Chess For Novices - A Guide for Fresh Beginners and Aspiring Novices

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Places to Play Chess Online

There are a large number of sites that let you play chess online (most for free). Although we can't review all of them here, we've put together an overview of some well known and popular sites. The first two - Yahoo Chess and MSN Games Zone Chess - are best for beginners and early novices. The last three - FICS, ICC and Play Chess - are best for serious players.

Yahoo Chess

Yahoo Chess may be the most popular online chess site on the internet. It tends to attract a large number of beginners. Games can be set up with any initial time and increment - although blitz games dominate the servers. Users browse various rooms to join and create games. Both rated and unrated play are offered.

Historically, the Yahoo Chess interface has been poor. It's worth noting that the game has recently undergone a facelift, making it much more presentable.

Link: Play chess online at Yahoo Games

MSN Games Zone Chess

MSN Games Zone Chess is another server. Although it has been around for almost as long as Yahoo, Zone Chess is currently much less popular. The game allows you to select from a limited number of initial options: Untimed, 30-minute, 10-minute, and 5-minute. The server will then automatically match you with an opponent. Untimed and 5-minute games are unrated, while 30-minute and 10-minute games are rated.

Link: Play chess online at MSN Games Zone

FICS (Free Internet Chess Server)

Free Internet Chess Server (FICS) is an old and very popular free chess server. Games can be created with any starting time and increment, and a number of chess variants can be played as well. To play, users send out "seeks." Other players can see active seeks on a graph, and join games that match their own desired settings. One of the great things about FICS is that there are a variety of graphical interfaces you can download and use with the server. There is also a simple java interface you can use with your browser.

Link: Play chess online at FICS (Free Internet Chess Server)

Internet Chess Club

The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is essentially a paid version of FICS - but with many premium offerings that aren't found anywhere else on the net. The program is free to try for 7 days, and afterwards costs $60 for a one year membership. Creating and joining games functions in a similar manner to FICS.

ICC is well known for having a large number of international master and grandmaster users. The server allows you to watch some incredible live matches: including grandmaster blitz games and live tournament games with commentary. There are also many premium services such as simultaneous exhibitions, lessons and tournaments.

Link: Play chess online at ICC (Internet Chess Club)

Play Chess

Play Chess is another very popular program and chess server, associated with the Chess Base website. Free to log in as a guest, Play Chess cost 30 Euros for a one year membership. Games are created in a similar manner to the FICS and ICC. Also, Play Chess shares many of the premium features found on ICC.

Link: Play chess online at Play Chess

Other Sites

There are a ton of other places to play chess on the internet. Just type "online chess" or anything like that into google and have fun exploring!

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Places to Play Chess - Table of Contents
Places to Play Chess Online
The Best Computer Chess Software
Getting Into Over the Board Chess
Online vs. Over the Board Chess