Online chess classes can help anyone advance in the strategic game of chess. Whether you already have experience as a player or are brand new to it, classes can help you can hone your skills and enjoy this centuries-old game.
The best online chess classes take a systematic approach to help you understand the concepts and tactics that underlie successful chess play. Group and private chess classes provide real-time instruction, while self-paced courses with video, audio, or written content allow learners to work through the course at their own pace. No matter what type of chess course you choose, practice is one of the most important things you can do to advance, and many online chess learning communities provide the opportunity to practice and play games as well.
Best Overall: ChessKlub
Why We Chose It: Beginners and experienced chess players alike can learn from experienced coaches, take advantage of practice sessions, and play in tournaments with ChessKlub.
Options for group and private coaching
Offers monthly USCF tournaments
Live class recordings
Confusing options for coaching plans
No free preview of resources
ChessKlub offers opportunities to learn and put your chess skills into practice with group and private coaching, daily tournaments, practice sessions, and a library of resources. While some online chess classes are for beginners, kids, or advanced players, ChessKlub is open to all ages and experience levels. It’s worth mentioning that this online chess academy is recognized by the United States Chess Federation (USCF).
While some online chess classes have limited scheduling options, ChessKlub offers group instruction seven days a week, including weekends. Class sessions are recorded, so if you miss the session or want to review it later, you’ll have the ability to do so. Prices are not available on its website.
While online chess classes teach players the game, the best way to improve is to practice, practice, practice. When you sign up for a coaching membership with ChessKlub, you can take advantage of up to 16 hours of live practice sessions each week with other players and coaches available to answer questions. One of the most unique aspects is the opportunity to play in daily tournaments and monthly rated USCF tournaments. Beginners will appreciate the comprehensive instruction available and more advanced players will benefit from regular tournament play.
Best for Beginners: LearningChess
Why We Chose It: Start learning about chess quickly and easily with the beginner course from LearningChess. New students will appreciate the simple approach, self-paced learning, and practice opportunities that are offered by this affordable online chess course.
Preview course with free lessons
Access lessons from a computer, tablet, or smartphone
Offers a money-back guarantee
No instructor feedback
Course content only available for 2 years
If you’re not sure where to start with online chess courses, LearningChess makes a great jumping-off point. This online chess class for beginners is self-placed and systematically introduces the basics of the game—starting with topics like the game board and chess pieces, how the pieces move, and combination basics.
Sampling the first lesson, it’s obvious that student engagement is key to LearningChess. To advance through the lesson, students will need to make choices and click on the sample chessboard to indicate answers to questions like: What is a rank? How many long diagonals are on a chessboard? If students get stuck, help is available by means of a "Hint" button.
You can start and stop a lesson at any time. In addition, you can put your new chess skills to work with the help of the site’s Tactics Trainer or by playing a chess game against a computer or other chess students. After completing the beginner online chess class, students may want to move to Intermediate or Advanced courses. Each course costs about $14.99, or you can gain access to all four online chess classes offered by LearningChess for a bundle price of about $39.99. This provides you with two years to access all 144 lessons available.
Best Free: Chess.com
Why We Chose It: The step-by-step lessons, interactive challenges, and puzzles at Chess.com provide great learning opportunities for free.
Lessons include videos and quizzes
Promotes premium membership upgrade
Get started learning about chess with a free online class, like the self-paced "New to Chess" tutorials at Chess.com. These chess lessons teach beginners the rules of the game, the specifics of each piece, and how to play. Video lessons explain key concepts, then learners get the chance to put them to use by completing challenges within the course.
Even after you’ve moved past the introductory lessons of this free chess class, you can learn beginner, intermediate, or advanced techniques with the free lessons at Chess.com. However, you’ll only be able to take one lesson each week if you stick with the free membership. If you want to progress more quickly with this online chess class, you’ll need an upgraded membership.
In addition to free online chess lessons, Chess.com also offers free puzzles to help players work on tactics, plus opportunities to play live chess games or against a computer.
Best for Intermediate Players: Chessable
Why We Chose It: Chess players with some knowledge of the game will find plenty of ways to improve with the many online chess classes offered by Chessable, including both free and paid options.
Use the app to learn on-the-go
Interactive learning experience
Some courses are expensive
No instructor feedback
Chessable offers an extensive catalog of online chess classes that students of all abilities can learn from, but intermediate or advanced players will benefit the most from classes that go beyond the basics and explore chess play in detail. The advantage of Chessable courses is a unique learning system known as MoveTrainer. This interactive way of learning chess combines video, board practice, and systematic review to help teach and reinforce principles of play.
The courses are divided into four categories: Openings, Endgames, Strategy, and Tactics. You can also filter for chess classes based on additional criteria, including price and difficulty. The number of courses available is tremendous, making this online learning platform a better fit for intermediate chess players who have an idea of which aspects of gameplay they'd like to explore.
While some of the courses are free, many are paid courses with video content. You can opt for the full video course or a less expensive version with more limited video content. Regardless, many of these chess courses are popular with intermediate and advanced players that are looking to improve upon their chess skills.
Best for Live Classes: IChessU
Why We Chose It: With both group and private instruction available, IChessU offers live instruction within a dedicated teaching platform to help students progress toward their personal goals in the game of chess.
Group or private lessons available
Free trial lesson
No option to preview current group lesson times
Must download IChessU program to your computer
Live online chess classes offer students the opportunity to receive feedback and help from instructors on gameplay, chess strategy, rules, and more. While self-paced online chess lessons may help students learn the fundamentals of the game, a course with live instruction provides real-time learning opportunities.
