How should I go about getting good at chess? Should I read a book or just practice a lot. Is playing online just as good practice as playing with a physical board. Do I have to be a natural or can I aquire the skill. I don’t wanna be a grandmaster or anything I just wanna be able to compete with a couple of friends who are well, way better than me. Any suggestions?

I like Internet chess – there’s always someone out there looking for a game. But I don’t think that’s a substitute for folding open a board and playing against a real person sitting across from you. It’s easier for someone to show you why a move did or didn’t work by moving the pieces around the board than by typing the instructions to you.

I agree with Snooooopy, having someone right there to help is great. There are a lot of “chess for beginners” type books out there, but I’ve never been able to read books about chess; learning by playing is the route that has worked best for me.