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Best Internet Chess Clubs



Best sites to play chess online.
Club nameCost / Year# of Players / DayRecord StatsAuto SaveCheaters (Winboard)Top Players (1 to 10) Events & LecturesVariants of ChessAbility to check LagDownloadable InterfaceJava InterfaceTournamentsPrizesAvoid List
Playchess.com$37.4123009
Chess-Live$49.954007
Owl21$015006
ICC$49260010
FICS$07503
jeu.echecs.com$394004
Yahoo.com$0Infinity5
MSN.com$05201
Pogo.com$05201
Chess.net$30703
Chessanytime.com$391003

Note that guest are not included in player count.

The Evil Winboard?

Although winboard interfaces allow cheaters it can also provide nice board layouts and many other things you can customize such as hotkeys and premove. It is also available in for different operating systems like linux or Macintosh. As an alternative linux users can use wine to use windows application on linux.



Playchess.com

It has the easy interface you may have seen before in their fritz software. In fact, you can even plug-in one of their engines while you watch GM games live even if your just a guest. Just unplug transmission and add kiblitzer, this is especially neat for live broadcast games. Every now and then you'll see GM Nigel Short roaming around. When someone cheats it's displayed in the main chat room and their rating is deleted. It has separate ratings for different time controls. 1 year membership is free with the purchase of fritz 8. The majority are European players.

World Chess Network

Several masters challenges and audio lectures make it possible to play against real grandmasters almost every day. They always have high quality players, excellent audio lectures and a full schedule of daily events including their unique "predict a move" series when the best win prizes. One annoying thing is that you can only set preset time controls 1, 5, 10, 15, 30 with the only possible increment being 5 seconds. It does not have separate ratings for time controls. Students may be eligible for discounts and canadian citizens get more than half off! They have christmas specials and sometimes have freeday fridays so you can watch the thank god it's friday match. The majority are US and Canadian citizens.

Chess21

Chess21 was sold to ICC. Now a new site called educared.net hosts their old software. It does not have separate ratings for different time controls. The biggest problem there are with speed games because there's too many people with heavy lag. Chess21 offers a free version but they restrict watching high ranked games, auto save, and the chess variants. The majority of users are from spanish speaking countries but also some French and American citizens.

ICC

It has many strong players titled players at all hours of the day and it's members are serious about chess. It has separate ratings for different time controls. Its main flaw is it's ability connect to winboard making it easy for members to cheat but that also means you can use a variety of interfaces that are free and open source. It's interface may be a little confusing at first especially to those who are relatively new to computers.

FICS

A free site with similar style interface as ICC. You can use a selection of winboard style interfaces to play with. Cheating can be a nuisence. It's been around for a really long time and has had thousands of players but ultimately the problems with cheating and the lack of preventitive action make people go else where.

Echecs.com

Primarily french. Has tournaments and events but nothing distinguish itself as a unique resource.

Yahoo.com

Recently yahoo upgraded to a flash interface, but didnt remove any of the old problems. The advanced lounges are just saturated with cheaters showing off custom engines or pirated ones. The chat lounges are just porn spammers or racial and religious debates. It's common to switch the time to 1 min in hopes the opponent wont notice. Personally I had liked it because it counted lag against you so if your playing one minute games you won't get people with 3 second lag wasting your time and skewing ratings. Also, you can create a table and just wait for people rather than continually making new "seeks" if the opponents leave. Each player can create a table and wait for opponents rather than seeking a game after each finished match.

Chess-live.com

It's 29.95 people under 21 year old and I think there might be a discount for USCF members. It has events, mostly tournaments and rare lectures. Not worth it.

Chess.net

Chess.net was an excellent site that lost all hope when they only allowed premium accounts to play there. They had a tough anti-cheat staff, a few titled players, and frequent tournaments. Now they have very few players, none or rarely there titled players, and few events.

Uchess.com


Around 40 people connected at anytime, uchess.com is good for beginners. It has a fast registration process and a very easy flash based interface.