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How to Play Chess Online- A Chess Experts Guide

Posted by Kristian Jeffrey on

An Expert's guide to Online Chess:
There was once a time when people didn't have to worry much about finding Chess resources online. A few decades ago people would have been contented flipping through books, magazines and discussing the ideas with their friends, in-person and at the chess board. As years rolled by and technology advanced gradually over the years, everyone had the opportunity to find the best materials, often, a google search away, and people to collaborate with despite being thousands of miles away. People made steady progress using free online resources and with a little help from their online chess buddies. If you think you aren't one of them yet, here's a guide to help you get started.
Chess Communities:
With access to quality learning material a fingertip, why is it that there are only 1598 (as of January 1, 2018) Grandmasters in the world?
Working alone at home is a challenging task. Motivation is a rare resource, more like a fuel that makes a player progress along his path. Working online, and alone at home, it would be very difficult to develop the motivation and inspiration to stay on track. This is where online chess communities help us. From giving us a gentle pat on the back to helping us find the right book for training, these communities can help us stay motivated in our journey.
Here's a roundup of some of them:
Reddit r/Chess: Link: Reddit.com/r/chess
Reddit is a community of communities. Among these communities is the subreddit called r/chess which is frequented by players of many levels. You can even find interviews, or AMAs (Ask Me Anything) of elite chess players like Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, etc. R/chess also has a quality FAQ for newbies which you can find here(link) https://www.reddit.com/r/chess/wiki/faq
Chess.com Forums:
The biggest Chess community on Earth is always chess.com's forums. There are different topics posted regularly on a wide range of topics.
StackOverflow Chess Community:
A small community with 98% answer rate!
Answers to specific questions can be asked on StackOverflow. Apart from a huge community of tech-related topics, StackOverflow also has a small chess community where you can get your chess-related questions answered.
Quora:
Quora is a question-and-answer which lost its fame over the years, but the site is still frequented by many dedicated. The biggest benefit of Quora is the vast number of quality answers accumulated over the years on the site.
A final note: 
No one would like a stranger wandering about uninvited around one's home asking questions. Similarly, when it comes to online communities, a good practice would be to first introduce yourself, tell them who you are and what help you needed and lastly, don't forget to help others.
Playing, Solving and Learning Chess Online:
Lichess: 
Lichess, more like lite Chess has risen to popularity rather recently and has grown gradually because of the elegant user interface, rich features and the fact that it's completely free. You can find tools to analyze your games, share your games with others, play several chess variants and tournaments.
Chess.com: Comes with a whole package if you want to go premium and you have a lot of membership options to choose from. Free membership comes with limitations, but playing is always free. The limitation comes in other aspects of learning videos and tactics.
Chess24: The free plan allows you to play for free, but has restrictions on the number of puzzles you can solve. A premium membership allows you to analyze your games using their cloud feature, watch their top quality videos and game commentaries.
PlayChess.com Started by Hamburg-based chess software giant, ChessBase. For a small membership fee, you'll be able to join the many titled players who frequent the site, play tournaments, attend lectures and watch quality video lectures.
ICC: Internet Chess Club
ICC is a popular site among strong chess players for over twenty years now. The site requires a paid membership, but you can also try out the different features using the trial membership.
FICS: Free Internet Chess Server
FICS is one of the oldest chess playing servers on the internet and is entirely run by volunteers. It is run as a free alternative to ICC and has a large user base.
A place to solve puzzles on the internet, for free. An additional premium membership would unlock different levels and features. Has a large community of users. Membership feature comparison can be found here https://beta.chesstempo.com/memberships/ 
Chesscademy: Chess Learning and Tactics website.
Offers structured lessons and training for all levels of players through an elegantly build website. 
You can browse through chess games played by other players. Thematic games collections on the site can be a very useful resource for developing players. 
Youtube channels: The best place online to find free chess lessons.
YouTube name
Channel Link
Description
Subscribers
Chess Network
Jerry, a self-taught National Master from Pennsylvania, USA, shares his knowledge through many videos on a wide range of chess topics.
217K
Kingscrusher
KingCrusher
Run by Tryfon Gavriel, a FIDE Candidate Master from England. Covers many technical chess topics on Chess improvement, chess analysis as well as commentaries on games. 
86K
Chess Explained
Run by German International Master Christof Sielecki. Covers both fun blitz videos to serious chess lessons. 
27K
John Bartholomew
Run by John Bartholomew, a strong International Master from Minnesota, USA. You can find many fun blitz videos, book reviews, game analysis, and commentaries. 
48K
Chess24
Run by Chess24. Famous for their Banter blitz videos and quality commentary videos. 
54K
Chess.com
Run by the famous online chess website by the same name. Offers commentaries on elite tournaments, chess lessons and much more. Just head to their playlist. 
150K
Chess Club of Saint Louis (CCSCSL)
This YouTube channel offers a collection of the best free chess lessons you can find on the internet. Videos are recorded by several Grandmasters and chess experts. Level: Beginners to Advanced players. 
141K
Common Chess Jargons: 
In your exploration, you'll notice that chess players have their own anecdotes and jargon, here's a list of some of them. 
 
FIDE: The world chess federation or Fédération Internationale des Échecs. Ranks players based on a rating system. 
Chess Titles by FIDE are as follows. You'll be lucky if you get to play with some of them. 
GM: Grandmaster 
IM: International Master
FM: Fide Master 
WGM: Woman Grandmaster
WIM: Woman International Master 
WFM: Woman FIDE Master. 
Arbiter is the chess equivalent of Cricket's umpire. The person is also referred to as a tournament director
OTB: Over the Board, meaning real-world games and tournaments.
PGN: Portable Game Notation. A chess database file format. 
FEN: Forsyth–Edwards Notation. A string of characters used to denote the position on the board. 
Chess Variants: Chess games with slightly varied rules. example: Chess 960, atomic chess, etc.
chess 960: Games played with a different starting position by interchanging the pieces on the first and last rank. Also referred to as Fischer Random Chess
Blitz Chess: Short time control games. 3 minutes with 2 seconds increment is the standard, but it differs from one website to another. 
Corresponding Chess: Chess game played either through postcards or through email with a time limit of a few days per move.
Chess Engine: A chess computer program. 
Wikipedia has a thorough list of chess terms if you want to know more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_chess

Do you want to become a stronger chess player?

Why not improve your instincts and skill with lessons from Chess World Champion Garry Kasparov?

Learn More with Garry Kasparov


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  • It’s great that you’ve mentioned how online chess communities are able to help people in getting better at the game, such as finding the right book or allowing people to playtest so that they’ll learn more about chess. I want to get better at chess and teach the game to my wife as well. I’ll make sure to keep this in mind and consider getting chess lessons in real life so that I can benefit from the best of both worlds – reading something and at the same time listening to an instructor.

    James Anderson on

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