Play Chess Online

Our club is currently closed for Over the Board play due to Coronavirus. Any activity is therefore online. You can find us on chess.com and Lichess, and occasionally elsewhere.

Chess translates amazingly well to online play. Transmitting a move over the internet requires only 4bits of data, making it possible to play against opponents anywhere in the world in real-time, even within a relatively poor internet connection. Chess sites such as chess.com, lichess, chess24 and others allow users to create free accounts and play an unlimited amount of games without paying a penny. Though playing is free, on chess.com and chess24 you can also take out paid membership, which will remove adverts and give you access to many additional resources.

If you’re new to chess, or getting back into it after a break, playing online is a great way to test yourself. For experienced players it can be a great way to try out opening ideas you might not be ready to venture in an over the board (OTB) game. While I think I’ll probably always think of OTB chess as the “real thing” and online play as something of a second best, for many online chess has become the preferred format. For those accustomed to OTB play, the move to playing online can seem a little jarring at first. But it starts to feel natural before long. One aspect that might take more getting used to is faster time controls. While many of us are accustomed to long time controls, blitz is the norm online, though longer time controls are still possible.

In addition to playing on your PC or laptop, the three sites I’ve mentioned (along with many others), also have apps available for iOS (Apple) and Android devices. Some sites, including chess.com allow. Lichess and chess.com also have the option for “non-live” chess, which on Lichess is called “Correspondence Chess” and on chess.com is known as “Daily Chess”. On both platforms, rather than having to be online throughout the game you are simply required to make each move in some number of days. On chess.com the norm is to be allowed three days for each move, so once your opponent makes their move, you have three days in which to make your reply. For those who want to avoid the blitz but still make use of these online platforms, this should work well. It also is works especially well in combination with the mobile apps. You have a few spare minutes but don’t want a live game at a fast time control … you’ll probably still have time to play a move in one or two of your ongoing non-live games, or at least to open the position and give your next move a good ponder.

Steve Lovell

Steve is the Admin Secretary for the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club. He is also the Internet Officer for the Bury Area Chess League and since 2015 has been the organiser of the Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress. Outside of chess, if there is such a thing, Steve works in IT at Atalian Servest.

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