Category: Gaming

Discovering the World of Virtual Reality Gaming: A Guide to VR Headsets and Games

Virtual reality was once something that was merely mentioned by science fiction works during the early 20th century, though many who wrote about it weren’t sure if it would even exist, let alone what it would look like. Now that we’re well into the 21st century, we’ve seen that virtual reality is not only real, but it’s the future. There have been many forays into virtual reality over the years, and the technology has now become affordable and portable.

You don’t have to be part of NASA and work with heavy equipment and a ton of cables for an immersive virtual reality experience anymore. Headsets and games are easily available that will give you the full experience of becoming anything that you want to be, especially in the video game realm. Let’s discover the world of virtual reality gaming, showcasing the best VR headsets and games out there.

VR Headsets

When you’re shopping for a VR headset, there are going to be several options out there, and these ones are the top in the field:

Meta Quest

First released by Meta (formerly Facebook) in 2019, the Quest got a big upgrade the next year in the form of the Quest 2, which features four infrared cameras and an RGB LCD display. Operating on the Android system, the Quest gives you access to some exclusive games including GOLF+ and Space Pirate Trainer. The Quest starts at around $400, making it one of the cheaper headset options.

Sony PlayStation VR

Sony was aware of just how powerful the PlayStation 5 was when it was released and that the console was capable of virtual reality. With that, the PlayStation VR was developed with an OLED HDR display with four outward-facing cameras. Though the library was a bit limited at first, the PSVR has grown and comes with a price tag of about $550.

Valve Index

If you want something that’s more top-of-the-line, Valve released the Index headset in 2019 and has been the king of the jungle thus far thanks to a pair of 1440×1600 LCD IPS displays and user-friendly controllers. With backward compatibility and a long list of titles to choose from, the Index is a great system, but an expensive one, at an intro price of $1,000.

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is one of the standards of virtual reality gaming after first being introduced in 2016 with a massive resolution and several iterations since then. These days, a top-end Vive can cost at least $1,400 with many saying that it’s worth the price thanks to the amazing hardware and wide game selection.

HP Reverb

Released in late 2020, the Reverb was HP’s entry into the VR market and it was an ambitious one with a 2160×2160 resolution while using the company’s own technology throughout. It’s one of the more affordable headsets, too, with an intro price of $600.

Best VR Games

Now that you have an idea of which hardware you’re going to get your hands on, it’s time to figure out which games you’ll want to add to your collection. Let’s take a look at the best ones across all VR systems:

Half-Life: Alyx

“Half-Life” is one of the most acclaimed video game series of all time, and many had been waiting for a sequel to the second game. While “Half-Life: Alyx” isn’t the direct storyline sequel, it has been named the best virtual reality game of all time. Playing as the titular character Alyx (a familiar name to the franchise’s fans), you shoot your way through the evil Combine while solving VR-based puzzles.

Beat Saber

In terms of rhythm games, there are three titans of the industry. You had the original “Guitar Hero” for the PlayStation 2, then “Rock Band” on the next-gen, then “Beat Saber” for virtual reality. Using your controllers, you hold onto two sabers and try to match the rhythm of popular songs in varying difficulties, slashing blue and red boxes in the right direction.

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

When PlayStation released its own virtual reality headset, it wanted to make sure that there was a great early entry to really showcase what the hardware could do. With that, “Astro Bot: Rescue Mission” was released in 2018 and has maintained its spot as one of the best VR games available. 

Tetris Effect

Tetris has had many iterations throughout its long history, and Tetris Effect is the most stimulating for all senses. “Tetris Effect” has been part of all consoles since its release, and that includes VR. For the most immersive experience of “Tetris Effect” including the music and visuals, VR is the way to go.

Horizon: Call of the Mountain

Sony has some great exclusive intellectual properties, and among them is the Horizon series. With two main story games released already, “Horizon: Call of the Mountain” enters the fray as the first virtual reality entry. Instead of playing as Aloy this time, though, you take on the role of Ryas, a master of archery and mountain climbing.

Explore Online Chess Platforms: Top Choices & Features

Online chess platforms have revolutionized the way chess enthusiasts from around the world connect, compete, and learn. In this article, we will explore these platforms, their unique features, and the benefits that come with using them to enhance your chess skills and interact with a global community of players.

Overview of Online Chess Platforms

Online Chess Platforms

Online chess platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years as they provide a convenient and accessible way for chess enthusiasts to connect, compete, and improve their skills. These platforms cater to players of all skill levels and offer various features that enable users to engage in a wide range of chess-related activities. From casual games with friends to intense matches against strong opponents, these platforms allow players to partake in their favorite pastime whenever and wherever they wish. More than just a medium for competition, online chess platforms also serve as hubs for learning and socializing within the global chess community.

Playing Against Opponents Worldwide

One key aspect of online chess platforms is the ability to play games against opponents from around the world. This exposes players to a variety of styles and strategies, ultimately helping them to broaden their understanding of the game and develop their skills. Many platforms also offer a rating system that allows players to track their progress and compete against individuals of a similar skill level.

Learning Resources

In addition to live games, some platforms provide a wealth of learning resources such as tutorials, video lessons, and interactive puzzles. These tools enable users to study various aspects of chess, including openings, tactics, and endgames, at their own pace and convenience.

Social Connections

One of the key aspects of online chess platforms is the ability to create and foster social connections among chess enthusiasts. These platforms often include chat functions, forums, and other communication tools that enable players to engage with one another, discussing various aspects of the game and forming friendships with like-minded individuals. Some platforms even host online tournaments, providing players with the excitement of competition in a more formal setting. Both casual players and serious competitors alike can take advantage of the numerous resources and opportunities offered by online chess platforms, making them a vital tool in the ever-evolving world of chess.

Two people playing chess online on their respective devices with a chessboard in the background.

