It’s a pity that that much of the ‘chess’ on the internet seems devoted to entertainment rather than improvement, but there are a few great resources out there. In this post I thought I’d highlight the five that I find most useful.
First and foremost I should mention GM Kevin Spraggett’s great blog of which I’m a regular reader. Kevin is the real deal, a top Grandmaster and former Candidate who thinks deeply about chess yet manages to be entertaining. Plus he has really great taste as reads The Chess Improver too!
For instructive articles on chess there’s no better place than The Chess Cafe which has monthly articles from a whole host of strong players. I’m currently writing a column entitled Middlegame Motifs which echoes the approach I took in The Power Chess Program (soon to be rereleased in expanded form!) of helping players develop a knowledge of typical middle game patterns.
For the latest games and results my favorite site is TWIC (The Week In Chess) where you can download everything in Chessbase or PGN format. Strong players who compete regularly should keep up to date with this so as have their finger on the pulse of how the top players are playing. I warned against following news rather than moves in an earlier post, but following a few top tournaments isn’t so bad. Where I’d most definitely draw the line is with chess politics and various scandals as these waste time and tend to erode the spirit.
As far as playing is concerned I’m going to stand by my old recommendation of the Free Internet Chess & Go Server for correspondence chess (I’m big on this for training purposes) and reluctantly recommend Playchess for the quicker stuff. Reluctantly? Yes, because most people there will only want to play blitz which can actually be counterproductive as far as chess improvement is concerned.