Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Best place to play chess online?

Where is the best place to play chess online? A nice list of sites can be found at, though they did leave out a promising new site, Kurnik. After I check out each site I will give an update on what I found.

From my experience with Hex , I know that the following criteria are useful for evaluating a site:
a) Do lots of people play there? (i.e., how often are the game rooms empty?)
b) Is there a broad range of skill levels? (i.e., are there too many experts or too many beginners?)
c) Are the board layouts and controls high quality and easy on the eyes?
d) Are there options such as timing of games, turning off timing, move retraction, board rotation, etc.?
e) Does the site save game histories or allow you to email game histories to yourself?
f) Does the site have tournaments? If so, are they at convenient times or can users initiate tournaments?
g) When you play someone of a similar rating, are they likely to be at a similar skill level?
h) Is it an English speaking site? [Obviously this applies to my linguistically impoverished brain]
i) Does the site attract mean people?


Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/06/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger ed g. said...

The most important thing is: _don't_ use an "interface which displays the pieces captured so far". Relying on looking at the captured pices is a bad habit. Look at the board! The pieces that count are the ones on the board.

Second, I think you should play people instead of computers as much as possible. Computers are predictable opponents, and if you play them too much, you'll find yourself tailoring your play to the computer's play; that won't improve your game as much as playing people.

As for what server to use, I don't have a strong opinion, but I'm a happy user of FICS. If you go to the FICS download page, you'll find a variety of interfaces for your OS; maybe you'll like one. I don't have much experience with other servers, although I found Yahoo very bad. I know a lot of people just play as guests on ICC for free and seem to like it.

4/08/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I see your points. It is a strange crutch I have, getting hung up on seeing the captured pieces on the side.

You also convinced me to play people instead of (exclusively) chess playing programs.

Thanks for the advice Ed: I need all I can get at this point!

4/08/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Hey Eric. I have played ICC, FICS, Pogo, and MSN and so far the best for slow games at my level has been ICC. You have to pay to play but it's not too expensive. On FICS I could go for a long time with no takers but on ICC I usually get someone to play within 5 to 10 minutes.

FICS is second, I use Winboard for that server. Nice big board and pretty easy to use. I play in the Team 45 45 tournament for FICS because you are guaranteed an opponent once a week.

Pogo is third, ok interface and features. Easy to use, but lots of ads and a few jerks. But overall a good experience.

MSN is dead last. There are some good people on there but the interface is horrible (you can't even switch sides), a lot of jerks, and even some hackers who break into games to screw things up.

Hope this helps. Aside from ICC the sites are free.


4/08/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I just played ICC again, and indeed when I blocked out of my mind that it would cost me money, I found that I really liked the interface.

I also liked, but when I tried to load their client I got an error that they haven't been able to fix.

Also, I went to Playsite tonight and waited 10 minutes, still nobody willing to play me. At ICC, there were plenty of people willing to play even longish games...Thanks PS.

4/09/2005 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Glad I could help. What's your handle btw? Mine is the same.


4/10/2005 03:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all,

I've found to be a great place to play with a friendly community. It's turn-based correspondence style so, somewhat different from the other sites discussed here. I've done a full review of the site using blue devil knight's criteria on my blog.



4/16/2005 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks for the review, ChessSmith. For people who like correspondence-style chess, it seems like a cool site. I should have had that on my list of criteria (is it real-time or correspondence chess?). I don't have the patience for correspondence chess. :)

4/26/2005 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Huy Phan said...

I have read all comments posted on this post so far and have found it very informative. Thanks, everyone.
Anyway, I am doing a research regarding Chinese Chess (aka. Xiangqi) but I know data collected regarding Chess would also be useful.

9/21/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Hi Huy. This post is rarely read now, as it is very old. Thanks for the comment. See my recent post on chess databases if you want chess data!

9/21/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Sicilian Dragon said...

Have u checked
It has a very good interface.

12/04/2007 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Rajesh: do a lot of people play there?

12/05/2007 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FICS with the babaschess interface. Free and beautiful. Ratings are realistic, and you can pick your opponents.

3/11/2012 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: I am now a FICS devotee.

3/13/2012 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with free FICS is that its mostly for young players who want to play chess variants or only quick short games and for those who have little patience for serious chess playing. Most there play with out using increments like 3/0 or 1/0 and most all of the tournaments are the same time controls. The players there have little patience or endgame knowledge and don't want to get involved in a long endgame and so they play quickly using premove and no increments and hope that they can win on time not because they out played their opponents with better chess skills.

So If you are a serious chess player interested in Standard time control games forget about FICS because you may have to wait a very long time to find one there. It also appears to be mostly a younger crowd of teens because teens rarely ever pay for anything that they instead can get for free. So as they say you get what you pay for and usually what ever you can get for nothing is usually worth exactly that, nothing.

4/23/2013 01:44:00 PM  

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