The imaginatively named American website http://www.chess.com is packed with resources that should improve any player’s knowledge of the game. It brings together in one place video lectures, puzzles, chess courses, articles, an openings/games explorer, the ability to play chess against human opponents or a computer and more. The content is suitable for all players, from beginner to master standard. The site boasts over 14 million members. It is possible to join at no cost, but then access to the features is severely restricted. There are 3 upgrades of subscription on a monthly or annual basis. The most expensive equates to about 20p a day and allows unlimited access to all the features with freedom from intrusive advertising.
The site is in the process of a revamp and for the time being members can access both the old and new interfaces and swap between them. The following remarks refer to the “new” site.
The Learn link takes you to the training features. There are hundreds of lectures in the video library, presented mainly by GMs and IMs on subjects such as knight v bishop, king hunts, Mikhail Tal’s best endgames, club player’s mistakes (a series), how to beat slow plans, the endgame secrets you must know and how to restrict and win.
Several of the videos are presented by the English “Ginger GM” Simon Williams. Some of those cover variations of the French Defence, but one is about the Monkey’s Bum Gambit. (I have no idea what that is and am reluctant to try it.)
Members can play each other at various time controls then have their games analysed by computer to identify any missed opportunities. They can also watch other member’s games in progress and Guess the Move, with the watching member guessing correctly the most times being announced the winner.
This site has far more of interest so I’ll be returning to it next time.