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Frequently Asked Questions

We may have used some terms you do not understand. Many of these are explained on other pages. In these cases we try to explain it here from a different viewpoint.

Rules

May I use a chess program?
What shall I do if I suspect my opponent of cheating?
May I use Nalimov table bases in the HCL?
May I discuss my running games with friends?
I can't play for some days. Does this affect my current games?

Guests and members

May I use multiple human player accounts?
I have more than 10 running games as a guest - is this a problem?
What is the difference between "evaluation" and "permanent" guests?
My evaluation period is over. What shall I do?

Terms used and acronyms

What does PCR mean?
What does TER in the tournament table mean?
What does Rc in the tournament table mean?
What does Rp in the tournament table mean?
What does SB in the tournament table mean?
What are Grand Prix points?

Features

Can I have the game history in my emails?
Can I play casual games here?
Can I play "real time chess" here?

How to…

How can I change my email address?
How can I stop PlayChess sending me emails?
How can I get the game board to reverse orientation?
How do I post my picture on my player home page?

Problems

I forgot my password.
I did not receive my preliminary password.
Sometimes I see an outdated version of a page.
Some parts of the pages are not readable.
The chess viewer applet does not show up
The chess viewer applet does not load any games

No answer?

If your question is not answered here or on other pages of the site, feel free to send an email. Remember: there are no stupid questions - just stupid answers.



Rules


May I use a chess program?

That depends on the league you play in - and on the type of chess program.

In the Human Chess League (HCL) the use of "chess engines" is strictly forbidden. A chess engine is a computer or computer program that calculates moves. The use of chess database software, however, is considered as similar to the use of chess books. These database programs are allowed as long as you do not use their built in move calculating facilities. Please read the following question.

In the Advanced Chess League (ACL) the use of such chess engines is required. But you are free to use your own brain and decide if you make the proposed move of your engine.

The Computer Chess League (CCL) is for chess engines only. Here, you must make the move your computer proposed - even if this move loses immediately.

The rules section contains more information on leagues and their rules.


What shall I do if I suspect my opponent of cheating?

It is virtually impossible to *prove* that some player used a computer (or got help from a stronger player) - even if some games provide much reason to get suspicious.

There are only two "good" solutions:

  • Ignore your suspicion, continue to play - and try to win (relying on a computer is not always an advantage!)
  • Resign the game, if you really hate to play against a machine (and if you are sure!). You can explain your resignation to your opponent in friendly words. But you should be prepared to get a less friendly reply from your opponent - if you suspected him wrongly or not.

Don't try to "prove" that your opponent is cheating. This leads to nowhere. We never can be absolutely sure. But one thing is sure: players cheating with their chess engines are cheating themselfes much more than you and me...


May I use Nalimov table bases in the HCL?

Many of you will not know what table bases are. Therefore, I try to explain.

These table bases are a database of all possible positions with 5 (or less) pieces on the board. Each of these positions are known as being a win for White or Black - or a draw.

As soon as a chess program reaches such an endgame position, it can easily say if the game is won. Yes, it can easily say what the next move should be (it simply selects a move that leads to a won position).

One can use these table bases without a "chess engine" (program that calculates moves) to find winning moves by simply following the same method with a chess database program. Chess database programs are allowed at PlayChess since they are considered a modern substitude for opening books and chess magazines. But using Nalimov table bases is not allowed in HCL, because they constitude a way to calculate moves - even if the technical method is different from "normal" chess engine algorithms.


May I discuss my running games with friends?

No, the FIDE rules forbid that.

Of course, you may show your position to a friend, but you should avoid analysing the game with him - especially (but not only) if he is a stronger player than you.


I can't play for some days. Does this affect my current games?

No. As long as your clock does not go below "0d 00:00", any delay is permitted. You need not move "every X days", just move quick enough so that your clock stays well above "0d 00:00".

For example, if your clock shows "10d 15:00", you have enough time for a vacation of more than 10 days. You should make sure that every game has at least 10 days on your clock.

