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I'm thinking of dedicating some of my free time to learn and play chess in a systematic and serious way and try to participate in a non-Internet tournament in a few months. I will take this activity as a hobby, but still want to keep it serious, cos I know that my progress will determine how much fun the thing will be.

I know that there are many websites that allow you play chess online, but I'm interested in what experienced users have to say about them taking in care my goals. I'm looking for a place that allows me learn, play and test myself giving me a kind of rating from which I could infer with more or less accurateness my FIDE ELO and then decide when I'm ready to spend time participating in a non-Internet tournament.

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Nowadays there is really a abundance of good chess servers. And they are all relatively similar. I think you need a site where you can:

  • Play blitz chess
  • Play correspondence chess
  • Do tactics training
  • Learn via articles and/or videos

If you want everything on one site, www.chess.com is probably your best bet. As far as I know ICC, chess24, playchess and FICS don't have correspondence games. For beginners it is often hard to play blitz, and even later you might learn more from longer games.

The downside of chess.com is that the players are relatively weak. But if you are just starting out, this is not going to bug you for a few years.

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  • Is www.chess.com one of the most popular chess server? Can I play games again peoples at almost every hour? Can you be more specific regards why you said "The downside of chess.com is that the players are relatively weak"? I mean, what kind opponent (ELO FIDE or relative) I can hope easily find there? – gsi-frank Apr 4 '15 at 0:16
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    Chess.com is immensely popular. (They claim 11 million users…). You can play 24/7 if you want to. I didn't use it too much and I never figured out how to get opponents stronger than, let's say, 2000 Elo. On ICC or chess24 on the other hand I play surprisingly often against IMs or even GMs, so that's where my personal preference lies. But as I said, I think having correspondence games as well, is important for beginners. – BlindKungFuMaster Apr 4 '15 at 6:05
  • ICC had correspondence games back in ~2004-2005, did they get rid of them? – Patrick Coulombe Aug 15 '17 at 23:22
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I recommend http://chesstempo.com with all my heart. It is free with no advertisements. The interface allows a large choice of board sizes and figurine fonts. You can play online against other people or against computers of various strengths even when people are not available. You can also do tactics training - the best site for this.

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  • That site have ads – gsi-frank Apr 4 '15 at 0:59
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    There is a small text ad on the home page but is there an ad when you actually play or do tactics? At chess.com you are bothered with ads while playing a game. – DrCapablasker Apr 5 '15 at 5:28
  • @user3456 If there is a small add, consider rewriting your answer to indicate minimal advertisement. After all, minimal advertisement is better than intrusive advertisement. – Edwin Buck Apr 8 '15 at 3:07

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