It is no secret that chess is one of the most popular games globally. Perhaps even more so today than in the past. This might be attributed to the fact that technology has made it possible to play online at the click of a button. There are numerous sites whereby one can play chess against computer opponents or other players across the world (Internet Chess Servers). This has led to a new way of earning a living through chess – largely online.
The Benefits of Chess Playing Online
The convenience of playing chess online is undeniable. One could argue that convenience is one of the major draws for players around the world. Being able to play at one’s leisure without having to set aside the required amount of time is highly appealing. In addition, some of the world’s best chess players today make a great deal of money online. This is mainly through sponsorships and donations from wealthy individuals and companies who wish to support the game they love. For a few elite players, chess represents their only source of income. It certainly appears to be a lucrative venture.
Where Do I Start?
If you are thinking about trying your luck at the online chess world, where do you start? The first step would be to research the best online chess websites. This is important because you want to find a site that has a good reputation. You also need to look for a site that has an API (Application Programming Interface) or a link to an external database so that you can access the information about registered players and their rankings. This last part is critical since it gives you a sense of how well you are doing compared to other players. External databases such as ICSA (Internet Chess Server Archive) are a great source of information for online chess players. They maintain records of all games played and the outcomes. So, no matter what kind of player you are, whether you’re new to the game or have experience, you’ll be able to find something useful.
Top Tips For New Players
If you’re new to chess and decide to play online, here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Be aggressive! Don’t be afraid to make the first move,
- Look for a site that has a good reputation,
- Check the site’s terms and conditions thoroughly,
- Avoid scams by verifying accounts that contact you,
- Learn how to use the search function effectively,
- Monitor your chess game regularly and look for ways to improve,
- Participate in the forum and get inspired by other players,
- Use a resourceful approach and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it,
The Leagues And Ladder System
One of the best things about chess online is the fact that there are several leagues and ladders you can join. This allows you to gain experience and prove yourself to be a greater player. Just remember that leagues and ladders aren’t mutually exclusive – you can be in more than one at the same time.
There are many different leagues you can join, each with its own special rules, prizes, and member base. Some of the more prominent ones are as follows:
Global Chess Championship
This is the mother of all chess leagues. It has its roots in the World Chess Olympiad (WCO) (1924–1928). The WCO was an annual competition between the world’s best chess players. It was a tournament composed of individual games, and the final standings were determined by how many points a player earned through winning the games. This system was later adopted for the World Chess Championship (WCC).
The WCC was first contested in 1934 and has been held annually ever since. The event is currently recognised as the premier chess competition of the world. In order to participate in the WCC, one must either be able to pay thousands of US dollars or sponsor one’s own entry. The amount of money that is on the line for these events makes them prestigious targets for online scammers. So, make sure you’re aware of any potential risks before you join any league or community online.
World Amateur Chess Championship
This is the other big chess league. It was founded in 1966 and is open to all amateur players. The winner of the World Amateur Chess Championship (WAC) is considered the champion of amateurs around the world. There is no clear-cut way to determine the champion other than through play-offs at regular intervals throughout the year. The champion of last year’s World Amateur Chess Championship is Magnus Carlsen (Norway), with Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Fabiano Caruana (Italy) in close pursuit. Fabrizio Caruana (Italy) is the current World Amateur Chess Champion and he defeated Fernando Sonzato (Argentina) in the final game of last year’s competition.
European Chess Championship
This is the chess league for Europeans. It was founded in 1964 and features players from across the continent. As the name suggests, this is a competition for Europeans and therefore more convenient for those living in Europe. There are several rounds of qualifications before the play-offs. Those who succeed in passing these tests are accepted into the league. Top players in the European Chess Championship can earn a living playing regular matches against computer opponents and paying opponents.
FIDE Grand Slam
This is the grand daddy of all chess leagues. It was founded in 1948 and expanded outside its original borders in the 1950s. FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) is the governing body for chess in the world. The FIDE Grand Slam is composed of the World Chess Championship, the European Chess Championship, the Russian Chess Championship, and the CSA (Confédération Sud-Africaine de Chess) Championship. The Russian and CSA Championships are not actually competitions but are recognised as the pinnacle of professional chess for players who compete in them. They determine the best players in Russia and Sud-Africa respectively. The Federation Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) also recognises tournaments whereby chess players compete for supremacy. These include the World Blitz Championship, the World Rapid Championship, and the World Computer Chess Championship.
The Computer Chess Rating System
Nowadays, chess players use various rating systems to measure their strength. Some of the more prominent ones are as follows:
The Elo Rating
This is the Elo rating system. It is named after Arpad Elo (Hungary), who, in 1972, published a book (Elo’s Game) on chess that introduced this rating method. The Elo rating is calculated by using the formula (1+1/N)^(N-1), where N is the number of games played, including the result (1 for a win, 0 for a draw, and -1 for a loss).
The Carlsen Rating
This is the rating system used by Magnus Carlsen (Norway). It was developed by the Icelandic chess prodigy and was first publicly recognised in 2015. One of the unique things about this rating system is that it includes a player’s results from elimination chess (which is played in the same way as normal chess but with more eliminations). So, in addition to their games against the computer, the player’s results from death matches (kill matches) are also used to calculate the rating. This is to account for the fact that players at the top of their game can be incredibly strong and skillful but still be knocked off their game by a rushing bull or a drunk driver.