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Online Blitz

Today is the third and final day of the World Rapid Championships, with the Blitz equivalent taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and seemingly receiving an extra injection of players straight from the Isle of Man. Most of us can only dream of being in Berlin, but I’m sure we all enjoy the occasional blitz binge after (during!?) a hard day at work or university. So our poll question this week is where is your favourite site to play online?

Chess24, ICC, Chess.com, Playchess, Gameknot, Red Hot Pawn, A combination of the above, somewhere else, or do you prefer over the board blitz at your local club?

The results of last week’s poll placed Nigel Short as your favourite chess commentator, with Jan Gustafsson and Yasser Seirawan also highly popular. However, the large number of votes for ‘Other’ suggested we did not give you enough options! Comments showed Daniel King and Peter Svidler may have been amassing a large chunk of these votes, while there was also some interesting discussion on the best pairings to make up a commentary team.

Poll Result

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  1. Bryan
    October 12th, 2015 at 12:32 | #1

    No mention of http://en.lichess.org/ – best free site there currently is… bit off the radar since they don’t advertise, but site and all features will never be monetized (with ads or anything else) – reason enough to play there.

  2. October 12th, 2015 at 12:43 | #2

    A bit surprised you forgot to mention http://lichess.org, the second most popular chess website (according to alexa rankings: http://chess-links.org).

    More than 260,000 games are played every day on lichess, making it the server of choice for hundred of thousands of chess players.

  3. October 12th, 2015 at 12:58 | #3

    Lichess is the best site to play chess on. The given options, except for chess.com, all have no place at all when put to compare.

  4. Christian
    October 12th, 2015 at 13:04 | #4

    Lichess is the big thing nowadays, its a strange poll without it as an option.

  5. achja
    October 12th, 2015 at 13:33 | #5

    Lichess is my favourite chess playing server since quite some time.
    Why ?
    The tourney formula is more than excellent (Beserk mode, and Streak starter options, and no swiss pairing and having to wait long for a new opponent).
    Never played such exciting tourneys anywhere !
    Often lots of players in the tourney, sometimes over 150 players.

  6. LM Dr-Zaitzev
    October 12th, 2015 at 13:44 | #6

    All we know perfectly that Lichess rules Chess on internet, and freely!

  7. mklemenz
    October 12th, 2015 at 13:53 | #7

    +1 for lichess.org

  8. Daniel
    October 12th, 2015 at 14:07 | #8

    why not mention LiChess.Org? Seems really strange to leave out the highest quality place to play especially when your name is quality chess.

  9. Gollum
    October 12th, 2015 at 14:53 | #9

    It is odd because I don’t know any of the options except for ICC and playchess.

    I play in FICS (Free Internet Chess Server, like ICC but free) since ‘Ajedrez21’ was bought by ICC.

  10. Daniel McGowan
    October 12th, 2015 at 15:15 | #10

    Okay I admit I hadn’t heard much about Lichess, but I certainly have now ? Added to the poll.

  11. October 12th, 2015 at 16:05 | #11
  12. alllexiss
    October 12th, 2015 at 17:14 | #12

    Lichess simply the best.

  13. October 12th, 2015 at 19:12 | #13

    I see the troops have been sent..

    Can’t agree more though

  14. TonyRo
    October 12th, 2015 at 19:17 | #14

    If you took the LiChess interface/playing experience, philosophy and staff, combined it with Chess24’s news and instructional content and ICC’s player-base and pools (and basically nothing else), you’d have internet chess nirvana.

  15. October 12th, 2015 at 20:01 | #15

    Well, why no FICS (http://www.freechess.org) ? Oldest live online chess still in operation…

  16. October 12th, 2015 at 20:09 | #16

    Why hasn’t lichess.org been mentioned? It’s free, advert-free, fast and highly competitive. Loads of high quality players appear there including GMs such as Eric Hansen… I won’t play anywhere else.

  17. October 12th, 2015 at 20:10 | #17

    @Ben Salfield

    Yay, you’ve added it as an option!

  18. Soviet School
    October 12th, 2015 at 20:12 | #18

    ICC is the best due to the pools and the slick interface, I’ve managed to play over 70 moves in 1 minute games You also get access to some good videos and commentary..

    Play chess the Chessbase site has a good interface but no pools.

    The Java based interfaces are all disappointing in my experience, though Chess 24 gives good video access and Chesscom has some good side features like notice boards.

