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Here you can:

Play Classic Chess, Chess960, and now, in "beta test", 4-Player Chess for free, without downloading any software -- you can play instantly on any computer that has a browser (and the browser doesn't need any fancy plugins).  Because there is nothing to download, you can play from secured computers in libraries and corporations.

Set Time Per Game from 1 minute to 1 month -- this means you don't have to finish a game in one sitting.  Many players make one or two moves per day.  And you can set this to less than 31 minutes to play rapid chess.  An intuitive scheduling protocol allows you to negotiate game start times with your opponent so you can sit down together for short games.

Set Time Per Move from 1 minute to 1 month -- set this to zero for complete control of elapsed time (with the time-per-game time control), or set this to 3 days for a good postal game without the cost of stamps.

Play an unlimited number of simultaneous games -- so you'll always have as many moves as you can handle when you show up.

Play an unlimited number of simultaneous tournaments -- Play in the largest tournaments on the net, without the hassle of travel expenses, hotel expenses, or meal expenses, and from the comfort of your own timezone.  The automated tournament director is swift and fair.  When you request a draw (e.g. the three position rule), it takes only a few milliseconds for the server to verify.  Currently the software can handle tournaments with more than 14 million players.

Create your own tournament -- This is the place.  And the automated tournament director handles all the details for you.

Engage in discussions with members of this community -- Our Vanilla-powered forum allows open exchanges of ideas.