Popular Online Chess Platforms and Their Features


One such platform is Lichess, an entirely free and open-source online chess platform that is backed and developed by enthusiastic volunteers. The platform offers a clean, user-friendly interface, accommodating players ranging from beginners to advanced levels. Lichess comprises various types of chess games including blitz, rapid, and correspondence games, as well as chess variants like Crazyhouse, Chess960, and Atomic. Alongside these options, Lichess provides training tools like puzzles, opening explorers, and strong computer analysis features, allowing players to enhance their gameplay while also fostering the social connections mentioned earlier. is another popular online chess platform catering to players of all skill levels. Their website offers both a free and premium membership, with the latter giving access to advanced features and tools. Some distinctive features of include daily puzzles, grandmaster lessons, customized training plans, and interactive game analysis. They also host online tournaments and frequently arrange online matchups with famous chess players. Additionally, the platform supports mobile app versions for both iOS and Android devices, making it convenient for users to play chess on the go.


Chess24 is a feature-rich online platform that focuses on live chess events and high-quality learning content. They provide coverage of major chess tournaments, complete with live commentary and video broadcasts. Their platform is suitable for players who prefer a more immersive experience by watching and learning from professional players. Chess24 offers both a free tier and a premium membership, with the latter providing access to an extensive video library, custom training, and access to exclusive events like simuls (simultaneous exhibitions) with grandmasters.


Online chess platforms offer a variety of opportunities for the chess community to engage, learn, and improve their game. These platforms cater to the diverse needs of players, providing various tools and resources to enhance the overall chess experience.

A group of chess players looking at tablets and phones while sitting at a table.

Benefits of Using Online Chess Platforms

Benefits of using online chess platforms

Utilizing online chess platforms presents significant advantages for players to improve their chess skills. With tools such as practice puzzles, expert analyses, and live game coverage, users can sharpen their skills and expand their knowledge. Additionally, online platforms enable matches against opponents with varying skill levels, facilitating learning from more experienced players and a deeper understanding of advanced strategies. Instant feedback through post-game analysis and computer engine evaluations further helps users identify their strengths and weaknesses, ultimately leading to improvements in their gameplay.

Opportunity to gain ELO ratings

Another advantage of using online chess platforms is the opportunity to gain ELO ratings or increase one’s existing rating. The ELO rating system is a widely accepted measurement of a chess player’s skill, and online chess platforms offer the opportunity to continuously develop and track your ratings growth. By playing rated games against similarly skilled opponents, users can work on improving their ELO rating and track milestones and improvements over time. High ELO ratings can lead to invitations to exclusive online tournaments and even recognition within the global chess community.

Access to High-Quality Educational Resources

Online chess platforms offer instant access to high-quality educational resources, which help users enhance their understanding of the game. These resources include extensive game databases with millions of historic and recent matches, instructional videos, and in-depth articles written by celebrated chess masters and authors. By utilizing these educational resources, users gain valuable insights into chess strategies, tactics, and history. Additionally, online chess platforms host various forums and discussion boards, enabling users to connect with a global chess community. This allows like-minded individuals to exchange ideas, share their love for the game, and further enrich their overall chess learning experience.

Chess pieces on a computer screen with blurred background

Membership Options and Pricing

Online Chess Platform Memberships

To cater to the varying preferences and needs of players, many online chess platforms offer a range of membership options. Typically, these platforms provide both free and premium membership levels, which determine the scope of features and benefits available to users.

  • Free memberships usually grant access to basic functionalities, such as playing games against other members, joining clubs, and participating in tournaments.
  • Premium memberships unlock a more extensive suite of advanced features, including private lessons with professional players, video lectures, and advanced analytics tools to help users improve their skills and strategies.

Pricing and Features of Premium Memberships

Premium memberships across online chess platforms vary in pricing and the specific features offered, enabling users to select the option that best suits their requirements and budget. For instance, some platforms, like and, provide tiered premium membership options with varying levels of access to exclusive content. offers various premium memberships:

  • Platinum membership, priced at $5.99 per month, with features such as game analysis, database exploration, and unlimited tactics
  • Diamond membership, priced at $14.99 per month, which includes lessons and more comprehensive analytics. offers a simpler approach with its Patron membership, priced at $5.00 per month and offers advanced opening explorers and priority support, among other benefits.

Periodic and Student Discounts

When exploring membership options on online chess platforms, it’s important to consider the availability of periodic or student discounts. Some platforms, such as and the Internet Chess Club (ICC), offer discounted membership plans for children, students, and family members. For example:

  • The ICC provides an annual rate of $59.95 for students under 25 years old
  •’s Gold membership for young players is priced at $49.99 annually.

By assessing the diverse membership plans and associated fees, players can make an informed decision on which chess platform aligns with their playing interests and budget constraints.

Screenshots of multiple online chess platforms with options for free and premium memberships and varying pricing and features.

Tips for Choosing the Right Chess Platform

Exploring Online Chess Platforms

Choosing the right platform involves considering various factors that cater to individual preferences, skill levels, and game format requirements, such as user interface and gaming styles.

A crucial element is the platform’s interface and user-friendliness. As you progress in your chess journey, a clear, easy-to-navigate platform can enhance your gaming experience. Furthermore, look for platforms that accommodate your preferred gaming style, such as bullet, blitz, or classical chess. Accessibility across different devices, such as desktop and mobile applications, can also impact your decision.

Evaluating Features and Resources

Another vital aspect is evaluating the features and resources available on each platform. Seek out platforms that offer a comprehensive learning environment with instructional materials, video lessons, and gameplay analysis tools. If you are a beginner, you may appreciate platforms offering AI opponents with adjustable difficulty levels and custom training exercises. For seasoned players, it can be more appealing to play on a platform with a large community of opponents and a strong reputation in terms of cheat prevention.

Pricing in Selecting the Right Chess Platform

Lastly, pricing can play a significant role in selecting the right chess platform. Many platforms offer a mix of free and premium features to cater to the needs of various players. Decide whether free features alone are sufficient for your progress or if a premium plan offers additional benefits that justify the cost. It’s also advisable to explore trial offers and compare different platforms’ pricing tiers to make an informed choice. Remember, experimenting with several platforms can help you find the one that best aligns with your playing and learning style.

Two people playing chess with a laptop displaying a chessboard in the foreground

Ultimately, selecting the right online chess platform comes down to individual preferences, skill level, and game format requirements. By considering factors such as interface, available features, and pricing, you can find the perfect platform to fuel your passion for chess and help you grow as a player. Dive into the exciting world of online chess and experience endless possibilities for learning and enjoyment.