  19. k.r.
    October 12th, 2015 at 20:16 | #19

    Only playchess. I rather pay for membership but be sure that if my opponent cheats – use comp assistance, will be banned. On big number of sites there are no anticheating measures.

  20. guest222
    October 13th, 2015 at 07:09 | #20

    You don’t mention the FIDEArena website. It’s not very popular, but they boast anti-cheating measures and give players a reliability rating, which I think is a good idea (if it’s properly done).

  21. Fat cat is fat
    October 13th, 2015 at 09:39 | #21

    Ok it’s obvious that all those back to back messages about lichess are spam coming from someone affiliated with them and I think they should be deleted.

    I don’t like Fics because since it’s free, the main admins use it as their toy and they ban people or disregard the rules as they like. I would rather pay and get a fair service.

    Playchess is ok if you register a free account and play for some time but it’s not good enough to pay. There are way too many bugs that have been there for many years and it’s clear that they have no intention of fixing them. Also around some hours it’s very hard to find a 2500+ opponent but even at more crowded times, you keep playing the same 2500+ opponents. I’m only 2100-2200 elo but my blitz is 2500+ since playchess blitz ratings are overrated. So it’s not really a high level.

    I think ICC is the best. Not only you have many opponents at all levels, they’ve also updated the interface constantly to make all the possible improvements that can be done.

  22. Niall Doran
    October 13th, 2015 at 10:18 | #22

    Playchess for me. Probably because I’ve always used it and also because the games are saved directly to my database, allowing me to have a look at what went wrong afterwards and to revise my openings.

    A couple of things irk me about Playchess, though. Firstly, it often shows that I’ve a slow connection even though I can access music and videos (which use a lot of bandwidth) easily at all times, which leads me to believe the problem is at their end. I sometimes lose games because of this so-called slow connection, or even if I don’t, the whole “connected – disconnected” thing takes so long that a 3min+2sec game can take 15 minutes.

    Whenever a software update is available, there’s a link to update the software, but instead of linking directly to the update, it just links to the main Chessbase page, so I have to go looking for the update. Is this so I can see all the other wonderful products they have (Ikea effect) before finding what I want, or are they just, to say this politely, understaffed in the intelligence department?

  23. Niall Doran
    October 13th, 2015 at 10:19 | #23

    @ Fat cat is fat

    What bugs are you referring to?

  24. Tim S
    October 13th, 2015 at 10:23 | #24

    Personally I only play on lichess now.

    FICS and chess.com are the main competiton but the interface options and general running of the sites aren’t as good. I’ve used ICC and Playchess but they aren’t worth the fee imo.

    The only problem I can see with lichess is that there aren’t as many GM level players as on the paying sites. For me (2100 FIDE) it’s great and there are loads of opponents 200 points either side of my ability.

  25. Bryan
    October 13th, 2015 at 11:16 | #25

    @Fat cat is fat
    I have no affiliation to the site at all and am I repeat customer of quality chess… why delete comments from people who genuinely like a site? If others felt any enthusiasm for the site they play on, they would likewise post and vote.

    But there is nothing particularly inspiring about other sites (you pay, you pay more for more stuff, their features hardly evolve or improve over time… ). Yes, if you want to consistently play IMs and above, ICC or playchess is likely where you want to go (for the moment). But for the vast majority of us who want a nice interface, plenty of features (including cheat detection) and a free game, lichess is perfect.

  26. The KKK took my baby away
    October 13th, 2015 at 11:24 | #26

    Lichess is best

    chess.com and chess24.com are also good.

    At our local club:

    Guy A: “chess24 has superb grandmaster tournament coverage, i like that site.”.
    Guy B: “What is chess24? I only know the ‘fritz server’ (playchess)”.
    All: “Wft? You still play on that inferior server?”

  27. Alias
    October 13th, 2015 at 11:44 | #27

    Missed the poll. Would have voted for Svidler or perhaps Larry Christiansen.

    Hadn’t heard about lichess. Been an ICC player for quite some time now.

  28. garryk
    October 13th, 2015 at 14:17 | #28

    @Fat cat is fat
    “Ok it’s obvious that all those back to back messages about lichess are spam coming from someone affiliated with them and I think they should be deleted.”

    Are you kidding? Lichess is so better than the alternatives that you shouldn’t think something like that. I play only on lichess and I’m not affiliated with them.

