If you’re involved in the chess community or have any kind of serious interest in the game, you’ve almost certainly heard of Chess.com.
Chess.com is the most popular online platform for chess players. However, depending on your goals and priorities in improving your game, this site may or may not be for you.
This is a review of Chess.com, including an overview of the free and paid features of the platform and our own experience and opinion after using the site.
This should help you to decide whether you would like to embark on a Chess.com learning journey!
Features Of Chess.com
The features you’ll be able to access through Chess.com will be different depending on whether you stick with a free, basic account, or pay for the more advanced features.
One great thing about Chess.com is that there are plenty of features you can enjoy without paying for a membership. This means that users don’t necessarily feel pressured into paying if they don’t want to.
First of all, you can play unlimited games of chess with a free account, against other people as well as computers.
You also have the option to change your play style with a free account, so you’re not limited to just one type of game.
Whether you want to play blitz chess, rapid chess, or bullet chess, you can adjust these settings for free.
You are also able to take part in tournaments and be featured on the leaderboard. You could even start your very own chess-related blog!
A free account allows you to interact with friends, use and post on the Chess.com forum, customize your chess pieces and boards, access your game archive, and much more!
While the free version of Chess.com offers a lot of variety and freedom, you can experience even more if you pay for an account.
Paid Chess.com memberships are divided into tiers: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. The exact features you can access will depend on which tier you choose.
The Gold tier means you can play Chess.com without any annoying ads and edit your profile page more extensively. More daily puzzles will be unlocked, and game analysis is reported at a higher level.
If you choose the Platinum level, you get even more puzzles, including unlimited puzzle battles and unrestricted puzzle rush games.
You can also start taking chess lessons on an unlimited basis in certain sections.
However, if you pay for the Diamond membership, lessons in all sections become unlimited. You can also access every video in the video library, whereas other tiers only get you partial access.
Your account will be more customizable at the Diamond tier, and you’ll get an even deeper analysis of your games, which can help you to understand and improve your strategy.
Chess.com Membership Experience
You now know what is included in both the Basic and Paid versions of Chess.com. But what is it actually like to use this platform?
We tried it out for ourselves and can give you our honest opinion on the Chess.com experience.
The first thing we noticed when we started using Chess.com is that the interface is fantastic. It’s not overly complicated and everything is easy to find, so you won’t struggle to get started.
We like that the layout is simple and clean, with the main options to progress onto the platform clearly visible from the homepage.
You’re greeted by the option to either play online or versus a computer and further down, you can opt to solve puzzles or take some chess lessons.
At the bottom of the homepage, there are links to recent videos from Chess Today.
At the top of the screen, you can access the drop-down menu and navigate to any area of the site, including the option to search for what you’re looking for.
There are also two clearly visible buttons to log in or sign up.
So far, so good. Chess.com does an excellent job at making its site easy to use for everyone.
Chess.com serves two important purposes: education and entertainment. In line with this, the platform offers both educational and entertainment resources.
Resources for learning available through Chess.com include the library of educational content, chess lessons, game analysis, and more.
The library is Chess.com’s main learning resource. It contains video content as well as fascinating chess articles on subjects ranging from game openings to countermoves.
The educational resources at Chess.com are primarily geared toward beginners. This means that if you’re completely new to chess, you don’t have to worry about your background.
The puzzles and lessons are all designed to take total novices up to an intermediate level of play.
This is great news for people who are looking to get started in chess. However, one thing we noticed is that, at least in the Basic version, Chess.com doesn’t provide many opportunities for advanced players to progress further.
With that being said, if you pay for the Diamond membership, you get access to the most detailed level of game analysis.
This can be helpful even for advanced players in identifying missed opportunities and wrong moves, allowing for the development of new and improved strategies.
A lot of getting better at chess involves studying the game and being open to learning.
However, making chess fun is important in order to get people interested in the game in the first place. Having fun while playing chess also makes the learning process more enjoyable.
This is one area where Chess.com truly shines. One of the entertainment features we made the most use of (which also doubles as an educational feature) is the opportunity to watch chess shows.
Watching other people play chess is surprisingly helpful for improving your knowledge, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Interacting with friends in the forums and tackling some puzzles are great ways to unwind after some tough games of chess.
You can also download some of the Chess.com apps, many of which help to make chess more entertaining, especially for kids.
Something that makes Chess.com stand out from other chess sites and platforms is the community.
There are now more than 600 million Chess.com users worldwide, which is absolutely incredible.
It means that when using Chess.com, you get to interact with and learn from people of all skill levels and all walks of life with a common goal: getting better at chess!
The players you’ll interact with and watch play on Chess.com range from total beginners to renowned grandmasters.
Wondering how much it costs to get a paid membership for Chess.com? Well, despite how many resources the platform has to offer, the cost of a membership is actually quite reasonable.
Chess.com prices are liable to change for various reasons. However, currently, you can purchase a Gold membership for just $5 per month!
Remember, the Gold membership offers a lot of extra features, including all bots unlocked, game report and analysis, and 3 weekly lessons.
You can also purchase a Platinum membership for just 2 extra dollars per month ($7 in total), which gets you another 2 lessons per week and unlimited puzzles.
The Diamond membership is currently the most popular tier, which indicates that even though it’s the most expensive, it’s also totally worth it.
For a very reasonable £14 a month, you can get unlimited lessons and unlimited access to the video library, on top of all the features offered at other tiers.
Bear in mind that you can also pay annually, which saves you $31 for the Gold plan, $35 for Platinum, and a massive $69 for Diamond.
Trying to decide if Chess.com is the chess platform for you? Here are all the pros and cons of the site laid out for you to weigh up:
- Many features included for free
- Totally beginner-friendly
- Intuitive and clear interface
- 3 paid tiers to choose from
- Reasonable monthly and annual plan prices
- Balances education and entertainment well
- Large and diverse community of chess players
- Not as suited to advanced players compared to beginners
Chess.com is the most popular online chess platform for a reason.
While it may be geared more toward beginners than advanced players, everyone can learn something from the educational resources included in a Chess.com membership.
If you’re a complete beginner, start with the free resources on Chess.com and move up to a paid membership when you’d like to get more serious about taking lessons and learning through articles and video content.
On the other hand, if you’re an advanced chess player, the unlimited lessons at the Diamond tier can help you to improve even further.
You can also make valuable connections with other members of the chess community through the forums, or share your own insights by creating a Chess.com blog!