IChessU, which stands for International Chess University, focuses on providing group and private chess lessons to students of all ages. Group lessons start at four hours a month for about $180. Outside of class time, students can practice and play games using IChessU’s resources. Private chess lessons start at roughly $180 a month for four hours and can range up to $600 a month for serious students that want to dedicate 20 hours a month to personal instruction.
The curriculum has been developed by chess experts and includes a progressive understanding of gameplay and strategy. Hands-on practice and homework assignments give students plenty of opportunities to put into practice the chess skills they’re learning. The chess instructors at IChessU include many accomplished Grandmasters, International Masters, and FIDE (International Chess Federation) trainers, and chess champions. Lessons are primarily offered in English, but the school does its best to offer lessons in other languages.
Aside from live online chess classes, another facet that sets IChessU apart is its unique chess platform where lessons take place. Using Skype audio and video to communicate, students and instructors can play in the virtual classroom and see moves in real-time.
Best for Kids and Teens: ChessKid
Why We Chose It: For kids to learn chess online, the course must be engaging, challenging, and safe—ChessKid offers all of this, plus easy options for parents to keep tabs on a student’s progress.
Safe learning and playing environment
Parents and guardians can monitor child’s account
Free beginner lessons
May not appeal to older teens
Player ratings don’t reflect any official rating system
ChessKid is an online learning environment for kids and teens interested in chess. The platform is part of Chess.com but features a curriculum and playing environment specifically designed for children and young teens. The lessons are shorter and snappier to keep a student’s attention. It’s designed for players up to age 13 or so, but even teens older than that can benefit. Beginners and learners with a player rating up to 1600 can benefit from this online chess class and playing environment.
Privacy is a top priority for this online chess course for kids, and parents will appreciate the safeguards on communication and networking that the platform has put in place. There are no links or advertisements on the site, and no social networking or communication is possible between kids and adults.
Players can get started with a free account that offers beginner lessons and limited games, but a Gold membership offers more chances for learning and uncapped opportunities for puzzles and learning exercises. Gold membership starts at about $10 a month or roughly $49 for a year, with special pricing available if you’re buying subscriptions for multiple children. If you have more than one child interested in learning chess, set each one up with their own ChessKid Gold membership, since learning progress, challenge levels, and difficulty of puzzles and simulated games will vary by child.
Choosing the right online chess class depends on your skill level, learning style, and budget. Most people learning chess opt for group or private lessons, but self-paced online chess courses are available. Beyond the class itself, many chess sites offer the chance to practice your skills with gameplay against other students or a computer.
ChessKlub offers group and private instruction along with tools to help students continue growing in the game of chess. This makes it a great option for beginner, intermediate, or advanced chess players who want to continue growing in their gameplay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Learn in an Online Chess Class?
Online chess classes vary in scope but focus on the fundamentals of the game along with strategy and tactics. Beginners will learn about the chessboard, the pieces, and the rules of the game. Online chess classes for intermediate and advanced players often focus on specific aspects of chess, including openings, endgames, strategic thinking, and tactics.
Are Online Chess Classes Good for Beginners?
Even someone new to the game can benefit from an online chess class. Group or private lessons provide active instruction to guide new chess players and give students the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback. Self-paced online chess classes lack this interaction, but can still be a good place for beginning chess players to start, especially since many are free or budget-friendly.
What Is the Best Way to Learn Chess Online?
Since every student’s learning style, goals, and availability varies, there is no one-size-fits-all for online chess classes. However, think about the following factors when considering how to learn chess online.
- Format: Do you like to learn on your own or need the help of an instructor to stay engaged and grasp the point? Self-paced online chess lessons offer the most flexibility but aren’t as helpful if you have questions or need help understanding a specific concept. Live online chess classes provide the benefit of an instructor, but might only be offered at specific times.
- Time Commitment: Are the lessons held weekly or monthly? Are group or private lessons available at a day and time that works for your schedule?
- Cost: How much are you willing to invest to learn the game of chess? Free online chess classes might get you started, but avid learners will likely benefit from live instruction, either in a group or private online chess classes.
- Experience Level: What is your experience with chess? This can help you find an online chess course that meets your current abilities while providing you the chance to grow as a player and strategic thinker.
How Much Do Online Chess Classes Cost?
Online chess classes range from free to $60 a month or more. Self-paced courses are the least expensive option while private chess lessons are usually the most expensive. Group online chess classes offer affordability without losing the advantage of having a live instructor to teach the game of chess.
Are Online Chess Classes Worth Paying For?
If you’re interested in actively learning to play chess, online classes can be a worthwhile investment. Instead of needing to arrange for in-person chess lessons, you can learn chess anywhere with internet access and on your own schedule. In addition, most online chess classes offer students resources to practice their skills and play games against other learners or a computer. These practice sessions are invaluable to anyone learning chess.
How We Chose the Best Online Chess Classes
To find the best online chess classes, we looked at self-paced, group, and private lesson options. Chess schools, tutors, and learning clubs were evaluated on factors like curriculum, instructor experience, class format, and cost. Since practice is such an important part of learning the game of chess, we also looked at additional resources available outside of each online chess class, including tools to develop specific skills or the chance to play games and tournaments. In total, we evaluated 16 online chess courses, schools, and learning platforms.