Online Chess - Part 3 of The Pros and Cons Series

Online Chess - Part 3 of The Pros and Cons Series

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With a surge of interest in chess during the pandemic. Online chess has gotten more popular thanks to the combination of everyone being forced to stay home, along with Twitch, and The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. With more chess tournaments going online due to the pandemic as well as many more people creating accounts here on, chess is booming online and has caught the eye of many streamers such as xQc, Cr1tikal, and even poker star Daniel Negreanu.

This is Part 3, of the Pros and Cons series. If you enjoy make sure to check out Part 1 where I discussed the Pros and Cons of PogChamps and Part 2 where I discussed the Pros and Cons of Bullet Chess. Enjoy!

The Pros and Cons of Online Chess

Hikaru Nakamura plays the bongcloud against Jeffrey Xiong in the final round of the online St. Louis Rapid and Blitz!

When we think of online chess tournaments, there is a clear and bold problem. Just think of the 2020 Pro Chess League? Cheating. You will see cheaters everywhere nowadays, cheating is not only using an engine to help the player make the best moves but it also includes rating manipulation, using personal notes, or opening explorer. DO NOT CHEAT, you will be caught!

Cheating in chess is so serious that many online chess federation (such as USCF or FIDE) tournaments require players to join zoom meetings and set up a back camera that displays their entire screen to make sure nobody cheats. The most famous case of online cheating so far was during the 2020 PRO Chess League where Tigran Petrosian was banned for fair play after it was shown during the game he was repeatedly looking down and playing some very suspicious moves that no humans could think of. 

In over the board tournaments, it is very rare to bump into a cheater. Although it has happened many times although not as much online. Another problem with online chess is it will never be as serious as over-the-board chess. You cannot gain a title from online tournaments, you can only do that in over-the-board tournaments.

Garry Kasparov vs. Deep Blue - The Rematch 1997

Engines are so strong that back in 1997 when chess engines were relatively new and weaker compared to today's engine, Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov (arguably the greatest player of all time) in a 6-game match. 

The world's best players barely stand a chance against the strongest engines today. This is one of the reasons why some players left the game of chess, due to the development of engines.  Garry Kasparov stated in an interview, "We thought we were unbeatable, at chess, Go, shogi. All these games, they have been gradually pushed to the side by increasingly powerful AI engines. But it doesn't mean that life is over. We have to find out how we can turn it to our advantage". 

Online Chess also has it's perks, it's cheaper and you can find a game in less than 30 seconds. You can play in tournaments such as the World Open, and instead of spending loads of money on plane tickets and hotel rooms. You can play at home, in front of your computer. Not only that but, if you're a serious chess player you know that preparation can be very important. Over the board, preparing for your opponents can be difficult for players under 2200. Although with a few clicks you can check out your opponent's archive before the game and prepare for every opening they play. 

OTB 43rd Chess Olympiad - Team USA features, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, and Sam Shankland.

Without online chess, the chess boom would've never existed. Thanks to sites like, chess is accessible to almost everyone! Remember how in OTB tournaments you have to record your moves and hit a clock after each move? In online chess, you don't need that! Online you can try out new ideas and the best part is, here on you can find amazing people who all share the same hobby as you! 

I have made lots of friends here during the pandemic, for all of the new chess players reading who have never played in OTB tournaments, OTB chess can be intimidating to new players and it requires a lot of commitment. Just because you reached 2000 in blitz it doesn't mean that 2000 USCF will be a walk in the park. OTB Players are very serious but hard work will pay off especially with the huge cash prizes.

Hikaru Nakamura wins the 2015 Millionaire Open with a grand prize of $100,000!

After the pandemic settles down, I'll still continue to play online but I'll definitely return to OTB tournaments. Playing over the board has a lot extra things compared to online tournaments. Such as the playing hall and sometimes even just seeing your opponent's expressions or body posture can tell you how they think of their position.

Well, for now, many of us are stuck at home and we'll just have to live with it. With more tournaments going online, chess is continuing to gain popularity. Before you leave, due to popular request, here are a few of my Favorite Tactics from Online Chess Games.

Hopefully, you enjoyed the puzzles! If you did leave a comment below about your perspective of Online Chess vs. OTB Chess. If you have any feedback then please tell me in the comments, I'm always trying to improve the quality of my blogs. Credit to @NutmegPro for suggesting me to cover this topic! Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day, Adios!

Just a 13-year-old blogger from San Diego who wants to share my knowledge and opinions on the hot topics in chess. I started playing chess at 7 and I have a peak USCF rating of 2007. Other than chess I enjoy soccer, basketball, geoguessr, cubing, and video editing. 

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