The internet is filled with websites and other resources you can use to improve your chess. However, many of these tools come at a cost, which can be a deterrent to the chess player who wants to stay on a budget. Luckily, there are also plenty of sites that are absolutely free to use, allowing you to improve your game without spending a lot of money to do it. Here are six popular online resources you can use without spending a dime.
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Looking for a place where you can practice tactics in a variety of different formats? Chess Tempo has over 30,000 different tactical problems that are “rated” based on the success other players have had at solving them. You’ll get a rating by playing here too, which will help determines which problems you receive while working through the problem collection. There are also resources here to train in endgame positions and play against computer opponents.
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With over 23,000 problems, the Chess Tactics Server is another popular site for testing your tactical skills. While there’s not as much variety in the types of training available as at Chess Tempo, both the quality of the problems and the rating system are arguably stronger here. Of course, which of these two sites you prefer will largely be a matter of personal taste, and many players actually use both in order to improve their game.
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The Internet Chess Club may be the gold standard of online chess servers, but it’s not the only game in town. If you’re looking for a way to get some quality online play in without spending any of your hard-earned money, take a look at the Free Internet Chess Server. FICS, as it is known, has most of the same features you’ll find on ICC with absolutely none of the cost. Sure, there aren’t as many grandmasters there, and the extra perks like live tournament radio commentary are a notable... difference. But for most players, FICS offers plenty of great chess action at the tip of your fingers.
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ChessBase.com is a great place to keep up with the world of chess news, but it’s also a major source of materials you can use to improve your chess. Annotated games from major tournaments are often posted here, as are endgame studies with extensive analysis. You’ll even find studies, excerpts from ChessBase DVD products and interviews with top players, all of which can contain nuggets that will help your chess. If you do decide you’re willing to spend some money here as well, ChessBase offers... more than a few products that are designed to take your game to a whole new level.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The Week in Chess
The Week in Chess is possibly the best resource for keeping up to date with chess tournaments from around the world, offering extensive coverage of virtually every major chess tournament on Earth. But how can this improve your chess? TWIC also includes a huge database of games each week, allowing you to constantly update your personal database with the largest games played by strong (and sometimes not so strong) players from around the world. If you’re looking for the latest developments and... ideas of your opening of choice, or just want to improve by playing through master games, there’s no easier way to get a steady flow of new games to peruse.
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If you’re looking for a specific game from the past, on the other hand, ChessGames.com is the place to go. With more than 600,000 different historical games and a powerful search function, this site is the perfect way to find games by a player, from an opening, or in a position you’d like to study. Many games even have annotations, and much more have comments from users that include some useful tidbits (along with the expected mix of gossip and opinions).