From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lichess Logo 2019.png
Type of site
Internet chess server
Available inEnglish. Portions of the website have been translated to over 80 languages, with about 30 languages marked as "complete", but the terms of service, privacy policy, blog posts, and coach biographies, are not yet fully translated.
Created byThibault Duplessis
Alexa rankDecrease 1,307 (September 2020)[1]
CommercialNon-profit and donation-only
Launched20 June 2010[2]
Current statusActive
Written inScala, JavaScript, HTML and CSS[3]

Lichess (/ˈlɛs/[4]) is a free and open-source Internet chess server run by a non-profit organization of the same name. Anyone can play anonymously, although players may register an account on the site 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.[5][6][7]


Lichess was founded in 2010 by French programmer Thibault Duplessis.[8][9] The software running Lichess and the design are open source under the AGPL license.[10]

On February 11, 2015, an official Lichess mobile app was released for Android devices.[11] An app for mobile devices running iOS was released on March 4, 2015.[12]

As of September 15, 2020, had a global rank of 1,307 at Alexa, with most of its visitors coming from the United States, India, and Germany.[13] According to the Alexa rank, Lichess is ranked second only to as one of the most popular internet chess servers in the world.[14]

Being ad-free, Lichess relies on donated money to maintain over a dozen servers with over a hundred processor cores while paying programmers.[15]

Tournaments and events[edit]

Titled Arenas[edit]

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.[16] Magnus Carlsen won the first titled arena, and has regularly competed and won events since then.[17][18][19][20] 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 September 2020, Carlsen has a record 15 victories in titled arenas, followed by Alireza Firouzja with 11 victories. Other participants in past editions include Fabiano Caruana, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vladimir Fedoseev, Vladislav Artemiev, Alexander Grischuk, and Anish Giri.

Streamer Team Battles[edit]

Starting in January 2020 Lichess began hosting streamer team battles, with players playing in a tournament and trying to obtain as many points as possible for their favorite streamer.[21] Previous participating chess streamers include Andrew Tang, Sergei Shipov, Antonio Radić, Illya Nyzhnyk, Sergei Zhigalko, and Fiona Steil-Antoni.

Quarterly Marathons[edit]

Four times a year Lichess hosts a seasonal 24h marathon event, with top finishers earning a trophy on their profiles.

Saint Louis Chess Club[edit]

The Saint Louis Chess Club (SLCC) regularly hosts events on Lichess with large prize funds, and attracting the worlds 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25][26]

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.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29][30] 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.[31][32]


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).[33][34]

In May 2020, Lichess hosted the Play for Russia charity event, to raise money for hospitals and health workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.[35][36][37] The event raised 24,670,000 roubles ($335,000) and was won by Alexander Grischuk, beating Evgeny Tomashevsky in the finals.[38] Other participants included Vladimir Kramnik, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Sergey Karjakin, and Peter Svidler.

In the same month, several chess players (including Sebastien Feller) hosted a charity event on Lichess to raise money for the Mercy hospital in Metz in the fight against COVID-19.[39]

In June 2020, Lichess released a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and hosted a charity event to raise money on its behalf.[40]

In August 2020, the Qatar Chess Federation hosted the Katara International Bullet Tournament on Lichess, with a prize fund of $10,000.[41] The event was won by Magnus Carlsen, beating Daniel Naroditsky in the finals.[42]


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.[43][44] It also has a section where chess coaches can advertise their services to users.[45]

In addition to enabling blindfold chess,[46] the website supports the following chess variants:[47]

Lichess was the first chess-site to have features to help visually impaired people play chess on a website.[50][51] It also has a chess puzzle-based CAPTCHA system.[52][53]

Users can also play games against the Stockfish chess engine at a number of difficulty levels.[54] 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,[55] 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.[56] In the Antichess analysis board, users can utilize Mark Watkins's antichess solution database.[57]

For registered players, Lichess employs a Glicko-2[58] 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).

