The Internet has changed a lot of things: shopping, the music industry, dating, to name a few. In fact, just about anything you can think of has been impacted in some way by the Internet. Chess is no exception. Though online chess is very popular, it still begs the question: is online chess as competitive as playing in real life?
As long as the public has used the Internet, there has been online chess. The idea of finding an opponent online that matches your skill level and also finding a community of chess enthusiasts has definite appeal, which explains the explosion of chess sites online. There are thousands of different sites, tournaments, clubs, and players online, just waiting for anyone to join.
But is online chess a competitive as a real life, face-to-face game? There are differing and strong opinions among the online chess community. While some think the Internet has ruined any chance of a legitimate, competitive game, others find the opportunity to find an opponent of equal skill online exciting.
It seems that both sides of the argument feel that online chess itself is a good idea â€“ a great way to connect, share their enthusiasm, and play chess at their leisure (instead of driving somewhere to meet someone face-to-face or play their friends over and over again). However, those who think the Internet has had a negative effect on chess say so because of the cheating that is done online.
The problem is, some say, that some people on the online chess sites play with the help of a computer program, sometimes with two or three people, and gang up on an unknowing opponent. This is not only frustrating to the player who is going against a computer program unknowingly, but it also changes the nature of the game. In other cases, some people even hack into the computer programming code of the site and manipulate the clocks and timing against other players. This, to some people, makes online chess not competitive in the traditional way â€“ of two minds working against each other strategically. Instead, it’s a game of who can hack the computer and cheat better than the other.
On the other hand, some people find online chess just as competitive, if not more, as playing in real life. Many see the Internet as opening a door to possibilities and playing experiences that couldn’t be had in real-life.
In the past, people usually played chess with friends and family. Once they played them over and over and got too good for them, they would meet other people at coffee shops, libraries, or parks. Or they’d join chess clubs through schools or community groups. This required some scheduling, traveling, and planning. The Internet eliminated that â€“ instead people could log on and play whenever they wanted to on the Internet. The best part being that they could play someone that matched their abilities, making the game extra-challenging. By being equally matched, the game has possibly an even more competitive edge.
Another aspect of online chess that makes it as competitive as real life chess is that there are more opportunities for branching out beyond the one-on-one game and competing online. Just about every online chess site has tournaments going on where people can work their way up, building their record and rating. Not only are there tournaments, but some sites offer cooperative play, teams, and clubs. This opens competitive doors that may not have been there for chess players had they just met in person.
The thing to remember is that there are advantages and drawbacks to both types of chess â€“ online and real life. One type may work better another for one person, while another works better for someone else. The key is finding what you like about the game and find the best setting for their game and skills.