ICA to Offer Special Deals for Online Chess to ALL Players


Last year, the Illinois Chess Association through its Warren Junior Scholars program -- and now the ICA Rising Stars -- offered those participants free membership to the Internet Chess Club (www.chessclub.com). Some Scholars and Stars used the accounts, some did not.

The internet offers many different opportunities for chess learning and play, some of which are indeed free. But ultimately, the tool itself is not the solution. It's how it's used.

This year, it is hoped that we provide more guidance as to how to take full advantage of the ICC and its expanding set of tools -- and once again, Scholars and Stars will receive their accounts as a benefit of program participation. 

Furthermore, through savvy negotiation, I am proud to announce that we are making the ICC available to ALL players in the Illinois chess community at a deeply discounted rate.  See below for a listing of offerings sure to rev up your chess game:

ICC / ChessFM / ChessClub:  The ICC learning tools including more than 3,000 hours of instructive videos while its comprehensive playing environment includes the possibility of online team matches. We are creating processes for team competition administration -- contact the ICA if you'd like to be part of that initiative. We'd love to see online chess competition bridge the transportation gap in our efforts to outreach to all 102 Illinois counties.

Unfortunately, we can't quite do it for free -- but we are able to offer a $7 per rate for the entire year (a $60/year value). Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up.

We're particularly hoping to attract teams -- or entire clubs -- and hope to organize "league play" in the near future. Please be patient -- once we assess the community demand, we will need to complete the purchase. But our hope is to make accounts from the initial order available by the Illinois Class, November 19. In the meantime, anyone can sign up for a free 30-day trial on their own.

ICC has the capacity to rate online tournaments and the ICA is looking at how to best leverage that capability for our audience. Interested?

Chessbase: For those looking to install a desktop chess tool for analysis and game annotation, the gold standard right now is Chessbase. The ICA has negotiated a deal whereby, on a first come, first-served basis, you can receive a Chessbase 14 license for $50 -- a little more than half-price (Scholars, Stars and ICA members will receive a $5 discount).  Again, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested.  This is the electronic downloadable installation -- and any games databases would have to be obtatined seperately. But it's a great deal -- and married with one of the multi-million game databases available  -- allows users to search on positions from their own games and retrieve historic matches where the same position arose.  Is the position better for white, for black?  What are the typical game plans going forward from that position?

We will endeavor to provide more education on how to best use this tool to our community and for Scholars and Stars, that training is in the offing. In the meantime, Chessbase itself offers quite a few video lessons on how to use its versitile tool. After 13 previous tries, CB14 has come a long way!

ChessKid: For those up and coming players, we offer ChessKid.com accounts for under a dollar a month (normally $49/year). Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a guide to more than 450 engaging cartoon-laden videos which will take a youthful player from zero to chess tournament competency.

Chess.com: Alas, the popular Chess.com remains elusive in their discounted availability. We have a small number of discounted licenses available, but the discounting is nowhere near what we've been able to negotiate with ChessKid and the ICC. Still, if interested, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the latest information.

ChessMagnetSchool.com: Remains one of my favorite sites for teaching the basics of chess in a very linear and engaging manner. Unfortunately, it is only a learning tool -- and does not offer the other aspects of the sites mentioned above. Nonetheless, for the literate it's a fantastic way to delve into chess with lessons organized in three columns: beginners, intermediate and advanced. They even offer a "advanced placement" exam if you're not quite sure where you'll start picking up new material. ZoomChess.com was developed with the same material and a more kid-friendly interface, but, in my experience, I find kids relating to the ChessKid offering a little more.  Both CMS (30-days) and Zoom (14-days) offer free trials so relative beginners should give them a try. The ICA has talked with CMS about a discount plan and they are amenable -- but dedicated users should be able to work through the material in the 30-day window. They already offer a discount for USCF members if you wish to extend beyond that, but contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like a discounted annual membership.

More information on ChessFM / ICC Videos and the new ChessClub Learning Center:  The Learning Center includes a three-part series on the very basics of chess along with a six-part series on tactics: parts 1 & 2 of Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Tactics -- not a bad starting point.  I've long been a fan of the ChessFM line up of instructors including Dan Heisman, Ronen Har-Zvi, John Watson and Boris Alterman. Others may enjoy the video series of Alex Yermolinsky, Larry Christiansen, Christof Sielecki and Joel Benjamin -- who some say is the doppleganger for a certain Illinois-based National Tournament Director. All totalled, the ChessFM video collection is around 3,000 hours of well-organized videos. If reinforced with practice, these materials will provide a self-administered pathway for significant improvement.

Suddenly with these offerings, the Illinois Chess Association has made it possible for the average chess enthusiast to access all the knowledge and tools to become a serious tournament player -- for less than the cost of entering some tournaments.  No longer are these discounted offers restricted to our youth population and we strongly encourage players of all ages to take advantage of these opportunities.

ICA Membership: Of course, the most special deal of all is the offer of ICA membership. At $15 a year for adults, $10 for juniors, membership helps support the award-winning website and offers enough discounts to tournaments to offset the cost many times over. Check out http://il-chess.org/membership-x-42/join-ica to join or renew.

The ICA does not exclusively promote any commercial chess solution, but as we are able to negotiate or otherwise pass along deep-discounted offerings to our community, we are happy to provide that service for the overall betterment of chess play.

If you are a vendor with an offering, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a potential evaluation.