Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (2023)

As a chess player in the 21st century, you should be taking advantage of chess internet servers to get the most from chess at any time and any place. Whether you are trying to improve your game or have a fun time playing chess, picking the right online chess platform is essential to meet your needs.

Although there are many chess internet servers out there, only three get the most web traffic by far, chess.com, chess24, and lichess.org. These three have dominated the chess world for a while now due to their exhaustive set of tools and resources to entertain chess players from all levels.

In this post, I will help you decide what chess server you should invest the most time depending on your interests and likings. Long answer short, use chess.com if you want chess entertainment, among other related activities. Go for Chess24 if you’re going to take your chess to the next level. However, if you are not serious at chess but still want to play online comfortably, I recommend lichess.

Disclaimer: We spent hundreds of hours playing and testing the features of these chess websites so that you make an educated decision on which chess internet server to invest your time and money. As of today, Chesscience is not sponsored by any of these websites. The purpose of this review is only to help other chess players decide what site to use based on their needs and preferences.

Important Features

Every chess player utilizes chess internet servers in a different way. Some want to play for fun, others want to be entertained with videos and streams, and only a few want to improve at all costs. Thus, depending on your interest in chess, one platform might be better than others.

We decided to break our exhaustive analysis down into three main sets of tools: playing, training, and entertainment. Mobile Apps were analyzed as well since a lot of people prefer to consume chess on the go with their mobile phones and tablets. This analysis would not be complete without taking into consideration the cost-benefit ratio of each chess service to decide which is the best option for your chess and pocket.

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Playing

Most chess players are going to be using these websites to play chess. I have spent hundreds of hours playing on these three websites and I find that the most important features in this category are playing interface and chess variants.

A good playing interface should be optimized so that every chess player could focus on the game in progress. It must be intuitive and customizable to meet the needs of every chess player. Dark mode, tournament gameplay, and smoothness were other factors taken into account when grading these websites.

Not to mention, chess variants were part of this analysis as well. Who doesn’t love to play bughouse or crazy chess after all!

Training

A lot of time resources were allocated to dissect the training tools offered by the big three chess websites. Most of the training material on chess.com and Chess24 comes at a cost as their business model relies on these tools. Thus, I decided to have a broader and more in-depth analysis to provide the best option for my readers.

The training segment of this analysis was subcategorized into six main components: lessons, video library, opening preparation, tactics trainer, game analysis tool, and educational articles. Chess.com, Chess24, and lichess.org offer slightly different means within the spectrum of these six categories.

Entertainment

Every chess player, regardless of his or her level, can enjoy the game of chess. These chess websites have their audience covered by broadcasting top tournaments, organizing live shows, and uploading educational chess videos to YouTube and Facebook.

I consume chess entertainment products every day, and I feel confident in my judgment when it comes to deciding which platform is better when it comes to filling their users’ free time with chess content.

Mobile Apps

Enjoying chess on-the-go is essential for busy chess players. Playing a game of chess, doing tactics, and following live tournaments during commute time are a few of the advantages of mobile apps. Fortunately for us, these chess platforms offer an app compatible with iOS and Android.

These apps were analyzed based on user interface, performance, and offline capabilities to come up with the online chess server with the best mobile application.

Results

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The table above shows a breakdown of features analyzed in this article to determine what is the good and bad of each online chess server. The strong and weak points are showed so that our readers could pick the best website for their situation.

While this analysis was not perfect (human bias is always present), I tried to be extremely objective to give the most accurate grades. I have used these websites for a while now, and I do believe that a combination of objectivity and experience makes this analysis valuable for new and current chess players.

Rather than expanding on each feature and explaining my reasoning behind each star, I decided to present each chess website separately with its best and worst assets below. Before starting, I want to emphasize that chess players should not look at these internet chess servers as mutually exclusive. Utilizing the best services of each is almost always the best way to go.

Chess.com – The Best Overall

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Chess.com is the most popular chess internet server out there. It was launched in 2005, and since then, chess.com has been releasing content and improving its features.

According to their about page, chess.com hosts more than one million chess games every day, employs more than 100 people around the world, and supports more than 50 chess players to create worthwhile online content.

Chess.com is a robust chess platform, whether you are trying to improve at the game or just trying to have a good time. Every chess player, no matter the strength, may find useful its many playing, training, and entertaining features.

What We Like

Playing Features

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Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (5)

Chess.com’s playing interface is superb whether playing on a browser or mobile phone/tablet. You can change the board appearance with a set of options of more than thirty piece and board designs. The whole interface can be set to dark mode to make your gaming sessions last longer.

A nice perk of playing on chess.com is the possibility to make a bunch of pre-moves in your turn (especially useful in one-minute chess), with a millisecond time cost per premove.

