The Best Online Sources To Play & Learn Chess

Mark O'Neill 27-11-2008

I love playing chess and collecting chessboards and like everything else, my enjoyment of the game has moved online. As well as playing installed software chess games, I also have some favourite chess websites where I like to meet other players from around the world for a game or two. After all, it gets boring eventually playing against a computer. Sometimes, it’s good to play against a real live human being.


So here are some of the places where I like to play chess online. Later, I will also discuss some of the places where I have learned some chess tactics.

But one place which I will not talk about is Yahoo Games (in case anyone starts getting worked up in the comments). I used to enjoy playing chess in Yahoo Games but the site is just not built for Firefox (Yahoo seems to be not inclined either to rewrite the site for Firefox) and so having to use Internet Explorer all the time just ruined it for me. So eventually I stopped using the site and moved on.

So here’s the three places I use for my chess fix:


chess game online

I wrote about ItsYourTurn back in September last year and it’s great for playing chess. Free IYT members get 40 game moves in 24 hours (paid members get unlimited moves) but the whole idea of ItsYourTurn is that you make a move, walk away from the game and come back to it later or the day after. So 40 moves a day is more than enough.


I personally have 10 games going on at one time – I make one move on each game every morning then I don’t go back to it until the next morning. But there are paid members who have dozens and dozens of games going at the same time. So if you’re looking for an opponent, you won’t find it hard.

If you feel like upgrading to a paid membership, it costs $29.95 per year. But I don’t see the point personally.

Flash Chess III

play chess online free

This requires Adobe Flash to play but it has a nice interface and the website plays a good game against you with three levels of difficulty. You use your mouse to move your pieces around the board and there’s a time limit.


Email Chess

email chess

One that I have only recently started using. You set up the game, enter your email address and the email address of your opponent.

You make your first move, and then the game and your first move are emailed to your opponent.   Their move is then emailed back to you and so the match begins!

Soundkeepers has a 10 day maximum for moves, after which it automatically resigns the player who has taken more than 10 days.


Online Sources To Learn Chess

how to play chess game

So, playing chess at these three places is good enough but you’ve got to learn how to play and you’ve got to improve your game.    So where you do find advice on chess tactics? Chess: The old dependable which everyone can rely on. You can learn everything on this site ranging from the history of the game, the rules, beginner’s tips, tactics to improve, books and equipment to buy and much more.

Chess Problems [Broken URL Removed] – the best way to improve is to be given a chess problem to solve. “Chess Problems” gives you problems to solve ranging from “novice” to “fiendish”


Chess Openings – the most important moves in chess are always the first ones. That’s why you need to always practice your opening moves until they are perfect. “Chess Openings” is “an interactive series of +8,000 unique board positions, from first moves through to full development of pieces, covering all major openings, defences and variations.”

Predator At The Chessboard – I just love the name of this site. This has lots of advice on each chess piece, its value and various tactics. My only complaint is that it is lots of text and no graphics which makes it hard to follow.

Free Internet Chess Server – many chess games document your every move (and your opponent’s move).  If you save those moves, you can submit your games to the Free Internet Chess Server and more experienced chess players can analyze them for you. They will then spot possible areas where you are weak and suggest improvements.

So that is basically where I play chess and how I improve my game. What about you? Where online do you play and what online sources do you use to improve your game?

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Schach
    November 27, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I play chess at A lot of strong players from Russia.

  2. ps2 games
    October 14, 2009 at 2:02 am

    I play at which has a free and paid service, all correspondence games which are great when starting out or studying.

  3. Mark King
    October 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    My father showed me how to play chess.Back then there wasnt resources like now.New age...

  4. Giant Chess Fan
    September 15, 2009 at 4:11 am


    I've recently started playing chess against my friend, does anyone know any early moves that can give me an advantage>



  5. Boybawang
    May 22, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    I am an International Master you follow my advice.

    The best for learning tactics and endgames is

    The best for playing chess is:

  6. Dragon Fire
    March 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Gameknot is dire!

    Red Hot Pawn is great value. Lots of members and great forums. You can play 6 concurrent games FOC.

    Schemingmind is great for Chess Variants, try Lao Tzu, Crazy House and Racing Kings amoung others.

