Places to play chess online

I am going to start going through the many places you can play online and give a review of them. If I don't have a membership I will try to use it as a free player.

The first place I will review is FICS (Free Internet Chess Server).

From their website (Freechess.org)I grabbed a real quick description

Play chess on the web for free.
The Free Internet Chess Server, with over 300000 registered users, is one of the oldest and one of the largest internet chess servers. Whether serious with your chess or just looking for the occasional game, whether looking for another player or eager to challenge a strong computer, whether you like a blitz chess or you are fond of one of the many variants, here you can play chess over the internet for free.

This is the best option I have found for free chess. There is good competition - almost always have a tournament running. They are stable and have been around a long time. If you have not logged into a Internet Chess Server before - you will need a client to connect. One of the best clients that exists to connect to FICS is called Jin Chess Client. This program runs on Linux, OS X and Windows. It connects you to the server - displays a graph of all the available games and provides a chessboard to make your moves on. There are many others as well but I have found this one to work best.

The Freechess.org staff have been around a long time and provide a great service to the chess community. Login and check them out.