Chess.com vs Lichess.org: Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons: Chess.com vs Lichess.org (Personal Review)

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Chess.com and Lichess.org: The two biggest platforms for online chess.
I’ve probably spent more than 200 hours on each of these platforms over the last year. I have grown my rating by nearly 100% — and I know all the functions on these platforms “in and out”.

In addition to that, I’ve decided to spend my hard-earned money on a Chess.com premium account.

Not only that. I am not, and will never be, financially compensated or “sponsored” by any of these platforms.

That’s why I feel that I am the right person to give a complete overview of which online platform you should choose to play chess at — Chess.com or Lichess.org.

Chess.com vs Lichess.org: Pros and Cons

Table of Contents

Key summary of the article

  • Both platforms offer great gameplay for players that want to play chess against their friends or random people.
  • There are bigger chances of meeting cheaters on Lichess.org.
  • Chess.com premium membership unlocks a great feature called Puzzle Rush.
  • Apart from Puzzle Rush, Chess.com premium is not worth the money.
  • In my opinion, serious chess players should be registered on both platforms.
  • For hobby players, it’s more than enough to choose one single platform, and I would go for Chess.com.

Interested in learning more? Great.

I would recommend that you spent at least 2-3 minutes reading through the rest of the article. Choosing the right platform to play online chess will not only increase your chances of improving your game.

You will learn stuff like:

  • Is it worth paying for chess.com premium?
  • Why does Chess.com have a better anti-cheating system in place?
  • What’s the difference between the rating systems on these platforms?
  • Frequently asked questions

Reading the whole article will also drastically reduce the chances of people cheating against you. It’s nothing more frustrating to play a good game of chess, only to find out that your competitor was cheating.

Let’s start.

What are the main differences between Lichess.org and Chess.com?

Chess.com

  • Got more users
  • Better anti-cheating system
  • Great collaboration with world-class players
  • Run a successful Youtube channel
  • Hosting live GM events
  • Premium membership opportunities
  • Puzzle Rush

Lichess.org

  • All features are 100% free
  • User-driven open-source system
  • Free Stockfish evaluation of every game
  • Many free lectures and puzzles
  • Less “trolls” and immature players

What do these chess platforms have in common?

Both of these platforms have the following features:

  • You can play against other players in blitz, bullet, or longer games for free.
  • All your games will be saved in a database that you can access at any time.
  • Free registration.

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into some above-mentioned things.

I know that cheating is a concept that many people get annoyed by when playing online chess. Therefore, I will tell you how you can reduce the chances of playing against anyone using a machine to pick their moves.

Why is cheating a problem on Lichess.org?

Before I start this section: I am not the only one claiming that cheating is a (big) problem on Lichess. Many people agree with me, which I will come back to later.

Capitalism plays a big role in answering this question. Chess.com is a platform that is driven by revenue and revenue alone. They would never allow their platform to become famous as a place where people would cheat. Therefore, Chess.com has put an awful lot of money and time into developing what they call a “fair-play system”.

This is what the Chess.com owners write about their cheating detection system in an article published on their website:

“Chess.com’s fair-play system is thorough, complex and rigorously verified by more than eight years of data from millions of games played by our own members online. Our system gathers and reviews different types of data and other information pulled automatically (and manually) from all member games.”

Chess.com

In other words: Chess.com has a fantastic system that can easily detect moves that should and moves that SHOULD NOT be played in a game where 1500 ELO players are playing each other.

How will Lichess.org admins detect cheating?

Mainly from users that are bright enough to understand that the other person is using a computer to choose their moves.

This is what a Lichess admin wrote in their discussion forum thread about cheating:

Screenshot: Lichess.org/forum/

This reply from the Lichess administrator is quite problematic. Why?

Most beginner players do not understand what a “grandmaster move” is. Therefore, a lot of cheaters playing against players in the lower end of the ELO rating system will never be caught.

Free vs Almost Free: Is Chess.com Premium Worth The Money?

Personally, I would say that Chess.com is worth the money.

That’s only because I am addicted to a game called Puzzle Rush.

The concept of Puzzle Rush is fairly easy to explain:

  • You have 5 minutes to do as many chess puzzles as you can.
  • If you make three mistakes, you’re out and have to start all over again.
  • Chess.com will save your score until the next time you play.

