Chess websites enjoy high popularity nowadays. Millions of chess players use them on a daily basis for various purposes.
Although it seems that we have the luxury problem of there being tons of chess websites available, three chess websites clearly stand out – chess24, chess.com, and lichess.
They are the Big Three among online chess platforms. All of them offer you access to a powerful set of playing and learning tools and a comprehensive service providing everything a chess player’s heart desires.
But how do these three chess websites compare against each other? We decided to put lichess, chess24 and chess.com head-to-head and help you decide which offers the best features, services, and value for money.
Which one is best for you, and how do they differ? Let us delve into the finer details.
Our test is based on 6 different categories:
- Playing Experience (Online Chess Games)
- Chess Tactics Trainer
- Chess Videos
- Online Chess Analysis
- Chess Apps
The winning chess website of each category receives 3 points. The second one gets 2 points and the third one 1 point.
If you’re looking for a chess website to play online chess games, chess.com offers you the best playing experience.
First of all, chess.com attracts millions of chess players from all over the world and currently has more than 23 million members, making it a vast chess community.
Many thousands of members are online simultaneously, and you quickly get matched to an opponent at any time of the day,.
There’s no long waiting until you find an opponent who wants to play exactly your time control.
Secondly, chess.com offers almost every time control you can think of. You can customize the time control and even enter an increment per move.
It’s even possible to play correspondence games where you have several days to make a move.
Thirdly, chess.com provides a variety of online play modes. Apart from the opportunity to play standard chess games, you can choose between 8 different chess variations.
Chess960 (random starting position for the back rank pieces), Three-check chess (check three times to take victory) or Four-Players-Chess make it possible to combine chess training with a lot of fun.
Finally, you can also play chess against a computer at different levels, participate in tournaments which start every few minutes and even play club matches against other teams.
lichess.org offers you the second best playing experience. lichess has approximately 28000 simultaneous active users all around the clock.
This makes it easy to find an opponent at any time. Just like chess.com, you can choose from a ton of different time controls, from a 1-minute bullet to 5-minutes blitz to 180-minute games.
It is also possible to choose an increment for each move. Correspondence chess with up to 14 days to make a move is available, too.
8 different chess variants are available including Atomic Chess (pieces explode when captured, taking their neighbors with them), Antichess (win by losing all your pieces – captures are forced), Racing Kings (get your king to the other side of the board first) and many more.
Finally, you can also participate in various tournaments and it’s also possible to play against a computer on lichess. One great aspect of the latter option is that you can enter a certain training position and play it out against the machine.
chess24 ranks third in terms of playing experience. The chess website is available in English, Spanish, and German making it a truly global platform. There is no option to see how many members regularly play chess on chess24, however, at any time, you’re quickly matched with an opponent in the Playzone.
In contrast to chess.com and lichess, you can only choose from a limited number of time controls. It’s not possible to play correspondence games. The longest time control available is 60 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds per move.
What’s more, you can only play standard chess games at chess24. There are no different chess variations available. However, chess24 offers various great tournaments to participate in. Especially opening themed tournaments are extremely useful to improve your chess opening skills.
Chess Tactics Trainer
The number 1 position for the best chess tactics trainer also goes to chess.com. The Tactics Trainer on chess.com currently offers 56,765 unique puzzles for chess tactics training.
One of the most important aspects of these chess puzzles is that they aren’t artificially set up but from real games. After you have tried a problem, you have the chance to analyze the tactics puzzle with Stockfish, one of the strongest chess engines in the world, to see the best lines and variations.
By checking the puzzle with the computer, you can also investigate the disadvantages of alternative lines which might seem promising to you at first glance. Moreover, for better memorization, you can retry the puzzle, download the PGN and share it on social networks to tell your friends.
What’s especially great is that after solving the puzzle, you can continue playing the position against the computer.
Speaking from experience, this is a very useful possibility as it’s not always that easy to seal the deal and convert a winning position into a full point.
Playing the position to the end is very useful for improving your skills in this area. The “Finish vs Computer-Button” is somewhat hidden on chess.com’s website.
You find it by clicking on the “Computer Analysis” button after you’ve attempted a puzzle. Afterward, click on the bottom right icon (see the image on the left).
Using the chess site’s Tactics Trainer, you receive a rating and you can also take a closer look at your stats which not only show you how many tactics you solved but also your score on different tactic themes like “endgame tactics”, “overloading” or “pawn promotion”.
