Online Chess

There are a number of widely used and trusted Websites.

The North Kildare Chess Club uses the free website: Lichess (

This site provides all of the key features we need to hold our Tournaments.

Other sites to note are and the same company’s junior-oriented site:

Getting Started on

Create and configure a free account for each player

  1. Navigate to
    • You will need a different email address for each account (maybe create free gmail accounts for this — remember to keep the details)
    • Accept all the conditions (they are all reasonable). Note that the “multiple accounts” condition only refers to a single player creating multiple accounts – (it’s OK to have multiple accounts in a household).
    • Click Register
  2. Set Kid Mode if desired at This mode will block other users from communicating with the account via Chat etc. Remember the password you use to enable Kid Mode, as you will need it to disable it if/when you choose.
  3. Join the relevant “Teams” in Lichess for the North Kildare Chess Club.

Play the Computer to get a feel for the Lichess board

Click “PLAY WITH THE COMPUTER”, choose a level and try some games.

Now Play some real Human opponents

Just Click “Play” and choose a suitable Time Control.

What is a Time Control?

This is the amount of time that each player will have on their clock to use for the duration of the game. The clock only ticks/reduces while it is that player’s turn.

What does “5+3” and “10+5” mean?

The number on the left of the + is how many minutes each player has at the start of the game. The number on the right of the + is the number of additional seconds added to a player’s clock each time they make a move. This is called the “increment“. So, “5 + 3” means 5 minutes for each player for all of their moves PLUS 3 seconds extra added to their remaining clock time after they make each move.

What does everything mean on the game screen?

What is a rating? Why has my rating dropped so much?

A chess rating is a number given to a player based on their wins/losses/draws against other players (using those players’ ratings in the calculation). It is basically a measure of a player’s Chess strength. It takes maybe 10-20 games for a rating to become truly representative, as there is a lot of fluctuation in the early games (due to the lack of data).

Your rating will go up and down as you play rated games. The default rating given on to a new account is 1500. This is typically higher than the real rating level of an inexperienced/junior player who has not been playing for very long. Therefore, most players will typically see their rating fall a few hundred rating points below 1500. So, it is not unusual to see a rating of around 900-1100 for players who are still mastering the basics.

How do I find what I need on

Links to Club Tournaments?

The specific links to tournaments are typically sent with the invite messages to players. However, they are also posted on the relevant “Team” Forum and the links are easily found by clicking “Community” >> “Teams” and clicking on the relevant Team to view the forum.

The linked page is here:

How do I “Join” a Tournament?

Click the “Join” button, then type in the specific password for the tournament (not your password) and click “OK”.

How do I find a Tournament I have already joined?

Tournaments you have already “Joined” are accessible by logging it to and clicking “Play” and “Arena Tournaments” then clicking “Upcoming” for a list of your relevant tournaments.

Are there different types of Tournaments?

Yes. The 2 types of tournament on the site are “Arena” and “Swiss“.

What is an Arena Tournament?

An Arena tournament is our most common tournament type. The format is basically a constant pairing of available players (usually with players on similar scores being paired where possible). So, when a player finishes a game, lichess finds an available player in the tournament to be their next opponent. This can result in some players having more games than other players (because of the comparative length of their games).

How are Arena Tournaments scored?

Arena tournaments on are not scored with the traditional chess scoring numbers (but the proportions are the same). Chess traditionally considers a win as “1”, a draw as “1/2” and a loss as “0”. Arena scoring gives “2” for a win, “1” for a draw and “0” for a loss.

What is an Arena Streak?

When “Arena Streak” is enabled, when a player scores their third win in a row, the score for that win is “4”. Then, while the winning streak continues, all wins continue to score “4”.

What is “Berserk”?

When the Berserk mode is enabled for an Arena tournament, clicking the “Berserk” button will cut that player’s time in half (just their own time, not their opponent’s time) and reduce their own increment to zero seconds (their opponent’s increment is not affected). In exchange, if the player scores a win, they will receive “1” extra point if they win or draw. For example, a player on an Arena streak in Berserk mode will score “5” points for a win!

What is a Swiss Tournament?

A Swiss Tournament is a more traditional Chess tournament with a fixed number of rounds. All the games in each round begin at the same time. There are no extra online gimmicks such as “Streak” or “Berserk”.

A Swiss system tournament pairs players with similar scores (the same score where possible) throughout the tournament (the initial pairing is decided using ratings). The continuous pairing of players with similar scores will result in a clear winner, assuming a sufficient number of rounds is scheduled. Where players finish on the same score, they are placed ahead or behind the players on the same score by means of various tie-break criteria.