There are many chess platforms out there that you can use to play chess over the internet.
Some are better than others, some are new, and some have a reputable online presence.
If you’re looking for the most popular chess platforms, there is no doubt that chess.com and lichess are the ones that you are looking for. They are like the titans of online chess.
There has been an ongoing discussion lately about which players are stronger, those who play chess.com or those who play lichess?
You see, there is a massive difference between the two (specifically their rating system).
This has really led to an online war where chess players have to pick a side over the other.
This article will be me sharing my opinion on this topic. I think I can add something here. With all of that in mind, let’s get started.
On average, which are stronger, chess.com players or lichess players?
On average, chess.com players are definitely stronger than lichess players. This has primarily to do with the rating system of lichess.
It is designed to be higher than usual, not only that it gives you a high rating from a fresh account, the rating gain (per game) is also enormous.
If you have a “new account” on lichess, you can already reach 2000+ rating after winning some ten games. This is crazy, you definitely wouldn’t reach 2000 even if you win 10 games in a row on chess.com.
This is why lichess players who try chess.com are dumbfounded by the competition, they can’t seem to raise their rating on chess.com. I am not just trash talking lichess players, in fact, lichess is the one that I play the most today.
However when it comes to the level of competition, I know that chess.com produces stronger players since their rating system doesn’t “baby” their players.
If you take the average lichess player and the average chess.com player, set them in a match and see who wins, the chess.com player would smash the lichess player.
There are even cases where the lichess player is actually the higher rated player (in lichess), yet would be considered weaker than a lower rated chess.com player.
It is not really about the rating, since lichess ratings are inflated, it doesn’t really accurately describe someone’s “strength”. Since chess.com ratings are much closer to over the board ratings, players need to adapt if they want to become strong.
In lichess, the inflated ratings creates an illusion that a player should no longer pursue improvement.
Chess.com on the other hand shows the player how weak they actually are. This means that they have to make room for improvement in order to increase their rating.
This is why on average, chess.com players are stronger, they have to face better competition before they can get a high rating.
Am I sure about this?
As someone who has played on both platforms, I can tell that chess.com is much harder for its players.
This is good for improvement, a much more competitive field will definitely create competent chess players.
1600 rated players on chess.com are crazy, they can definitely compete against 2000+ rated players on lichess.
I have found that chess.com players are more solid, their fundamentals are more superior than lichess players.
Of course this will not be applicable 100% of the time, there might be some lichess players that are actually stronger.
But they are definitely the exception and not the rule, most lichess players find it hard to acquire the same ratings that they have on chess.com.
Not to mention that there are a lot of professional chess players that regularly play on chess.com. There are some titled players that are on lichess, but the majority prefers the chess.com interface.
This means that you can actually find “smurfs” on chess.com games sometimes, basically titled players that disguises as a weaker player. This might be bad for the experience but definitely good for improvement.
If you are lifting really heavy weights and are managing to keep up the sets for some time, you will definitely become stronger.
Lifting the “average weights” will be a walk in the park compared to the heavy weights. These are the reasons why I think chess.com players are better than lichess players, on average at least.
They just have better competition. This wouldn’t be applicable 100% of the time, but most of the time at least.
Does lichess make its chess players weak?
Yes, lichess is making its player significantly weaker by presenting an inflated rating. They are making chess players think that they are stronger than they really are, this is bad for improvement.
This is like the frog in the well analogy. The frog that considers the well as its own will think that everything about the well constitutes the whole world. This is of course not true, the whole world is way bigger than the well.
A lichess player is prone to making this kind of mistake. They usually treat the rating that they have on lichess seriously, acting as if their inflated rating is actually comparable to others.
A 1800 rated player over the board is not even comparable to a 1800 lichess player, the 1800 over the board player will be 2000+ rated on lichess.
This illusion can make people think that they don’t need to improve since they are already strong.
Why study more if you have a good “artificial” rating?
This is why chess.com players are usually stronger. They make the players realize that they are not as good as their rating, therefore they can make significant improvement.