Chess players can also play several chess variants on chess.com like chess 960, 3 check, king of the hill, crazyhouse, bughouse, and 4 player chess. Simuls and tournaments (swiss and arena) are offered on the website.

Almost all of the playing features are entirely free to use; however, if you want your games to be analyzed by the computer or play simuls with your friends, you need to pay a monthly subscription.

Articles, Lessons, Video Library, and Tactics Trainer

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Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (7)
Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (8)

I enjoy reading articles on chess.com. A lot of good writers post fantastic content regularly. Some of my favorite writers are GM Daniel Naroditsky and GM Gregory Serper. You don’t even need to have an account to have access to them!

Chess.com interactive lessons are mostly focused on beginners. I watched most of them and completed the complimentary puzzles. They are a lot of fun, and anyone trying to get into chess might get a lot from them. The only drawback is that you need to pay a few bucks to have access to them.

Every chess player should be doing puzzles regularly to improve at the game, and chess.com tactics trainer is a decent alternative to regular puzzle books. From artistic to realistic puzzles, the tactics trainer throws positions according to your calculation strength.

In addition to the regular tactics trainer, chess.com came up with puzzle rush and battle a few years ago. The chess player fights against the clock or an opponent to decide who is the best puzzle solver! As most of the training features on chess.com, the tactics trainer is not free and you need to pay a monthly subscription to get the most from it.

Entertainment On Chess.com

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Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (10)

Chess.com has invested a lot of time and effort into their chess shows. New shows come up every so often and almost all of them are a lot of fun. A few of the most recent shows are theIM Not A GM Speed Chess Championship and the PogChampsTwitchStreamerTournament.

In addition, chess.com offers ChessTV to chess players around the world to share their ideas and chess and quickly find an audience. In short, there is always something fun to watch on chessTV from chess.com.

What We Don’t Like

Tournament broadcast, shows, video library are tailored to lower-rated players

Although this might be a good thing for most, stronger players (2000+) are not going to have as much fun as beginners and intermediate players with elite chess tournament transmissions and shows from chess.com. Having said that, chess.com does an outstanding job keeping its audience entertained.

Beginners to intermediate players will get the most from chess.com video library. Its videos are characterized by a splendid production that would keep any upcoming chess player interested. However, they are rather elementary if your strength is above 2000 rating points.

If you are looking for more advanced stuff, scroll down to our best pick for improving at the game.

Pricing

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As mentioned before, chess.com makes use of a freemium business model. Chess.com only charges for puzzles, lessons, video library, and computer analysis. As of June, its monthly subscription prices are shown above.

I recommend checking out chess.com free offerings before going ahead and getting subscribed. In my opinion though, beginners (unrated) to 2000ish rated payers will get the most from chess.com. Chess players over 2000 rating points should look for Chess24 for improving at the game.

At the end you can always enjoy chess.com playing interface for free!

Chess24 – The Best for Improving At The Game

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Chess24 is the second most popular online chess server in the world. It was launched in 2014 by Jan Gustaffson and Enrique Guzman. It quickly became the preferred website to learn from super grandmasters at an affordable price.

Just like Chess.com, Chess24 is a well-rounded website in which chess players of all levels can play chess, do tactics, and have leisure time while learning chess. However, as noted in its about page, Chess24 is mostly recognized for its superb top chess tournament broadcast and educational chess content.

What We Like

The Best Video Library Out There

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When I first started this review, I was somewhat skeptical about Chess.com and Chess24 video series. Although both surpassed my expectations, I have had a wonderful time watching videos on Chess24. Any chess player, from a complete beginner to a more experienced player (2200+ FIDE rating), would find videos on Chess24 fun and instructive.

If you get a subscription with Chess24, it won’t be a surprise to find lessons given by top grandmasters, like GM Magnus Carlsen, GM Vishy Anand, and GM Peter Svidler. Hearing their insight on any chess position or topic is extremely valuable.

These videos are only for premium users or users that buy them individually.

Top Tournament Broadcasting

Super grandmasters (2700+ FIDE rating) often commentate on Chess24 transmissions. By listening to them, viewers can understand deep chess concepts and ideas every time there is an important tournament going on in the chess world.

Grandmasters to the caliber of Peter Svidler and Peter Leko share their chess knowledge and give as much insight as possible when analyzing positions on the board. They often get to talk from their own experience as chess professionals, which I find extremely valuable to improve at my game.

Just like chess.com transmissions, you can watch Chess24 transmissions on Youtube and Twitch for free!

Ebooks (Opening files)

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Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (15)

If you are into chess openings, Chess24 is the perfect website for you. They have opening files (Ebooks), which are similar to what a grandmaster has in his or her computer with analysis and interesting ideas in the opening. These files can be downloaded in PGN so that you can modify and store them in the database software of your preference.

