Wired Up: On-line chess

It's one of the oldest and most challenging board-games in the world. And the Internet has given it a whole new dimension. Prepare to lock intellectual horns with people from all over the planet.
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The Independent Culture
GRANDMASTER

chessclub.com

If ever there was a site for the serious chess player, then the Internet Chess Club is it. It's slightly more complicated to use than some web-based chess pages: you have to bring up the home page and download a piece of software (this isn't the nightmare downloading can be as it's only 500K or so) which you need to start playing. There are typically hundreds of games going on at any given time, especially when America is on-line, so finding an opponent is usually easy. The only catch is that it's not free; it costs around $50 a year to subscribe but once you've installed and configured the software, it's incredibly straightforward to set up a game with anybody from beginners to grandmasters. The website itself also has hints, tips and help on how to get the most out of the site.

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CHECK MATE

www.chess-space.com

As any aficionado knows, there's a lot more to chess than just playing the occasional game. Take Chess Space, for example. Although you can play at the site (and hundreds of people do), its real strength is that it contains so much more: book reviews, tactical discussions, columns from famous chess players. You name it, this site has it. One of the real highlights at the moment, for example, is a selection of sound files of interviews with the deeply eccentric American chess champion Bobby Fischer. Like any site that rises above the competition, the key to this one is its sheer scope and the obvious enthusiasm of the people who put it together, so much so that it can be a pleasure to browse, even if you're not particularly interested in the game.

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THE BEST OF THE REST www.chess.ibm.com HH

It's a tad out of date now, but the Kasparov vs Deep Blue site includes pages of detailed information about the legendary match when the Russian grandmaster was defeated by IBM's chess colossus.

www.chessweb.com HHH

If you want to keep abreast of international chess news, this is the best place to visit. It's not particularly elegantly laid out but it is extremely well informed.

home1.gte.net/radale/nost/ menu.htm HHH

An excellent email chess club, which prides itself as the "friendliest chess club on the Internet".

www.uschess.org HHH

The official site for the US chess federation, which also has strong links to the Internet Chess Club.

caissa.onenet.net/chess HH

Slightly clumsily designed page but plenty of general information for enthusiasts.

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