Ultimate Guide to Chess Engines & Software

Chess engines and software have revolutionized the way we play and analyze the game, pushing the boundaries of human understanding and skill. By delving into the history and workings of these engines, as well as their integration into gameplay and training, we can gain greater insight into the fascinating world of computer-assisted chess. Whether you are a casual player or an ambitious competitor, understanding the role of chess engines in our modern game can help improve your strategic approach and decision-making, while also providing a newfound appreciation for this centuries-old sport.

History of Chess Engines

History of Chess Engines

The genesis of chess engines can be traced back to the late 1960s when Richard Greenblatt developed one of the first-known engines, called ‘Mac Hack VI,’ at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Though not a formidable competitor against human players, the engine heralded a new era in artificial intelligence within the realm of chess. Rapid advancements unfolded in the 1970s and 1980s, giving rise to commercial engines such as Chess 4.0, MyChess, and Sargon, created by the likes of Larry Atkin, David Slate, and Dan Spracklen. Built on personal computers, these engines relied on improved valuation and search algorithms.

By the 1990s, chess engines were running on increasingly powerful hardware, exemplified by IBM’s Deep Blue. In 1996, Deep Blue made headlines after becoming the first-ever engine to beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a game. A year later, it won a six-game match against Kasparov, underscoring the immense potential of artificial intelligence and high-performance computing for chess engines.

The rapid technological advancements in the 2000s gave rise to superior engines such as Rybka, Houdini, and Stockfish, which leveraged multicore processors to improve their speed and search algorithms’ depth. Thus, chess engines became increasingly dominant over human players. In recent years, machine learning and neural networks have revolutionized the field, with Google’s AlphaZero being a prime example. AlphaZero, which uses a deep neural network and self-play without prior knowledge or training data, defeated the then top-ranked Stockfish in a 100-game match in 2017, propelling the realm of chess engines and AI technology into a new era.

An image of two chess pieces facing each other with a chessboard in the background

How Chess Engines Work

Chess Engine Components

A central aspect of a chess engine is its search algorithm, which explores potential moves and corresponding positions in the game. One widely-utilized search algorithm is the minimax, particularly its optimized variant called alpha-beta pruning. These algorithms predict the opponent’s best moves and their subsequent responses by examining the game tree up to a certain depth. This allows the engine to account for various outcomes arising from specific positions, ensuring a comprehensive analysis of the game and bolstering the engine’s ability to compete against human players.

Evaluation Functions

Another crucial aspect that powers modern chess engines are the evaluation functions, which are mathematical models used to estimate the likelihood of winning or losing in a given position. These functions utilize various factors that play a role in the game, such as material count, piece mobility, and king safety, among other elements. A carefully crafted evaluation function may be responsible for a chess engine’s strategic choices and overall performance, as it provides a quantifiable means to assign each position with a score. For this reason, sophisticated chess engines continuously update and fine-tune their evaluation functions to become even more precise and efficient.

Endgame Databases

Endgame databases, often known as tablebases, serve as an essential resource for chess engines navigating the final phase of the game. These databases contain exhaustive knowledge about specific endgame positions, permitting the engine to consult accurate and pre-established information as opposed to conducting extensive search processes. Tablebases inform chess engines about whether specific endgame positions result in victory, defeat, or a draw, alongside the exact sequence of moves needed to achieve the best possible outcome. Consequently, incorporating endgame databases can significantly enhance a chess engine’s playing strength and decision-making accuracy during critical moments in the game.

Tactics and Calculation

Chess engines are also proficient at identifying and calculating tactics, which are short sequences of moves that lead to a specific advantage or goal. To achieve this, the engine calculates every possible move in each position and uses its evaluation function to determine the best choice. As the search process deepens, the engine successively refines its understanding of the position and anticipates the opposition’s responses. Consequently, chess engines are likely to identify tactics faster and more accurately than human players, attributing to their superiority in gameplay.

Innovation with AI and Machine Learning in Chess Engines

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques have been leveraged to further enhance chess engine performance. AI-based methods such as neural networks have contributed to developing unprecedented chess playing strength, as exhibited by engines like AlphaZero and Leela Chess Zero (LCZero). These engines utilize reinforcement learning, which enables them to hone their decision-making skills through millions of self-played games, ultimately resulting in highly refined evaluation functions and strategic agility. The integration of AI technologies with traditional chess engine principles promises to continue pushing the boundaries of the game and related software, with engines like Stockfish leading the way.

A computer screen displaying a chess engine interface with chess pieces on a board, showing the strategic nature of the program.

Popular Chess Engines

Stockfish: A Powerful Open-Source Chess Engine

Stockfish is a highly powerful and popular open-source chess engine that consistently ranks among the strongest engines in the world. It is derived from Glaurung, another open-source engine that dates back to 2004.

One of Stockfish’s greatest strengths is its ability to evaluate positions extremely quickly, thanks to its efficient search algorithm and extensive opening book. Stockfish is also highly configurable, allowing users to tailor its strength and style to match their preferences.

While Stockfish remains the strongest open-source engine, its primary weakness is that it lacks support for advanced tablebases, such as Syzygy, which can sometimes result in suboptimal endgame play. Nonetheless, Stockfish represents the advancements AI and machine learning can offer to the world of chess engines and software.


Another noteworthy chess engine is Komodo, developed by Grandmaster Larry Kaufman and Mark Lefler. Komodo emphasizes a strategic and human-like style, making it popular among players who seek a more positional, rather than tactical, engine. It combines deep positional understanding with powerful search algorithms to deliver impressive performance.

One of Komodo’s unique features is its MCTS (Monte Carlo Tree Search) mode, which enhances its creativity and evaluation capabilities. Despite these strengths, some argue that Komodo lacks the raw tactical acumen of Stockfish, making it a somewhat weaker option for players who prefer tactical skirmishes.

Leela Chess Zero (LCZero or Lc0)

Leela Chess Zero (LCZero or Lc0) is a newer entrant to the realm of chess engines, but its groundbreaking approach has made it a major contender. Based on Google’s AlphaZero, this open-source engine employs neural networks and machine learning to teach itself to play from scratch. This self-learning approach has resulted in a unique, almost “human-like” playing style.

