Not only do people play against people, they also play against the computer. Sometimes they simply watch other people play or just hang out and chat with others. ICSs are generally user friendly chess servers. Most of them have rich features, are browser based, multi-lingual and open to customization. It also helps to know that they are free.
How it began
Right in the beginning, in the 1980s, people began to play chess through e-mail. It was innovative but it was slow with only a dozen moves being completed in a week. This gave birth to an idea of a centralized server with real time play. The original ICS was written by Michael Moore of the Utah University and Richard Nash in 1992. It went through a lot of teething problems and required constant debugging but with the passage of time and the addition of attractive features (ex. the ELO ratings) online chess playing became quite popular. Many of the chess servers on the Internet today are rehashed versions of the original ICS and run totally on rewritten code.
- The ability to play multiple chess games at the same time.
- The option of playing thematic chess games as well as playing in tournaments.
- Players belong to and can play for teams.
- These servers hold regular chess championships.
- They offer the option of replay, game analysis, comprehension of variations, and visualization of different moves.
- Well known servers have their games rated according to the ELO System.
- Servers save completed games which can be accessed at any time.
- Players can write and send messages and also chat.
Some popular ICS sites
- Chess Live
- Free Internet Chess Server
- Internet Chess Club
- World Chess Network
- Yahoo! Chess server