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I am a member of ICC and I find it useful although it may be a bit pricey. In a recent question about "What types or kinds of chess players are there?", chubbycantorset pointed out a video on www.chess.com by GM Kaidanov. I started watching the video(s), but realized that they only show you the first few minutes unless you sign up, so what chess websites that require a paid subscription are worth it. This maybe subjective, but I will limit worth it to mean: Quality, Community Size, Features, and Price.

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Not a pay site, but FICS (free internet chess server) is my go-to for online chess.

Chesstempo is where I go for tactics and endgame puzzles (I think they have a subscription option, but I haven't subscribed, and so can't say for sure).

Playchess is associated with ChessBase and although I haven't tried their online service, ChessBase is an amazing program and good company--- they also sell video tutorials.

Utlimately, I'd recommend using the money you'd spend on a subscription on a good chess coach--- nothing beats that.

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I play on FICS as well. Out of curiosity, where do you find a good chess coach? –  xaisoft Jan 4 '13 at 12:33
    
+1 for chesstempo.com they have a subscription for as little as $4/month if that offer fits your needs –  user76 Jan 4 '13 at 18:05
    
It all depends on where you live. I used to live in NYC and ChessNYC was a great resource. ICC has some good coaches operating there, and I'm sure you could set up something with them that didn't involve ICC--- maybe Skype lessons. –  Dennis Jan 4 '13 at 20:06
    
@xaisoft I just remembered this site. Dan Heisman has some great resources there. He also offers lessons. –  Dennis Jan 5 '13 at 7:58
    
@Dennis - Yes, I am familiar with the Novice Nook articles and have started to read them all. One of the reasons why I actually signed up for the ICC is because Dan Heisman has some great videos on there along with other masters. –  xaisoft Jan 5 '13 at 16:18
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Chess.com offers a free trial for their highest membership (diamond) for a month. I highly, highly recommend trying that out. In addition to outstanding videos updated regularly by titled players on various aspects of the game, you also have a neat tactics trainer that allows you to customize what kind of tactics you want to do/how many at a time/what rating range you want/the option of timed vs untimed tactics, etc (although I still prefer chesstempo for tactics!). Another excellent feature of full access to chess.com is something called "Chess Mentor." I don't want to reveal much about it, but I certainly consider it the best feature on the site! (Even if you sign up for the free membership on chess.com, you can see some aspects of chess mentor, but you may find it too basic, depending on your level). Of course, the site also has a very nice opening explorer, a database of top level games, tournaments, etc.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to take a look (and try out!) at what the whole site has to offer for a month at zero cost. Only then you'll be able to judge whether its worth it to pay for the membership monthly/annually.

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Also, I was reluctant to post the Kaidanov links because chess.com required a subscription of some sort... –  chubbycantorset Jan 4 '13 at 19:29
    
I have seen some of the videos (free and previews) and they do look top notch –  xaisoft Jan 4 '13 at 21:13
    
I also think chesskid.com is part of chess.com which is also a very good site even if it is geared towards kids –  xaisoft Jan 4 '13 at 21:15
    
Why wouldn't you want to reveal much about "Chess Mentor"? Do you work for chess.com or something? –  user76 Jan 17 '13 at 18:42
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My brother once bought a paid membership upgrade on chessgames.com and it was interesting, the non-free features I found most useful were:

  • Guess-the-move, you play some parts of historic games, while keeping score when you find good/best best move(s).
  • Browse games with specific piece sacrifices or specific pieces vs pieces endgames from their databases.
  • One-click button to download their databases in PGN format (*all games from X player, XY vs Z remaining pieces endgames, sacrifices, etc).

*you can theoretically get every game from a certain player as a free user, but it will take forever, the one-click-download-all will not be available.

It was not very cheap, but I really liked the option to download massively multiple games, I can now analyze them with Arena + chess engines and learn from these offline in my laptop when I don't find WiFi.

I would rate it 7/10 overall.

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You could try Red Hot Pawn. It's free and really worth it. You can join tournaments, clans, etc.

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ChessLecture.com is amazing I won a free 15 day trial and with the TON of GM lectures on it I learned some new great opening theory that helped me win a few tournament games I havent yet subscribed but I just may.

-Update: I just renewed my membership, it is great!

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Nice, I never heard of this one before. –  xaisoft Jan 17 '13 at 13:22
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