Lc0 performs particularly well in complex middlegame positions, where the battle between its powerful, intuition-based evaluations and traditional engines’ brute-force searches can lead to intriguing clashes. On the downside, Lc0 relies heavily on powerful hardware (usually GPUs) to perform optimally and to achieve its full potential.


Houdini, developed by Belgian programmer Robert Houdart, is another strong contender in the world of chess engines. Known for its remarkable ability to escape difficult positions like a modern-day Harry Houdini, this engine boasts excellent tactical understanding and defensive capabilities. It can solve even the most intricate combinations and is a powerful tool for determining the outcome of unclear positions.

Although Houdini is considered slightly less strong in overall performance compared to Stockfish and Lc0, its unique skill set and resilience make it a popular choice for users looking for an engine with an exceptional defensive posture.


As technology continues to advance, popular chess engines have made significant contributions to modern chess by providing exciting discoveries of fresh ideas, opening novelties, and deep strategic insights that push the limits of human understanding. The ever-increasing capabilities of these engines are changing the way we perceive and play the ancient and ever-evolving game of chess.

A picture of four chess boards stacked one on top of the other, representing the four different chess engines discussed in the text.

Improving Chess Skills with Software

Chess engines and software have become powerful and versatile tools for players looking to improve their skills, offering not only various levels of difficulty but also valuable insights into game analysis, pattern recognition, and decision-making. By utilizing these tools effectively, players of all levels can expedite their learning process, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately achieve a more well-rounded and competitive chess game as they continue their pursuit of mastery in this fascinating realm.

Training Against Computer Opponents

Training against computer opponents is a valuable resource for players looking to sharpen their tactical and strategic understanding of the game. These chess engines are designed to simulate human opponents, offering a range of difficulty levels from beginner to grandmaster. This allows players to challenge themselves by incrementally increasing the level of competition, ultimately honing their skills against progressively tougher opponents. Many software programs also include customizable options that allow users to focus on specific areas of their game, such as opening theory or endgame technique, by adjusting the computer’s behavior or priorities during gameplay.

Analyzing Games

Analyzing one’s games is a crucial component of improvement, and chess software provides many tools to help with this process. By importing the moves from a completed game, players can utilize powerful engines to dissect each move and reveal hidden tactical opportunities or positional errors. In addition to providing objective feedback on the quality of each move, these programs can also help users explore alternative lines of play and demonstrate the implications of these alternative decisions, deepening their understanding of the game.

Targeting Weaknesses

Another valuable aspect of chess software is its ability to target specific weaknesses within a player’s game. By analyzing a user’s performance across multiple games, these programs can identify patterns and tendencies that may be holding the player back. This information can be invaluable in guiding the user’s training regimen, allowing them to focus on addressing these weaknesses through targeted exercises and drills. Some software even includes built-in training modules that are designed to help promote improvement in specific areas, such as tactics or positional understanding.

Visualization Tools in Chess Software

Chess software offers various visualization tools that can help players better grasp complex strategic and tactical concepts. For example, many programs provide sophisticated board visualization aids, such as arrows and colored squares, to assist users in understanding and internalizing the principles of a given position. Furthermore, these tools allow for simulating ‘what-if’ scenarios, enabling players to experiment with different move sequences and gain a deeper appreciation for the underlying strategy and tactics at play. Engaging with these features can accelerate the development of chess skills and boost players’ confidence in their decision-making abilities.

A person sitting in front of a computer, using chess software to analyze their game.

Chess GUIs and Interfaces

Chess GUIs: The Interactive Bridge Between Users and Engines

In the context of chess engines and software, it is crucial to consider the graphical user interfaces (GUIs) that facilitate users’ interaction with these powerful tools. Serving as an interactive bridge between the user and the engine, GUIs significantly enhance the overall experience by offering various core features, usability, and compatibility with chess engines and software. This seamless integration proves invaluable to chess enthusiasts and professionals alike, as the combination of visualization tools and intuitive GUIs enables users to fully harness the potential of chess engines and software for learning and growth in the game.

Features of Chess GUIs

Numerous GUIs are available, each with its unique features and advantages, but the primary function remains to facilitate seamless interaction with the chess engine. Essential aspects provided by these GUIs include:

  • Displaying the chessboard
  • Managing and organizing games
  • Analyzing positions and moves
  • Customizing the board
  • Importing and exporting game notation, as well as saving and loading game databases
  • Competing online with other players

Catering to Different Skill Levels

Chess GUIs cater to various skill levels, from beginners to professionals. For beginners, some interfaces have built-in tutorials and tools for learning chess strategies and tactics. On the other hand, professionals often need in-depth analysis and multiple-engine support to make informed decisions. The usability of a chess GUI depends on how the interface manages these varying requirements; hence, it is crucial for users to select a GUI that matches their skills and needs.

Compatibility with Chess Engines and Software

Compatibility with chess engines and software is a critical aspect as well. Popular chess engines, such as Stockfish, Leela Chess Zero, and Komodo, have multiple compatible GUIs, allowing users to benefit from their powerful chess analysis capabilities. Additionally, interfaces need to support standard chess formats like PGN, FEN, and UCI to ensure smooth communication and enable users to leverage various chess software and tools.


Chess engines and software provide invaluable resources for chess players looking to improve their skills and understanding of the game. The use of chess graphical user interfaces (GUIs) significantly enhances the interaction between users and these engines, by offering core features, promoting usability, and ensuring compatibility. Thus, selecting the right chess GUI is crucial for optimizing one’s overall chess experience.

A screenshot of a chess GUI, showing a chessboard with pieces and various buttons and menus for managing games, analyzing positions, and customizing the board.

Online Chess Platforms and Apps

Online Chess Platforms

Online chess platforms such as and are excellent options for interacting with powerful chess engines and expanding one’s knowledge of the game.

  • employs the Komodo Chess Engine to offer real-time analysis during gameplay. The platform is feature-rich, including lessons, tactics puzzles, articles, and TV for live grandmaster games. Its large global community ensures users can always find opponents of similar skill levels for an engaging match.