I really think that lichess makes its players weaker than they should be, although I think that it is part of what makes lichess good (artificial ratings for entertainment).
Can you still become a strong player even if you only play in lichess?
Of course you can still become a strong chess player even if you only play on lichess. You would have an artificial rating but it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t compare to chess.com players.
However for a comparison to be reasonable, you need a high rating on lichess.
You can’t boast reaching 1600 on lichess, that is nothing compared to chess.com. I would say that if you are around the level of 1900-2000 on lichess then you are pretty good.
If we are talking about the average, you are way better than the average chess player (if we factor those that don’t play regularly).
You can become strong even in lichess, but treat their rating system with a grain of salt.
What are the ways to become strong even if you mainly use lichess?
If you want to keep up with chess.com players then there are several things that you can do. I have three tips for you, something that can make you keep up or even become better than the average chess.com player.
My first tip is that you should analyze your own games.
This is underrated, most people, even those that are quite serious about chess, do not analyze their own games.
Analyzing your own games gives you a lot of insight on which kind of positions you perform poorly. It will give you data on what to improve on.
You can study a lot of things, but you will not see significant growth until you address the problem. The problem can be identified when you analyze your own games, whether it is in the opening, the middlegame, or the endgame.
There are also several factors like your playstyle, and preferred pawn structures (open or closed). By analyzing your own games you would know what to improve on and will become better.
The second tip is that you should limit the amount of blitz games that you play. Blitz and bullet have some benefits, including time management and tactic training.
A lot of chess.com players play bullet/blitz, which can make them susceptible to longer time formats. I suggest mastering the rapid and classical time formats in order to become better.
The deep calculations that are included in these formats will help you become stronger overall anyway, it is a win-win.
My last tip is to play on chess.com, and yes, I am serious. And this is not a “if you can’t beat them join them” tactic, I just want you to play on a competitive field for a while.
You wouldn’t be doing it all the time, but if you want a challenge then you need to take the “chess.com challenge”.
If you have done a good job with the first two tips, your improvement will be amplified by doing this last tip.
These three tips will make you a really strong lichess player.
Should lichess revamp their system to make their players stronger?
Since chess.com players are stronger, you may think that I would suggest a revamp in the rating system of lichess.
But actually, I don’t want any revamp, the artificial rating system is one of the beauty of lichess.
Most people are not that serious about chess, they want to play a game or two here and there but don’t want to fully commit. This is completely fine, this is literally the definition of a hobby.
The artificial ratings of lichess takes advantage of this fact, it accommodates new players and makes them interested in the game.
If they have a higher rating than they are worth, they are more likely to pursue chess even further and perhaps become competitive.
This is a good thing, for laughs and giggles you can be proud of the rating that you get from lichess even if it is inflated. This will definitely attract more chess players in the game.
There are also those that are worried about their rating and cannot focus on the game. If these people want to have fun without really minding their rating, lichess is a good place to be in.
If you are that worried about the inflated ratings then you can always switch over to chess.com.
It is better if there are options, which are applicable in this case. If you are someone who doesn’t want to get competitive then lichess is better.
If you are someone who wants to become competitive then chess.com is better, it is that simple.
On average, chess.com players are stronger than lichess players. The rating system in lichess is too soft, it makes you believe that you have a higher rating than what you actually have.
This can lead people to misjudge their strength, they are actually weaker than what their lichess indicates.
While chess.com players are faced with a reality that they have to improve to get a higher rating, lichess prayers are led to contentment with their inflated rating.
This is why lichess players find it hard to get the same ratings on chess.com, chess.com ratings are just more competitive.
Chess.com players on the other hand usually realize that they can get higher ratings on lichess the first time they try it. This is not the case 100% of the time, but it happens often that you just have to believe it.
I don’t mind this though since the artificial ratings of lichess is more entertaining for newer players.
But if we are talking about competitiveness, then yeah, chess.com creates stronger chess players.
That is all for this article, thank you for reading.