Chess.com is the premiere website to play online chess. With over 4.8 stars from 363k reviews, you might wonder if buying a premium Chess.com membership subscription is worth it. I’ve had a Chess.com Diamond membership for 12 years and absolutely love it! In this article, I hope to give you a better understanding of the different membership levels and if you really need a premium membership.
TLDR: Yes, a Chess.com Gold membership is definitely worth it if you are serious about improving your chess skills. For just 13 cents a day, you gain access to unlimited high-quality video lessons and infinite chess puzzles. These comprehensives resources can easily replace a personal coach, which could cost you $100 to $200 per month.
Chess.com offers 3 different membership levels: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond.
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.
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 excellent 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, …).
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.
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.
UPDATE 2023: ALL plans now give unlimited tactics per day.
Best Plan for Tactics: Gold
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.
Free plans only get 1 game analysis per day but you cannot save your analysis. UPDATE 2023: Only Platinum and Diamond memberships get unlimited game reports, meaning Platinum is the obvious choice.
Best Plan for Game Analysis: Platinum
Learn from the best! These mini-masterclasses are the #1 reason to buy a Chess.com membership – they can help your rating skyrocket and can replace personal 1-on-1 coaching. Learn about a plethora 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!). In my opinion,
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! 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!).
UPDATE 2023: 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 unlimited lessons! See here for the full details.
Best plan for Lessons: Gold
Here are some additional features that don’t make the top 3 but are nonetheless nifty.
Simply sign up and you get a 7-day free trial. Plus, you can cancel within 30 days to get a 100% money back guarantee. See details here.
1. Gold: unlimited puzzles, unlimited lessons, no ads
2. Platinum: unlimited game review + all of Gold
3. Diamond: unlimited coach advice + all of Platinum
Simply sign up for a yearly subscription instead of a monthly one. You get a 40% discount automatically!
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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