As the Chess Tactics Trainer offers the possibility to train by tactical theme (pins, forks, etc.), you can focus on tactical motifs which rank worst in your stats. The faster you solve each problem, the higher you score and your rating climbs. Of course, all puzzles are adapted to your rating.
The Tactics Trainer on lichess gives access to over 60,000 chess puzzles all taken from recent games and presents a wide range of difficulty. All the chess puzzles are taken from online games that were played on lichess.
A computer algorithm constantly searches through all the games played on lichess and integrates suitable chess puzzles into the database.
This is what makes lichess’ Tactics Trainer so great. You’re confronted with chess puzzles that occurred in real online chess games, not with artificially set up positions.
For this reason, the conditions are very similar to the situation you’re in when playing a real chess game. Sometimes you have to find a mate, sometimes you need to win material and sometimes you need to play the best defensive move, but you never know in advance.
In the Tactics Trainer, the chess puzzles are selected depending on your Tactics Trainer rating, so that the tactics get harder as your rating increases. By clicking on a special button, all the threats in the position are shown, acting like a hint to make finding the solution easier.
Just as with the other two Tactics Trainers, all puzzles can be analyzed with a strong chess engine. On top of that, you can replay each game right from the start and find out how the position in the puzzle arose. The chess software is incredibly easy to use and as such, it is also a good site for kids to use.
The Chess Tactics Trainer on chess24 ranks third in our comparison. chess24 offers a large database of tactics problems including a collection of puzzles for all different skill levels.
A leaderboard allows you to see who’s on top and how you compare. Chess puzzles match your current skill level and you can choose to receive feedback after every puzzle, after every wrong answer or at the end of a session.
If you can’t solve an exercise, you can click on “Hint” and the piece you need to move is marked in color, but the move itself is not shown. Just like chess.com and lichess, you can analyze the puzzle with a chess engine if your answer differs from the correct solution.
A unique feature on chess24 is that you can choose between classical and speed mode. In speed mode, you can choose the duration of your session – one, three or five minutes. In this mode, you need to solve as many puzzles as you can under time pressure.
In terms of chess video series, free training videos and training shows, chess24 leaves his two competitors far behind and is in clear first place.
chess24 offers you plenty of chess DVD series where strong players talk about chess openings, strategy, endgames and a lot more. And there is absolutely no doubt that chess24 has the best presenters.
From the top players in the world (Vishy Anand, Peter Svidler, Hou Yifan) to the world’s best chess coaches (Mark Dvoretsky, Artur Yusupov) to the most famous online presenters (Jan Gustafsson, Niclas Huschenbeth, Lawrence Trent) – chess24 has them all.
On top of that, many of the chess video series are backed up by eBooks with which you can easily replay all the variations and games.
What’s more, chess24 offers plenty of weekly training shows which are a great way to combine a serious, disciplined chess training with a lot of fun.
For instance, German GM Jan Gustafsson, the face of chess24 with an impressive rating of 2640, is one of the faces you can see most frequently in the live chess shows.
His opening clinic, a live show in which he answers all the user’s questions on chess openings, is well-known throughout the whole chess world.
Also, Super-GM Peter Svidler enjoys playing banter blitz sessions on chess24! That’s an absolutely unique feature – a top 10 player lets players of all levels from all over the world play a game of chess at chess24 against him.
His thoughts and ideas on these games are really worth listening to if you are an enthusiastic chess player. And maybe you’ll even get the chance to play against him!
Unlike many other chess servers that only have a few commentators, chess24 has plenty of guest videos by super-strong masters, such as GM Robin van Kampen, GM Jan-Christian Schroeder, IM Sopiko Giri, IM Anna Rudolf and many more. Finally, you have the chance to chat with all the presenters as they stream their shows live.
chess.com also has a huge video library with thousands of chess videos on almost every topic. The most famous presenters on chess.com are Sam Shankland, Simon Williams, and Alex Yermolinsky. However, in terms of high-quality chess videos, chess.com can’t compete with the excellent video library on chess24.
Still, chess.com’s video library provides you with more and more videos every week. It’s definitely worth checking the video lessons.
Finally, there is a huge free chess video library on lichess featuring more than 1000 different videos on topics such as openings, tactics, endgames and so on. However, the presenters can’t compete with the ones on chess24 and chess.com.