  • Lichess utilizes the renowned Stockfish chess engine to deliver in-depth game analyses and evaluations. The platform is entirely free and allows users to create an account, customize settings, and find opponents for live or correspondence chess. Supporting resources such as puzzles, opening explorers, and study tools help players refine their skills. Furthermore, Lichess’ dedicated mobile app guarantees anytime, anywhere access to chess lessons and games.

Chess With Friends

For a social and casual chess experience, Chess With Friends is a popular mobile app option.

In this app, players can connect with their Facebook friends or find new friends through username searches and enjoy a real-time or turn-based game. While Chess With Friends does not provide advanced analysis tools like or Lichess, it is a perfect application for those looking to have a friendly and casual game with friends.


For players more focused on improving their skills and analyzing their games, ChessBase is the premier software for chess database management and analysis.

ChessBase provides access to a vast library of historic and current games, enabling players to study various openings, middlegame strategies, and endgame techniques. The software also offers seamless integration with top chess engines, including Stockfish and Houdini, allowing users to receive detailed computer analysis of their games.

Chess Tactics Pro

Another useful and popular app for chess players looking to sharpen their tactics is Chess Tactics Pro.

This mobile app offers thousands of puzzles, categorized by themes and difficulty levels, allowing users to train their tactical vision and pattern-recognition skills. It also incorporates the Stockfish chess engine to analyze moves and provide feedback to users. This app is a great supplemental tool for individual training and can be effectively used in combination with other platforms and software for an overall improvement in one’s game.

Image of chess pieces on a board with a digital overlay, representing online chess platforms.

Overall, chess engines and software have come a long way since their inception, growing ever more powerful and influential in shaping the way we experience and engage with the game. By exploring the various facets of this technology, from their fundamental principles and history to their applications in training, online platforms, and user interfaces, we have unveiled greater understanding and awareness of computer-assisted chess. Embracing these powerful tools and resources will not only elevate our abilities but also help us to appreciate the complex and beautiful intricacies of this timeless pursuit.

Top Chess Influencers You Should Follow

Welcome to the exciting world of chess influencers, where we delve into the lives of prominent figures who are making waves in the realm of chess streamers, renowned international players on social media, professionaleducators, talented up-and-comers, and influential women in the chess landscape.

Famous chess streamers and YouTubers

Notable Chess Streamers and YouTubers

International Master (IM) Levy Rozman, also known as “GothamChess,” is a popular chess streamer and YouTuber who has gained a large following on both Twitch and YouTube. Levy creates a variety of educational and entertaining content for chess enthusiasts of all skill levels. His energetic personality, clear explanations, and the occasional pop culture references make his videos engaging and fun to watch.

Grandmaster (GM) Hikaru Nakamura, a five-time United States Chess Champion, is another influential chess content creator. Hikaru’s charisma and vast experience captivate thousands of viewers on his Twitch streams and YouTube channel. His content includes fast-paced chess matches against other top players, alongside tournament appearances and live stream collaborations with personalities outside the realm of chess. Hikaru has significantly contributed to popularizing chess and making it more accessible to a broader audience on Twitch.

Additionally, Grandmaster (GM) Daniel Naroditsky, known as “Daniel Naroditsky Chess” on YouTube, provides insightful analysis and commentary through his blitz and bullet games. Focusing on educational content, Naroditsky offers game reviews, tutorials, and lessons to help viewers enhance their understanding of chess. His calm and methodical teaching style makes him an enjoyable and informative chess streamer to follow.

Three chess players sitting at a table with chessboards in front of them and pieces in their hands. They are smiling and looking at the camera.

International chess players in social media

Magnus Carlsen’s Influence on Social Media

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen also has a significant presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Boasting over 269,000 followers on Twitter and around 355,000 on Instagram, Magnus shares powerful chess moves, moments from his personal life, and behind-the-scenes peeks at major chess events. Carlsen’s relatable posts, such as selfies with fellow chess players and tactical puzzles, have contributed to making chess more exciting and accessible to a wider audience. As a World Chess Champion hailing from Norway since 2013, Magnus Carlsen’s popularity on social media has undoubtedly had a profound impact on the chess community.

Hikaru Nakamura

Hikaru Nakamura, an American-Japanese chess Grandmaster, is another influential international chess player active on social media. He is especially known for his live streaming chess games and chess lessons on Twitch, with over 700,000 followers. In addition to Twitch, he also has a strong presence on Twitter and Instagram, with 134,000 and 58,000 followers, respectively. Nakamura, a five-time United States Chess Champion, uses these platforms to share insights into his training regimen, as well as offering advice to aspiring chess players. This online presence not only showcases his excellent chess skills but enables a whole generation of new players to interact and learn from one of the best in the game.

Anish Giri

Anish Giri, a Dutch chess Grandmaster hailing from Russia, is a prominent social media influencer in the world of chess. Representing the Netherlands since 2009, Giri holds the title of Grandmaster since the young age of 14. He has amassed over 103,000 followers on Twitter and 37,000 on Instagram, where he shares his passion for chess and his authentic sense of humor. Giri is renowned for his clever and witty posts that demonstrate his deep knowledge of chess while shedding light on the lighter side of the game. By connecting with fans and sharing his personal experiences, Giri offers a relatable and entertaining look into the world of competitive chess, inspiring others to become part of the chess community.

Three chess masters, Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura, and Anish Giri, sitting at a chessboard, holding chess pieces in their hands.

Chess coaches and educators

Chess Coaches and Educators

As instrumental figures within the chess community, chess coaches and educators play a crucial role in nurturing the growth and progress of players at all skill levels. Many of these experts boast years of competitive play experience and have honed their analytical and strategic abilities, allowing them to effectively share their knowledge with budding chess enthusiasts.

Top chess coaches and educators, such as Anish Giri, harness the power of the internet to reach a global audience via platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and other streaming websites. This allows them to engage with the chess community, offering valuable insights, guidance, and advice to help players enhance their skills and understanding of the game.

