Once upon a time, if you wanted to sharpen your chess skills, you'd have to seek out a chess club in your community or a local recreational area where chess was often played. Thankfully, with the comforts of the internet you don't have to leave your bed to work through your new strategies. Whether you choose to play chess against the computer or against other online players, these digital chess programs will put up just as much of a fight as an in-person opponent would.
Fantastic Online Places to Play Chess
From digital platforms to iOS apps, all of these online programs are great places to test your chess skills. It doesn't matter if you're new to the activity or a seasoned player, you can easily find a digital community to play against that's suited for your particular needs.
Chess.com is a leading innovator for the way it's been building an online chess community and establishing an interactive and easy-to-follow resource for all sorts of chess questions and research for many years now. Their online chess function gives the chance to play at different skill levels and from a set 10 minute round or for faster lightning rounds. You can even join the website to be able to play with real online competitors. According to its website, Chess.com is one of the online chess playing platforms that has the most players available, where you can engage in tournaments and maybe even play one of the many masters on the site.
Internet Chess Club
The Internet Chess Club is one of the oldest of these online chess servers and has a more classical approach to digital chess. Offering subscriptions and a free 30-day trial, the ICC hosts a lot of other useful chess content than just a digital chess tool. On top of it, the website has a learning center, tournaments, as well as provides members with the opportunity to find teachers to help better themselves in the game.
Lichess really modernizes digital chess with its no-nonsense design and open source interface. Play against other members or the computer in their multiple different pre-set timed matches. And if you're not quite confident in your own abilities just yet, you can see previews of other matches on the homepage to get a taste for how the program operates.
When you get ready to take on their AI, you can choose the level of difficulty, the style of play, and the time limit. These customizations can let you experiment with new tactics and see how they land before you try them out in a real competition. Yet, as with the other leading online chess programs, Lichess offers other educational information about chess as well as live chess broadcasts and so much more.
Another great multifaceted chess website to practice on is Chess24. With a bounty of learning materials and easy access to watching live events and professional tournaments, this website can be an awesome resource for both novices and masters alike. Jumping into a game is as easy as using their menu sidebar to set up the parameters of a game against either a human or a computer, such as with determining the length of the game and what you'd like your opponent's ranking to be. Using their analysis mode, you can also try out different tactics or strategies and see how they work on the board without having to feel the stress of using them against an actual player.
ChessKid is actually an app that's compatible with both android and iOS that's absolutely perfect for those just starting out. If you don't have much experience under your belt and you're intimidated by the most popular chess websites, give ChessKid a try. Focused on teaching you the skills you need to know and providing you with the opportunity to reinforce them through practical means, this app is well-suited for children and adults alike.
The Takeaways of Playing Against a Computer
Playing against a computer is a very valuable tool that everyone who wants to strengthen their chess skills should take advantage of. However, there are some things to keep in mind when you're hooked on this digital sphere:
- AI's are difficult to read - These computer programs are mere reflections of thousands of hours of learning carefully coded responses to various moves, so when you play against them, you do miss out on the human component. This can make them difficult to predict and might pose more of a challenge than you expected.
- Review your matches if you can - Whenever you finish a match, you're only half-finished with the game. As with in-person events, if you can review your completed match, take the chance to do so. This can help you see any patterns you're developing and give you clarity as to what concepts you should strengthen next.
- Take big risks - When you're playing against an AI, that's the time to take huge risks. They might end up terrible and you might lose your match in twelve moves flat, but these online simulations are perfect arenas to swing for the fences and see what happens.
When the Tabletop and Screen Collide
In the end, when you play chess against the computer, the most important takeaway is what you learned from the game rather than winning the game itself. Whether it's a new opening set, a midgame strategy, or a quick way to checkmate in the endgame, losing can actually be winning with these crafty digital tools. So, it's time to whip out your smartphones and get practicing!