8 chess apps and websites (2021): Chess.com, Lichess, SocialChess, Shredder Chess

The millennial hobby chess has seen an explosion of interest. Whether people yearn for an engaging hobby to stay sane during the long wait, or have fallen prey to a Netflix drama about a chess prodigy, the competition is intensifying. While games using a physical board will have to wait a little longer for most of us, there are some great online chess platforms and a healthy chess community available with just a few clicks or a few clicks. .

The game is the same regardless of the option you choose, but the functionality differs. Some apps and platforms target a more engaged audience, while others are simpler and may be suitable for those looking to compete with a less competitive crowd.


Chess.com (Desktop, iOS, Android)

Chess.com via Michael Calore

The website with the most obvious name:Chess.com– keeps its promise: everyone, from beginners to great masters, has their place here. Games are available at any speed, with time limits for each move ranging from one brisk minute per side to five leisurely days.

You can just play around and ignore the other offerings on the site, but for the curious, options abound. You can play against numerous AI-powered chess bots, each with their own strengths and playstyle. Those looking for non-competitive study can learn through puzzles and tutorials, or watch live streams. live chess (yes, that’s really a thing) and even find a mentor. The only thing blocking your crawls on the site is a subscription paywall, which appears in various places that more serious players might roam, such as the opening explorer. You can still play as many games as you want without paying, whether against the computer or against real humans.

When you start playing, you receive a note that indicates your skill level. It will fluctuate wildly during your first few matches and then settle into a narrower range. Once that happens, you’ll usually be faced with players who are a stone’s throw from your skill level. Chess.com works in any web browser, but there are also mobile apps for iOS and Android that successfully recreate the experience. Just be aware that on mid to small sized phones you might have a harder time looking at the board.

Subscriptions come in three tiers at $ 5, $ 7, and $ 14 per month, or about half of those amounts if you pay for a year up front. Each level removes all ads, unlocks each bot, and allows unlimited use of its game analytics tool in which an AI evaluates every move of your games and suggests alternatives. The intermediate level allows unlimited access to the chess puzzles on the site, while the lower level allows you 25 puzzles per day. The next level opens up Chess.com’s comprehensive video library of game lessons and analysis. There is so much to explore among the free options that it makes sense to start there, and it’s easy to scale up as your desire for chess dominance warrants.

The alternative

Lichess (Desktop, iOS, Android)

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