Mastering Solo Chess: How to Play Against Yourself in

Looking to take your chess skills to the next level? Playing against yourself can be a valuable tool for improvement.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of self-play, how to set up a game on, and provide tips for making the most out of this practice. Whether you want to enhance your decision-making skills, test different strategies, or work on specific techniques, playing against yourself can be a fun and effective way to sharpen your chess game.

Key Takeaways:

  • Playing against yourself in can help improve your decision-making skills by allowing you to test different strategies and tactics.
  • Setting up a self-play game is easy – simply create a new game, select yourself as the opponent, and choose time controls and color.
  • When playing against yourself, treat each side as a different player, analyze your moves, and experiment with different openings and strategies to enhance your skills.
  • Why Play Against Yourself?

    Playing against yourself on can help with improving your tactics. Some people prefer playing against themselves by setting up the two sides on different boards and moving pieces one by one. Many players find it relaxing and they think of it as a form of meditation. When you play against yourself, you can focus on opening strategy, tactical play, and the endgame while relaxing with no pressure of winning against another person..

    Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

    When playing against yourself in chess, opposing sides are usually played independently of one another, but there is an approach known as decision-based correspondence play. Instead of waiting for the other side to make a move, as in traditional correspondence, you immediately make a response for the other side. The idea is to hone your decision-making skills quickly by practicing popular openings.

    Playing this way will limit your time to think at length about every possible move for white and black side. Teams can be as close to equal strength as self-play allows. As such, this method is very close to playing against yourself. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, this decision-based method was two of the three paths to Mastership in the US Chess Federation 2001.

    This can also be a useful training tool, as athletes in other sports use such drills to increase physical reflexes. Dr. Adam Mollow, a San Francisco-based anesthesiologist who co-wrote a chess article for the site with Brian Tillis, used the method of playing as white and black against himself to greatly enhance his playing strength, increasing his rating from `400 points` to over `1900 points` in `4 years` while using the method.

    Test Your Strategies and Tactics

    Playing against yourself allows you to test strategies and tactics. While playing against oneself, a player could set a goal to try out a specific opening or to practice a tactic they struggle with.

    This may be against weaker engines to get acquainted with the patterns when introducing tactics in one’s own play. Weaker engines set at low time controls not only provide practice in quickly exploiting the missed tactics of the opponent but also provide useful experience in recognizing one’s own tactical errors before they can be punished.

    Practice Opening and Endgame Techniques

    There are two opposite but equally important things you can focus on after the opening – attacking and developing threats of course. But when you reach the endgame initiating and learning checkmating techniques early is excellent. The endgame offers important lessons because there are so few pieces left on the board. It helps you make tactical and strategical decisions that are key to mastering the game. Books can be found that provide detailed discussions of endgame concepts, but it’s really useful and enjoyable to see how these theories work for you on your own or while playing against yourself.

    Here are some endgame technique articles to help get you ready to test these ideas against yourself on

    One of the best ways you can practice a specific opening is by simply playing against yourself. Knowing how to navigate the sequence of moves from the opening to the middlegame is crucial. The more you practice against yourself, the better a grasp you will have. Then, when playing against others, you will notice your improvement and will be able to proceed smoothly into the middlegame while utilizing what you learned when confronting your other side.

    How to Set Up a Self-Play Game in

    To set up a self-play game in, change your game preferences to include challengeable by me as the opponent. Go to Play and then click Create a Game, which allows you to choose the parameters of your game. You can set the board as white or black, the initial time control, and whether the game is a casual game, rated multiplayer game, or rated against Stockfish.

    It should be noted that Stockfish AI is the creator of fair, free, and open-source chess engines which can be installed as an opponent in Therefore, by setting up a self-play mode against Stockfish, users are initiating an AI versus AI matchup with no human intervention. Results and logs from playing against Stockfish can be used in such AI research as documenting the evolution of style and competitiveness among chess…Read more at: How to Play Chess Against Yourself on

    Creating a New Game

    To play against yourself on, hover over Play and select New Game, then go to the Create Game tab. From there, select the A.I. Opponent tab, right-click the Stockfish engine, select Choose to play against Stockfish, adjust difficulty if want to change from default 1, press Create. You can access the create a new game against the Stockfish AI option here.

