There is something eternally enchanting about the great game of Chess. I admire the game, not as an experienced player, but as one who fancies the idea of knowing how to take notation or speak authoritatively about opening moves and historical games. Long have I dreamed of rising from “beginner” into the ranks of competent, respectable chess players…
…This isn’t likely to happen. At least, not in the current chapter of my life. For me, any game of Chess is a casual one at best (and usually against the lower setting of a computer AI). Still, my fascination with the game hasn’t waned, prompting the collection of a few resources that I’ll post here, for those who may share this fascination and appreciate helpful ways to engage this age-old pastime. New links will be added as they come along.
BabasChess – An excellent graphical front end for connecting with other human players over the popular Free Internet Chess Server (FICS). You’ll need to sign up for a free account with FICS before BabasChess can connect with the server. Features plenty of configuration options and geared more toward advanced players (or those who don’t mind a learning curve).
Chess beta – Have a question about the game but don’t feel like registering with a traditional forum? Search or post a question to Chess beta’s online message board, hosted by Stack Exchange.
Chess Tutorials – An excellent starting point for beginners that covers everything from setting up the board, introducing the pieces, to basic moves & strategies.
Chessopolis Directory – When you’re ready to dig in and get serious about chess related research, the journey starts here…
DreamChess – Casual chess players who prefer 3D graphics need look no further than DreamChess. This free game comes bundled in a small package (6.4 MB), is a breeze to install, and provides an easy way to get a simple game going against a computer AI. Chess simplicity at its best. By the way, don’t let the version number fool you, these things are typically arbitrary designations and in this case the game is fully functional and ready to go.
FICS – The Free Internet Chess Server has been around for many years and boasts a thriving community of chess enthusiasts. There are many great reasons to pay them a visit, including the opportunity to learn from skilled players and connect with others who are starting out – just like you.
Field Guide to Chess Tactics – Once you’ve ascended beyond the field of rank amateurs, Ward Farnsworth is ready to introduce you to the world of chess tactics…in plain English.
jose Chess – An established, robust chess platform geared toward more advanced players.
Lucas Chess – Offers just about everything one could hope for in a single-player chess program. Multiple chess engines and AI opponents, an expansive training tutor with daily exercises and move-by-move analysis, individual user profiles for tracking statistics and progress, a bevy of customization options, special features for younger players and so much more. To top it all the interface is clean and intuitive. Multiple contributors & localizations, expansive online support and altogether brilliant.
MyChess – Casual (and even serious) players can easily find (or watch) a quick pickup game in this polished offering from the folks over at Kongregate. For those unfamiliar with the site the focus here is Flash-based browser games, so no downloading, installing or configuration necessary. Just show up and be prepared to play.
Pawn – This tiny, no frills chess game is perfect for novice to intermediate players who just want to play. Easily adjust the computer strength or the board size.
Red Hot Pawn – The internet’s gathering place for chess enthusiasts. Discussion forums, clubs, online games, openings tutorials, correspondence games, leader boards and more… Entirely donation supported; registration is free.
USCF Official Rules – Another good starting point for beginners. Official Chess rules provided by none other than the United States Chess Federation.