What do I need to know to get started with Online Chess?

Daily Chess is also referred to as Turn-based and Correspondence-style chess.  The latter term highlights the similarity between this type of Internet chess and postal chess, played either by email or regular post:  In all cases, games can take days or even months, with players getting a number of days in which to make each move.  At Chess.com, the shortest time control allowed for online chess is one day per move, and the slowest option allows 14 days per move.

For example, in an online game configured for 3 days per move, you have a full 72 hours to make your move after every move your opponent makes. (You can of course move a lot more often than this.  In fact, if your opponent is logged into the site and playing at the same time, you can just keep moving until the game is over. You don't even have to refresh the page to see your opponent's moves!) 

The difference between online chess and live chess is that, with online games, you can log out of the site, and your online game will still be there when you come back.   It's easy to see why people often play many online games at once!


To start a new game...

From your home-page, on the navigation bar, hover your mouse over the "Play" icon, and click on "DailyChess". This opens your Daily Chess Home page, where all of your current and recent games are shown. 

On the right side of the screen, you'll see the options for starting a new game.

You can create an open challenge to anyone on the site by choosing a Game Type (Standard or Chess960) and Time Control and clicking the "Play" button. It's that easy!

You can also customize your challenge to be more specific by clicking on the "Custom Challenge" button. You can choose your opponent, start from a custom position, and choose which color you'll play as.

You can see any open challenges by clicking on the "Open Challenges" button. If you see an opponent you wish to play, simply click on their challenge to accept it.

If you'd like to quickly play someone from your friends list, you can click "Play a Friend" to create a challenge for that member.


Game options

If you click on "Custom Challenge," you'll be presented with a number of options:


  • Standard Chess or Chess960 (a variant in which the pieces on the bank rank appear in a randomized order - see here for more details)
  • Standard Starting Position - or choose from literally hundreds of opening positions from the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings (Note: the list takes a while to load, so we don't load it by default; click the menu once to load the list, and again to see all of your options.)  The small chessboard graphic shows the selected starting position.
  • Days per move - your options range from 1 to 14 days for each move.  Three days per move is the default.
  • I Play As: (color) - here you can choose to play the white or black pieces, or take your chances with a random selection of color
  • The last menu in this section lets you choose between a rated game (one whose result will affect your turn-based chess rating), an unrated game, or a takeback game. Takeback games allow for players to cancel or take back moves that have been played on the board; they are always unrated and often used for teaching purposes.


Opponent options

If you elect to play against a random opponent, you can still narrow the field by selecting some specific characteristics for that player from the "Custom Challenge" menu.  To see your options, click on the "Random Opponent" button on the menu.

  • Rating Min & Max - choose a range of ratings your opponent must fall between. (It's usually best to seek players who are within 200 points of your own current rating.)
  • Minimum Games Played - Here, you can opt for an opponent who's got a proven record for finishing games, or for one who just has more experience with the site.
  • Avoid Time Outs - If your opponent times out, you win; but if you don't want to win that way, enable this to help ensure you get someone who finishes their games.
  • Player Move Speed - If you like to play more quickly, you can use this menu to find players whose average time-per-move is lower than the norm.  (You should also seek games with low days-per-move as well; see above.)
  • Also, if you are a premium member, you can check the "Restrict game to premium members only" box, requiring that your opponent also be a gold, platinum or diamond member of the site.


If you want to play with someone in particular, choose "Play a Friend" from the menu.  Once that is chosen, you have several ways to identify your desired opponent:

  • Type a Chess.com username or email address (in the case of a username, the form will help you by showing a list of members as you type; it will show the avatar of the selected member when you are finished your selection)
  • "Challenge a friend on Chess.com >>" - Clicking this option opens a list of all your current friends.  Just pick the desired opponent from the display.
  • "Challenge a friend from Facebook >>" - If you have linked your Facebook and Chess.com accounts, this option will reveal a list of all your Facebook friends.  Again, just click on a friend to select them for your challenge.  (If they aren't already Chess.com members, your challenge will be sent with an invitation to register.)


Finally, if you don't want to start a new game yourself, you can simply choose from one of the open game seeks someone else has created. From your online games page, click where it says "Open Challenges."

 keywords: online, games, play, challenge, seek, correspondence, turn based options
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