How to Play Free Online Chess Against the Computer

By Shawn Candela
you, a computer, chess
chess image by Sergey Goruppa from

Historians continue to debate the origins of chess. Some say it started in China in the second century as a game called "xianggi;" others argue that it started in sixth-century India. Regardless, today it is played all over the world--including in cyberspace. You can jump online and match wits against a real person, or you can take on a computer and adjust the settings to meet your skill level.

Step 1

Go online to

Step 2

Move your cursor over "Play" in the green bar near the top of the page to highlight options and click on the fourth option, "Against the Computer."

Step 3

Click on either "White" or "Black" in the first option at the right side of the screen, which reads, "Play as." If you choose white, you will move first. If you choose black, the computer will play first.

Step 4

Click on "Easy," "Medium" or "Hard" in the second option, labeled "Strength." "Easy" is for beginning players, "Medium" is for those with experience but who are not experts at the game, and "Hard" is for top-level players.

Step 5

Click on the options to the right of "Size" and "Design" if you want to change the dimensions of the board and/or the color. These options will not affect gameplay.

Step 6

Click on "Start game!" just below these options.

Step 7

Move pieces by clicking on them and dragging them with your mouse.

Step 8

Click on other options--located at the bottom left of the board--once your game has begun if you'd like to adjust such as things as the time limit of the game or force the computer to move immediately. Click on the "?" if you need help.