Not into correspondence-style chess? Want to play live realtime chess online?
You may have checked out Chess.com and found it lacking in features for realtime chess. And you may have checked out the popular ICC that is so talked about only to find that you'd have to dip into your credit card again. (The ICC is highly recommended by some of our club members.) Try the free and full-featured alternative, the Free Internet Chess Server.
To use FICS you'll want to download free client software. Try Babas Chess for a free and full-featured interface. Then just register with FICS for free and start playing live realtime chess online.
Want to go beyond the standard chat feature and talk to your opponent as you play? Try the popular Skype application for free voice or video calling while you play online.