that

1. Teaches you all the rules and more.

2. Let’s you play against the computer and practice what you learn

Surprisingly it’s hard to find a chess software program that does both well. So it’s usually best to find two separate programs that complement each other. This way you’ll maximize your learning experience as well as your playing experience.

A clever combination of training and playing software will yield the best results. Here’s some advice.

First of all, the chess playing software.

One of the newest, most feature-rich, and straightforward chess software programs is Rybka 4 with the ChessBase interface (this interface is more user friendly than some). Rybka 4 has a unique advantage. It plays like a human. What that means is you have a much more natural feel to the game and don’t get the same repetitive stuff you’ll find in many free chess softwares.

Rybka 4, released in 2010, was also a breakthrough in sheer playing power – sure, unnecessary for beginners, but still cool. And you can always customize it’s playing levels and strength to your liking.

Another key reason a chess software like Rybka 4 could be one of your best choices is that it’s not only a fun way to explore playing chess with your PC with all kinds of visual enhancements, 3D views, unique chess sets, and more, your playing experience is enhanced by access to one of the largest online playing sites for a year. You can choose a game of as fast or as slow as you want, against high level players or beginners – people just like you, worldwide. The online chess playing experience here is amazing.

My favorite way to play chess at home is hooking up my electronic wood chessboard, the DGT e-board with Rybka 4 on the Notebook computer, for some livingroom coffeetable chess action against Internet players. 30 minute games are great with this setup.

And for the chess learning software…

Here’s my secret. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your first chess training PC software. A simple, yet comprehensive program like TASC Chess CD 2 will give you literally 50 hours+ of training for a fraction of the time and money you could spend scouring the internet for a chess program.

This software is simple, and packed with quality instruction. The software was produced years ago, and is getting very good results with those that still know about it. It’s a quick, easy install from the CD. It saves your scores and progress. If you already understand the rules of chess, you’d still learn quite a bit by skipping section 1 and going into steps 2-5 on the CD.

This software doesn’t just teach the rules though; it will advance you into a fairly strong beginner or lower intermediate level if you dedicate some time and attention to it and practice what you learn.

Once you have the basics down there are some good ways to improve Tactics, Strategies, or other specific areas of your game. I mention Tactics first because it usually pays off the quickest and is a good area to spend time next. Using chess software to advance far beyond the basics is a topic for a separate article.

A lot can be learned by playing chess as well as studying, and with the multitude of robust chess software programs for the PC, not to mention online chess playing sites, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to challenge human or computer and sharpen your game by playing.

Play over-the-board games whenever you get the chance and play against opponents that are better than you. Every loss teaches more than a win.

See ChessHouse’s page on best chess software for learning for more details on this software.