  29. David
    October 13th, 2015 at 14:30 | #29

    i signed up with lichess yesterday to check it out, thanks to the comments here. Not bad so far.

  30. Trispios
    October 13th, 2015 at 15:19 | #30

    I hate playing blitz on the internet. I think that playing too much blitz harms your chess and mental equilibrium

  31. Capodoglio
    October 13th, 2015 at 15:22 | #31

    Been playing on Playchess and ICC for 20 years.
    I think ICC is head and shoulders above everything else.

  32. Shurlock Ventriloquist
    October 13th, 2015 at 16:06 | #32

    Svidler is so far better than the others its redonkulous. The other end of that spectrum is Ashley who only seems to be able to tell us what an engine claims.

    I stopped playing chess on the internet a few years back and only play otb or against an engine (that is not pretending to be a human).

    Like others here I learned of this lichess site here and may give it a try.

  33. James
    October 13th, 2015 at 17:02 | #33

    I vote lichess as well, I only discovered this recently from watching the chessbrah twitch stream but have fallen in love since. I love how you can join tournaments there. Also you can create your own tournaments easily, not to mention it’s easy to register and is free to use. The interface is also the best imo, nice and quick. Chess24 is sluggish and my least favourite of the big sites for playing on, chess.com is my second fav, third is ICC, rest I don’t care for. Those ratings are for playing on, if there was a poll for best learning videos then Chess24 would be top for me.

  34. Daniel
    October 13th, 2015 at 17:37 | #34

    @Fat cat is fat
    Look fatso, I have no affiliation to LiChess.Org but I can easily say that it’s the best. Same thing with Quality Chess. If someone asks to name the #1 chess publisher in terms of quality I’m going to say Quality Chess and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m affiliated to QC.

    Next time you want to jump to conclusions, I suggest you stick to pastries and doughnuts where you specialize.

  35. mklemenz
    October 13th, 2015 at 21:37 | #35

    no need to get personal here – that’s even worse than the (wrong) assumption of @Fat Cat is fat.


  36. Daniel
    October 13th, 2015 at 23:12 | #36

    yeah, that’s the joke. Glad you got it.

  37. mklemenz
    October 13th, 2015 at 23:38 | #37

    to be honest – I didn’t get it. I just found it plain wrong to be insulting. especially since @Fat cat is fat’s assumption was ‘just’ not correct – he wasn’t calling names anybody.
    more than that it does not draw an adequate picture of the platform many of us like so much

    glad you understand that, too 🙂

  38. Daniel
    October 14th, 2015 at 05:36 | #38

    yeah, that was my whole point. It’s very insulting to call someone dishonest, just as fat cat called those of us of mentioned LiChess.Org. To call us spammers or fake accounts was incredibly insulting. But glad you understand that part, too! 🙂

  39. Achessplayer7
    October 14th, 2015 at 06:53 | #39

    I like lichess.org. I used to think that most sites you had to pay for mediocre content but with lichess you get a great site to play chess and some chess variants.

  40. Phille
    October 14th, 2015 at 09:49 | #40

    I played on ICC, playchess, chess.com, chess24, chessgate, fics, schacharena and thanks to the comments, I checked out lichess yesterday.

    I would say ICC is the best. The interface is topnotch and you’ll play several IMs/GMs an evening.

    Lichess is nice but I didn’t find out how to get strong opponents. I had the same problem at chess.com

  41. Niall Doran
    October 14th, 2015 at 12:01 | #41

    Do any of these sites allow you to download your games afterwards? Not just individually, but as a database of all games played?

  42. Soviet School
    October 14th, 2015 at 13:12 | #42

    I used to find it difficult to get games with higher rated opponents on Playchess via the challenge system.
    I literally had played 200 games and inched my way up to 2100 yet had never played anyone rated above that.
    On the pools on ICC it is like a rolling Swiss system so if you get a good or bad run of results you play some one similar

  43. October 14th, 2015 at 13:36 | #43

    @Niall – ICC and playchess both have that feature.

  44. Gollum
    October 14th, 2015 at 15:25 | #44

    @Niall Doran

    I use Xboard (in your case I guess it should be winboard) with FICS (freechess.org) and it saves automatically all my games, no need for the server to do that.

  45. mklemenz
    October 14th, 2015 at 17:38 | #45

    @Niall Doran
    chess.com and lichess have it, too

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