CHESS AND INTERNET?
The 21st century can trully be regarded as the golden era for all the connoisseurs of the chess game.
Because never before was chess more accessible to the broad public than today.
The most obvious benefit of the technological advance is seen when comparing how chess was played in the past to how it is played nowadays.
Some 20 - 30 years ago, in order to play a simple five minute game, you had to overcome numerous logistical problems. You had to own a chess board, a chess clock, a place where you can play, and finally, a chessplayer willing to spend some time to sit and play with you on the opposite side of the board.
Nowadays, a personal computer and a decent internet connection (something that is available to the majority of people, at least in the Western cultures) are everything you need to play a chess game against virtually everyone in the world.
It takes only a couple of mouse clicks, and you can even choose the tempo of play that suits you well very quickly.
Another major benefit is the fact that modern algoritms implemented on the chess websites try to pair you with someone whose playing strength is similar to yours.
In the past, if there was no one as strong (or as weak) as you in your vicinity, there was nothing you could do. Whereas today you can easily get paired against someone who owns a chess title.
And find out that you are not as good as you thought you were once you get crushed.
Apart from playing chess, the technological advance has also made chess knowledge much more available.
It is not a great revelation that in the past information spread much slower then today. This applies to chess as well. Earlier, it took weeks or even months of gruelling analysis to discover the truth about certain positions. There were endless disputes in the various chess publications, and often one analysis was refuted by another.
It is no wonder that there are stories about grandmaster Robert Hübner analyzing a single game for two weeks (!!!). From the modern perspective that is astounding.
The developement of strong chess engines and databases has enabled every average Joe to have access to the latest opening theory revelations or to find out the objective evaluation of a certain position with reasonable time and effort.
Which is one of the reasons (but not the only one, though!) why the number of titled players is constantly increasing. And also why suddenly there are infinite hordes of promising youngsters that reach incredible strength at a very young age.
Finally, probably the greatest change happened in the domain of chess kibitzing.
Similarly as television has revolutionized the way big sports events are followed, the appearance of internet and digital chess boards has revolutionized the coverage and following of chess events.
Earlier it was neccessary to be physically present in the playing hall in order to see the piece movement and the players with your own eyes.
It goes without saying that today it is possible to watch chess events from basically every corner of the world from your own living room.
Actually, the whole process of event coverage has been brought to a completely new level.
Today it is a must for any self respectable tournament to include Grandmaster live commentary, press conferences and player interviews.
Some events, as for instance Tradewise Gibraltar chess, raises the bar with masterclasses from top grandmasters as well.
For instance, make sure you check this one from GM Vassily Ivanchuk. It is probably my favourite chess video on the whole youtube.
I could probably go and blabble about the benefits of Internet for chess for quite a while, but hopefully I have managed to convince you that there are numerous positive effects.
Or to stop reading anything I write altogether 🙂
Anyway, after this introduction a natural question arises. And that is, "What are some of the great chess websites in the dense Internet forrest?"
Therefore, in the remainder of the post we will try to present some of the most popular chess websites and internet chess sources.
CHESS ON INTERNET?
Today chess.com is probably the most popular chess website.Currently there is more than 16 million members.
Main reasons behind the popularity of the website are it's multifunctionality and it's dedicated and engaged staff.
Some of the features that the website incorporates are:
- the possibility of playing live and correspondence chess games
- regular tournaments with money prizes (!!) for the titled players
- regular coverage of all the recent chess news
- infinite amount of study material, such as tactical problems, chess videos, blog posts, etc...
Additionaly, chess.com has made some rather revolutionary things, like organizing the first Chess Pro League.
Since this has already started to look like an official add, to fulfill that impression allow me to mention that the basic functionality of the website is completely free.
If you haven't already guessed, I usually visit chess.com at least once every day.
It wouldn't be unfair to say that chess24 is the main competitor to the chess.com.
Both websites have a similar concept. Most of the featured mentioned for chess.com are also valid for the chess24 as well.
One comparative advantage of the chess24 is the the regular contribution of the Peter Svidler, a regular member of the world top 10 throughout the last 20 years.
He makes videos, does live commentary, and occasionaly plays blitz chess against chess24 premium members (an example video).
