The royal game can seem intimidating at first. But if you approach it with the right mindset, you will be crushing your opponents like Beth Harmon in no time.

In recent years and months, chess has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. From the acclaimed Netflix series The Queen's Gambit to the more recent cheating scandal between Hans Niemann and Magnus Carlsen, chess has once again proven its status as one of the most fascinating games humanity has ever come up with.

Perhaps you have thought about giving chess a go yourself. Despite its reputation, chess is not all that difficult to get into, especially if you keep a few things in mind.

When training, DO study specific scenarios. Your success in chess will in part depend on your ability to adapt to different situations. Particularly during the endgame, you will have to be able to play effectively with a reduced number of pieces. You can prepare for these scenarios in advance: Can you get a mate with just two rooks? A knight and a bishop? What if you find yourself in a king and pawn endgame? The more scenarios you prepare for, the less of a chance you have of being surprised.

On the other hand, DON'T confuse yourself with advanced concepts at the beginning. If your goal is to become a decent chess player, you will have to read some theory at some point. However, there really is no need to hit the books from Day 1 – in fact, it might actually hinder your progress. As a beginner, your focus should be on the board. Try and get a feeling for how the different pieces move. Learn the rules to avoid wasting time thinking about what you're allowed to play instead of what you want to play.

That being said, DO learn one or two openings. Many beginners struggle with the opening phase of a chess game. The common advice given is to stick to what is referred to as the "core principles" of chess, e.g., develop your knights and bishops, castle your king…etc. While this is fine, the problem is that it can quickly become quite boring and repetitive. By learning just one or two openings (no need to overdo it), you can bring some variation into your first games and get some strategising experience.

In the context of more recent chess news, please DON'T cheat. For one, cheating sucks the fun out of the game for both your opponents and you. Secondly, it reduces a creative, endlessly fun game to a boring, pointless exercise in ego grooming. So, switch that chess engine off and simply enjoy yourself, wherever the game takes you.

DO get creative. Chess is an endlessly complex game, but a surprising number of people play the exact same way each time. Once they find a strategy that works for them, they try and win each game in this style. If you only play very casually, this might be fine, but if you play more regularly you will be an easy target. What you don't want to be in chess is predictable. Some of the best chess players in the world are so difficult to beat because they can play the game in almost any way there is.

And finally, DON'T underestimate the pawns. Another classic beginner's mistake. When you learn what the different pieces can do, it's easy to dismiss the pawns as nothing but cannon fodder. After all, the rooks and the bishops can cross the entire board in a single move, the knights are so nimble and unpredictable, and would you look at the moves of that Queen! But more experienced players know that a well thought out pawn structure can give you a significant advantage in any game. And, lest we forget, if a pawn makes it to the other side of the board, it can transform into any of the above-mentioned pieces.