    Selecting Yourself as the Opponent

    Selecting yourself as an opponent is a method to play against yourself on that players have an interest in but is not currently possible. This functionality was available on the previous version of’s Analysis boards, making it possible to play against yourself with the previous version of the platform. At the time of revision on October 17, 2021, there are videos on the internet dating to as late as September 2021 showing that it is still possible on certain versions or through tricks like right-clicking. no longer officially supports that tool. The most likely possibility is that newer versions as of revision have disabled features that allowed this, such as the ability to play yourself during timer-based sessions.

    The only way to play against yourself in under the current system is via third-party applications as suggested in the alternate methods section.

    Choosing Time Controls and Color

    Matches vs. yourself can be set as Rated or Unrated matches. If Rated, they will count towards your own rating. If you set a challenge match with a time control baseline as indicated for your rating, and don’t play faster or with more time than what is indicated, then it counts towards the adjustment of levels against other players. These help the AI understand when adjusting ratings for pairs who play similarly to each other.

    Color for your opponent can be changed, but for players looking for mutual rating adjustment, both sides should use black pieces.

    Tips for Playing Against Yourself

    Play against yourself is good practice. Having two slightly stronger personalities than yourself train you is superior. You can play both against each other and watch their games. Another important tip is to take your time. This is your game and you can set the time control to your own needs. Either player may request an undo of a move, discussing alternative moves and re-starting a game after finishing it, and comparing strategies with previous games. Find the rules that work best for you.

    Treat Each Side as a Different Player

    In’s live version of play against yourself mode, you have 10 seconds to make a move. You simply make moves in response to moves from yourself. Here is how the app recommends playing against yourself in a fair manner.

    Be sure to make moves as quickly as possible because you are technically controlling two players.

    To play against yourself in live mode do the following:

    1. Go to
    2. Log into your account
    3. Create a new game
    4. In the Player Options field make sure to disable Challenge and enable Seeking a Game if you have a Premium Membership
    5. Assign the white pieces to one side, and the black pieces to the other. You expand an arrow that will show a dropdown menu to select whether your additional game as white or black.
    6. When the game starts, make a move as the opponent, switch back to your previous tab and move for your other color. Then play another move for your first color, and switch back to the tab for their move. Continue these steps until the game is finished.

    In this screenshot from user Aryanjz plays to determine which one of his avatars – the account that plays much better chess than I do – is the best mind ever.

    Analyze Your Moves and Decisions

    An essential part of chess improvement is self-critical analysis. Engine analysis has certain limitations and can often not provide the insight or guidance of a human brain. Instead of relying solely on computers for feedback, post-game reflection and on-the-clock analysis can offer learning opportunities that are practical and applicable to future games and scenarios. Analysis is especially effective if players annotate their thoughts as they play or watch others analyze their games in-person or online.

    Experiment with Different Openings and Strategies

    An excellent way to play against yourself on is to experiment with different openings and strategies. In 12/2019 on a Reddit post, someone posted the idea of sabotaging one of the teams to create a situation in which one of those sides ends up winning. Although these are just words on screen between players, it makes perfect sense to extend that idea with varying strategies between the two games with the different color pieces. By following the same play pattern with each color, you prevent one team of pieces from inadvertently becoming much stronger or weaker. What you want is for the opening to set the stage for testing the rest of the game. You are not switching sides in the middle of the game, just testing the ideas put against different opposition.

    You are effectively assessing the same material balance and positional sacrifice on both sides of the board. It can become clear whether your strategy has merit if it is played out preemptively by you playing both sides of a game. When you switch sides frequently enough, you can get a clearer picture of the final product you want to achieve with your play style. For example, let’s say you play 20 games of the Sicilian Defense against the same opponent. For 10 of those games you play as White, and for the rest as Black. If formation Koboyashi Maru works really well for you as White, but you almost always lose as Black, is that because your Black-specific defense needs work, or is the White-side defense based on unsound principles that won’t work against better players down the road. Both happen, but you can’t tell until you play it out literally by switching colors periodically during a session or over multiple sessions.

