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PlayChess diary.
Please visit the PlayChess diary for current news!
WHEN(New features,December 1st 2003)

We will soon have "blogs" on our site. But these do not work yet. Please ignore the web log links on the community page.

The tournament page of the PlayChess Open has been re-designed.

On the game page a small icon shows if computers are allowed for this game.

WHEN(PlayChess Open,October 27th 2003)

The second round of the PCO will start tomorrow at 12:00 GMT. These games are marked as paused until the clocks are started automatically.

WHEN(Corrections,October 27th 2003)

The early promotion algorithm has been buggy. I corrected that. The classes of several players will be adjusted (sorry for the delay!).

The flags for automatic translations are back, currently on this page only. Please give me some feedback if they work correctly (technically).

WHEN(PGN download,August 27th 2003)

I nearly forgot to mention that you can download the Portable Game Notation (PGN) of running games since recently (thank you, Harvey!). A corresponding link is beneath the move dialog of each game.

WHEN(PCO News,August 26th 2003)

The PlayChess Open began yesterday with the first move of player HFlew just 10 seconds since the boards were "free". Currently, the fastest games are already beyond move 10.

Visit the PlayChess Open 2003

WHEN(The PlayChess Open starts today!,August 25th 2003)

The games of the first round start on 13:43 GMT. 186 members from 35 countries (from Argentina to Zimbabwe) compete in this first Swiss tournament.

The pairings of this first round are based on the "effective" rating (TER) of the players. This TER is a weighted average of each player's ACL and HCL ratings. Such an artificial rating is neccessary, because more than half of the players do not have a regular ACL rating. However, the TER is only used for pairing purposes. The rating calculation at the end of the games is based upon the regular ACL rating of the players.

Visit the PlayChess Open 2003

WHEN(Some improvements,August 25th 2003)

Logout. The logout link in the main menu above prevents others from abusing your account. You should use it whenever you leave the site for a longer time (say, more than an hour). This is of special importance is you do not accept cookies, because then your session id (SID) is visible in the address line of your browser.

Country flags. Clicking on the country flags shows you interesting information about each country. This is shown in a (one!) separate window.

WHEN(PlayChess Open,August 19th 2003)

Bad news: the recent database rollback caused some problems that "de-stabilized" the system. As it seems, I could resolve these problems. But I do not dare to start the new tournament under these circumstances. Furthermore, I had little time for the preparations.

The start of the PCO will be shifted by some days. Please let me observe the system and check for any hidden problems. The new start date for the PCO is Monday, August 25th.

WHEN(Server rollback,August 17th 2003)

Many of you noticed that moves played on August 15th got lost. The reason is that the PlayChess database has been "rolled back" because of server problems. For the first time during PlayChess' life (3 years), a database backup has been restored.

Please try to repeat any changes you made during this period (moves, draw offers, resigned games, changes to your player profile, etc.). If your opponent made one of the "lost moves" and does not repeat it, it might be a good idea to send him an email with a hint.

WHEN(New settings available,August 6th 2003)

I corrected the color display of many of the page layouts offered under "Preferences". This should drastically improve the usability for MSN TV (WebTV) users. In addition I added a new page size "Small" for this purpose.

Non-members can no longer add links, images and statements to their player information. This change is neccessary, because some players used this feature to publish abusive content.

WHEN(New tournaments,August 1st 2003)

The PlayChess Open 2003, our first swiss tournament, is waiting for you. You can even win some prizes! Furthermore, there are double-rounded tournaments available in all classes of HCL and ACL. You play 2 games with each of the other 4 players. (members only)

WHEN(Version 3.0,July 31st 2003)

The promised features are now available. Many of these features are not yet described in the help section. This will be done in the following days/weeks. Until then, please read our news page for details.

The new tournaments (double-rounded, swiss) will be set up during the following hours.

WHEN(Major update,July 2003)

The following changes will be visible next month (July 2003) - unless someone has good arguments that forbid these changes.

All of these features are ready for publication. But some of them require additional resources (more power!). Therefor, we will upgrade to an even faster (and more expensive) server; this should guarantee better performance - even with the new features.


  • Demotion:
    Until now, only those players have been demoted who shared last place in a tournament. Since the last place is often occupied by a non-moving player who lost all his games on time, even players who did not make a single "real" point were not demoted to a lower class.

