January 27, 2007

Site update

The site has been updated. Nearly all pages are technically affected even if there are no new features visible.

Background: These changes were necessary for the repair of some tournaments (missing games). Furthermore, the security of PlayChess has been improved.

Please observe if anything is not working as usual - and report it. The errors appearing this afternoon were only temporary; everything should appear unchanged.

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2006

Conditional moves available

From now on, conditional moves are available for all games.
Thank you to all testers! The final version has been improved quite a bit over the initial one. I hope you will enjoy it.

A conditional move is a move that you plan as a reply to a certain move of your opponent. For example, if you have Black in a freshly started game, you plan to answer c5 if he plays e4. And if he continues with Nf3 you would answer that move with d6.

You can advice the PlayChess server to make these conditional moves (c5 and d6) for you. But if your opponent deviates from your conditional move sequence (by not playing 1.e4 or not playing 2.Nf3), the PlayChess server will not do anything. Instead, you will have to enter your move yourself, just as you normally would do.

Read the complete description in the tutorial

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2006

Conditional moves - last orders, please!

An improved version of our conditional moves has just been uploaded. Now, you can enter several (even longer) variants that differ only some moves later.

For example, you (as Black) enter the move sequences
- e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 Bb5 a6 Ba4 b5
- e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 Bb5 a6 Bxc6 dxc6
- e4 e5 Nf3 Nc6 Bc4 Nf6

The game goes 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 (until here, all three variants are still possible). After 3.Bb5 a6, however, the third variant is deleted from the database, because this CM sequence is no longer possible. Only the variants
- Ba4 b5
- Bxc6 dxc6
are remaining. After White's 4th move no CM remain in the database for that game - until you or your opponent enter new CM sequences.

This is the last test phase. If everything goes well, I will activate CM for tournament games next weekend.

Alas - this is a member-only feature.

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 10:38 PM | Comments (10)

June 22, 2005

Update of game pages

The behaviour of the game pages has changed a little: you can repeatedly preview your moves - and start afresh with the new "New Move" button.

Furthermore I split up the links so that the more important action links stay close to the chess board. The help links might still be pushed down by the "move dialogue" (the move and messages entry form on the right), if it shows a lot of text.

Please note that the version of the updated game pages is 4.02.

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2005

Chess clocks with upper limit

We have tournaments where the clocks have an upper limit of 30 days! New tournaments will have this "cut-off" with a 50% chance (pure random). Please be careful to select tournaments that match your personal preferences.

In such "capped" tournaments you cannot accumulate more than 30 days on your clock, no matter how fast you play.

You have 29 days 23:59 on your clock.
Then you make your move.
Your clock shows 30 days 00:00 (turtle or rabbit alike)

How do I recognize these cut-off tournaments?
In the tournament list is a column "Cut". This value is 30 for cut-off tournaments and 0 for the "classical" tournaments. The tournament page itself shows the cut-off as "10d + 48h < 30d" in the tournament properties on the left side. You can see this at
Tournament list ACL
Tournament ACL-E205

Which tournament type should I choose?
If you normally make your moves in a steady pace, you should choose the cut-offs. Then, you will no longer have to wait such a long time if someone lets his clock run out (in a lost position).
But if you sometimes get in time trouble yourself, you should stick with the "old" tournaments, where you can accumulate enough time to compensate business trips etc.. These classical tournaments are also better if you plan a longer holiday trip (but even better is not starting a new tournament under such circumstances).

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Preview and Javascript

The Preview button is back! As it seems, some people still prefer to enter their moves with the keyboard (because they disabled Javascript). So I restored our good old Preview button. Furthermore, I improved the error handling in the Javascript code on the game page.

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

PlayChess update

The promised Improvements have been activated. You can switch languages by clicking on the flag in the main menu.

Die versprochenen Verbesserungen sind jetzt aktiv. Mit einem Klick auf die Flagge im Menü kann man jetzt zwischen Deutsch und Englisch umschalten.

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

New features

Internal structure
PlayChess has undergone substantial restructuring. I separated textual content from page layout. This makes multiple languages possible, the first "foreign" language will be German.

+ German language (still incomplete)
+ Detection of draw by repetition
+ Detection of draw by 50-move rule
+ long move messages on normal game page (Preview is no longer needed)
+ Holiday requests can be cancelled as long as the games are not paused
+ Private game notes in separate window

When? Within 1-2 days. I am currently engaged in some final tests. This is your last chance for "veto" - please discuss these features in the forum.

The German translation is still quite incomplete. But I focused on the most important pages, so that German players should be able to use the site with only little English. The translation is still going on.
Volunteers for other languages (even German) will be needed soon. But I first have to extend my translation system, then I will call for volunteers. But be warned: I cannot pay anything (except free membership) - and translations are an awful lot of work!

The restructuring needed for the translations may have introduced new errors. Please notify me immediately, if you find an error (please supply a concise description).

The draw detection can be started with a link on every game page. You make the "decisive" move, then click the "claim draw" link => your game is drawn (if the draw conditions are fulfilled). This small deviation from the FIDE rules is intended (for technical reasons).

The field for move messages can grow automatically. You no longer need to (ab)use the Preview button to reach the big message box. Consequently, the Preview button has been removed.

If you request a holiday leave starting in 3 days, you can change your mind and cancel this leave as long as the holiday period has not started. In this case there is no 24 hour delay anymore.

The private game notes can now be reached from a link in the move dialog. The open in a new window. This way, you can see the board and your notes more easily - and it is more obvious that you have to save them separately...

Participants of Ferschach-Server-Open
I will publish the tournament groups after the above update - sorry for the delay! (Die Turniergruppen der FSO werden unmittelbar nach dem obigen Update veröffentlicht)

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2004

Search and Translate

Two (minor) features have been improved: the site search is now powered by the Google search engine. Google has most of the relevant pages of PlayChess in its database. Now you can even search for player names.

The second improvement is already active since 1-2 weeks. We know use the free translation service of IBM for most languages. These translations seem to be better than the other ones we had tried before.
The russian translation, however, is still powered by translate.ru.

Thank you to both services for their excellent work!

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 12:51 AM | Comments (2)

September 01, 2004

Making moves - again

The problems with entering moves should now be resolved.

The behaviour of the game page changed a little (this time intentionally):

After clicking on the target square the resulting position is displayed immediately. Hence, there is little need for the Preview button. Nevertheless, you still have to click on the Move button to actually make the move.

Minor changes have also been applied to the error handling. I am sure, you will discover these soon...

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 01:02 PM | Comments (4)

Making moves

I uploaded a new game page to resolve the problems when entering moves with the keyboard. However, another error prevents you from making moves with Black.

I am working on this problem. Please retry later.


Posted by Thomas Stahl at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

Feature requests

Influence the future of PlayChess: submit new feature requests or vote for features at our new feature tracker page.

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 05:44 PM

December 16, 2003

Tournament pages

Some minor corrections and improvements on the tournament pages:
- display of the computers allowed/forbidden icons
- correction of the tournament info of swiss tournaments
- changed the sort order of the tournament table for incomplete rounds
- latest results in swiss tournaments (PCO)

The newest 3 blog entries are shown on the player homepages. This replaces the older anouncements section there. These new technique has several advantages:
- entries older than 7 days are automatically removed
- only the first few words of the message are displayed. This avoids cluttering your player homepage
- these blog messages are automatically archived for later investigations

Posted by Thomas Stahl at 05:16 PM | Comments (1)

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