If you’re still confused about the concept, this Youtube video might help you to understand what it’s all about:

It looks fun, doesn’t it? 🙂

Apart from Puzzle Rush, are there any other reasons to buy Chess.com premium?

Not for me. I’ve seen that I have access to some lectures and opening theory, but I don’t care about that.

I checked them out quickly before writing this article though. Frankly, I would say that Lichess got just as good lectures for free compared to the “premium” ones on chess.com.

One semi-cool feature is the fact that you get a yellow shining star close to your name when you play opponents. Everyone can now see that you got enough money to spend on a chess.com premium account. 😉

My “show off” star close to my nickname on Chess.com.

Different ELO rating system – Chess.com vs Lichess.org

I didn’t know about this rating issue before I started to play chess online. After playing a couple of hundred blitz games on each platform, I went to my brother and told him:

“I feel that I’m always playing so well at Lichess. It’s wonderful that I keep winning against these 1500+ rated players!”

Then he told me something that crushed my self-confidence. I wasn’t playing against 1500+ rated players. But Lichess got a different rating system – making it much easier to rank higher compared to what you can on Chess.com.

I’m not going to go into depth with this topic, but you have to be aware of the rating difference. This article from chessgoals.com gives some great insight.

This is literally how you can translate your chess.com rating to lichess – and vice versa:

LichessChess.com
Blitz rating13001000
Bullet rating12251000

In other words, it’s about 200-300 rating point difference between Lichess and Chess.com for blitz and bullet.

What do other people say about this topic?

There are many people joining the  “chess.com versus lichess.org” debate on the various discussion forums.

These are some of the most informative ones:

Believe it or not: I don’t always have the answer to everything.

It might be well worth looking into someone elses’ opinion sometimes. 🙂

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. These are questions that I found on various chess forums — and I included especially questions that have not been answered properly by other websites online.

Are there other chess platforms to consider?

Magnus Carlsen, the best chess player in the world, has launched a platform called Chess24.com. I’ve registered myself on that website (so you don’t have to).

To be honest, it’s just a copy of chess.com. What annoyed me most about Chess24 is their eager effort to make you pay for their premium subscription service. I’ve never gotten so many “aggressive” sales emails from any company ever before.

Thumbs down. My advice is to stick with either Lichess org Chess.com.

Can chess.com be used for free?

Absolutely. You don’t have to buy a premium to play games against other people or people you know.

You can even download the Chess.com app on your phone if you want. That’s also for free.

Why do most grandmasters and famous chess players play on Chess.com?

As mentioned before, Chess.com is a platform that earns a lot of money. They spend some of that money on paying grandmasters to play on their platform.

I can’t even think of how many players that people like Chessbrah and Hikaru Nakamura have recruited to their platform.

Lichess is a 100% free platform — and can’t pay anyone to promote their channel.

I want to avoid paying, but I want to analyze my games – which platform to choose?

Lichess. 100%.

The fact that Lichess allows you to analyze all of your games with Stockfish is brilliant. That’s why broke/poor people that want to improve their game often start with Lichess — and then they might move on to Chess.com premium if they want to play Puzzle Rush.

Why are there so many “mean players” and “trolls” on chess.com?

Because that’s the first website people will go to when they start to play online chess. Young and immature players will sometimes appear on chess.com.

There are many ways they can annoy you. Writing bad words is one of them. Another way is to wait out their game instead of moving a piece – hoping that you might forfeit the game before the time runs out.

I have seen less of this type of behavior on Lichess.

Additional Chess Articles

Are you still here? Oh, well!

This website has actually grown to become quite a resource for “up and coming” chess players. Many of our chess-based articles have become extremely popular — and you can hopefully see something you would want to read in the list below:

Please don’t forget to leave a comment below. That would make me super happy! 🙂

44 thoughts on “Pros and Cons: Chess.com vs Lichess.org (Personal Review)”

  1. Avatar

    Both sites claim their puzzles are taken from actual games, yet I find that the puzzles on Lichess are harder. My puzzles rating on Chess.com is around 2450, yet I struggle to get above 2100 on Lichess, a difference in 350 points in favour of Chess.com, which is opposite to what you claim to be the difference in games ratings on each site

  2. Avatar

    Lichess is faster. Chess.com iPhone app disconnects, crashes, and freezes way more. I never have those problems with Lichess. I like the ease at which you can view old games on Chess.com but after a couple times analyzing your games, chess.com asks you to pay for a premium membership. Also, Chess.com has so many trolls and smacktalkers below 1500. As you get higher in rating, it’s less of an issue. The Lichess community is much more civil. But really, I’m all about the speed, so I’ve permanently switched to Lichess.

