aNewDomain.net — Chess with Friends is the best known online asynchronous chess game but it’s not the best.
If you’ve been using Chess With Friends for any length of time, you get thrown out of deep thought by ads for singles in your area, just for starters. It also isn’t available in an Apple iPad version. So Apple iPad users get the stiff — a low res version if they choose to expand it to full screen.
A far better online chess game is Chess By Post. Whereas both Chess With Friends and Chess By Post allow you to play random opponents, Chess By Post has a ranking system that’s based on the Elo Rating System. So as you win, you work your way up getting a higher rating, consequently playing more and more competitive players.
You start at a 1200 rating and play against another similarly-rated player. If you checkmate someone at a higher ranking, you’ll move up and they’ll move down.
This is more than just a cool feature.
For those of us who are trying to improve our game, ranking is a necessity. Conversely, Chess with Friends gives you a random opponent who could be new to the game and waste your time as a result. Weak players make you weaker.
The irony of playing a lot of Chess with Friends is it could be hurting your game. Not so with Chess by Post.
Its ranking system also tells you where you are compared with every other participant and keeps track of wins and losses against opponents you replay.
Chess By Post is also on every major platform – including the Windows 8 Modern UI. I like Windows 8 on my notebook. I’m always swiping over to make a chess move. If you haven’t had a good reason to embrace swiping in Windows, I might have found one for you.
Both platforms allow you to chat with your opponent or turn the chat feature off.
In its latest update, Zynga removed the feature to play Chess With Friends offline.
Obviously you can’t make a move if you’re not connected to the Internet, but Chess With Friends won’t even launch if there is no Internet connection. But Chess By Post will allow you to study a board while you’re offline and make your move when you reconnect.
Chess By Post allows you up to five days to make a move. If you don’t move in five days you forfeit the game. For gamers who love action-packed games like World of WarCraft, up to five days per move can be mind-numbingly slow. But true chess fans understand that a good chess game is just as action packed and as nerve wracking.
Based in New York, Dino Londis is a senior commentator at aNewDomain.net, and an IT Pro alum at National Lampoon and teamBYTE. Email him at Dino@aNewDomain.net.