Over the board chess has a number of differences when compared to online chess, it is important to understand their uniqueness in order to determine which is the right platform for you. If you do not know how one is different over the other then it would be difficult to choose which is better, this article will help you in understanding that concept.
I will list all of the differences between these two playing modes that you should be concerned about, some are serious and can completely turn a player from one playing mode over the other. I will try to make it as clear as possible in layman terms for beginners out there, keep on reading if you are interested.
What is over the board chess?
Over the board chess simply refers to the traditional way of playing the game, that is to see each other face-to-face and move the pieces physically. This is done by having the physical chessboard setup with physical pieces that can be touched, where the player takes turns physically moving the pieces without the virtual element.
This is different from online chess where there is a virtual aspect included within it with the use of the internet, players will physically move the pieces using their own hands. They will have to take time moving the pieces on their own without the assistance of a screen or a cellphone, they have to press the clock as well and record their moves.
Over the board used to be the de facto way of playing the game, back in the day this was the only way to play chess. If you were to compete against another player you would have to travel all the way to the playing venue, all of the aspects about it are also done manually.
There is no computer that would record the game for the players, and the clocks have to be set and pressed manually after each of the turns. This methodology is prone to errors since the people playing might make a mistake, however before the internet this was the only way that you could ever play a game of chess.
What is online chess?
It used to be that the only way to play was over the board, however with the rise of the internet, there are now many platforms online that people can get to. You don’t have to go to a playing venue in order to participate in a game of chess, just open your source on the internet and you can start playing.
It doesn’t matter if it is via a cell phone or a laptop, as long as you can connect to the internet you already have a whole playing venue in the comforts of your room. There are platforms like chess.com, lichess, and chess24 where players from all over the world can connect to and start playing, this is a virtual experience.
Due to this online experience there are also many aspects about it that are different from over the board chess, most of the things are automated by a computer. Each of your moves for example are notated by a computer and you don’t have to write it down, also, the clock is manually managed and you don’t have to press anything.
The greatest advantage of this is probably its accessibility, players don’t have to burden travel expenses and physically go to the playing hall in order to compete in chess. They can just connect to the internet and participate on the chess platforms manually; this makes it a very popular option for beginners who are only starting.
Is it better to play chess over the board?
There has been a huge debate on which is the right source of platform to play into due to their differences, some people say that it is over the board and others say that it is online. Most are opinionated and are based on personal preferences, but it really depends on what type of a player you are.
If you are someone who prefers a field where it is more competitive than it is probably better to participate in over the board games, if you are more on the casual side it is better online. The ratings that you can find online are usually inflated, over the board are more competitive since there are players present who passionately pursue the game.
Most who play online are not really that serious about the game since they prefer competing while in their bed, those who are willing to bear travel expenses have practiced a lot in order to win. Over the board games usually need more commitment, anybody who is willing to consistently show up in over the board venues have been playing for a long time.
On the other hand just because it is competitive doesn’t mean that it is the right way to play, some would just want to compete rationally and enjoy the wonders of chess. In this case online might be a better avenue since it is less competitive, people also are likely to have enjoyed their games since their opponents don’t play as accurately.
Is it harder to play chess over the board?
Apart from being competitive, there are also many aspects in over the board chess that makes it naturally harder to play, since things are not automated there are prone to mistakes. Players for example need to be well versed in chess notations in order to write down their moves accurately, any mistakes will have consequences that can be disputed to the arbiter.
In online games there are also the actions of “premoving” which is basically telling the computer which move you will play before actually playing it, there’s no such thing like this in over the board games. In over the board games there is no way to “premove” the next move that you are wanting to play, you have to move the pieces physically and risk being lost in time.
You could be playing the game perfectly for the last 40 moves and only lose due to time trouble, in online games you can “premove” and avoid losing the game entirely from time trouble. This is not the case over the board, you have to manually press the clock which means that time management is also a really important factor and not just playing a good game.
There are also many other things like knocking the piece over or “touch move” in over the board games that can ruin the game for the player, this makes over the board naturally harder to play. Since things are more automated in online games it is easy for beginners to play properly, in over the board they are likely to make mistakes if they are inexperienced.
