There are many chess players with ELO rating under 2000 around the world who would like to increase their chess capabilities. And reach the level of 2000 ELO points. Just like me.
This blog is exactly for them.


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Chess on the internet


ChessCube vs. Chess.com vs. ICC vs. FICS – What’s the best?

ChessCube vs. Chess.com vs. ICC vs. FICS – What’s the best?


ChessCube.com is an online chess community with over 1,400,000 registered members as of March 2011.  They do not feature an online chess forum (Update: I stand corrected, they do have a chess forum, don’t know why I’ve never seen it.) as their focus is primarily on tournaments and general play.  Their interface is exceptionally easy to set up and use, and does not require download.  Instructional videos are produced by IM Andrew Martin and FMs Monokroussos and Lilov.  Many videos are free, some are priced very low.  Also of note, ChessCube has a great Chess960 option and audience.  It is completely free to play at ChessCube, and a great online environment for younger players. ChessCube also has a new tutoring system, that we’ve been using to teach chess to our younger and more beginner students. Although it still has quite a few bugs, the system has shown quite a bit of promise compared to the current system we use on FICS.


Chess.com is an online chess community with over 3.4 million members as of June 2011. They currently have one of the most active chess forums on the internet, and their playing software is fairly fluid and does not require download. Unlike ChessCube they have no specific focus and have communities for everything ranging from tournaments, articles, forums, strategies etc. Their instructional videos are produced by an impressive line-up: GMs Dzindzichashvili, Lenderman, Perelshteyn, Shankland – and more.  They also provide articles by GMs Becerra and Serper, IM Bryan Smith, and WGM Natalia Pogonina – to name a few.  The majority of Chess.com is 100% Free, however you can upgrade your account to enjoy less ads and more premium services.


Brief history of FICS:
“The first Internet chess server, named the Internet Chess Server (ICS), started in January, 1992. Volunteers coded and ran it free of charge. In 1995, administrators began charging players for membership and changed the name to ICC.  Unhappy with the commercialisation of ICS, which they saw as exploiting their work, a handful of programmers, led by Chris Petroff, formed FICS and gave users free, unrestricted access. The server debuted March 3, 1995.  FICS is a non-profit site, administered entirely by volunteers. There are approximately 330,000 registered accounts.  In 2010 it had over 86,000 active players who played a total of almost 21 million games.  Donations to FICS can be sent to PayPal.com using the account [email protected]

FICS is a great site and 100% Free.  FICS is well-known for featuring the best bughouse and crazyhouse play in the world, ex. JKiller, Vaboris (Kazim Gulamali), etc.. While not as user-friendly as other online servers, the free interface Thief is the best software for bughouse and/or rapid play.  The Thief interface is also popularly used on ICC by 1-min players. For our advanced clients we love using Babaschess to tutor our more advanced chess players. However, the interfaces for FICS can be quite intimidating to setup at first and it is not nearly as user friendly as either ChessCube or Chess.com. However, if you don’t want to shell out the $70 a year for ICC, FICS is your best bet for finding strong players.


The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is the first and largest commercial chess server on the planet.  The price is $69.95/year, however a 50% discount is available for students.  Grandmasters and International Masters receive free membership.  ICC represents the strongest playing strength of any server or site.  They also provide excellent live coverage and commentary of ongoing tournaments.  1, 3, and 5-minute games are very popular – as are many variants (Losers, 960, Bughouse, etc..).  Fantastic instructional videos are provided by GMs Christiansen, Benjamin, Har-Zvi and others.  While ICC is a commercialized server, they do offer a very high quality product (especially for stronger players).  ICC also boasts great software in the form of their interface Blitzin.

My Personal Opinion

I recommend ChessCube for beginner, intermediate, and younger chess players.  Their site is extremely easy to navigate and find a game.  Chess.com represents the best available forum discussion, however the average playing strength is not exceptionally high.  Without a doubt, FICS represents the best bughouse and crazyhouse play – and I truly respect their devotion to the game and maintaining their services free of charge.  ICC is best for advanced players and video instruction, although they are a commercialized server that is not scared to raise prices.  There is not one over-all best site, as they tend to specialize in different areas and services.  The best fit really depends on the unique needs of the individual player.

