There are two types of people: those who play chess and those who want to learn how to play chess. Since “Queen’s Gambit” hit Netflix last fall, millions of people have purchased chess sets, books, instructional DVDs, apps, and subscriptions to either learn or improve their game.
Several chess apps have become popular for iPhones and Android devices. Chess.com naturally is popular with players of all levels, but the similar Lichess app has many advantages.
If you’re just learning the game, one of the biggest advantages is cost. Lichess is free and open-sourced with dozens of developers volunteering their time and software skills to keep the game free and free from annoying advertisements block the screen and gameplay.
A big advantage for advanced chess players is the ability to play others at similar skill levels from anywhere in the world at any time 24/7.
The app does not require you to enter an email address or phone number but you can register for a free account.
As a beginner (okay, a wanna-be beginner), I’ve found Lichess to be a great place to learn the game from the beginning. There are lessons from Grandmasters and other highly skilled chess players. There are also puzzles which are basically in-game lessons. The app gives you a board or game already in progress for you to finish. Tapping on one of your game pieces you’ll see possible moves highlighted. If you try to move to one of those squares and it isn’t the best move available, you won’t be able to move it and will be told to try another piece or move. This is incredibly helpful if you know only some of the basics of the game.
You can play with other users, a friend or the computer. A friend does not need an account or even an app to play. When you set up a new game, Lichess gives you a link to send to whomever you wish to play. You can play using the app or at the Lichess website, lichess.org.
In addition to being able to play the game at any level, you can watch other matches or tournaments that can go on all day. When I opened the app, there were over 123,000 people playing games with the app or website. Lichess says there are over 3 million games being played every day. If Queen’s Gambit has encouraged or challenged you to learn the game, Lichess is a great opening move.