A Lichess mobile app is available for iOS and Android.[59]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lichess Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  2. ^ Duplessis, Thibault (2014-08-05). "How old is lichess?". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  3. ^ Duplessis, Thibault. "README". GitHub. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  4. ^ "How do you pronounce Lichess?". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  5. ^ "Why is lichess free?". Retrieved Jul 2, 2014.
  6. ^ "Lichess Features". Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Become a Patron of". Lichess. Retrieved 22 November 2017. 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!
  8. ^ Gravagna, Pierre (15 December 2017). "Carnet d'échecs". Libération (in French).
  9. ^ "About •". Retrieved 2020-07-23.
  10. ^ Duplessis, Thibault. "LICENSE". GitHub. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Android apps in Google Play". Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  12. ^ "lichess - Free Online Chess in the App Store". Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  13. ^ " Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Chess Links and Websites". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Lichess detailed cost breakdown official spreadsheet".
  16. ^ "Titled Prize Tournament!". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  17. ^ "Magnus Carlsen wins the first Lichess Titled Arena". Retrieved 2020-06-25.
  18. ^ "Online Chess Taking Advantage Of Opportunity To Grow, Entertain During Coronavirus Pandemic".
  19. ^ "DrDrunkenstein's Reign of Terror". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  20. ^ "DrNykterstein plant die Revolution". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  21. ^ "Streamer Team Battle!". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  22. ^ "Clutch Chess: USA". U.S. Chess Champs.
  23. ^ "Wesley So wins Clutch Chess Champions Showdown". ChessBase.
  24. ^ "Clutch Chess: International". U.S. Chess Champs.
  25. ^ "Magnus Carlsen wins Clutch Chess International". FIDE.
  26. ^ "Last Gasp victory for Magnus Carlsen in the Clutch Chess International 2020". The Week in Chess.
  27. ^ "2020 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX". U.S. Chess Champs. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  28. ^ "Champions Showdown Chess 9LX: Carlsen and Nakamura share first place". ChessBase. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  29. ^ "2020 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz". Saint Louis Chess Club. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  30. ^ "Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz 2020". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  31. ^ "Final standings". Saint Louis Chess Club. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  32. ^ "So and Carlsen co-champions of the Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz tournament". ChessBase. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  33. ^ "Chess: Magnus Carlsen prepares for meeting with prodigy Alireza Firouzja". The Guardian. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  34. ^ "Firouzja and Carlsen battle it out in bullet marathon". ChessBase. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  35. ^ "Chess Federation of Russia". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  36. ^ "Super-GM Charity Tournament to be held on 12-14 May". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  37. ^ "Play for Russia 2020". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  38. ^ "Grischuk topples Kramnik to win Play for Russia Charity Tournament". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  39. ^ "Marathon d'Echecs: Tous ensemble pour Mercy". (in French). Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  40. ^ "Black Lives Matter". Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  41. ^ "Announcing the Katara International Bullet Tournament with World Champion Magnus Carlsen".
  42. ^ "Magnus Carlsen wins the Katara International Bullet Tournament 2020". The Week in Chess. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
  43. ^ Wilde, Tyler (2017). "The best chess games on PC". PC Gamer. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  44. ^ "Play chess for free". Liverpool Daily Post. Liverpool, UK. December 11, 2010. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  45. ^ "Certified Coaches". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  46. ^ "Lichess embraces blind players with new chess site features". Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  47. ^ "Lichess variants •". Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  48. ^ "Atomic Chess! And more". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  49. ^ "OMG Crazyhouse!". Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  50. ^ "Accessibility for blind players". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  51. ^ Torres, JC (23 June 2014). "Lichess embraces blind players with new chess site features". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  52. ^ Leyden, John (14 March 2013). "We shall CRUSH you, puny ROBOT... with CHESS". The Register. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  53. ^ Araújo, Santi (2017). "Captcha de ajedrez: la mejor jugada contra los bots". (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  54. ^ "Сайт дня: - чёрное и белое онлайн". (in Russian). 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  55. ^ "Recent Improvements". Retrieved Feb 2, 2017.
  56. ^ "Opening Explorer". Retrieved Feb 26, 2016.
  57. ^ Watkins, Mark. "Losing Chess: 1. e3 wins for White" (PDF). Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  58. ^ "Rating Distribution". lichess. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  59. ^ "Mobile •". Retrieved 5 June 2017.

External links[edit]