Chess & Game Sites You Must Visit
Are you trying to learn more about chess? Do you enjoy the game casually, or do you have professional aspirations? Or do you just want to socialize with other people who share your interest in and passion for the game? Whatever your needs, you’ll find an online playground to serve them. It’s especially easy to find willing opponents to pit your skills against, thanks to the ever growing presence of thousands of servers online. Here are some of the top sites you should check out.
If you’re already part of the online chess community, you would have heard of ICC. The Internet Chess Club is the premier chess website and the oldest as well, having been founded in 1995. Head here if you’re in the mood for some seriously stiff competition – this site is not meant for casual players. Top players abound in the ICC, and these include titled players and grandmasters. And you can even challenge them yourself! There’s a one month free trial period, but membership isn’t free after that. Members can access libraries of games, recorded lectures and private lessons at an additional cost.
Plus, if you want to hone your skills, you can take classes from online teachers here, who will walk you through the nuances of the game.
ICC allows members to play both chess and quite a few chess variants against other users and computers with a rating system in place. Members can also watch live tournament broadcasts complete with commentary by grandmasters and watch past games with titled players on ICC. Plus, ICC even offers tournaments, such as when it partnered with the United States Chess Federation to provide online quick and blitz tournaments.
ICC has its own proprietary software, Windows BlitzIn and the Dasher program. It also has sophisticated methods to detect cheating!
This is probably the biggest chess website out there, with over 11 million members and counting. Visit the site any day, and you’ll see around a million games being played simultaneously all around the world. Players can play live chess with time controls, or correspondence games where they take their own time to make a move (which can even be days.) Chess.com is known to be welcoming to newcomers, and is a friendly environment for chess players, at least for the most part. The server is free of cost, and allows users to play on their phones. VIP users, however, can pay a premium in order to gain access to extra training features, videos and statistics. But never fear if you don’t care for premiums! There are also a lot of learning tools and introductory lessons that’ll also help basic players increase their knowledge of chess strategies, and refine their methods.
This is the ultimate when it comes to chess related news. The Week in Chess produces a weekly digest that viewers can download in order to read up a condensed version of all the noteworthy events of the week. The site updates daily, offering not only news but live coverage of games as well. It also has a book review section, which can be useful if you’re studying any aspect of chess. You can also keep abreast of tournament through the trusty Chess Calendar on the homepage. And, of course, any chess page worth its salt is going to allow chess lovers to play online. While not such a popular place for players to congregate, there will be around 450 games in session at any given time. Players can play against a computer or human opponent.
Another old online chess server, this was set up as a free alternative to ICC when the latter began to charge for membership. Players will need to download a compatible interface due to the lack of an official application that can connect to and interact with the server. They can either play as anonymous guests or make a user account, for which he server will maintain game statistics and ratings. FICS has more than 650,000 registered accounts at this time.
FICS also has a number of limited chat channels, which are strictly monitored and censored. The channels are mostly only used for general help, helping out guest players and for general chat. Players can also use “shouts” as a way to mass communicate.
Apart from chess, FICS also plays host to chess variants like suicide, loser’s chess and wild. And it hosts regular tournaments as well.
Here’s an interesting one. Chessable attempts to use learning science to create training tools that will improve your chess mojo. The principle is that science helps us understand the intricacies of chess learning. So the most efficient way to learn the game is with the help of neuroscientists, psychologists and educators.
The site uses demonstrable scientific theories, like spaced repetition and scheduling, which states that people achieve peak learning ability when they review and revise their knowledge in increasing time increments instead of on a regular basis. Chessable applies this theory by using a scheduling mechanism that nudges the learner to revise efficiently. If you get a chess move right, you’ll see it after a significant amount of time has passed. But if you get it wrong, you’ll see it much quicker since you need to review it more urgently.
That’s just one theory of the many it utilizes. Research on dopamine and declarative memory is implemented, as is a focus on imitation and implicit learning. The site also sells books on chess to provide a more detailed study of the game. Additionally, it features a blog that mainly focuses on strategy.
Lichess provides a variety of online play modes as a free and open source online chess server. It is massively popular – second only to chess.com, which is number 1 worldwide. Every feature on the website is free without exceptions, including the training features like tactics training, puzzles and chess coordinate. The site supports both live and correspondence chess games against other players at different time controls. Like FICS, players don’t need to register to play and can use the website anonymously instead. But registered players can make use of the ratings system, compete in Lichess’s tournaments and post in the forums. They can also use the Stockfish chess engine in order to analyze played games. Additionally, registered users can earn the title of Lichess Master, which will then appear by their username.
Users can play one of the chess variants hosted by the website too, like Chess960, King of the Hill and Racing Kings. Lichess is also friendly to players with visual impairments, with features in place to help them play the games. Players can stream live to twitch.tv, hitbox.tv and YouTube. Lichess is host to established players like Grandmaster Eric Hansen and International Master John Bartholomew.
