Technology has made it so that we don’t even have to get dressed and leave our homes to play chess against opponents all over the world. That is fascinating! Let’s look at some of the great aspects of online chess.
· It is free or cheap. Playing chess online negates expensive travel, entry fees, hotel stays, and all the rest that comes into playing live chess. We simply turn on our computer, sign on to our favorite playing website, and begin chess games. Some sites do charge money, but it’s still very likely less money than you’d spend per year as a regular OTB player.
· You can play faster. I put this in the pros because it’s a fact. One-minute games in real life get really messy, but fast players can make a ton of moves in one-minute games online. I’m not saying they are good for you, I’m saying they are possible.
· Coaching. On some servers, such as ICC, titled players are available for online coaching. For many, this is the only way they’d ever be able to get a strong coach.
· Video lessons are also available all over online, which can save us a ton in book costs. ICC puts out daily videos and there are countless on YouTube--just be careful and make sure the players you watch are strong.
· Availability. Let’s face it: A whole lot of people don’t live in chess hotspots. For people in rural areas, online chess may be the only way to ever get a game without traveling somewhere.
· Tournament players can gain valuable experience playing online games. They can join groups like the 45/45 League, which may help them prepare for long OTB battles.
· Choices. We have the freedom to pick and choose where we play online. If we don’t like one site, we can try the next, and the next, until we find one that suits our needs.
· Quick analyzing. Instead of setting up a board and pieces and sitting in the middle of the room with books open, we can quickly analyze any position or game, most of the time with the help of a top engine. That is a huge plus.
· Keeping up with chess news. Most chess playing sites offer current chess news and expose us to things we may not have known if we hadn’t signed on. There are other ways to keep up, sure, but it’s still a benefit of online servers.
· Watching strong tournaments. Not all sites do this, but most of the pay ones will. How neat that we can sign on and within seconds be watching our favorite GMs play tournaments in real-time from Germany, Norway, Iceland, the U.S.--wherever! It’s top-tier chess delivered to your doorstep. That is hard to beat.
· Making chess friends. Throughout my years playing online chess, I have met quite a few people I would consider really good friends. I’ve even met a few of them in person! There are a lot of really neat folks out there in the online world of chess.
· Watching powerful players battle live. On the ICC, a few of my favorite players to watch are Yaacov Norowitz, Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Larry Christiansen, and Emory Tate. There is no way in the world I’d be able to watch them play any other way. I can just sign on and follow them around; how nifty is that?
· Opportunities. I worked as a service representative and then an admin on Chess Live, now defunct. Eventually, I was heading several departments and landed a paid position on World Chess Live, also now defunct. If you want something badly enough in the online chess world, it’s probably there for the taking. Just go and get it.
· Socializing. It’s neat to hear what others have to say on a chess server. You can swap stories, enter different chat rooms, and even go over games or ideas with other players, all from the comfort of home. Heck, some folks sign on to chess servers just to chat. It’s all up to you!
In short, as you can see, online chess has made life a whole lot easier for a whole lot of people. For some, it’s absolutely necessary if they wish to play other humans.
So, are there also bad things about online chess? You betcha. Stay tuned for the second installment. In it, I’ll discuss the negative aspects of online chess.
Cheers for now!