Online format leads to surge in chess players

Divy Bose | The Chronicle

Chess is in play once again.

Dating back to the sixth century, the game of chess has been played around the world. Today, the game of chess is still being played, but not in the traditional way. Now, chess is able to be played on online platforms such as for convenience and entertainment. has gained popularity because players are able to invite competitors to play from their phone or computer.

Being able to access a game like Chess from a computer at school is what makes so appealing to students. Sophomore Anvit Kamineni said that after getting his work done in class, he can easily pop up a web browser and join a game with his friends.

“Online chess is so much more relevant than the board game because we can access it by a click of a button,” Kamineni said. “Even if we can’t have our phones out in class, I can still easily play chess on my computer with my classmate next to me.”

One benefit of the online chess format is the adaptability it provides for new players. Since chess involves strategizing and planning the next move, students who are not familiar with the game can learn how to play online. Sophomore Will Riva said that displays rules and instructions for any new players. 

“Chess has evolved so much that provides the resources such as live streams, articles, and even step by step instructions on how to play,” Riva said. “I know how to play the game, but it is nice to have those assets so my friends can actually play with me properly.”

Even with technology taking over the game, the complexity and difficulty of it remains the same. Riva said that the game has stayed so relevant today because of the challenges that come with it.

“There’s a lot to the game itself we haven’t learned which is why I think it’s so appealing,” Riva said. “The game is not solved yet and never will be.”

As the game is passed down generation after generation, Senior Jake Rupe said that playing chess online boosted its popularity due to the convenience of the app.

“Instead of watching the same television shows over and over again, I can just play chess with my friends for entertainment, but it’s only fun when you’re actually good at it,” Rupe said. “I would lose terribly game after game until I eventually taught myself how to play the game well.”

The online chess format also allows students to analyze past moves and offers tips to improve their strategy. Riva said that playing online allows more room for improvement since he gets to go back and see his past mistakes in each of his games.

“A lot of people analyze the order that they move their pieces in since that is what really impacts the game,” Riva said. “Learning how to navigate through certain openings and which work causes a lot of people to go back and rework their own strategies.” 

Though is just an online version of the board game, it is still just as competitive. Kamineni said that even if it is just a game, winning is a priority.

“I have to beat them for my own sake and bragging rights,” Kamineni said. “I assert my own dominance in the game and a win is a win in my eyes.”

Similar to video games, spending hours honing technical skills in a game of chess leads to more competitiveness when playing against friends. Rupe said that even if it is just a game, winning is so much more rewarding because everyone has spent time learning the different moves and improving their strategy. 

“Even though I’m not that competitive, my friends can get into pretty heated fights about whether they deserve to win or not,” Rupe said. “I spend an hour or two a day playing chess and it’s even better when I win against one of my friends.”

Even with the app becoming so popular, some prefer the traditional way. Riva said that since he has started to teach people how to play chess, playing on a board is much more simple.

“I always have a chess set on me that I can whip out and teach people how to play,” Riva said. “I’ll always think that actually seeing the pieces and the board gives a clearer [idea] of what the next move should be, especially when you’re learning.”

Getting to watch and be a part of tournaments through with their friends or games on social media is what propelled the online platform even further. Riva said that gained a lot of attention after their app launched, making it easier for beginners to start playing.

“It’s the number one ranked game that’s downloaded because of how convenient and easy to learn the app is,” Riva said. “It’s such a good thinking game that the app deconstructs really well with articles and puzzles that help people get better at the game.”

Graphic by Alisha Verma