Type of site
|Internet chess server|
|Available in||English[note 1]|
|Created by||Thibault Duplessis|
|Commercial||Non-profit and donation-only|
|Launched||20 June 2010|
|Written in||Scala, TypeScript, HTML and CSS|
Lichess (//) is a free and open-source Internet chess server run by a non-profit organization of the same name. Users of the site can play online chess anonymously and optionally register an account to play rated games. Lichess is ad-free and all the features are available for free, as the site is funded by donations from patrons. Features include chess puzzles, computer analysis, tournaments and chess variants.
Lichess was founded in 2010 by French programmer Thibault Duplessis. The software running Lichess and the design are mostly open source under the AGPL license and other free and non-free licenses.
As of September 15, 2020, lichess.org had a global rank of 1,307 at Alexa, with most of its visitors coming from the United States, India, and Germany. According to Alexa rank, Lichess is ranked second only to Chess.com as one of the most popular internet chess servers in the world.
Tournaments and events
In December 2017 Lichess began hosting a monthly Lichess Titled Arena with cash prizes for titled players, featuring some of the best players in the world playing bullet chess. Magnus Carlsen won the first titled arena, and has regularly competed and won events since then. Later editions have featured blitz chess as well, and some events were played as Chess 960 events with randomized starting positions for each game.
As of March 2021, Carlsen has a record 15 victories in titled arenas, followed by Alireza Firouzja with 13 victories. Other participants in past editions include Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladislav Artemiev, Alexander Grischuk, and Anish Giri.
Saint Louis Chess Club
The Saint Louis Chess Club (SLCC) regularly hosts events on Lichess with large prize funds, attracting the world's best players to compete.
In May 2020, the SLCC hosted the Clutch Chess: USA on Lichess, a four-player knock-out event with $100,000 in prizes. The participants were Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Leinier Dominguez Perez, and Hikaru Nakamura. The event was won by So, beating Caruana on tiebreaks in the final (more wins in clutch games) after a final score of 9-9.
In June 2020, the SLCC hosted the Clutch Chess: International on Lichess, an eight-player invitational knock-out tournament with a prize fund of $265,000, which at the time was the largest prize fund ever offered for an online chess event. The participants were Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Jeffery Xiong. Carlsen won the event, beating Caruana 9.5-8.5 in the finals.
In September 2020, the SLCC hosted the 2020 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX on Lichess, a Chess 960 invitational rapid tournament with a prize fund of $150,000. The participants of this event were Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Alireza Firouzja, Leinier Dominguez Perez, and Peter Svidler. The event was jointly won by Carlsen and Nakamura, both scoring 6/9.
Later in September 2020, the SLCC hosted the 2020 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz on Lichess, a combined rapid and blitz event with a prize fund of $250,000. The ten invited participants included Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, and Wesley So. Carlsen and So were the joint overall winners with 24 points, with So winning the three-day rapid phase with 13 points and Carlsen and Nakamura sharing first in the two-day blitz phase with 12 points each.
In April 2020, Magnus Carlsen and Alireza Firouzja played a bullet match on Lichess, with the winner of the overall match being the first player to reach 100 wins. After 194 games Firouzja won the match 103.5-90.5 (100 wins, 7 draws, 87 losses).
In May 2020, Lichess hosted the Play for Russia charity event, to raise money for hospitals and health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The event raised 24,670,000 roubles ($335,000) and was won by Alexander Grischuk, beating Evgeny Tomashevsky in the finals. Other participants included Vladimir Kramnik, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Karjakin, and Peter Svidler.
In August 2020, the Qatar Chess Federation hosted the Katara International Bullet Tournament on Lichess, with a prize fund of $10,000. The event was won by Magnus Carlsen, beating Daniel Naroditsky in the finals.
The website allows users to play games of live and correspondence chess against other players at different time controls. It has training features, including chess basics, tactics training, chess coordinates, a chess video library, an opening explorer, studies, and an analysis board. It also has a section where chess coaches can advertise their services to users.
- Antichess (Losing chess)
- Atomic chess
- Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess)
- Horde (a variant of Dunsany's chess)
- King of the Hill
- Racing Kings
- Three-check chess
Users can also play games against the Stockfish chess engine at a number of difficulty levels. They may also analyze specific positions from standard chess or any of the supported chess variants. The website implements a version of the Stockfish engine that runs on the user's local machine within the user's web browser for limited or infinite analysis, which will calculate best lines of play or major opponent threats. An opening book based on games played on the site or a database of two million games played by FIDE titled players is available. In the Antichess analysis board, users can utilize Mark Watkins's antichess solution database.
For registered players, Lichess employs a Glicko-2 rating system, and grants the ability to compete in tournaments, post in the forums, and request a server-side full game analysis for any finalized game. The ratings for standard chess are categorized into Ultrabullet, Bullet, Blitz, Rapid, or Classical, depending on the game's total time or estimated total time (if using Fischer time control which increments time after each move).
On March 19, 2021, Lichess announced a new feature - Puzzle Racer, a mix of Puzzle Storm, released in January of the same year, and "typeracer" (typeracer.com), citing the latter's idea "translated perfectly to solving chess puzzles". Like Puzzle Storm, a timed puzzle feature, it prompts the user to solve puzzles with increasing difficulty as quickly as possible, but with the goal to outperform opponents in both the time and accuracy sense and hence be the first to finish the race, just like typeracer. Each correct move, not puzzle, gives a user one point and fills the combo bar by one. When a bar is filled a point bonus is given as shown below.
- 5 moves: +1 point
- 12 moves: +2 points
- 20 moves: +3 points
- 30 moves: +4 points
- Then +4 points every 10 other moves.
As with puzzle storm, an official leaderboard isn't yet implemented, however, players can see their daily highscores. There are no bots participating but unregistered players can also join and are given their user names randomly.
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We are a non‑profit association because we believe in a free, world-class chess experience for anyone, anywhere. We rely on support from [lichess users] to make it possible. If you've gotten something out of lichess, please take a second to pitch in!
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