For longer vacations (more than one week) I would recommend to inform your opponents beforehead - just a matter of courtesy. You can announce your vacation on the holiday message board.

You can use your annual holiday buffer (7, 14 or 21 days) to take a leave if neccessary. The clocks of all your games are stopped during that period.

ThanksTo(Theos666)

Members and guests


May I use multiple human player accounts?

No, this is strictly forbidden. There are several reasons:

  1. Players should be recognised as a person, not only as an (probably anonymous) account. I think it is much more fun to play with real people. And real people usually have one name.
  2. The second reason is cheating. Alias accounts can be used to prevent being demoted, can help to get a better rating or even a promotion to a higher class.
  3. All players should get their fair share of the available resources. Paying members get a larger share of it, since they help keeping this server alive. Guests, however, should all get the same share. By using alias accounts, some players try to get a larger share of the limited resources - on the cost of all others.

Players using multiple accounts for cheating will be banned from PlayChess. All their accounts will be deleted.

Computer accounts. You can have one computer account (for the Computer Chess League) in addition to your human account. You can even use the same email address for both accounts.

I have more than 10 running games as a guest - is this a problem?

No, not at all. This can happen if your membership period ended. Even if you do not prolong your membership, you can continue all your games.

The game limits determine if you may enroll in new tournaments. But they have no influence on already running games. If your number of running games exceeds these game limits, don't worry - simply play your games to their regular end. As soon as your number of running games drops below 10, you can enroll in new tournaments again.


What is the difference between "evaluation" and "permanent" guests?

Since May 2002 guest accounts are time-limited. After 3 months the guest player can no longer enroll in new tournaments, but can still play his/her running games as before.

If you become a member, your account type changes from evaluation to permanent and will continue to be like this - even if your membership ends. This means that you can get a life-long guest membership for the prize of a 3-months membership (currently 8 Euro).

The accounts of those lucky players who registered before May 2002, are permanent, too.


My evaluation period is over. What shall I do?

First of all: you can still continue your running games as before. Please play these games to a regular end.

If you like playing at PlayChess, please consider to become a paying member. The rates are very reasonable. You will get a lot extended features and you keep PlayChess alive.



How to…


How can I change my email address?

This one is easy:

  1. Login to your player homepage
  2. Click on the link Personal data on the following page
  3. Change your email address in the corresponding input field
  4. Click on the Update button

All messages from PlayChess will now be sent to the new email address.


How can I stop PlayChess sending me emails?

You cannot stop email messages from PlayChess completely, but you can configure the system to send only those messages that are absolutely needed.


How can I get the game board to reverse orientation?

As a member you can configure the orientation of the board. Please follow the following steps.

  1. Login to your player homepage
  2. Click on the link Settings
  3. Click on the link Board display at the bottom of the following page
  4. Change your preferences
  5. Click on the Set Orientation button

How do I post my picture on my player home page?

Go to your player homepage. Click on "Settings", then on "Personal Data". In the dialog, fill in the field "Image" with the URL to your picture (this must already exist on the web!), e.g. "http://www.mysite.com/images/mypicture.jpg".

The images should be ideally 140 pixels high and 110 pixels wide, portrait format (higher than wide) and no more than 10 kBytes.

This feature is restricted to paying members.



Terms and acronyms


What does PCR mean?

This is the "PlayChess Rating", the rating calculated from your games played here. The algorithms used for this calculation are complicated, but are very similar to those of FIDE.


What does TER in the tournament table mean?

This is the "Tournament Entry Rating", the rating you had when you enrolled for that tournament. This has only little impact since the rating changes at PlayChess are always calculated from the actual ratings - not from the entry ratings.

The Tournament Entry Rating is only used to calculate the Rp and Rc values (see below).


What does Rc in the tournament table mean?

Rc is the rating average of your opponents.


What does Rp in the tournament table mean?