Prominent Chess Educators

One prominent chess educator is Grandmaster (GM) Yasser Seirawan, who is highly regarded for his engaging teaching style and deep understanding of chess. Through various online resources, including live streaming, chess lectures, and interactive Q&A sessions, GM Seirawan has successfully reached out to thousands of chess players, sharing valuable information and educating them on the complexities of the game.

Another influential chess coach is International Master (IM) John Bartholomew, who offers invaluable tips and lessons through his YouTube channel and other online platforms. IM Bartholomew’s expertise in the game and ability to break down complex concepts into easily digestible lessons have made him a popular and respected figure within the chess community.

Yet another chess educator worth mentioning is Women’s International Master (WIM) Alexandra Botez, who has made a name for herself through her interactive streaming sessions on Twitch. WIM Botez is notable for her ability to connect with viewers of all ages and skill levels, fostering an encouraging and entertaining environment for learning and discussion. She is also known for her insightful commentary on high-level tournaments, offering viewers a unique perspective on the thought processes and strategies of top-level players.

Impact on the Chess Community

Chess coaches and educators have made a significant impact on the global chess community, contributing to the growth and development of amateur and professional players alike. Their influence plays a crucial role in nurturing the minds of chess enthusiasts worldwide and fostering a spirit of camaraderie within the game’s community.

A chess coach pointing to a chessboard with a student next to him, ready to learn.

Photo by jeshoots on Unsplash

Up-and-coming chess influencers

The New Era of Chess Influencers

Chess is experiencing a thrilling revival through the emergence of young, talented influencers who are making their mark on the game. Hikaru Nakamura, a Japanese-American Grandmaster, has amassed a large following on Twitch and YouTube, sharing expert insights and lively live-streamed games. As a five-time United States Chess Champion, his on-the-board reputation solidifies his influential status off the board. Hikaru is a true chess luminary for the new era.

Alireza Firouzja, another up-and-coming chess influencer, is captivating the community with his aggressive and innovative playing style. As the youngest player to achieve a 2700+ rating by FIDE and reach the top 10 in rankings, the Iranian-born prodigy’s growing online presence attracts chess enthusiasts worldwide. Increasingly, platforms like BotezLive, run by sisters Alexandra and Andrea Botez, are transforming how the game is presented and consumed with their interactive and light-hearted approach. The future of chess and its promotion is promising, thanks to these groundbreaking influencers.

Three chess influencer portraits - Nakamura, Firouzja, and Botez sisters

Photo by taiden1206 on Unsplash

Influential women in chess

Influential Women in Chess

As new influencers emerge, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the influential women in the chess world. Hungarian Grandmaster Judit Polgár, who broke records and achieved one of the highest peak ratings among female players, has become an idol for aspiring chess players. Since retiring in 2014, she dedicates her time to promoting chess through educational initiatives like the Judit Polgár Foundation.

Hou Yifan, a female grandmaster from China, has defied stereotypes in the male-dominated chess world. Her achievements as the youngest female grandmaster and Women’s World Chess Champion at just 16 years old have made her an inspiration globally. American International Master Jennifer Shahade, a two-time U.S. Women’s Chess Champion, is also transforming the chess community through her advocacy work as the Women’s Program Director for the United States Chess Federation, and as the author of ‘Play Like a Girl!’ highlighting tactics employed by female chess champions.

Illustration of three women in the chess world: Judit Polgár, Hou Yifan, and Jennifer Shahade

Photo by libraryofcongress on Unsplash

As we’ve explored the various distinct categories of chess influencers, it’s clear that their passion for the game and dedication to their craft is positively impacting the chess community. These talented individuals not only entertain and educate, but they also inspire the next generation of chess enthusiasts to pursue their own dreams within the game. It truly is a wonderful time to be a chess fan, as there are now more ways than ever to engage with, learn from, and appreciate this classic and captivating game.

5 Huge Mistakes People Make In Fortnite

When it was first introduced in 2017, nobody quite knew what a juggernaut Fortnite would become. The online battle royale game never really waned in popularity, and there are still millions of people who play the game on a daily basis. That means there are also a lot of new players because the game is free, and these new players often make some huge mistakes. Here are the five mistakes you need to avoid if you want to level up in Fortnite.

Not Communicating

When you’re playing in a squad with friends, it can be pretty easy to have an open line of communication. Whether you’re talking in a party chat on Xbox or PlayStation, or even a Discord group call, you’re probably going to be talking to the people you’re playing with as long as you know them. When you team up with strangers, however, things are going to be a lot more difficult.

First, there’s the issue of whether or not that person has a microphone. There’s only so much communication you can do if that person is only using emotes or setting waypoints. Secondly, some people might not have the best quality microphone. Lastly, there are a lot of players who are simply rude and would rather just troll you than try to get a victory royale. With that said, it’s probably best to stick with people you know.


One of the biggest gripes that people have against playing battle royale games like Fortnite is that they can be boring. There is a lot of downtime throughout a match as you’re waiting for an opportunity to strike. You also don’t want to reveal your position to too many people as there could be a dead-eye sniper waiting in the wings. Still, despite knowing the dangers that lurk out in the open, people tend to rush because they don’t want to wait.

This is how a majority of players end up getting downed and ultimately discouraged from playing again.  Other first-person shooters like Call of Duty or Halo offer options that are more deathmatch instead of battle royale and would be a better fit for players who don’t want to spend most of the time waiting for safe movement. Battle royales simply aren’t meant for rushing.

Not Getting Resources

Newer Fortnite players always seem to run into an inventory management issue in their first few matches. There are so many glowing weapons that you can pick up that you may forget about everything else. When playing in building mode, it’s important to get resources like wood so that you don’t run out when trying to keep yourself safe. There’s also the issue of ammo, as guns can get depleted pretty quickly when you’re in a firefight.

Health is another major aspect of inventory management. You’ll want to keep both healing and shield potions on you at all times, especially ones that can heal your entire team. These are fairly common to find, but most people leave them on the ground or in a crate in lieu of yet another assault rifle that they found (without bullets).

Forgetting Loots

You can go through all of the crates you want and you still might not find anything as good as something from a downed player. In a lot of cases, if you eliminate a player, they’re going to drop an epic or legendary weapon while also dropping plenty of healing and shield items. A lot of newer players will simply eliminate a player and move on to the next one without checking because they feel like the area is still dangerous.