These files can help any beginner to advanced players to start building up a strong opening repertoire with lines picked by top chess players in the world. Opening repertoire files are only available for premium users or chess players that buy them individually.

Shows

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Just like Chess.com, Chess24 has a series of shows scheduled every day for chess fans that want to have a great time. On top of the strong players that are often live, you might find Carlsen playing games with random people once or twice a month.

If you speak or are trying to learn other languages, Chess24 has gotten you covered. Chess24 holds shows in several different languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Norwegian, with strong chess players teaching chess or playing with premium users.

Downloadable Videos On Chess24 Mobile App

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Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (18)

Remember the superb video library that we just talked about? With the Chess 24 mobile app, premium members are able to watch those videos offline!

I really like the expanded chessboard on top of the video. You are allowed to take moves back and analyze complicated positions with the built-in app engine. It also keeps you focused while watching some of the best chess players on the planet talking about chess.

If you are a busy person that only has commute time to do some chess, this feature might steer your decision towards getting a premium membership with Chess24.

What We Don’t Like

Insufficient Playing Interface

Unfortunately, Chess24 is not perfect, and its playing interface is the proof. It looks clumsy and often lags while playing a game. You can’t play other chess variants as Chess24 doesn’t offer them.

If you are looking for a chess server to play blitz or bullet, both Chess.com and lichess.org offer a better option.

Tactics Trainer

I often find puzzles with two solutions when doing tactics on Chess24. It is not a big deal, but the other two platforms do a better job when it comes to providing puzzles with only one solution.

Pricing

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As you may have noticed, Chess24 is the best website for intermediate to advanced players that want to improve at the game. Getting a premium membership is very accessible taking into account the amount of valuable material there is in its video library.

However, if you are not thinking about upgrading to premium, Chess24 is not the best option for you.

Lichess.org – Editor’s Favorite

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lichess.org is probably the favorite internet chess server of the chess community. The server and mobile app are open source and survive from volunteers and donations (it is entirely free). According to its about page, lichess officially started in 2010 by Thibault Duplessis. It slowly improved since then to become one of the best chess websites out there.

As of today, Lichess users play more than a million games a day. If you are familiar with the platform, you might recall watching several super grandmasters, including Magnus Carlsen playing online every so often. Even though it is entirely free, it competes against chess.com and Chess24 due to its interface and comprehensive features.

What We Like

Minimalist Playing Interface

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Lichess developers nailed it on the playing interface, the most striking component of the server, in my opinion. Its design is simple, compact, and intuitive. It is very lightweight and reliable for the time scrambles of bullet games.

The board and pieces are customizable, with more than 20 options to choose from. You can even change the sound and volume of the playing interface. Lichess also offers eight different chess variants for the lovers of antichess and chess960. Users can also play hourly arena and swiss tournaments.

On top of its many pros mentioned above, lichess.org has integrated a dark mode to its whole interface. I can easily spend a couple of hours playing chess without exhausting my eyesight, even after being the entire day looking at the screen.

Tactics Trainer

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Another Lichess feature that I enjoy is the tactics trainer. It pulls up puzzles from games played in the server in which there is only one solution. These tactics could be pretty hard at times, with no easy answers. The quality of lichess puzzles reminds me of chesstempo.com, a website that I recommend to everyone to develop calculations.

If you are going to be mainly using lichess.org for your tactical training, I recommend only to make a move whenever you are hundred percent sure that such a move is correct. Its tactics trainer tends to be very critical, and mistakes will often cost more than twice the rating points you earn solving them correctly!

Analysis Tools

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Lichess.org also shines on its analysis tools. It offers two options the analysis tool from the Tools menu and the study tool from the Learn menu. However, the study tool is the most powerful since you can do pretty much everything you might find useful when analyzing a game.

The study tool is intuitive and easy to use. You can save your analysis on the server and invite your friends to check them out. It is also handy for chess lessons since the board can be synchronized for all the members invited to a session.

You can also check its opening tree and add comments to make the best of your training sessions. Lichess allows its users to make use of a cloud engine running Stockfish 11 with the option of having up to 5 multiple lines, 3 CPUs, and 5 GM of memory. Lichess also offers several sharing options like embedding, shareable gifs, and PGN downloads.

Mobile App Design

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Chess.com vs Chess24 vs Lichess: The Ultimate Review | CHESSCIENCE (26)

Lichess mobile app is the only app of the three that has definite offline capabilities. When your mobile device is offline, the lichess app changes its menu to its offline version in which you can only play against the computer or over the board. You can also set up specific positions to analyze with Stockfish running on your phone.

Another nice feature is the stand-alone chess clock built-in the app, which makes it an excellent comprehensive option. The app can also be set to dark mode, making it easy to spend hours enjoying chess.

What We Don’t Like

No Articles Provided

Unfortunately, no articles can be found on the website. The closest is the public studies found in the study tool in which you may discover educative material created by other lichess users.

