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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Server Site Review

Plastic Bishop This website has been designed to allow you to play online chess with no ads and no fuss. Games can be played at your own pace, so if you want to play games that span days or even weeks then that is fine. To start playing simply sign up and start playing right away!

My Site Rating: 1203 (+14 –0 =0)
Wins included this gem:
Me (1203) – Other Guy (1376)
1.g4 d5 2.Bg2 Bxg4 3.c4 Be6 4.Qb3 dxc4 5.Qxb7 1–0

While I’m sure the site has some pretty good players, I never played one. I think the longest game I had was 22 moves or something like that. Their forums don’t amount to much and are mostly discussions by what I would call ‘casual’ players. This is a good site for beginners because it’s likely you’ll be playing other beginners and won’t get mauled.

Red Hot Pawn Play online correspondence chess through a feature-rich, browser interface against your friends or other members. No downloads are required to play online chess, and it is completely free to sign up and play.

This was the first site I played on when I returned to chess back in 2004 after a long hiatus. I was using it to play a couple friends and all but two out of about 40 games were against them. Even after about 20 straight wins my rating there was only mid-1500's because I think they start you out at 1200. I took a quick look around the site and didn’t see anything listing cost of a subscription, but if memory serves, it was reasonable.

The site has some lively and interesting forums on everything from chess to the forbidden subjects on most sites: religion and politics. Things can get mean and vulgar though. Most subscribers sneer at non-subscribers and refuse to play them. They also have a ‘game moderation team’ that is always on the lookout for engine users. They boot a lot of people off, but how many are really engine users I couldn’t say. All in all, not a bad site though.

Chessworld Play an unlimited number of games - free! Play many games at the same time! Time limits from 1 day to 15 days per move. Meet players from all over the World! Improve your Chess with our Free Videos! Fully Customizable Interface! Wide range of features. No downloads required! Full membership is competitively priced! HelpDesk support at all times for all Members.
If you’re going to pay for a subscription, this is the site. I think subscription rates are about $30 per year. Your first game will be against a welcoming opponent in case you have any questions. What I like about this site is you can estimate your beginning rating and you welcoming opponent will be within that range. That means you won’t have to start at a low rating and slog through a hundred games before you reach your correct level.

They offer lots of training material, have good, well moderated forums…no profanity and no nasty name calling, etc. I was a paying member there for 6 years. The only reason I quit was because I could play decent opponents for free at Queen Alice. Chessworld is centered in England and run by a well known English player and they have ‘meetups’ from time to time at local pubs. What that means is a lot of the players there are known to each other; many have FIDE ratings and Woman'’ GM Yelna Dembo plays there (or did). Highly recommended.

Queen Alice  Queen Alice is a friendly community of correspondence chess players of all levels and ages. Playing chess at QueenAlice.com is great way to improve your game and have fun without having to invest a lot of your time.
Nice interface, easy signup and it’s totally free although they do accept freewill donations. Forums are pretty bland compared to most sites and I’ve never seen a real problem on them. Play unlimited games and they offer tournaments of various types and sizes and the maximum number of games you play at one time in any tournament is six. Most tournaments are double round affairs for the top scores.

I think you start out at 1400 but there are open challenges available so in my first few games I played opponents rated 1337, 2122, 1808, 2077 and 1733, so the games were challenging and within a short time I was playing opponents over 2200 on a regular basis including the site's top rated player. Highly recommended.

Chess.com Play live chess online any time from anywhere in any browser! Nothing to download. Just login, find a game, and go! We store your games, preferences, and ratings. Play 1 minute lightning games on up to 2 hours each - up to you! Chess.com's Online Chess (also called correspondence or turn-based chess) allows you play chess with your friends at any time!

I'm not really familiar with this site except occasionally I check out their forums which sometimes are interesting. They offer premium memberships on different levels starting as low as $4.99 per month ($2.49 per month if you pay for a full year). Again, most of the stuff you pay for you can get free elsewhere. I've never played there. One thing: if you are not a member the site is a little slow because of all the annoying pop ups; before visiting, better have them blocked.

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