Once you’ve made sure that the coast is clear, feel free to loot the downed player and see if there’s anything that you can use. Check all of the crates that you come across, too, as you never know what you’re going to get. While it won’t always be something you need, at least you’ll have peace of mind.

Not Paying Attention to the Storm

One thing that happens in just about every battle royale is that the playing area shrinks over time. That’s because if it didn’t, there’s a chance that the match would never end. Newer players tend to ignore the storm until it’s too late. This is true even from the start of a match, and people can end up dropping in a location that’s going to be affected by the storm within a couple of minutes.

A lot of players also wait until the very last second to start moving toward the shrunken play area when the storm is coming. Always think ahead of the storm and you’ll be the one defending the final play area rather than the one getting picked off by a legendary sniper rifle while trying to rush the area.

Bad Influence’ Video Games: 5 Classics That Triggered Moral Panics Over The Years

There always seems to be a new reason why parents think that children are violent or immoral. Every generation has its biggest reason, and more recently, it has been video games that get a bad rap. Even going back to the Atari days, there have been some video games that have drawn a lot of negative attention for their content, some of which have created government action. Here are five classic video games that triggered moral panic over the years.

The Entire Grand Theft Auto Series

Rockstar’s “Grand Theft Auto” series has been one of the most popular in video game history, and it’s easy to see why. These are all masterpiece games for their time, starting with the top-down view and graduating into a 3-D model that allowed for one of the most immersive online action-gaming experiences. However, GTA hasn’t been without its controversy, which probably isn’t surprising based on the name of the series.

From the early days of GTA, there was an outcry from parents groups regarding the ability to steal cars and shoot police while hiring “ladies of the night.” Things ramped up with the releases of “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” when a mod was discovered that allowed you to fully simulate “adult relations.” To this day, advocacy groups speak out against the violence promoted in the GTA series, but it has only made the games more popular.


“Grand Theft Auto” isn’t the only series created by Rockstar that was met with a ton of controversy. In the 2003 game “Manhunt”, you take control of the character James Earl Cash, a prisoner on death row who finds himself forced into snuff films. This stealth game featured some of the most brutal death scenes in video game history, and the sequel released in 2007 received a rare “Adults-Only” rating.

That’s because the first “Manhunt” game drew so much attention from the US Government that more strict ratings were put into place so that games like “Manhunt” wouldn’t be in the same category as games like “Halo” or “The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion”. The fear of “Manhunt” was only driven up when a 17-year-old killed his 14-year-old friend in England while having a copy of the game in his bedroom.


Part of what has made “Grand Theft Auto” so popular is that it allows people who would never harm a fly to drive around in an open world and do whatever they want with no real-life consequences. “Postal” takes that to another level, and the game’s storyline even involves someone living a mundane life having a mental breakdown, and getting violent with anyone and everything that they see.

The game immediately drew criticism upon release in 1997, with many saying that it was encouraging players to start doing the same actions in real life. However, the developer “Running with Scissors” continued the series the following year with an expansion, and 10 main storyline “Postal” games have been released overall. The creator was even prosecuted for an “illegal depiction of violence” in Sweden, and some countries have banned the series altogether.

Mortal Kombat

When it comes to fighting games, “Mortal Kombat” is one of the top-tier franchises alongside the likes of “Street Fighter” and “Tekken”. When it was first released in 1992, it was massively popular but had a lot of parents grounding their children. “Mortal Kombat” was the fighting game that introduced “fatalities” which allowed players to dismember their opponents in shocking (at the time) ways.

This was the game that really got the government involved with video games, creating the ratings system that we all know today. On the other hand, “Mortal Kombat” helped usher in the era of a video game revitalization that brought people back to arcade machines while boosting console sales.


“Pokemon” seems like one of those games that’s incredibly harmless on the surface. You collect cutesy monsters as friends and train them to take on other “Pokemon” in sanctioned matches. When you start to think about it, it sort of sounds like dog fighting in that regard, but that’s not what got certain people in an uproar upon the game’s release in 1996. Instead, the game was criticized by Christian groups for several other reasons.

“Pokemon” characters evolve into a more powerful stage, and fundamentalists said that went against their beliefs. The groups also pointed toward themes of violence and the occult as to why the game was “anti-Christian,” but most people brushed these notions away. In fact, members of the Vatican even had to come out and say that they weren’t condemning “Pokemon” and called it innovative.

7 Ways to Save Money on Miniatures Gaming

Miniatures gaming can be expensive, but there are ways to save money and still enjoy the hobby. From buying used models to using a few simple painting techniques, here are 7 tips for saving money and getting the most out of your miniatures gaming experience. 

1. Buy Used Models

Many miniature gamers are surprised to learn that used miniatures can be purchased online through specialty websites like eBay, Miniature Market, and Reaper Miniatures. Even though they may not have the same amount of detail as a new model, buying a used one can help you save money without sacrificing quality.

2. Make Your Own Terrain

Building terrain for your gaming table can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! You can make your own using inexpensive materials such as cardboard, plaster, or foam boards. Not only will this save you some cash, but you’ll also get bragging rights for making something truly unique for your tabletop game!

3. Invest in Reusable Pieces

Instead of buying individual pieces for each game, invest in reusable terrain pieces that can be used over and over again. This will save you money in the long run, as well as free up storage space in your home.

4. Buy Miniatures In Bulk

Buying miniatures in bulk is a great way to save money on models. Many companies offer discounts for buying large amounts of single models or sets, so it’s worth taking advantage of these deals if you’re looking to stock up on some new figures.

5. Shop Thrift Stores

If you know where to look, thrift stores can be a great source for finding miniatures at bargain prices! Keep an eye out for vintage models or even newer ones that have been donated.

6. Learn Basic Painting Techniques

Learning how to paint your own miniatures can be a great way to save money in the long run, as well as add some personal touches to your figures. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, there are plenty of tutorials online that will teach you the basics and help you get started.

7. Trade with Other Gamers

Trading miniatures with other gamers is another way to find new models without breaking the bank! You could even organize a trading night at your local game shop or club where everyone brings their extras and trades them away for something they want more. This is an especially great option if you’re looking for rare pieces or models from out-of-print lines.

