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Type of site
Internet chess server, Social media website
Founder(s) Erik Allebest, Jay Severson
Alexa rank Increase 841 (May 2018)[1]
Registration Yes
Launched June 2007
Current status Active is an Internet chess server, Internet forum and social networking website; it is also the name of the company that runs the site.[2] It is the most frequently visited chess website according to Alexa Internet rankings.[3]


The domain was originally set up in 1995 by Aficionado, a company based in Berkeley, California, in order to sell a piece of chess tutoring software called "Chess Mentor".[4] In 2005, internet entrepreneur Erik Allebest and partner Jarom ("Jay") Severson purchased the domain name and assembled a team of software developers to redevelop the site as a chess portal. The site was relaunched in 2007.[2] The site was heavily promoted via social media and grew quickly, attracting mainly casual players. In 2009, announced a takeover of a similar chess social networking site,[5][6]

In October 2013, acquired the Dutch-based chess news site[7] In 2014, the site announced that over a billion live games had been played on the site, including 100 million correspondence games.[8]

Chess tournaments[edit] has held regular "Death-Matches" since January 2012, whereby titled players are paid to play a series of blitz games over a non-stop 3-hour period (5-minute, 3-minute and 1-minute, all with a one-second increment).[9] To date, there have been 38 deathmatches, the participants of which include top grandmasters such as Hikaru Nakamura, Dmitry Andreikin, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Simen Agdestein, Lê Quang Liêm, Wesley So, Georg Meier, Arkadij Naiditsch, Loek van Wely, Fabiano Caruana, Judit Polgár, Nigel Short, Wang Yue, Francisco Vallejo Pons, Erwin L'Ami and Ruslan Ponomariov.[10]

Computer chess tournament[edit]

In November 2017, held an open tournament of the ten strongest chess engines with $2,500 in prize money. The top-two engines competed in a "Superfinal" tournament between the two finalists - Stockfish and Houdini. In the 20-game Superfinal, Stockfish won over Houdini with a score 10.5-9.5. Five games were decisive, with 15 ending in a draw. Of the decisive games, three games were won by Stockfish, and two by Houdini.[11][12]

Features[edit] operates a freemium business model: main site features are free,[13] but players have to pay to get additional features.[14]

Visitors to the site can play on a live chess server and correspondence style games, referred to on the site as "turn-based". Players may also play against chess engines (computer chess), and participate in voting games, in which players form teams and vote on the best move. Additional features include tactics training, chess forums, articles, chess news, downloads, opening databases, groups, live broadcasts, daily puzzles, online coaching and a game database of over 2 million games.

On the site, players are able to learn to play at any level, take part in discussion forums and watch chess events.[15] Another popular feature is clubs (or teams), which can play matches against each other.

The company publishes a large number of articles on a variety of chess-related topics, including chess strategy, opening theory and history. Regular contributors include Gregory Serper, Bruce Pandolfini, Rafael Leitão, Dan Heisman, Jeremy Silman, Petar Genov, Daniel Naroditsky, Natalia Pogonina and Daniel Rensch.

Users can play a number of variants on the live server, including crazyhouse, three-check, four-player, king of the hill, 960 chess and bughouse. has a policy against the use of chess engines in all forms of the game, except where "specifically permitted (such as a computer tournament)".[16] It utilizes certain undisclosed techniques to catch players using engines in games and bans many on a daily basis.[17][18] also mutes and bans users who repeatedly break the forum posting rules.[16][edit] also runs the site for chess players aged 13 and younger. runs an online championship which is recognized by the United States Chess Federation.[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2018-05-30. 
  2. ^ a b " A Social Networking Site For...Well You Can Probably Guess". TechCrunch. 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  3. ^ "Top Sites in:All Categories > Games > Board Games > Abstract > Battle Games > Chess". Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  4. ^ "Chess Mentor by Aficionado". 1997-07-10. Archived from the original on July 10, 1997. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  5. ^ "Chesspark And Put Their Pawns Together". TechCrunch. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  6. ^ " Makes Its Move, Acquires Name". Private Equity and Venture Capital. Dow Jones. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2013. (Subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ "BREAKING: to acquire". ChessVibes. 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  8. ^ Pete Cilento. " 1 Billion Games Served". Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Deathmatch historical archive". May 17, 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Klein, Mike (30 May 2013). "Death Match 15: Caruana vs. Aveskulov". Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  11. ^ announces computer chess championship.
  12. ^ Stockfish wins computer championship.
  13. ^ McClain, Dylan Loeb (13 March 2010). "Wherever You Are, a Game Is Just a Point and Click Away". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  14. ^ Premium Membership & Subscriptions –
  15. ^ ", red social para los jugadores de ajedrez". 8 July 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "What are the site's policies?". Retrieved 2017-06-06. 
  17. ^ (DanielRensch), Daniel Rensch. "Cheating on". Retrieved 2017-01-24. 
  18. ^ "Cheating at Chess on - Questions and Answers". Retrieved May 11, 2017. "We won't disclose our exact methods for catching cheaters (to prevent cheaters from adapting their methods), but it involves cutting-edge technology and human judgement. ... We don't make huge public statements about catching cheaters, but we close many accounts each week for cheating, including accounts for Premium Members who are cheating. We are constantly going through our top players and submitting them to our cheat detection process. ... We think cheating is a terrible disease in online chess in general (on all sites). We have a very strict no-cheating policy and we enforce it with maximum effect whenever we are confident we have found cheating. We feel that we are extremely effective in identifying and dealing with most cheaters. 
  19. ^ "The United States Chess Federation – Nation's Top Chess Kids to Battle in Online Invitational". 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  20. ^ "Bay Area kids look to checkmate opponents from a computer screen". Contra Costa Times. 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 

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