I somehow got accustomed to the chess.com more, but also find great content from the chess24 very often.
Another website whose name appears very often in chess circles.
I have never used it personally, but I think that it's main niche is the playing aspect.
As far as I know, registration is free.
Another playing platform that is somewhat behind the aforementioned websites in the popularity terms, but is still respectable. The main feature are regular "Challenge the master" events, where one has the opportunity to play against a strong titled player.
The site intended primarly for the chess event coverage, regularly transmits all relevant (and not only relevant) chess events throughout the world. The computer analysis is mandatory, and sometimes there is also textual commentary by various grandmasters.
The greatest database of the chess games that ever existed. This website is also on my "visit daily" checklist.
There are more than 700 000 chess games in its database. For someone it might seem not that much, since Megadatabase 2016 includes around 6 milion games.
However, the greatest asset of the chessgames.com is it's great community. There are numerous games annotated deeply by strong players and people on the website create great vibe.
It goes without saying that basic registration is completely free.
The official site of the World Chess Federation. As you probably guessed from it's acronym, FIDE. Because it makes so much sense.
I think that this list deserves to include at least one official website, although I personally don't visit it that often.
The main reason when I still DO visit it is when I am playing against someone on internet, and am curious whether my opponent really has official rating. And if he has, how high that number is.
The database of chess tournaments with around 200 000 tournaments included. Today it is the main tool for organizing tournaments and calculating ELO rating, since it is closely connected with the Swiss Manager computer program, a main program for the chess tournament organization.
Chessresults.com enables FIDE to keep much faster and simpler track of the tournaments worldwide.
The official website of the most famous and most popular chess magazine. What is GRAMOPHONE in the world of the classical music, or DIGITAL PHOTO in the world of photography, that is NEW IN CHESS in the chess world.
The new issue is released monthly. The magazine covers various chess subjects, for instance:
- reports on recent chess events
- book reviews
- grandmaster columns
- chess puzzles
I really like the fact that often editors ask (and most probably pay) the members of the exclusive world top 10 to annotate their own games.
Isn't it annoying when people are not modest and cocky enough to include their own websites in some sort of stupid top 10 lists.
Anyway, if you didn't know, there is this amazingly good - looking, underrated, but very strong chess player who recently started his own chess blog with brilliant puns, extremely clever references and witty jokes.
If you are looking for a refreshing blog, make sure you never stop read... Hey, where are you going? Don't click away? Please..? Guys..? Guys..?
LET'S NOT FORGET THE YOUTUBE
Apart from the aforementioned websites, youtube is also an infinite chess source of the highest quality. Therefore, it wouldn't be fair not to mention some of the very popular chess channels (apart from the official chess24.com channel mentioned above):
The channel of the fellow Croatian (!!) that lives in Australia is by far the most popular youtube channel out there.
It's content is especially suited for beginners. Most videos don't last more than 10 minutes, are very simple and understandable.
If you are just starting your chess path, this channel is definitely worth checking. And watch out for "Killah moves!"
The second most popular youtube chess channel. British candidate master Tryfon Gavriel mostly includes his blitz chess games, but there is also educational content, like chess opening traps, etc.
If you are ever bored, you can try pronouncing his name fast three times.
A channel owned by the strong German international master Kristof Sielecki. The videos show exclusively his own internet chess games. But nevertheless, he is very strong player, he explains his reasoning and logic clearly and in good English and also analyses games afterwards. Highly recommended.
The channel of the young Canadian grandmaster Eric Hansen is definite greatest chess hit in the recent times.
The channel could be best described as chess adrenaline and techno.
The contents varies. Mostly it includes Hansen's internet chess games, but also there are chess games analysis and live commentary.
The channel has assembled a stellar team. Apart from Hansen, there is also young GM Robin van Kampen, the chess legend GM Yasser Seirawan, young and promising IM Aman Hambleton, and the recent addition, IM Miodrag Perunovic.
It might be more suited for someone younger. I mean, this madness is definitely not for the faint hearted.
It is definitely worth keeping an eye on this guys. 🙂
There you have it.
Now you are ready to procastrinate succesfuly and lose huge amount of times on chess on the Internet.
Oh, that reminds me.. I should really do make some household chores now...
Let me just play a blitz game or two...