    From now on, the second to last player is demoted, if he lost all his valid games.

    This should bring such players back to their adequate classes more quickly. But if this rule turns out to be too weak, we can "intensify" it by demoting all players without "valid points".

Tournaments and games:
  • Double-rounded tournaments
    Round robin league tournaments (HCL and ACL) for members. You play 2 games with each of your opponents. At the beginning we will offer 4 player tournaments, later we can easily extend this to 6 or 8 players and to more rounds.
  • Swiss tournaments
    A new era has begun. From now on PlayChess will offer Swiss tournaments in regular intervals. These tournaments are free for all members. In these tournaments a large number of players (say 200) can compete.
    Our first tournament will be a Greyhound tournament, computers will be allowed (ACL rules). There will be prizes for the winners.
  • Public challenges
    You can offer a private game to all players. Your challenge will be visible in a new public area. Every player is free to accept your challenge.
    This type of "public challenge" is free for all players.

New features:
  • The URLs of many pages have changed.
    This makes these "page addresses" more readable (and acceptible for search engines). You may need to update your bookmarks.
  • There is a remember my name and password checkbox on the login dialog, allowing you to store your player name and password in a cookie on your computer. The input fields on this dialog will be pre-filled when you next visit that page.
  • The duration of user sessions has been drastically extended. You can stay connected with PlayChess for up to 24 hours.
  • Members can now select a color scheme.
    You can select the colors of the pages, the chess boards and of the white and black pieces.
  • Sending and receiving of move messages can be switched off for every single game.
  • A special print page for games has been created. It contains the board, general game information, the private notes and the scoresheet. (members-only).
  • The valid points of each player are now shown in the VP column of the tournament table. Furthermore, it is shown which players are promoted or demoted as soon as the tournament is over. And you can quick jump to the games by clicking on the results in the tournament table.
  • When a new player enters a tournament, all other players get an email notification.
  • The early promotion link is back. On every (league) tournament page you find a link "check for early promotion and demotion". This promotes clear winners to the next higher class - immediately (similarily for losers). Technical improvements guarantee that you will be promoted/demoted only once for each tournament. Earlier problems with this feature are solved.
  • The promotion state and the number of valid points (see rule change above) is shown for each player in the tournament table.
  • Context-sensitive help is offered on some pages. Please hit the questionmarks to get an explanation of that page - especially of the abbreviations and acronyms.

Improvements and corrections
  • The maximal length of passwords has been increased to 15 characters.
  • The recent move is no longer indicated by coloured fields, but by little frames around the traversed fields. This method is more printer-friendly.
  • The content of several system emails has been corrected. Some links were pointing to the wrong player.
  • Holidays can no longer be cancelled earlier than after 24 hours.
  • You can now request a short holiday leave even if you have less than one day available.
  • Player names can no longer contain a dash "-" character. Such player names can lead to problems on some pages. If your player name contains this character, please send me a mail with your preferred new player name.
  • All variant tree pages are treated the same. You can click on variants with more than one game (or annotation) to get a list of all games played with this variant.
  • Challenges for private games are deleted automatically after 7 days unless the challenged player accepts the game.
  • Taken pieces are now shown in a way that makes the material difference more obvious.
  • Next and previous game arrows are shown only on the game pages of your running games.

WHEN(Greyhound tournaments,Jan 12th 2003)

These tournaments have a fast pace: 5 days + 18 hours. They are restricted to paying members and can only be recommended for very engaged players that login several times a day. Remember: PlayChess is a global site - timezones might play a role in Greyhound tournaments.

This is the first new tournament type. Others may follow after some experience has been made. Please post your feedback in the forum.

WHEN(Time increment of Fischer clocks,Jan 12th 2003)

The time added to your clock after each move is now shown as hours (no longer in days). But this doesn't change the pace of tournaments already running, only the display format has changed.

Turtle tournaments are now shown as 10+48, meaning 10 days initial time and 48 hours increment after each move. Similarily, rabbit tournaments are now displayed as 5+24.

This is a preparation of new tournament types with faster time controls.

WHEN(Some internal changes,Jan 4th 2003)

In preparation of some new features I changed the internal data structure. You shouldn't see any changes - if everything works as expected.


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