Is cheating more prevalent in online chess?
Cheating is definitely more prevalent in online games than in over the board games, this is weird since you might think that the automated system will make it less likely for cheating to take place. And this is true in some instances, however there is also another aspect of online chess which makes cheating likely, I am talking about accessibility.
Sure, since the system is automated things like misplacing the pieces and cheating on time might be decreasing in number, however other forms of cheating are emerging in its place. The most grave is probably cheating with a chess engine, since the games are played online it is harder to monitor players who are consulting with a chess engine in their games.
In over the board you can usually tell if someone is cheating with a computer since you can see the opponent face to face, if they are suspiciously looking at something at each of the turns then it will alert you. In online chess one can simply open stockfish on another browser and you may never know if they are cheating, this is the problem with accessibility.
Since anybody can play chess anywhere it is easy to hide an engine that can play the moves for you, there isn’t any kind of algorithm that can detect this kind of cheating as of today. Online platforms are of course implementing an anti-cheating system that can mitigate the effects of this kind of cheating, however we cannot deny that it is not enough as of recently.
Are ratings better in over the board chess or online chess?
When it comes to rating it depends on which type of rating is the best for you, if you prefer a competitive rating evaluation then over the board might be the best for you. On the other hand if you want to go for something that is more casual and can be easily obtained, then a rating from an online chess platform will be your best friend.
Online chess ratings are more inflated sense they are more accessible, over the board ratings are much deflated since people have to spend so much effort and money in order to play some games. If one wants to play an online game they can just pop up their cell phone and start playing, they cannot do this in over the board chess games.
In order to get rating in over the board tournaments one has to burden travel expenses not to mention accommodation expenses if it is overseas, the games will be limited. In online chess on the other hand you just need to pay for the internet expense and you can already start playing, the rating is much easier to obtain.
The effort required between the two are not comparable, if you are a gamer that likes getting the “high score” then it would make sense to go for online games that have easier online ratings. If you prefer to be good at the game and start being competitive then over the board is the one for you, depending on which one you prefer can you determine which is right for you.
Does premoving in online chess ruin the game?
Premoving has been a hot topic ever since chess grandmasters started going into online mode, this is one of the biggest differences between over the board chess and online chess after all. If you watch chess grandmasters doing 6+ premoves in a row you might begin to wonder if this is good for chess, some argue that it is bad.
Some say that this does not correctly portray the true essence of chess, this is because premoving is being used as a weapon to flag the opponent rather than to go for a win. Honorary grandmasters who have been devoting their life to improving different aspects of their game are now flagging, some say that this is a despicable display of chess.
Especially if we are talking about chess.com that allows an unlimited number of premoving that encourages this behavior even more, people want players to actually play chess and not just flag. Lichess is better when talking about this rule since they do not allow unlimited number of premoves, but they still allow it in the first place which over the board games completely lacks.
Some say that this is great since chess is now finally evolving after hundreds of years being the same way, others however have a different opinion saying that this is not true. It really depends on the personal preference of the individual, if you do not like it then over the board is better, and if you do like it then online chess is the one that is better.
Which is better for beginners – Online chess or over the board chess?
If you have been playing online chess for a long time then you would know that there is almost no rule at all, this is because everything is automated. In over the board there are a lot of rules to take into consideration which result may not be as friendly for a beginner, they might lose some games from the lack of experience.
There is nothing as annoying as losing from a simple touch move rule, or that tournament rule where you lose if you make an illegal move. There are also different rules that might be applicable to casual ches but not to tournament chess, such as saying “check” once you give a check, or the 16 move rule.
It cannot be denied that online chess is much more friendly, over the board chess requires much more experience in order to play properly.
Over the board chess is better for competitive players that have a lot of experience in the game where beginners should feel more comfortable in online chess, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Online chess makes it easy for somebody who is new to participate without knowing the formal rules, this applies to the majority of people.
There are of course others who are more formal and competitive who should enjoy over the board chess, but not one is better than the other intrinsically. It really depends on which type of a player you are and which are your conveniences, thank you for reading.