If you are playing chess online, you most likely are familiar with Chess.com. It is the biggest platform with over 100 Million active users.
You can play games for free or decide to step up and get a paid membership. So you might ask yourself: are these memberships worth it?
In this review, I compare the different options, tell you what Chess.com membership I recommend, and offer a totally free alternative.
What is Chess.com?
Chess.com is the world’s most popular online chess platform, catering to both newcomers and experienced players. The platform organizes tournaments exclusive for titled players (Titled Tuesday) but also has a huge amount of chess novices playing games against their friends & strangers on the internet.
You can also play against one of their computer opponents, analyze your games, watch video courses, solve puzzles, and practice typical endgames.
Membership Options on Chess.com: A Detailed Look
Chess.com’s tiered membership system offers a progression of benefits and resources. From a free account to a Diamond membership, you can get whatever suits your personal needs on Chess.com. But don’t rush in getting a paid membership. A the end of the article I show you a totally free alternative to Chess.com, so make sure to read until the end.
- Free Membership:
- Features: It allows you to play unlimited games with players from around the world. You can also play against a limited amount of computer opponents (bots) and you’ll also have access to a limited set of lessons and can solve a few tactical puzzles daily. But you’ll have to tolerate quite intrusive ads while being on the website.
- Price: As the name suggests, it’s free.
- Gold Membership:
- Features: Once you pay, there are no ads anymore. The cheapest membership option comes with unlimited puzzles and unlimited lessons. You can now also play against all bots on the Website.
- Price: Price can vary on the region, but at the moment of writing (August 2023) the Gold membership is available for around $8/month in Switzerland. If you choose a yearly membership instead, the price goes down to $5/month.
- Platinum Membership:
- Features: The Platinum membership offers all perks of the Gold Membership + Unlimited Game Reviews. As I am a big fan of analyzing your own games and learning from your mistakes, this is a big plus for a relatively small difference in price.
- Price: Starting from ~$12/month and going down to ~$8/month if you get a yearly membership.
- Diamond Membership:
- Features: This is the crème de la crème of Chess.com memberships. Diamond members receive all the benefits of lower tiers and additionally get unlimited insights and Coach Explanations. These are AI-generated inputs that help you learn more from each game you play.
- Price: The Diamond membership costs ~$20/month and goes down to $12/month if you get the yearly membership.
Conclusion: The memberships are structured to cater to a broad spectrum of players. I personally find the game analysis feature the most important one on the entire site. Combined with the solving of tactical exercises, this will improve your Chess the most.
So if you want to invest in your Chess and do so on Chess.com, I recommend getting the Platinum Membership.
While Chess.com is the market leader and an ever-growing business, there is an alternative I suggest to all my readers and students: Lichess.
Lichess is an open-source project and thus totally (ad) free! You can basically get everything from the Diamond Membership on Chess.com without paying a dime.
Here is a small comparison of the two:
- Cost: Lichess is entirely free and ad-free, while Chess.com has ads or costs depending on your membership.
- Features: The only difference is that Chess.com offers a wide variety of bots to play against and has more lessons than Lichess. The game review is also a little bit less detailed on Lichess.
- Interface and Design: I absolutely prefer Lichess’ simple design and interface. It is much more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
In fact, I am such a fan of Lichess that I wrote an entire guide about getting the most out of this platform. You can read it here.
Chess.com is a great platform to play and learn Chess. However, if you only want to play, solve some puzzles, and analyze your own games, I highly recommend you check out Lichess.
If you are looking to play against funny bots (they recently had cat bots), get even more lessons, and want help from an AI Coach, then a Chess.com Membership might be for you.
No matter where you decide to play and solve your tactical puzzles, make sure to do it the right way. If you want to learn how to analyze your games or improve your tactics, you can read my Grandmaster guide on those.