ChessBase is a leading manufacturer of chess software, Fritz, the chess program and ChessBase, the database. Fritz belongs to the absolutely best chess programs. Fritz interface is also used by other chess programs. ChessBase is a very advanced database. You can get a view of how ChessBase functions by downloading the fully functional freeware version ChessBase Light with Fritz 4 as an analyzing machine. ChessBase has nowadays also a good playsite, to which you may connect via the latest versions of Fritz or Shredder. Otherwise you my test a client during a limited period of time. ChessBase has an excellent news coverage and is probably the most visited chess site in the world.
Chessville.com depicts itself as "a large, comprehensive site meeting a wide variety of chess-related needs, including instruction and advice, chess news, a huge and clearly-organized collection of chess-related web links, downloads, reviews, trivia and history, a very active discussion forum, an online chess league, Fantasy Chess, and more!" Chessville is a very well-made portal with a interesting and varied content. Besides you can subscribe on their excellent newsletter.
ChessWorld.net, a turn-based e-mail chess server, is a playsite, which has grown rapidly. 400000 members, 3205540 games and 63660 tournaments in progess on the 18th of June 2007. I began to play here in spring 2002 and am impressed by this well-arranged, very functional and substantial playsite. You can play free here, but full membership costs only 22 Euros (28,5 US Dollars/15 GB Pounds) a year. Click on the banner, if you want to test the playsite. If you later become member, my own membership will be prolonged with two months.
FICS, that is Free Internet Chess Server, once went together with ICC, but in contradiction to ICC FICS still is free. You may either play directly on the website or via a client (there are several to choose among). FICS seldom stops working or has technical problems. I played 1504 games here, before I ceased to count. 440 players were logged in simultaneously 8.55 P.M. 3/3 2001. I recommend BabasChess as a client.
FIDE - the international world chess federation has a substantial site: official information and handbook, coverage of matches and tournaments and officially established rating lists. The website has recently (19/4 2008) been modernized.
Internet Chess Club attracts the absolutely strongest chess players on internet. 1883 players, out of them 13 GMs and 22 IMs, were logged in 10.30 P.M. the 10/4 2001. A strong player, who wants to be absolutely sure of encountering qualified resistance and besides is prepared to pay a fee, should of course play here. Many tournaments. Manual in many languages. 7 days test period - subsequently 49 dollars per year.
Rebel belongs to the ten strongest chess programs in the world. Ed Schröder has the nice habit of offering a free version of Rebel on the net as fast as he has developed a new version of Rebel. Rebel Decade 3.0 is for example a free, slimmed version of Rebel 9, but plays with full strength on Fridays. Rebel Decade 3.0 is recommended. Besides Rebel´s homepage is very well done and contains extensive product information. Ed Schröder has decided to stop most of his business activities (1/9 2002) and as Schröder BV and Lokasoft have a long cooperation history, it has been agreed that Lokasoft takes over most of its activities.
This week in chess (TWIC) - if you really want to know what happens in the international world of chess, if you really want to study the latest games of the masters, I recommend you to visit this British site, which is run by Mark Crowther. TWIC collaborates with the London Chess Centre, that besides sales also publishes the newsletter Chess Express, and the chess magazines Chess and Kingpin.
World Chess Network, which was started 2000, is a pure chess site. The interface is extremely well designed. The attitude from the administration is serious. Most players use their real names and players logging out in a losing position, are shut off without pardon. Several International Masters and Grand Masters play show games. It might even happen that an International Master challenge you. A nice attitude considering the fact that there are too many players on the net, who do not want to play against a player if they have a few hundred more rating points than yourself. There is of course tournament activity. 735 players were logged in simultanously 10.18 P.M. 11/4 2003. You can still play free here, but if you want to share all benefits, you have to pay about 40 dollars a year.