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 may be subjective, but I will limit worth it to mean: Quality, Community Size, Features, and Price.

  • This website looks nice (main thing:it is free)
    – user4551
    Dec 30, 2014 at 12:42
  • 3
    My latest preference is www.lichess.org. It's completely free and you can play chess online, train in tactics and openings and also have all your games analysed by an egnine as soon as you finish them!
    – user10415
    May 28, 2016 at 22:24
  • chess.com is great even with a free account, and as zarkoth mentioned I've heard good things about lichess as well Sep 2, 2019 at 3:05
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    I've closed this question because it's a shopping list. While it does have some value, it's not the type of question which is suited to the Stack Exchange Q&A format; see the link for a list of reasons why.
    – Glorfindel
    Sep 2, 2019 at 7:22

13 Answers 13


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.

  • I play on FICS as well. Out of curiosity, where do you find a good chess coach?
    – xaisoft
    Jan 4, 2013 at 12:33
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    +1 for chesstempo.com they have a subscription for as little as $4/month if that offer fits your needs
    – user76
    Jan 4, 2013 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, 2013 at 20:06
  • @xaisoft I just remembered this site. Dan Heisman has some great resources there. He also offers lessons.
    – Dennis
    Jan 5, 2013 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, 2013 at 16:18

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.

  • Also, I was reluctant to post the Kaidanov links because chess.com required a subscription of some sort... Jan 4, 2013 at 19:29
  • I have seen some of the videos (free and previews) and they do look top notch
    – xaisoft
    Jan 4, 2013 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, 2013 at 21:15
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    Why wouldn't you want to reveal much about "Chess Mentor"? Do you work for chess.com or something?
    – user76
    Jan 17, 2013 at 18:42

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!

  • Nice, I never heard of this one before.
    – xaisoft
    Jan 17, 2013 at 13:22

https://www.chess.com Great place to play Chess, very active Chess forum, you can pay to get rid of advertisements, get unlimited access to videos and use the Tactics Trainer and Chess Mentor features of the site, for free you can still play unlimited games but can only do about 10 tactics a day and no access to Chess Mentor and videos.

https://chesstempo.com/ Best website for practicing tactics, membership is free

https://www.thechesswebsite.com/ Covers every aspect of Chess with videos and puzzles, almost free but paying can give you access to more features on the site.

http://www.chessgames.com/ Website containing active chess community and lots of Grandmaster games.

Other mentions:






Chess-Playing Websites


https://www.chessclub.com/ (Internet Chess Club)


Hope this Helps


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.


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

  • In my experience, GameKnot is far better than RHP.
    – Ralph
    Jun 29, 2014 at 21:33

I recently reactivated my FICS account, but I'm not fond of bullet, blitz and lightning so it might not get much of a workout.

A truly excellent website for playing is the (totally free, as in speech and beer) Lichess.org which will also let you embed it in your own site and does allow anonymous players (cheaters have a tendency to get smacked).

There are a few forums I visit, but they're generally region or software specific. Some of the others I peruse have already been listed above, though Chesscademy is worth a look (free training from US IMs and FMs). Also, The Week In Chess for news, live broadcast of games and an impressive archive of PGN. Historical PGN archives are also available from PGN Mentor.


Chess.com is a good website, but I prefer en.lichess.org. It has multiple variants you can play (KOTH, etc.), it's free.

Also it has its own game analyzer which is a very useful tool. In all other ways, it's about as good as chess.com.


I'm surprised nobody has yet mentioned chesspublishing.com. It has opening analysis by GM/IM rated players updated monthly, with playable javascript boards. The online search capability leaves something to be desired, but all the analysis can be downloaded to PGN and dropped into chess base.


ChessMoon (http://www.chessmoon.com) is the new chess server that you can enjoy playing chess with members all over the world, also serves as a social networking platform.


http://chesspuzzler.com is an interesting alternative to chesstempo. It's new but there's a spaced repetition option for free.


http://www.chess.com is pretty good. It brought me back to the game after 14 years! I loved the tactics trainer and mentor. I am sure with paid membership, one could achieve a lot more.

FICS is good too, I hear. If you are looking for Youtube subscriptions, I would recommend Powerplaychess https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMBATpFb--uLNAODOVWvCTA. Daniel King's analyses of games are pretty insightful.


I asked for and received a refund from Chess.com. There were far too many cheaters, and they are so slow in finding and removing cheaters on their website. It is too expensive to have to put up with so many cheaters.

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