Best Places to Play Chess Online:
If you want to play chess online, then here are the top 15 places you can play chess online for free.
Most of the websites below are free, with an additional paid membership bringing additional benefits.
If you think I left out any important websites, then let me know and I will add them to the list!
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Chess 24.com was founded in 2014 by GM Jan Gustafsson and Enrique Guzman. In 2019, Play Magnus Group merged with Chess 24.
You can play against people or against computer bots. There are about 8,000 games and 400 people online at any one time. The computer bots range from Casper (the easiest) to Magnus (difficult).
On the basic membership, you can play games for free and do 5 tactics in the tactics trainer. But with a premium membership, you can analyse games, get access to a wide variety of instructional videos, and try unlimited tactics in the tactics trainer.
Chess.com is the biggest chess website on the web with over 70 million members. You can play live chess games online for free and it is also a forum and social networking website.
There is a free membership where you can play live games at different time controls and against computer bots at different difficulty levels. You can also do some chess tactics, drills, and complete some chess lessons for free on the basic membership too.
If you get the chess.com premium membership, you get access to a variety of new perks such as being able to do more puzzles and lessons per day. You can get access to game reports and analysis and unlock all chess bots.
As of 30th September 2021, there are three different levels of chesss.com premium memberships.
On the gold premium membership, you can get 25 puzzles per day, 5 puzzle rushes per day, and 3 lessons per week.
On the platinum membership, you can get unlimited puzzles and puzzle rushes per day, as well as 5 lessons per week.
On the most popular diamond membership, you can get unlimited puzzles, puzzle rushes per day, as well as unlimited lessons and an unlimited video library. There are free trials before you are billed monthly or annually.
Chess.com has a variety of puzzles you can do.
There are normal puzzles, puzzle rush (very popular), puzzle battle (where you compete against other users), the daily puzzle, practice drills, and endgames.
Chess.com also has a variety of different lessons where you can learn chess as a beginner.
They have chess lessons, analysis, articles, videos, and an opening explorer.
Lichess.org is famous for being free and open-sourced. It is one of the most popular online chess platforms on the web.
You can play live online games with people from around the world or play with the computer bots at 8 different strengths.
Lichess also has a range of different puzzles you can do for free. They have normal puzzles, puzzle streak, puzzle storm, and puzzle racer. Their chess puzzles come from games that were played on their server.
Lichess also has a section where you can learn about chess in a range of different ways. They have lessons on the basics of chess, as well as practice lessons where you learn about checkmates, tactics, and endgames. People can also create their own studies for different openings and chess traps.
They also have broadcasts of live tournaments, as well as a large free video library with videos sources from Youtube. The videos are arranged according to categories which can be helpful if you are looking for help with certain openings or middle game tactics.
Lichess has a range of different tournaments as well. There are hourly bullet, hourly superblitz, hourly blitz, and hourly rapid arena tournaments, as well as a range of daily arena tournaments.
There are also tournaments for different ratings too. For example, the <1300 rapid arena tournament or <1500 blitz arena.
ChessTempo.com is a very popular website for chess puzzles and tactical problems. But, you can also play live online chess with other members of the site.
They have a large membership base of over 1.3 million users.
Chess Tempo is probably the most popular website for chess puzzles. It has 128,546 tactics problems as well 14,094 endgame problems, and its members have solved over 835 million problems at the current time.
Chess Tempo’s tactical positions and endgame positions are taken from actual games. You can get a tactical rating and track your performance via graphs and statistics.
For endgame training, you can verse the computer and get notified of any suboptimal moves.
Chess Tempo has a range of memberships that are pretty cheap and give a range of different benefits. However, the free membership also gives you a lot of benefits too, including playing unlimited online games.
Playchess.com is an internet chess server run by ChessBase for people to play live online chess.
Playchess.com has around 1500 players at any time with over 8,000 games played daily.
You can play as a guest or register to play rated games against opponents of your strength.
You can play a range of time controls including bullet (1 min), blitz (3min, 5min, 10min), and slow games (15min + 5 secs).
You can also play normal games (with no hints) or play against beginners (with hints included).
Playchess.com also has a wide variety of tournaments to join as well.
With a paid membership you can get added benefits. The website uses an internal currency called Ducats which you can use to purchase chess courses, lectures, and interviews.
SparkChess.com is a great chess program and website with the ability to play multiplayer games (live online chess) or single-player games (against the computer).
The graphics at Spark Chess are nice because it uses a 3D chess set at an angle. It looks like you are playing with a real chess set.
You can improve your chess skills by practising against AI characters with unique characters. You can also study chess with interactive lessons.
There are a variety of chess puzzles that can help you get better at chess and learn some new tricks.
