Chess.com can trace its roots back to 1995 when it was used to sell software that taught people how to play and win at chess.
Internet entrepreneur Erik Allebest and partner Jarom (“Jay”) Severson bought the domain name and assembled a team of software developers to redevelop the site as a chess portal.
Chess.com operates a freemium-style business model: main site features are free but others are limited or unavailable in some respects until a subscription is paid.
Visitors to the site can play on a live chess server and correspondence-style games, called “daily chess” on the site. Players may also play against chess engines, as well as participate in what the site calls “vote chess”, in which players form teams and vote on the best move.
Additional features include tactics training, puzzle rush, chess forums, articles, videos, lessons, chess news, downloads, opening databases, groups, live broadcasts, daily puzzles, team matches, online coaching, and a database of over 2 million games.
In late April 2022, Russia banned Chess.Com from its country after Chess.com posted an editorial supporting Ukraine.
Also in April 2022, the company announced that it would host a chess-themed NFT marketplace.