    Common Mistakes to Avoid

    There are a few common mistakes to avoid when playing against yourself in

    1. Spending too much time thinking. If you don’t have a chess clock with a time setting, you might consider using one with a default setting of, e.g., 10 minutes for the entire game, although this is still somewhat hard to manage.
    2. Not realizing the camera had moved to your face during your opponent’s turn, when you’re supposed to be the one playing wwith their camera off.
    3. Unclear dramatic tension: Sounds strange but if you give similar or identical narration about your thought processes in the game, or if there is no longer any tension at all as it is clear who is supposed to be the bot, it’s not as enjoyable a video.
    4. In games that are highly strategic, forget that one of your sides is a losing player. Continue to play thinking only about positional advantages and long-term strategies.

    Throughout a game between yourself and’s Stockfish level 1, make sure not to take more than 5-10 seconds per move. Remember that these common mistakes can ruin an accurate analysis of your true skill level or understanding of your opponent’s winning strategies. Therefore, be aware that they can damage the health of your self-analysis or understanding of the game in general.

    Playing Too Quickly

    Playing on time against yourself with traditional bullet or blitz time controls are not recommended, as chess requires thoughtful planning and quick translation of this thinking onto the board, which is a challenging balance to achieve when trying to both win and lose against yourself. That said, answering all your early game exploratory moves with 1.e4 e5, 2.Qh5 Qe7, 3.Qg5 Qxg5 did allow the Black loses by checkmate against themselves as early as move 8 in an 11-second bullet game. Over-provoking large exchanges to ensure a checkmate against yourself while keeping one color is very possible.

    Not Taking Time to Analyze

    Humans look to get a mental workout by analyzing their games and performance after the match. During self-play with no opponent, this exercise is often overlooked as one tends to just move along quickly. Not hanging around for too long after a match is recommended, as is analyzing the match just completed with at least 5 minutes of looking at what each move was instead of the best move computer recommendation for your side and understanding what mistakes were made.

    Repeating the Same Moves

    A renewed player under a new account repeated a move with the queen on his first turn to delay the castling move.

    According to the FIDE rules of chess, the same position of the pieces must occur at least three times during the game for a player to make a claim of too-frequent repetition. The moves do not have to be played one after the other to make a claim that the same position has been repeated.

    To make the same move multiple times in quickly, play the same moves with the same sequences back to back. Before moving away from the last move (move the piece if playing standard analog chess), undo or cancel the move from the . . .

    Conclusion: Using Self-Play to Improve Your Chess Skills

    In self-play you will see improvement in various areas of your game including chess openings, middlegame tactics, and mate training. It will help you learn and internalize new information rapidly with more flexibility than sets of overly-similar scenarios can.

    It offers structured chess training analysis in your less difficult games by utilizing engines and downloading the data for post-play review. These areas to focus on will improve your chess playing ability and may be watched. Changing between them provides brief respite while enjoying the thrill of your chess self-play game.

    At whatever level you are, taking the time to play against yourself will be beneficial. If you are an advanced player, it might be wise to play the same position against an opponent at first, before playing against yourself, as amateurish opponents will sometimes throw up an unexpected challenge that warrants further consideration. For beginners and intermediates, spending more time on each chess self-play game will significantly improve your game, via chess analytics to chess insight and knowledge-building to chess training in tactics and mates all inside a single platform.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. How can I play against myself in
    In order to play against yourself in, you will need to create a second account. This can be done by signing up with a different email address or by using the “Add a new account” feature in the settings menu.

    2. Can I play against myself using the same account on
    No, it is not possible to play against yourself using the same account on You will need to create a separate account in order to play against yourself.

    3. How do I switch between accounts on
    To switch between accounts on, click on the profile icon in the top right corner and select “Switch Accounts” from the dropdown menu. This will allow you to easily switch back and forth between your different accounts.

    4. Can I set different time controls for each player when playing against myself on
    Yes, you can set different time controls for each player when playing against yourself on Simply adjust the time settings before starting the game and they will apply to each player.

    5. Is there a way to save games played against myself on
    Yes, you can save games played against yourself on by enabling the “Save Played Games” feature in your settings. This will allow you to review and analyze your games later on.

    6. Are there any benefits to playing against myself on
    Yes, playing against yourself on can be a great way to practice and improve your skills. It also allows you to experiment with different strategies and learn from your own mistakes.

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