Brief introduction to chess on the internet

As I mentioned before, we do have a WHCF online at now, although there’s not much interest yet. Of course, the internet is a chess playground, so for those who are new to the online chess environment, here is a little information that you may find helpful. has quite a lot going for it. The main thing is that it is completely free and does not have any premium features requiring you to pay extra. Everybody gets everything free. You can donate to them (become a patron), but you don’t get anything extra for it. There are lots of teams you can join. Probably the most useful for you are ‘English Chess Players’ which is the ECF team, and ‘chess England’ which is the team organised by Adam Raoof (London’s most active chess organiser and a FIDE International Arbiter). Events like tournaments are organised by the lichess platform, and specifically within the teams (Adam is running this week’s Hampstead chess congress in his lichess team space). You can play chess any time of day or night. You do not need to enter a tournament, you just start a game.

Since lichess is completely free it is very popular, and it has been struggling a little over the last few days with the load on its servers.

If you have not found the other major places to go to play chess or learn about chess on the internet, then here’s a start. 

The Internet Chess Club is the original place that chess was played on the internet. I’ve been playing there for maybe 20 years (can’t remember). You can play for free as a guest, but it is basically behind a paywall. So it costs something like £40 a year (charged in dollars). 

Chess24 is a great place to watch major tournaments when they are on. They have a lot of free stuff, including live videos from major tournaments with grandmaster commentary. Frankly I think this is amazing - people who like to watch football have to pay a fortune to get live TV coverage of major events, chess players get it free! Chess24 have a lot of stuff behind a paywall too. seems to be the biggest on the internet at the moment. Again, they have free stuff, play for free, etc. And they also have stuff behind a paywall. 

Also I sometimes look at but that is only showing games from top tournaments, without commentary. You cannot play there. It is pretty basic.

You will also find sites hosted by well-known chess players and trainers. Often these have useful free educational material, and then you pay a fee to gain access to in-depth training materials. Two examples of this kind of thing are GM Nigel Davies and IM Cristof Sielecki Nigel’s site is interesting and comprehensive, while Cristof’s is basic and more of an advertising space for his books etc. 

Although I said that most chess played on the internet is fast, there are still plenty of people who want to play slow games. Lichess offers a correspondence option, for example. If you want to play correspondence really seriously then you can join events through the British Correspondence Chess Association ( or the International Correspondence Chess Federation ( There are also some clubs at lichess for players who prefer slow time controls, say game in 30 minutes or more. 

In regular correspondence play, which happens through the ICCF server at, it is entirely legal to use computers and databases. (I don’t know about lichess correspondence play.)

In normal play on the internet it is illegal (cheating) to use computers unless you are explicitly flagged as a computer user. 

If you become really keen there are loads of people posting chess videos at youtube and streaming at



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