  7. Fritz
    February 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Many thanks for a great post, especially the Chess Problems site this will come in very handy for my blog aimed at Chess for Beginners. I play at which has a free and paid service, all correspondence games which are great when starting out or studying.

  8. nob
    February 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    There is a new chess-website for learning chess, very good for beginners at

  9. Constant
    December 19, 2008 at 2:25 am

    I recently came across a great chess site. offers everyone the chance to enhance and improve their chess experience. There are different types of games to play including Blitz, Classic, and Rapid. Even though there's a membership fee, players can still come and play for free, however, their stats will not be saved. I highly recommend the site for anyone interested in Chess and improving their game. Memebers aslo get other features including the ability to chat. The actual board layout is great and offers many features. With all the features that are available, it's hard to find something bad to say about the site. If you're looking to play against people from all over the world,, is the place to go. Go check it out...You will not be disappointed.

  10. Tracy
    December 8, 2008 at 5:01 am

    I also recommend Great free site and they also have the chess-960 variant

  11. Rick G
    December 6, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I highly recommend for playing chess. They have free and paid memberships. The site is mostly used for correspondence chess via email.

    One unique aspect of the site is the support for chess variants. After learning a few of these, I rarely play regular chess any more. The web interface knows the rules for all the variants on the site.

    I play most of their chess variants: Chicken, Chicken960, Extinction, Losers, Losers960, Suicide, Suicide960, Alice1, Alice2, Racing Kings, Atomic, Atomic960, Crazyhouse, Crazyhouse960, Dark CrazyHouse, SunTzu, Dark1, Dark2 and UpsideDown chess!

  12. Michael
    December 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    The Chess Problems site you mention has an interesting (mostly in a good way) interface, but if you want to solve *real* problems (and lots of them), you'd be much better served going to I think it's best-in-class for free tactics exercises, and nothing is going to improve your chess faster than that.

  13. AlgoFLash
    December 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm


    Definitely !!!

    How come you didn't mention it?? It has EVERYTHING!

  14. Michael
    November 30, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Another vote for (Vote early and vote often, right?) I've played on (puhlease), (probably a lock on #2), (what? no correspondence chess?), (good looking, but again, no correspondence chess), and (kind of old-school technologically, but it's got some cool and unique features - including chess variants). I actually came to prefer schemingmind to redhotpawn, but is clearly top of the pack for features and quality of the user experience - even if you're a non-paying member.

  15. Andrzej
    November 30, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I use , PlayChess and for playing chess online.

    I was missing a place, where I could collect all of my games from different sites, so I created It lets you review the games later and import games (pgn) from any given URL. Would love some feedback.

  16. Adam H Klein
    November 30, 2008 at 6:03 am

    I started playing at about a year ago and think it's just the bees' knees!

  17. Charles
    November 30, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Gameknot? You must be joking - do you work there??

    Best Paid Servers:
    Internet Chess Club (
    Playchess (
    Pros: many serious players, always players online, tournaments
    Cons: pay, limited social interaction, boring interface

    Best Free Server:
    ChessCube (
    Pro: free, always players online (but not many master and above), nice interface
    Cons: in beta, so some lag and bugs, no tournaments

    FICS is decent - kind of like ICC but not as many users. Yahoo sucks... I really don't see the appeal of GameKnot; Chesspark has so few players that it is hard to get a game (and I hate their UI)... and I don't have much to say about these correspondence chess sites (like it's your turn... I want blitz games, not these drawn out multi day games)

  18. Eduardo Burgos
    November 30, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Another vote for

  19. Alex
    November 30, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Another vote for GameKnot - I've happily played on this site for seven years.

  20. jbd
    November 29, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Thought I'd let you know I've been playing chess online at yahoo games, using firefox on linux for over 6 months. Works fine, and there's always plenty of players to pick up a game with.

  21. Michael
    November 29, 2008 at 7:36 pm is king. Online games (correspondence time settings or real time), tactics puzzles, articles, blogs, forums, position/openings explorer, etc., etc. It's got it all.

  22. trejay
    November 28, 2008 at 11:49 am

    definitely gameknot - I have not tried many of the sites above, but I gameknot is the best one I have tried. I also like when I am studying openings etc.

  23. pierpaolo
    November 28, 2008 at 9:56 am

    gameknot here too... i also tried but gameknot is better (imho)

  24. Jairo
    November 27, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    I play in