This post is written by William Stewart of Online Chess Lessons.


ELO2000.com Chess Tournament No.1 – Final Report

ELO2000.com Chess Tournament No.1 – Final Report

Chess setFirst ELO2000.com chess tournament on Facebook has been finished. Are you curious about its results? OK, here they are!

The final standing is here:
1. Petr Slavik (Czech Republic) – 8.5 points
2. Helmut Reitz (Germany) – 7
3. Pancho Rj (Spain) – 6.5
4. Pierre-Emmanuel Haensler (France) – 5, SB 16.5
5. Kadarrusman Muhammad – 5, SB 14.0
6. Mariano DigitalIndustria Venanzi (Argentina) – 4, SB 12.0
7. Ivan Gallo – 4, SB 11.0
8. Isaias Ayala (Mexiko) – 3
9. Mário Filiač (Slovakia) – 2
10. Alonso Ándres Vásquez Mella (Chile) – 0

There are other two ELO2000.com tournaments running at the moment. I will post their status very soon!


ChessStars.net: Where opponents play chess for fun or money

ChessStars.net: Where opponents play chess for fun or money

ChessStars.net logoDo you like playing chess for money? Like poker? I have to admit I am not a fan of playing chess for money on the amateur level. Of course, chess professionals play for money as chess are their source of income, but should amateurs play for making a few bucks?

If you want to play for money now you have a perfect chance with this new chess site ChessStars.net.

ChessStars.net launches their new chess website with tournaments for cash prizes, and offers a number of game play options including a new variation of the game: Random Piece Chess. ChessStars.net is a family owned business supported by an international team of contributors who help develop and promote the game of chess all over the world. Beginning preliminary staging in January 2010, ChessStars.net offers a safe and secure environment to play chess online, as well as meet others interested in learning about and playing the game.

You can read the rest of the PR article here.


FICS Games Database

FICS Games Database

This will be a short post, but I have to share it with you. I just found the fantastic page http://www.ficsgames.com/, where your FICS (Free Internet Chess Site AKA freechess.org) are stored.

You can save them or re-play them. You can also search for games by players, ratings, variants, ECO code of the opening, date. Or you can study the history of games of a player there.

Very nice and useful site. And thanks to Nezha – the author of http://mrnezhmetdinov.blogspot.com/, where I found the link to the site.

P.S. If you don’t know what FICS is, read my post Where to play chess online – part II. FICS (Freechess.org)


Where to play chess online – part II. FICS (Freechess.org)

Where to play chess online – part II. FICS (Freechess.org)

FICS - Free Internet Chess Server - freechess.orgFreechess.org (also known as Free Internet Chess Server – FICS) was the first place, where I started to play chess online seriously. Before that time I played on some servers, but Freechess.org gave me the real feeling of educated chess community for the very first time.

At these days FICS has more than 300000 registered users and this huge number makes it one of the largest internet chess servers where you can play chess over the internet for free.

Functions on FICS are quite expected from chess server. You can play single games with any time limit, you can play tournament (I remember one where I even took some prize), you can attend chess lessons or chat with other users. Of course, games could be rated or unrated – depending on your choice during setup the game.

There is also a choice of different chess rules and you can play games in suicide chess, bughouse etc.

To be able to play chess on FICS you need a client. Yes, playing through browser is not possible. Or do you know about any plugin to Firefox for example? I am using WinBoard client. The control of your activities on FICS through WinBoard is a bit user unfriendly – it is in “unix mode”, so you have to write your commands on classic command line. Maybe there are better clients for FICS from this perspective, but you know – old habit is old habit.

When I have time, I usually try to participate in blitz tournaments (5 minutes per game) on Saturday and Monday. My nick is nyxcia and I would be happy to meet you on FICS.

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