There is a Spark Chess basic membership when you register which grants you access to basic features.
There is also a premium membership with additional features, such as an AI coach, and extra AI characters.
7. Internet Chess Club (ICC)
The Internet Chess Club (ICC) was one of the first chess websites where you could play chess online. It was launched in 1995 and is available in a variety of different languages, like English, French, German, Italian, and many others.
The ICC has a range of services available.
You can play live online chess games with other members with a rating system.
You can play against computers as well.
The Internet Chess Club has live exhibitions of tournaments with commentary by grandmasters. You can also look at recorded lectures, a library of games, and private lessons (at extra cost).
You can access learn to play chess and practice chess puzzles at the Internet Chess Club’s Learning Centre.
There are also tournaments where you can earn weekly cash prizes.
ChessWorld.net is quite a popular online correspondence chess site – where you can play chess games against other members over many days.
ChessWorld.net was founded by popular online chess Youtuber Kingscrusher (Tyfon Gavriel).
There is a basic membership which is free.
However, there is also a paid membership with a flat fee that offers a range of extra features.
There are a variety of interactive puzzles, chess courses, and a searchable video library as well (at additional cost).
Gameknot.com is a chess website where you can live chess games against other members. There are a total of around 2 million players registered. There are players of all levels, including grandmasters.
Most days there are around 1,000 players online at any one time.
You can play chess online against other people or play games against the computer (AI bots).
There are also daily puzzles and chess puzzles you can try to solve to improve your chess skills.
Gameknot.com also offers monthly tournaments and leagues, with huge chess game databases you can look at to improve your chess openings. There is currently a database of around 4 million chess games played on Gameknot since 2000.
Registration is free and quick and easy.
Chess.org is a great website to play live online chess with other people from around the world.
You don’t need to register to play against other players. You can easily play as a guest.
If you want to verse people of your own strength, then you can register for free to play a rated game.
On chess.org, you can play standard chess or chess960 with other live players.
You can also choose a variety of different time controls, from 1 to 180 minutes long with 0 to 180 seconds increment per move.
The chess engines you can play have a difficulty level from level 1 to 8.
ChessOnlineFree.com is an amazing website to play free online chess with other people.
You can register for free or you can play for free as a guest.
You can set up your own game in standard mode or chess960 mode, and also decide time controls you want as well.
Otherwise, you can choose to join a match from the available list on the website.
On ChessOnlineFree.com, you can choose to play against a random player, the computer, or a friend.
The computers have a range of difficulty levels from easy to difficult. If you train with the computer you can retract a move you made.
At any one time, there is usually around 200 – 300 players online.
RedHotPawn.com is a great correspondence chess website. You can play correspondence chess with other people from other the world over a few days.
It is designed for computers, mobiles, and there is also an app as well.
There are forums where you can chat with other chess enthusiasts.
Red Hot Pawn also has a variety of different tournaments you can join too. There is Quintets, Duels, and Septepts, as well as many other tournaments.
You can also do some chess puzzles and join a club as well. You can learn chess through some instructional lessons and blog posts too.
If you want to play some faster chess online, you can also play against the computer on RedHotPawn.com. The chess AI has different difficulty levels.
13. Free Internet Chess Server – Play Free Chess Online
The Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) is a chess server that is run by volunteers. It was organised as a free alternative to the Internet Chess Club (ICS) after ICS began charging money for membership.
Users have free, unrestricted access to the Free Internet Chess Server.
If you register for free, you can receive a rating, play in online chess tournaments, and save games for analysis.
The Free Internet Chess Server has over 300,000 registered users and is one of the oldest online chess servers.
You can play a variety of chess variants and time controls on FICS. You can also download one of the interfaces created by FICS’s users to change the graphic interface too.
There is also a Teaching Ladder feature where you can submit your games to stronger players for analysis.
14. Maths is Fun Chess
Maths is Fun is predominately a maths website for children, however, they also offer a chess engine where you can play chess versus computers or another human player.
There is a range of difficulty levels for the AI you can try. The levels available are beginner, novice, skills, hard and ruthless.
If you play against another human, they need to use the same computer. This could be useful in a classroom setting if you don’t have a chess set available.
You can also choose a variety of different time settings, such as 1 hour, 30 mins, 20 mins, 15 mins, 10 mins, 7 mins, and 5 mins.
You don’t need to register and playing is free.
ChessFriends.com is another internet chess server where you can play live online chess with a variety of different players from around the world.
It was started in 2011 and there are around 3,000 players and 882 games in progress at any time.
Players from over 105 countries join together to play chess games online.
You can also download the mobile app to play chess on your mobile too.
ChessFriends.com has tournament broadcasts, analysis with a strong chess engine, and online tournaments you can join.
Registration is free.
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