Free Internet Chess Server (FICS), which can be found at www.freechess.org, is a great way to play chess online for free. Besides being free, another great thing about FICS is the presence of a huge community, so that you’ll always have someone within your playing level to start a game with. It is also highly moderated by system and human moderators so that trolls and cheaters are quickly identified and acted upon accordingly.
I used to connect to FICS via Winboard or BabasChess on my Windows machine. But now that I’m on a Mac (specifically on an Intel, Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Macbook Pro 13″ Early 2011), these two programs don’t just seem to work. Good thing I stumbled upon a comment from one user in the FICS group in Facebook about Raptor Chess.
So when I did install it, it was actually like BabasChess for Mac. So thanks to the developers of this program, now I can enjoy playing at FICS natively on my Mac.