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:
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.
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.
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
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?
About.com Chess: The old dependable About.com 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 – 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?