Computer Chess Games - Online Opponents
Chess - Computer Chess Games
Casting your net in search of new chess opponents used to mean traveling further and further afield to take part in competitions. But not any more.
Whether you simply wish to sharpen up your game or have exhausted your local supply of opposition, there are now alternatives to the expense and time that taking part in chess competitions usually involves. Instead of planes, trains and automobiles, you can now take on chess players from all over the world without leaving home.
The idea is not new, however. Chess games have been fought out via the mailman for several decades, if not centuries. The difference today is that these long distance matches can take place in real time over the internet.
Chess Websites - The Online Appeal
There are literally thousands of sites that let like-minded people from around the globe, who would not otherwise meet, have the opportunity to play. Online chess sites normally have waiting areas for members to post game challenges and wait for a suitable opponent to come along. They also arrange tournaments, leagues or ladders on a regular basis with opponents playing either full games at a pre-arranged time and date or games with a time limit on moves.
These sites often style themselves as online chess communities and are normally free to join; some, though, offer additional services or benefits by becoming a subscriber.
For some chess sites no additional software is required; most gaming takes place via standard web browsers such as Internet Explorer or Netscape. However, to play solo Java-based chess games, you may need to download the plug-in. If your browser requires this, a download link will be provided.
Many computer chess games, especially free General Public License software, and internet chess clubs run on X-Board, a free Graphical User Interface which you must download and install. As well as supporting the real time chess games of internet servers, X-Board also allows the playing of saved games and supports email chess too.
Originally designed for the X Window System, a Microsoft Windows variant of the communication protocol, called WinBoard, was also created. Today, the X-Board/WinBoard standard dominates the scene and is the usual means by which numerous free and commercial computer chess programs communicate across the internet. A rival communication protocol you may also encounter is the Universal Chess Interface.
However, it is not always possible to be online. An alternative to web based gaming is the downloadable chess program, software that will play against the user. Freeware or shareware chess software is abundant; there are many hundreds to choose from. Predictably the quality of these computer games varies enormously. Few, if any, of them can boast the involvement of a chess grandmaster like the top commercial software titles.