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Is a Premium Chess.com Membership Worth it? [2021]

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By: Nathaniel_Fernandes | Posted: January 6, 2021 | Updated: 1/14/2021 | Views: 2249

With all the hype chess is now getting, you might wonder if you should buy a premium Chess.com membership. I have had a Chess.com Diamond membership for 8 years and absolutely love it! My goal in this article is to give you a better understanding of the different plans and if you really need a premium membership.

Final Verdict: I believe 3 features make a premium membership worth it – the Tactics Trainer, Game Analysis, and Lessons. You should only get Chess.com premium if you are a serious player that will use the training tools to enhance your game. Stick with the free plan if you just want to play games.

Best plan: The Gold plan is the best for most people as you get the most features for the least amount of money ($2.42 / month).

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What are the Plans?

Chess.com offers 3 different plans: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.

Image of Chess.com Memberships
Image of Chess.com Memberships
Free Trial?

Yes! Chess.com gives you a 7-day free trial to try any plan. After the trial, you will also get a full-refund if you cancel within 30 days.

Feature #1: Tactics Training

As Richard Teichmann said, “Chess is 99% tactics.” Practicing tactics is probably the fastest way to improve because you hone your pattern recognition and learn to quickly spot winning variations. 

It is no secret that Chess.com has an amazing tactics training program with over 150,000 puzzles from all rating levels. There are several different settings you can try – the traditional way, “Puzzle Battle”, or a fun game called “Puzzle Rush” where you try to solve as many puzzles before time runs out. My favorite feature is the “Custom” setting where you can specify which tactic type you want to practice (i.e. fork, pin, skewer, …).

Image of Puzzle User Interface
Image of Puzzle User Interface

After attempting a puzzle, you can see whether you got it right, the category & rating of the puzzle, and can even analyze it with an engine to explore the best lines.

Second Image of Puzzle User Interface
Second Image of Puzzle User Interface

With a free trial you get access to 5 tactics per day, which isn’t bad by any means. Ideally you should do 10-20 per day, which is perfect for the Gold plan (25 / day). The Platinum and Diamond plans both give you unlimited tactics per day, however it’s unlikely you’ll ever do this many.

Best Plan for Tactics: Gold

Feature #2: Game Analysis

The biggest mistake most players make is to just play games over and over without stopping to see where they could have improved. By far, my favorite feature of Chess.com is the Game Analysis tool. It makes analyzing your games fast, easy, and painless. 

After playing a game, you can request a “Game Report.” Chess.com then analyzes your game in a whopping 7 seconds and shows you where you made a blunder, mistake, inaccuracy, or missed a win. It is tremendously helpful to quickly see where you messed up big time. You can also write and save your own annotations in the game.

Images of Game Report User Interface
Images of Chess.com Game Report User Interface
Images of Chess.com Game Report User Interface

Free plans only get 1 game analysis per day but you cannot save your analysis. Chess.com hasn’t specified, but I believe all 3 premium plans get unlimited game reports. Thus, the obvious plan is to choose Gold.

Best Plan for Game Analysis: Gold

Feature #3: Lessons

Learn from the best! Chess.com has a plethora of mini-masterclasses on a range of topics from basic checkmates to advanced Rook and Knight v. Knight endgames. I especially like the new redesigned user interface which makes it easy to find lessons (there’s now a search bar!).

Images of Chess.com Lessons User Interface
Images of Chess.com Lessons User Interface

Each lesson has both videos explaining the concepts and practice problems that walk you to the solution step by step (see image below). I found it very enjoyable to complete each of the lessons and learned so many nifty skills! Personally, my favorite lesson is “Learn from the Best: Alpha Zero” by IM Danny Rensch. Danny deeply analyzes the games of Alpha Zero and exposes its scary human-like play. Along the way, you learn many invaluable concepts like how to dominate your opponent’s weak squares, the power of a pin, and “long-term” positional piece sacrifices (I know – that sounds like a contradiction in terms!).

Image of Lesson
Image of Lesson

How many lessons can you get? For basic members you can only get 1 lesson per week :(. For gold, platinum, and diamond members you can get 3, 5, and unlimited respectively. See here for the full details.

Best plan for Lessons: Platinum or Diamond, depending on how many you will do.

Bonus Features:

Here are some additional features that don’t make the top 3 but are nonetheless nifty.

  • No ads!
  • Play games against 87 bots that imitate the playing styles of different players
  • Unlock access to all videos in the the video library
  • Unlock access to full opening explorer

Wrapping Up!

Final Verdict: You should only get Chess.com premium if you are a serious player that will use the training tools to enhance your game. The 3 best features are the Tactics Trainer, Game Analysis, and Lessons. Stick with the free plan if you just want to play games.

Best plan: The Gold plan is the best for most people as you get the most features for the least amount of money ($2.42 / month).

I hope you enjoyed this article! Let me know what you think in the comments. Don’t forget to share if you know someone considering a Chess.com premium membership :).


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