Online Chess Analysis
In terms of online chess analysis all three chess websites are close together and provide many useful features. If we had to pick a favorite, it would be the analysis page from lichess.
All three analysis pages provide you with a chessboard where you can make moves, import games from your computer, prepare for your next tournament opponent, and save it all in your account so that you can access it from anywhere.
All chess websites enable you to work with colored buttons to draw arrows and highlight squares. You can add comments to any move using the text box below the notation.
At any moment you can see analysis from a chess engine (you can also turn this off in your settings if you prefer!) which analyses the best moves and shows the top three lines.
Of course, on all analysis pages, you can analyze your chess games with the strongest chess engine in the world – Stockfish. However, there are differences in the calculation accuracy. lichess’ Stockfish version calculates a lot stronger than chess24’s and chess.com’s versions as its search depth is a lot higher.
A huge database allows you to search for games by player, result, year, rating and opponent.
On chess24 and lichess, you have the chance to invite others to a “broadcast” of your session. You can invite a friend or a coach (or student) using their username directly or by grabbing a link to share in any way you choose.
After the session, you can save all your analysis and it will always be available on your account. You can even download the PGN if you want.
What’s especially great about lichess is that you can also embed a PGN-Viewer of the game on your own website for free.
Finally, it must be said that online chess analysis on lichess is completely free, while users on chess24 and chess.com have to pay for a similar service.
Of course, all three chess websites – chess24, chess.com and lichess – do not tie you to a computer – you can download their chess apps and use all the services on your phone.
Players online enjoy can chess games, solve chess puzzles, watch training videos, analyze your games – all on the go. You can play and train chess wherever you like – on the bus, on the beach in summer, during a break at work. Every chess app is available for Android and iOS.
The main aspect that stands out on chess24’s chess app is that you can download the chess video series and watch them offline.
If you’re traveling with your tablet or smartphone and you don’t have access to the internet, you can still acquire a lot of knowledge by watching the videos offline.
In terms of prices, lichess has a flat-out advantage. Lichess is a 100% free, open-source chess website – exclusively powered by volunteers and donations.
The chess website never shows advertisements and never charges for certain features. The lichess team can focus on improving the site as their only goal. This is simply unbeatable.
chess.com and chess24 operate with a freemium business model. Most of the features are free, but users have to pay to get additional features. If you don’t have a premium membership on chess.com, you can only solve 5 chess puzzles a day, watch the first few minutes of every chess video and you can’t really use the online chess analysis tool.
What separates chess.com from chess24, however, is that there are four possible memberships. While the free version of the app only offers you limited access to these resources, you can subscribe to premium services such as Diamond, Platinum, and Gold and enjoy even more great features.
chess24 works similarly to chess.com in terms of membership. A Premium Membership gives you full access to the chess website as well as their app. Access with the free plan to the video series, Tactics Trainer, Opening Tree, and mobile app is limited.
However, users can only choose between a free membership and a premium membership with full access to all resources. Students and schoolchildren receive a free 6-month extension when signing up for 1-year Premium Membership.
lichess vs chess24 vs chess.com: So which is the Best?
It’s been a close race between all the three chess websites. Let’s take a look at the final standings:
- chess.com 13 points
- lichess 12 points
- chess24 11 points
By a small margin, chess.com is on top of the overall results, one point ahead of lichess and two points ahead of chess24. However, when it comes to details, there are some differences between lichess, chess.com and chess24.
It’s a matter of weighing the six individual categories. If you like high-quality videos and world-class presenters, there is no way around chess24.
If you want to have the best playing experience and the best chess tactics trainer, chess.com is your pick. If you don’t want to pay for all the great services, lichess is the place to go for you.
chess.com, chess24 or lichess.org? Let us know your thoughts on which chess website you think is best in the comments below.
Using all the features which chess websites like chess24, lichess and chess.com offer are an essential aspect of every serious player’s chess training routine. However, effective chess training consists of multiple components.
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Other interesting articles for you:
- What is The Best Chess Training Method? Chess Videos vs Chess Books vs Chess Teacher
- Chess Improvement: Most Efficient Chess Training Technique
- Winning Chess Tactics: The Road to Tactical Mastery – GM Davorin Kuljasevic (The Chess World)
- The iChess Club (internet chess club) is a membership that offers chess lovers like you a wide variety of premium benefits. Check it out.
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