The Evolution of Fortnite Skins: A Look Back at the Most Popular Designs

Fortnite has taken the world by storm since its release in 2017, and a big part of its success is due to its ever-expanding selection of skins. In just three years, Fortnite fans have seen dozens of new designs come available, from classic cartoon characters to sleek and futuristic cyberpunk styles. As we look back on the evolution of Fortnite Skins over the past few years, it’s easy to recognize some of the most popular designs that have been released. 

One of the earliest skin designs to come out was The Reaper Skin. This skin featured an intimidating, skull-like face and a black trench coat with glowing green lines running down both sides. Since then, it has become one of the most iconic and recognizable Fortnite skins around and can be seen as a symbol for the game itself. 

Another beloved design is The Rust Lord skin. This style debuted during Season 4 and quickly earned a place in many players’ hearts thanks to its rustic appearance. The style features a metal mask with glowing eyes, brown leather armor pieces, and hints of red and orange accents all over. It’s an unmistakable look that helped make Rust Lord one of the all-time favorite skins among Fortnite fans. 

As time went on, newer styles began to take shape with Season 5 introducing us to Drift Skin – one of the more unique styles that have ever been seen in Fortnite. This design features a full-body suit made up of white portions interspersed with blue lines throughout; this look was inspired by Japanese samurai warriors which makes it stand out among other skins. Likewise, The Visitor Skin made its debut during this same season; it’s characterized by a gas mask with yellow lenses that are illuminated by mysterious blue energy emanating from behind them – adding a touch of mystery to any player’s look!  

Season 6 saw the introduction of Calamity Skin which featured a bright pink and purple cowboy-like style – complete with an intimidating scowl, plaid shirt, and white hat. This design was a huge departure from earlier styles and one that players quickly embraced for its uniqueness. 

Fortnite has continued to bring in new skins with every season since then; introducing us to wild designs like The Skull Trooper Skin from Season 7, Fishstick from Season 8, and more recently Hyperion from Chapter 2. These looks continue to keep Fortnite feeling fresh while staying true to its roots as an ever-evolving game.

No matter how many cool new skins are released over time, these classic designs will always remain some of the most beloved fan favorites. Without them, Fortnite wouldn’t be what it is today. 

How to Pick Your Next Video Game: 5 Ways to Choose Randomly

Are you tired of endlessly scrolling through the video game section of your preferred online store or flipping through game cases at a physical retailer, trying to find the perfect game to play next? Do you often find yourself paralyzed by indecision, unable to pick a game to commit to? If so, you’re not alone. With so many video games available today, it can be challenging to decide which one to choose. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to help you pick your next game randomly. Here are five ways to do it:

Use a randomizer tool

One way to choose your next video game randomly is to use a randomizer tool. Several websites offer this service, allowing you to select specific criteria for the game you want to play, such as genre, platform, or release year, and then generate a random result. Some of these websites even offer additional features, such as filtering out games you’ve already played or setting a maximum price.

Ask for recommendations

Another way to pick your next video game randomly is to ask for recommendations from friends, family, or online communities. You can post a request on social media or join a gaming forum to ask for suggestions. Be sure to specify the types of games you enjoy playing and any specific requirements you might have, such as multiplayer or single-player games.

Take a chance on a lesser-known game

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider taking a chance on a lesser-known game. Indie games or lesser-known titles might not have as much publicity as big-name releases, but they can often be just as entertaining. Many of these games are available at lower price points, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money to try something new.

Choose a game based on its cover art

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but what about a video game? Consider choosing your next game based on its cover art. You might be drawn to a particular game because of its vivid colors, interesting characters, or striking graphics. While this method may not always result in the perfect game for you, it can be a fun way to mix things up and try something different.

Play a classic game you’ve never tried before

Finally, if you’re having trouble deciding on a new game, consider playing a classic game you’ve never tried before. Many older games are still available for purchase and can be played on modern consoles or PCs. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy a game that was released before you were born.

Pixwords Hacks: 7 Tricks to Help You Beat the Game Like a Pro

Pixwords is an incredibly popular word game that challenges players to guess a word based on a picture. The game can be quite challenging, but with the right strategy and a few hacks, you can beat the game like a pro. Let’s explore 7 Pixwords hacks that will help you conquer the game.

Use a Dictionary

One of the best ways to increase your chances of guessing the word correctly is to use a dictionary. A dictionary can help you learn new words and understand the meaning of words that you may not be familiar with. It’s a great tool for expanding your vocabulary and improving your ability to guess words based on pictures.

Look for Clues in the Picture

The pictures in Pixwords often contain clues that can help you guess the word. Look for objects, colors, and other details in the picture that can give you a hint about the word. For example, if the picture shows a bird, you can guess that the word is related to birds, such as “feather” or “beak.”

Break the Word into Parts

Sometimes, the word in Pixwords may be long or complex, making it difficult to guess. In such cases, try breaking the word into parts and guessing each part separately. For example, if the word is “television,” you can guess “tele” and “vision” separately and then combine them to get the final answer.

Use Hints Sparingly

Pixwords offers hints that can help you guess the word, but it’s important to use them sparingly. Using hints too often can make the game less challenging and less fun. Try to use your own skills and knowledge to guess the word before using hints.

Guess Short Words First

Short words are usually easier to guess than longer words. Start by guessing short words and then move on to longer words. This strategy can help you build momentum and increase your confidence as you progress through the game.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As with any game, practice makes perfect. The more you play Pixwords, the better you’ll get at guessing the words. Try to play the game regularly and challenge yourself to guess words quickly and accurately.

Play with Friends

Playing Pixwords with friends can be a fun and engaging way to improve your skills. You can work together to guess the word and learn from each other’s strategies. You can also compete against each other to see who can guess the word the fastest.

Pixwords is a challenging but rewarding game that requires a combination of skills and strategies to beat. By using a dictionary, looking for clues in the picture, breaking the word into parts, using hints sparingly, guessing short words first, practicing regularly, and playing with friends, you can become a pro at Pixwords and enjoy the game even more.