With the worst of the foul weather we've been having coming during the morning commute my wife has spent a few days working in her home office and I've been busy keeping the driveway and sidewalks, both ours and the elderly neighbor's, clear, it's been a good time to play some online chess.
My preferred site is Instant Chess. Founded in February 1999, Instant Chess is a privately held software company based in Oxford, United Kingdom. Membership is a hefty $7.99 per month, but you can play for free. The only problem with playing for free is the limitation that your games are random opponents t a random time limit, but the “norm” is 15 minutes per game which is just about right for me. The other is that upon reaching a rating of 1700 they nag you to join, but at other times I have not been allowed to continue once my rating hit that benchmark. Very confusing!
My solution has been either to delete cookies, but the downside of that is that cookies for site I regularly use are also deleted. My preferred method is to simply sandbag and lose a few games. Maybe that's not right, but any rating on an online site is pretty meaningless anyway, so I am not really concerned.
If one of the random games ha a time limit of anything other than 15 minutes, I just resign or cancel the game. For the 15 minute games, opponents are random and if you get one rated over 1800 they will often cancel the game, so most opponents are somewhere around 1600. The thing is, because most of them are playing as guests, a 1600 can be anywhere from a beginner to a pretty decent player. That's OK because the games are just to while away some time. But, every once in a while a game does turn out to be pretty interesting.