Play Chess Online!
A Quick & Simple Guide
The chess opponents are all out there, waiting to take you on. One easy way to get your feet wet is to catch a quick game online against various computers, such as the Little Chess Partner or the Chess Toolbox or the freaky Thinking Machine 4 (watch it think!)
But humans are more fun. Millions of chessplayers enjoy playing online against each other, live, at various online chess clubs. Youngsters tend to gravitate towards the quick-loading servers like Yahoo! Chess, although we don't recommend these java-based servers due to the frequency of cheating and vulgarities. Instead, go for the moderated clubs that require installation of a small program, or interface, such as Playchess.com or the Internet Chess Club. You can play free as a guest, or pay a yearly fee for all the benefits, like a rating, tournament access, video lessons, etc.
Another way to play against other humans is what we used to call "correspondence" chess, then it was called "email" chess, and now it's web based. You make a move on the hosting website (such as Chessworld.net or SchemingMind.com, and come back the next day or so to see what your opponent played. This type of chess is great to develop your skill, because you can take your time, consider all the alternatives, and consider your opponent's possible responses. The "time control" may vary from one move a day to one move every thirty days, depending on what you've agreed upon. You can play strangers or your aunt in San Diego.
For a more detailed examination of online chess options, see:
Internet Chess: Real-Time - reviews, with screen shots