Rp is the rating performance. Read our section on rating calculations.


What does SB in the tournament table mean?

This is an acronym of the "Sonneborn-Berger value". It is used to create a unique ranking even if two or more players have the same number of points.

The idea is the following: let two players lead a tournament with say, 4 out of 6 possible points - who should be ranked as number 1 and who as number 2?
Answer: the one who made his points against the stronger player will be the winner of the tournament.

The Sonneborn-Berger value (SB) is a measure of that. The higher your SB the stronger were the opponents you defeated. The SB value is calculated as two times the points of the opponents you defeated plus the points of the opponents you drew with. With the SB value in effect, it is more important to win against a player that makes 3 points in total than against a player that makes only 1 (the first gives you 6, the second only 2 SB points).

The SB value is used to create a unique ranking in our tournaments for only one reason: Grand Prix points. For the question of promotion and demotion the SB value is irrelevant, since ALL winners are promoted and ALL losers are demoted.

 

What are Grand Prix points?

Grand Prix Points (GPP) were meant as a measure for engagement and success at PlayChess. This number was meant to be used to compare players of any playing strength.

However, this concept is currently not used anymore. Maybe, I will introduce it again in the future.



Features


Can I have the game history in my emails?

Your move notification emails can be configured to contain the complete history of moves of your game. Please follow these steps.

  1. Login to your player homepage
  2. Click on the link Settings
  3. Click on the link Email notification at the bottom of the following page
  4. Check the box labelled Append the move history
  5. Click on the Store button

Can I play casual games here?

As a paying member, you can invite any other player for a so-called private game. Guests, however, can only accept invitations from members, but cannot invite other players themselves.

If you prefer, you may try other sites that offer this service:
jumps to a foreign Website. PlayChess is not responsible for these contents!LetsPlayChess, jumps to a foreign Website. PlayChess is not responsible for these contents!ChessWorld, jumps to a foreign Website. PlayChess is not responsible for these contents!Net-Chess, jumps to a foreign Website. PlayChess is not responsible for these contents!Computer Chess Club, jumps to a foreign Website. PlayChess is not responsible for these contents!Stansco


Can I play "real time chess" here?

No. But there are lots of sites that provide this service:

The jumps to a foreign Website. PlayChess is not responsible for these contents!Chess Kamikazees provide comparing reviews of those sites.



Problems


I forgot my password.

Please go to the send password page. There, you may send the password to your registered email address.


I did not receive my preliminary password.

Please try to re-send your password as above.
If this does not work, you probably mistyped your email address at registration. Just send me an email notice. Please supply your user name (nickname), your real name and the correct email address.


Sometimes I see an outdated version of a page.

You should change the settings of your browser. Currently, it does not always fetch the current page from the PlayChess server, but presents an older version of this page to you.

For Internet Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Click on Extras in the main menu of your browser.
  2. Click on Internet options in the appearing menu.
  3. On the General tab, go to the area Temporary internet files and click on the (right) button Adjustments.
  4. Select always or automatic in the upper part of that dialog.

The names of menus and buttons differ between different version of Internet Explorer - and depend on your language. But maybe this gives you a hint where you should look at.


Some parts of the pages are not readable.

Probably you use an "exotic" web browser that does not support all features of the HTML standard.

Please send a precise error report (a screenshot would be great!): browser, browser version and operating system. I will then try to make the offending page(s) acceptable for your browser.

The pages of this site are optimized for "state of the art" browsers like Internet Explorer 5+ and Netscape Communicator 6+. I recommend to use Netscape 6+, Opera 5+ or Internet Explorer 5+, because their support of the HTML standard is much better than that of Netscape 4.x. Most pages of this site look best on Internet Explorer. (I am not a friend of Microsoft - just practical)


The chess viewer applet does not show up

You should activate Java in your browser.


The chess viewer applet does not load any games

The viewer applet is visible, but you cannot load any games. You should change the security settings in your browser.


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