Online Chess

After talking about my time at Churston Grammar School last week, I’m now going to spend a second week of Click reminiscing over my younger days as the subject of conversation today requires another trip back in time.When I was ten years old I used to enjoy losing time and time again at the game of chess when playing against my farther; just as I started to improve I entered that stage of life where you want everything that interests you to be ‘cool’ and so obviously chess went out the window from the tender age of about 11 and I went in pursuit of other things to entertain me.

Whilst thinking up ideas for this article the thought popped in to my head that there must be a plethora of online chess sites out there and so maybe I should try my hand at the game once again and sure enough a quick search on Google revealed a huge number of sites that suited my criteria.One of the most comprehensive sites that I found was called The Chess Club (www.chessclub.com) and whilst writing this article at 9 in the morning there are currently over 900 players on the site from all over the world, including 2 Grandmasters and 13 International Masters.

To interact with these players you download a free piece of software approximately two megabytes in size which allows you to connect to their servers and provides a graphical interface for the games.Registration is pretty much mandatory and once registered you have 7 days to decide whether or not you should extend your membership which involves a small payment but after this week long period you should have a good idea of whether you consider that paying for the service worthwhile and should also give you some kind of an idea of the attitudes and skills of the players online.

At the point of registration I designated myself a beginner/average skill level rating of 1000 to see how I got along and immediately threw myself into a game with another player from Saudi Arabia with a similar skill level and although he did beat me I got the impression that we were pretty much evenly matched.As a result, my skill level dropped to around 900 and his increased to approximately 1,100 to reflect the fact that he is now seen online as a superior player than myself.Next time I would play someone with a skill level of 900 and eventually I would get a pretty accurate indication of my skill level; this was all good fun but of course the site offers you more than just the ability to play games of chess against each other to warrant the £40 a year membership fee.

One such feature is that as I mentioned above there are a number of International and Grandmaster chess players online so you can watch games between these people to hopefully learn a few tricks that will help you in your own games.In addition, the professional players hold master classes every hour, on the hour which are targeted towards different skill levels so that you can learn skills and moves to help you develop your own game at a faster pace.Quite a novel feature of the site is that major events are broadcast live and probably the most notable of these would have been that famous game between Kasparov and IBM Deep Blue which can then be replayed and analysed in the software at a later date and as a result lessons learned.

I realise that this game doesn’t appeal to everybody and I wouldn’t be surprised if only a quarter of my readership have actually reached this paragraph but with 25,000 paying members currently using The Chess Club, those that have got this far would probably benefit from checking it out.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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