Where Can I Play Chess Online For Free?

Chess Guides / By Andrew Hercules
where can i play chess online for free

Chess is a game and a sport that has gained a great deal of popularity lately. One popular TV show – The Queen’s Gambit singlehandedly brought probably tens of thousands if not more, new players into this amazing game. There’s a popular saying that chess is easy to learn but difficult to master and that is absolutely true.

With its surge in popularity, many new players wonder if they can play chess for free online and even enter tournaments. The answer to that is absolutely you can! In fact, there is no shortage of free chess websites that offer you quick games, tournaments, human vs human, or human vs AI games. There’s always an option of coaching lessons, community forums, news about the world of chess, and so on.

Let’s dive in and find out what are the top websites where you can play chess for free.

Where can I Play Chess Online for Free?

There’s no shortage of websites that allow you to play chess online completely for free. You are only a few seconds away from your next game of chess, either against a computer or a real person. The most popular websites to play chess for free are chess.com, chess24.com, playchess.com, lichess.org, sparkchess.com, chess.org, and chessworld.net.

You can play against random people, invite people you know, or even participate in tournaments. The best way to improve your game is to play as many games as you can.

1) Chess.com

Chess.com was established in 2005 as is now the number one online chess resource. It boasts 10 million chess games every day and employs over 200 people! They offer training lessons, and resources, a world-class chess forum, and are the biggest online chess community. There’s probably no better place to start playing chess for free.

If you simply want to follow news from the world of chess, they offer a comprehensive blog, chess TV, tournament news, and interviews with the top players.

Basic membership is free but if you want more, a premium membership will give you access to more training resources and features.

Their sister site Chesskid.com is the best place for kids to learn to play chess.

2) Chess24.com

Chess24 was founded in Germany in 2014 and in 2019 it merged with World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s company. You can play for free against computers, humans or participate in tournaments. Although founded less than a decade ago, it’s already become one of the top chess websites.

As with chess.com, there’s a free membership and a premium membership. The best part of paying to be a member of chess24 ($14.99 /mo) is that you can chat and challenge grandmasters during live streams and find out just how lousy of a chess player you are.

3) Playchess.com

Creating an account on Play Chess is free but you can just dive straight in and play as a guest. It is part of a bigger German company that owns and operates the chess-playing site but is probably more known for its chess software. The company was founded back in 1986 and it sells and maintains massive chess databases that contain moves of previously recorded chess games. As of 2020, the database contained 8.4 million games!

Play Chess has plenty of publicly known (and unknown) masters playing there regularly. You can start a game with the time control of your choice; Bullet, Blitz, or Slow games and play against other beginners or more advanced players.

4) Lichess.org

Lichess is run by a non-profit organization and is a free open-source chess server that anyone can embed on their website. You can play anonymously or play rated games when you register with an account. Lichess has more than a million games played every day while being completely free for players that can enjoy an ad-free experience.

Lichess has plenty of unique and interesting features for chess players. One of the best ones being the option to analyze your game after you’ve finished playing using a state-of-the-art Stockfish chess engine that computer-analyzes your game for you to learn from your mistakes. You can even compare your game against other chess masters’ games using its massive database. The best way to improve your game is to simply hire a coach directly on the website.

5) Sparkchess.com

SparkChess is another great free online chess server and training resource where you can play against the computer or other online players. It’s available as a website but also as an Android or iPhone app. You can play perfectly fine for free or upgrade with a one-time fee to access more features.

SparkChess boasts 100.000 monthly players and an especially safe environment for younger players. Its simple and intuitive interface and a selection of board styles is a great choice for beginning and advanced players alike.

6) Chess.org

Chess.org has an extremely simple user interface that was developed that way intentionally. Oftentimes, online chess websites can feel overwhelming and cluttered with news tickers, ads, offers for chess lessons, and so on. The Chech/Chinese team behind Chess.org made sure that it was extremely accessible to beginners and disabled players which they support through special chess events.

7) Chessworld.net

Chessworld.net is another chess site that is easy to use and that has thousands of active members. Each new member gets a “Chess World Welcomer” that will help you and guide you through the website’s features. He or she will also challenge you to one of your first chess games on the website. A nice thing is that if you decide to pay for a membership, your Welcomer will get two months for free as well.

Newcomers can enroll in their first tournament straight away so that they can see where they stand with their chess abilities.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of chess websites where you can join for a quick game or even a tournament. Possibly the hardest part is picking a website where you want to spend your days playing. Oftentimes people choose websites that their friends are already using so maybe that is the best starting point for you as well.

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

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