This website isn’t updated regularly, but it’s worth a visit just for the tools. It boasts some unique and cool training materials, like a chess endgame simulator, visualization training and diagram generator. It also has a puzzle creator and a puzzle app that you can download on your phone. And of course, as the name suggests, the website is a repository of videos. It specializes in videos of moves made by professional players and tournaments. If there’s a particular tournament whose moves you want to look up (say, Karpov VS Kasparov), all you have to do is enter it in the search bar and enjoy a detailed list of the moves in video form. Training videos abound on the site as well, including ones by masters.
Another massive chess community, ChessCube has over 1.4 million members. Every day, ChessCube hosts hundred of tournaments that allow players to win cubits, the online currency used at the site. These cubits can then be used at the ChessCube shop to buy items like backgrounds, voices, chess piece colors and chess piece styles. Another form of currency is crowns, which are meant for premium or VIP members, but can also be used by players strong enough to win tournaments. Crowns can be used to enter some kinds of tournaments and to buy items at lower levels permanently.
The community is largely free from trolls and abusive players, thanks to its system of moderators who have the power to mute abusive players or report users who are cheating. Registered players can chat with each other in the chat rooms or while playing or spectating games. Players don’t have to register, but registered players can make use of more perks than anonymous guests.
ChessKid is a child oriented website that focuses on inculcating a love of chess in school going kids. The website is designed to be child-friendly and safe. It is also organized to help coaches find teaching material and tools to manage chess clubs, and allows for tournaments and activities to be carried out easily. ChessKid has a virtual classroom as well, along with an easy curriculum as well as report card facility. The website is optimized for districts, with easy pricing for every district, and a setup for every grade in any school.
Children can play with opponents around the world, and can learn from the online puzzles and humorous videos. And home-schooled kids can join in on the fun as well. The complete chess curriculum and use of report cards to track progress means that this resource can be of great help to home-schooling parents.
Chess-results has one purpose: letting you know chess results. Well, the name is a dead giveaway in that department anyway. It has a massive tournament archive, with information from over 250,000 tournaments all over the globe. And it doesn’t just cover Championships and Olympiads, but also club tournaments the world over. Visitors to the site can search for specific tournaments and players, as well as the type of game.
This is more of a specialized website that is designed to appeal to programmers. The Chess Programming Wiki contains all the information you need to program computers to play chess. The wiki is a comprehensive bit of work, with references provided for every aspect of chess-programming, not to mention information about chess programmers, engines and researchers. Of course, it isn’t a website for the everyman, but if you want to start up your own chess related site online, give this wiki a whirl first. Odds are that you’ll find it highly informative.
GameKnot is a free to play correspondence- only site. As correspondence-only sites go, it is on the larger side, with over a million players. While the website is slow to update, and the lack of an open forum makes it difficult to have discussions, GameKnot makes up in other areas. The tactics trainer on the website is an improvement over that of Chess.com, since GameKnot does not time all its tactics and force players to lose points if they don’t complete a move in 5 seconds. Additionally, GameKnot uses tactics played on real games on the site. On Chess.com, which has very few hard puzzles, it is possible for players to game the system by memorizing the answers to them and then completing the puzzle when it invariably appears again later. GameKnot on the other hand is not so limited in its supply of hard puzzles, and so players cannot game the system in this way.
Gameknot has also has a large database with just under 800K games for version 1.e4 of its world database. There are even more games under the GamerKnot database.
Red Hot Pawn is also a correspondence-only site. Basic membership here is free, but users can register to gain access to advanced features. Red Hot Pawn has a large user base, which can play in tournaments on the site. It also has ladders, teams (or ‘clans’) and other play modes.
DGT is the place to turn to for quality chess products. It’s a very meticulously detailed website, with neatly organized and easy to navigate sections. The website sells more than just chess related products, such as digital clocks, electronic boards and accessories. However, chess is a bit of a specialty of theirs. They have chess computers, starter boxes and electronic chess pieces, as well as traditional non-electronic chess boards. Many of the products are handmade crafted pieces, and one can often find limited edition products up on the site. Interestingly, a prospective buyer can choose to buy directly from the DGT e-shop, or they can use the website to find dealers in brick-and-mortar shops by country.
The website’s marketing section keeps customers appraised of toy fairs and provides detailed information about products. The website also has a news section that focuses on championships and new product releases. Plus, chess lovers can read interviews with tournament winning players there.
It’sYouTurn.com is a lot more no-frills than most of the other websites mentioned here. It is a better site for casual players than it is for players looking for strong opponents. The website provides simple correspondence play, and in addition to chess, players can also play other strategy games like Go, Xiangqi, Backgammon and Battleships.