Internet Chess

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The Internet makes it very easy to play real-time chess and meet other chess players from all over the world. Many of the internet chess servers require you to download special, easy to install software to play and chat with opponents. However, if you do not wish to do this then the Java sites enable you to play chess using nothing more than a Java enabled browser but it may take a while to download the Java needed to play at these sites.

There are many sites which offer multiple games but in my experience these sites cater more for the occasional player. If you want to take your chess a little more seriously then the dedicated chess servers like the Internet Chess Club and the Free Internet Chess Server are hard to beat.

If email chess is more your scene there are also details of places to meet email opponents in the list below.

Most importantly, whatever form of chess you choose to play - have fun!!!

Real-time Chess E-mail Chess

Real-time Chess

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Internet Chess Clubwow.gif (172 bytes) The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is one of the best places to play chess. There are always hundreds of people online wanting to play and the interface is extremely easy to use. See the Chess Corner ICC Guide for more information.


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The Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) is a free chess server similar to ICC and You will need to download a graphical interface such as CClient, Winboard or Slics. You can play here as a guest but as it is free to register you might as well become an official member. This allows you to have your own unique nick-name, play rated games and participate in tournament etc.

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CClient Graphical Interface


chessnet-small.gif (3892 bytes) is a similar playing environment to ICC and FICS and thus shares many of the same communication commands. However, I have always found there to be the least amount of people playing here than either ICC or FICS and so perhaps it is not as easy to find an opponent. Playing here is free but has its own graphical interface which you have to buy. It is also possible to play using the free interfaces for Windows 95 Lite or if you have a Java enabled browser then you can use for Java.

chessnet_interface.gif (11481 bytes) for Window Lite graphical interface.

This interface has Accuclock built into it which compensates for any lag during the game but this interface is not very appealing to me. However, there are third party interfaces which enable you to play here too. It is possible to install accuclock to work with these interfaces.

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Winboard interface (freeware)

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Slics interface (shareware)


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The VOG chess room looks like a real room with avatars sitting around tables. It is not free to play here but there is a 30 day trial period so you can test out all of the features. You will need to download the client software and register a nickname. You can then pick an avatar to represent you.

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Vinco Chess Club Game Room

Once connected to the VOG server you can enter one of 4 rooms: a standard games room for games with 15 and more minute time limits, Blitz games room for 14 minutes or less time limits, Simultaneous Matches room, and a Tournaments room.

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Chess Interface

This graphical interface is very good and it is an interesting experience playing at the VOG chess club.

The Internet Gaming Zone Requires Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. Play chess for free in the five game areas which are further divided into rooms. The areas include the Social Rooms (Park Bench and Corner Pub) for casual and beginners, Competitive Rooms (Castle and Checkmate) for serious competition, Rated Rooms (Knights Room, Kings Court, Grand Masters, Queen Me) which automatically report your scores to the Zone Rating System, Tournament Rooms for tournament play and the Ladder Room for ladder play. Other games can also be played here.

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Playsite This is another site with multi-games. You will need a Java enabled browser to play the games. The Java takes a while to download but you can cut down on the download time by using the Castanet Tuner. The Tuner downloads all of the code and graphics from Playsite the first time around so that in the future you only have to download the updates.

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Yahoo! Games: Chess Play chess for free using a Java enabled browser. Rooms are divided into Social, Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced.

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Excite Chess Similar to Yahoo Chess.
Chessed! A Java enabled browser is required to play online. Play e-mail games here too.
CleverChess This is a Shockwave-based game. You wander from table to table until you find a table free, sit down and play. This is not as sophisticated as the other sites with no ratings or options to play opponents within particular rating groups.
Caissa's Web This is the only site I know of where WebTV users can play online chess. It is fee based but offers a free trial membership.
Wireplay UK  This is a UK gaming site which boasts the lowest dial-up ping rates in the UK for Quake gamers. As well as other multi-player games it is possible to play Bridge, Chess, Poker, Draughts, Backgammon, GO, gomuku, Cribbage etc.


E-mail Chess This is the best place to play web based email chess.
IECG (International Email Chess Group): membership is free
The International Email Chess Club [IECC]: membership is free
NOST: First year is free but then there is a fee
World Correspondence Chess Federation: free membership
ICC (Internet Chess Club): Live games are mainly played here but they have recently introduced a correspondence game feature.
Chessed: Play both live and e-mail games for free
National Correspondence Chess Club


Learn to Play Chess with the Chess Corner interactive E-book

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