  3. Avatar

    Chess.com turns a blind eye toward paying players who cheat. Their revenue stream depends on this players. Plain and simple. Lichess is overall better. A little friendlier community, better puzzles, no ads, and free. I decided to become a patron and support Lichess financially and never felt pressured to do so.

  4. Avatar

    Thanks for writing up your input. I’ve played both, but had some odd experiences with lichess lately that have me leaning toward chess.com for now. I play mostly blitz and I’m not very good, and part of my problem may be that I don’t think there are as many beginner players on lichess. It seems to have a hard time finding a match for me and they are usually higher rated. On chess.com, I get a better mix of better and worse with seemingly zero wait. For some reason chess.com feels a little more personal too. That’s probably a style thing. I haven’t noticed a problem with cheaters. The main thing beginners need to learn is get used to losing and move on. 🙂 Try to learn from every game whether you win or lose. After every game review it with the engine – you’ll be amazed and sometimes shocked at what you and your opponent did or didn’t do! Both sites have good (but different) analysis interfaces. Way more than enough for a amateur.

  5. Avatar

    Chess.com pays off content creators to build its reputation instead of actually banning cheaters; but in the end, you can tell when moves are completely unnatural, or when our opponent suddenly becomes a god of chess.

  6. Avatar

    The author didn’t bother to do much research. The article doesn’t go in-depth about what is really offered in the chess.com premium service. No mention about regular puzzles behind a paywall, no mention about lack of analysis board in a free version. No comment about the differences between mobile apps (and there are huge ones). This comparison is really shallow, sloppy and misrepresents the strenghts and weaknesses of both services. Also – Chess24 wasn’t launched by Carlsen.

    1. Avatar

      Author of this article is clearly giving biased opinion. I am a 1500 rated player…both in lichess.com and chess.com and I am for sure say that LiChess is far better than Chess.com in every dimention.

      1. You posted screenshots of what their admins say about fair play and cheating – truth is both their system detect browser extentions, plus hve Stockfish, Leela and other engines crawl their games to find if users are moving the same moves these engines would.

      Also, a high rated player creating a new account and playing against a low rated player is called smurfing – too common in every game.

      2. Author invested time in telling us about this “Puzzle Rush” thing on Chess.com on how awesome it is. Well, puzzle in LiChess comprise of 4-5 variants and are far far more exciting than Chess.com.

      Only reason why people are loving Chess.com is because to massively online players on that platform (which is also there on LiChess but LiChess is new as compared to Chess.com) but it is only a matter of time people leave Chess.com and become a regular only on LiChess.

      Chess.com has clock issues, bullet games are a joke there, the interface is pathetic, movie aplication is lagging behind when compared to LiChess.

      The only thing good about Chess.com is pre-moved which you can have unlimited. Again, imagine if LiChess introduces unlimited Pre-moves with accuracy of clocks to miliseconds.

  7. Avatar

    I disagree with “There are bigger chances of meeting cheaters on Lichess.org.”

    I’ve just closed down my chess.com account and have switched Lichess specifically because almost every user on chess.com is a cheater that plays me these days on a low rating.

    I go on Lichess and win 5 or more games in a row against players over 1400, 1500, and even 1600. On chess.com I consistently lose against players rated about 1000.

    I also get surprised everytime I see a 1000 rated player do the Vienna, London System, Bird Opening, or English Opening perfectly (up to 9 moves). They even transpose.

    What is going on? Also, I have beat my real 1930 rating friend a few times.

    Something you must mention is that chess.com let’s a person play within the browser with the analyser/most used chess moves displayer in the right. How is this not automatically built-in cheating?

    Chess.com for me belong in hell, and the creators deserve to be shot.

    1. Avatar

      so true!! I have the same experience with chess.com

      Never read a bad article like this. No research at all. Absolute not true about cheaters on lichess. Are you getting paid by chess.com? Lichess is some much fun to play.

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