The best website for reading articles is chess.com as explained above.

Video Library

Lichess video library is no better than finding videos on YouTube. Since its contributors do not make videos, they are obtained from other video streaming platforms. Thus, the video quality and content is not as good as the other two options mentioned above.

Lichess video library can be sorted by tags assigned by its contributors, which might help if you know what kind of chess material you want to watch.

Lichess is 100% Free!

It is no surprise that lichess falls behind in some aspects analyzed in this article, since it is entirely free of any type of charge. All its users can enjoy every single one of its many features without any ads or restrictions.

As a chess player, I want to shout out all the developers and donors that make lichess.org possible for the chess community. It is a huge step towards promoting chess by making it reachable to anyone interested in the game.

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If you find lichess enjoyable, I encourage you to donate or buy products from their apparel store.

Conclusion

No chess website is perfect. Chess.com, Chess24, and Lichess have their strength and weaknesses. Thus, the best way to get the most from these websites is to use the best features of each.

  • As for the playing features, the best chess websites are chess.com and lichess since both of them offer a free to use robust interface.
  • If you are interested in improving your chess, I recommend getting subscribed to Chess24 and enjoy lessons from the best chess players on the planet.
  • If you are interested in watching shows and broadcasts, I recommend opting for either chess.com and Chess24 according to your chess level and preference. Most content from both websites is streamed through Twitch and Youtube.
  • Lastly, if you are looking for the best app, the mobile apps of the three chess servers are outstanding. It just depends on your situation and purpose in chess.
    • For learning on the go, Chess24 mobile app is the best.
    • For playing chess, pick either chess.com or lichess mobile apps.

Without any further due, I invite you to get the most from your time online, picking the right website for you. Don’t forget to let us know which chess website you like the most and why on the comments!

IM Luis Torres

I'm the owner of Chesscience. I love to promote chess and share my experience as a professional for more than 10 years.

    1. Thank you, Victor! I really appreciate your comment. We love to share our knowledge and experience with other chess players!

      Reply

  1. Hola Luis ¿tendrás la fecha de tu estudio?

    Reply

    1. Hola Hugo, el artículo fue publicado en Junio de 2020. Pero he usado las 3 plataformas por años!

      Reply

  2. Very good and educative sir , U helped me find what is forme

    Reply

  3. I think that the best chess app is no doubt chess.com then lichess and then chess24(worst app)
    when i talk in general then i must say all platforms are good in their own perspective
    i have played continuously and am still playing on all of them
    some tips from my point of view-
    1 if u are a beginner with 0 experience of chess then lichess is the best that you can use
    2 if u are a casual player who knows chess then you have a choice to play either lichess or chess.com but chess24 is way more difficult for some players, People are smarter here and they can beat u
    3 having now known much about chess and developed an interest for it believe me there is a special swag or flavour of chess24
    it is sponsored by almost all the champions including magnus carlsen and it is a hub for chess knowledge
    it offers great sounds and animations which look cool and you will feel good
    4 if u are still confused then i will recommend u to use chess.com as it has one feature that outshines among all and that is the variety of chess themes and board pieces
    it has great animations and a new player can easily get attracted
    almost all the chess tutorial videos on youtube use chess.com themes and thus make it cooler

    Reply

  4. Thanks Luis for your very thorough review and insights. I found it quite helpful as it is something I was trying to assess myself.

    I have found Chess.com very approachable and am enjoying the beginners’ lessons, which are concise and clear. It seems to offer a huge amount to learn before venturing to Chess24, which seems more advanced.

    I have spent about a month so far with the Magnus Trainer app which is different from other approaches to teaching chess that I have encountered. So far, using a game method, it is focusing on teaching board visualisation and building familiarity with actually moving pieces across the board, etc. I think it would take many hours of real chess to get similar familiarity and is something you couldn’t achieve reading chess books.

    The whole approach of little video lessons, puzzles and play seems to be really leaving chess books in the dust of history. Certainly, I find this approach far more instructive and helpful, as well as being a lot more pleasant than books that too often bog down in excessive computer variations then offer an occasional cryptic comment with little overview or explanation. There’s certainly no shortage of bad chess writers and many shoddy chess books to frustrate and deter beginners.

    Thanks for you helpful, clear information.

    Reply

  5. Chess24 is not for someone like myself who’s more a 1600-1700 player, on my best days. I do watch live tournament broadcast on Chess24, just out a habit. First one I ever used. And because of my rating Chess.com is perfect, I love the interface. I also like to play against the computer and there’s more options on Chess.com than Chess24. Lichess I haven’t spent too much with but the interface is great as well, I think that’s important and it’s free. I currently don’t have a premium account with the other two, a reason why I might spend more time with Lichess. Thank you for all the info.

    Reply

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