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Historic News Messages

Nothing is older than yesterday's news. But if you could not visit the site for a longer period, you might be interested in what happened during your absence.

Automatic enrollment - Dec 10th 2002

The links for automatical enrollment have been moved to the normal m4T_Alt_Linkenroll page. This way, there is much less danger for accidentally enrolling in a tournament. The links on the player homepage are secure (again).

Automatically enroll in tournaments - Dec 9th 2002

Now, you can enroll in a new tournament with a single click. By clicking on one of these links you are immediately enrolled in the 5-player tournament of your class that is free for all players. This is always a turtle tournament (10+2 days).

Thematic openings - November 22nd 2002

I added seven new opening variants to our m4T_Alt_Linkpool of available openings: English, French Winawer, Nimzo-Indian, Benoni, Sicilian Najdorf, Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation and Grob's Attack.

Furthermore I changed the distribution of 5, 7 and 9-player tournaments in the m4T_Alt_LinkThematics section. Smaller tournaments are now created with significantly higher probability than before.

Optimizations - November 21st 2002

As it seems, the database optimizations work as expected. This created a "performance buffer" needed for future improvements.

However, more database optimizations are planned. Don't be too surprised, when the server is inaccessible for an hour during the following days or weeks. Everything is fine with the server. These measures are just a precaution.

Hint. Please try to keep a small buffer on your clock (1 day at least) - even if I try to compensate the down times of the server.

HCL thematic tournaments - October 7th 2002

On request of many players, I introduced m4T_Alt_Linkthematic tournaments where computers are strictly forbidden. These tournaments are open for members of any class.

Chess sites of our players - October 6th 2002

There is a m4T_Alt_Linknew links page devoted to the chess sites of our players. Please visit these pages and give the site owner some feedback, I am sure they will appreciate it.

I your chess site is not listed there, then simply send me an email with your player name, the URL of your site, the page with your PlayChess link and some descriptive text. To help you set up a link to PlayChess, I collected m4T_Alt_Linksome helpful material for you.

Contact me - October 5th 2002

If your browser does not accept cookies you were asked to login when you tried to send a message to other players. This error is now corrected.

Trial membership - October 4th 2002

Guests may request a free m4T_Alt_LinkTrial membership every 60 days (previously: every 3 months). This gives guests the opportunity to evaluate the rapidly developing member features more often. m4T_Alt_LinkWhy don't you try it - now?

New members are automatically in Trial membership mode for the first 30 days of their evaluation period. Maybe you should m4T_Alt_Linktell your friends?

Taken pieces - October 1st 2002

Members can now m4T_Alt_Linksee the taken pieces of each game displayed beneath the move dialog on the game pages.

Soon you will be able to configure this.

New thematic openings - September 23rd 2002

I added 5 new thematic openings (and corresponding tournaments) to the m4T_Alt_Linkthematics section. Furthermore, I corrected an error: new thematics should now be created automatically again.

Small improvements - September 18th 2002

There is a new m4T_Alt_Linkhomepage, which is friendly to human visitors - and search robots.

Some minor corrections: login after game resign and accept draw … color in list of private games … translations do no longer open a new window … removed some more advertisements for members … no reminder messages for players on leave … optical corrections …

Advertisements - September 4th 2002

From now on, members will only see chess-related advertisements. This should reduce the distraction caused by flashing banners substantially.

Account status - September 1st 2002

The account status for members has been changed from evaluation to permanent.

Consequently, members will fall back to the status of permanent guest when their membership ends. For evaluation guests, this means that they can get the permanent status with a single payment of 8 Euros for a Standard membership.

Tournament access - August 26th 2002

From now on, the access to tournaments depends on the experience level of the player. Some tournaments are still open for all players, others require that the player has finished at least two valid games. And some tournaments are for members only.

This has several advantages:

  1. Nearly all invalid games are caused by new players. These are now restricted to play those (few) tournaments open for everybody. All other tournaments will have a much reduced drop-out rate from now on.
  2. Since new players can no longer play in tournaments that are reserved for established guests and members, they will no longer "pollute" the ratings of these players with fantasy ratings. The overall quality of ratings should improve in the long run.
  3. Since only few tournaments are open for new players (two per class), these will fill up faster. New player will quickly play and finish some games, thereby advancing to established players - or even members.

Until now, I did not create new tournaments. Instead, I reserved some of the already existing open tournaments for established players and members. However, I will add more tournaments in the following days. As a side effect, members will be offered a 9 player rabbit tournament.

Frequently asked questions - August 22nd 2002

There is an updated version of the m4T_Alt_TutorFAQ page. Maybe this is a good time to read it (again)?

Game history in emails - August 21st 2002

The game history is back! However, you have to m4T_Alt_Linkactivate it, if you want the list of moves to be included in your emails. (the m4T_Alt_TutorFAQ explains how this can be done)

Annotated games - August 16th 2002

You can find a link "m4T_Alt_LinkYour annotations" at the bottom of this page, leading to all your annotations. Especially your unpublished annotations may be of interest.

Private game notes - August 15th 2002

Do you sometimes forget your plans and ideas while waiting for your opponent's move? Don't worry any longer, you can now write down your strategic ideas or some tactical variants.

Members find a box for private notes on each game page. Just enter some text and click on the Store button. The next time you visit this game, you will find your note - and remember your plans. Nobody except you can read these notes, they are strictly confidential.

Entering private notes is completely independent from making moves. You must store your notes explicitly with the Store button. You can even write and store a note while your opponent is considering his move.

Resigning games - August 10th 2002

You can now resign games even if your opponent is to move. Furthermore, you can now send a final message to your opponent when resigning (this feature did not work correctly).

Move dialog. Move notes from your opponent and draw offers are now shown above the move fields. This way, these messages should stand out more.

Move dialog - July 28th 2002

You can now step through the games where your opponent is to move. Simply use the red triangles to the left and right of the game name on the top of the move dialog.

Improved statistics - July 17th 2002

The m4T_Alt_Memberwin/loss statistics has been extended. It now displays your best rating and your best wins and worst losses.

Opening tree - June 28th 2002

Variants with more than one game on the m4T_Alt_MemberFavorite Openings page can now be viewed as a list of games. This enables you to see all the games played with a certain variant - even if this variant is 10 moves long.

Invite a friend! - June 7th 2002

You can now m4T_Alt_Linkinvite your friends to PlayChess. If you refer somebody who (later) becomes a paying member, you will get some tickets for the referral lottery. The more members you refer, the better are your chances to win a prize (a one year membership). Please use the new link at the bottom of this page to m4T_Alt_Linkinvite your friends.

Link to PlayChess - May 29th 2002

The new page m4T_Alt_LinkLink to PlayChess provides some texts and graphics for creating links to this site. If you have a website, such a link would help us a lot.

Thematic tournaments - May 5th 2002

Members can play thematic tournaments, where all games are played with the same opening variant. These tournaments are played under the rules of the ACL, chess engines and databases are therefore allowed.

A small m4T_Alt_Linkselection of tournaments is already available. Any proposals for new thematic tournaments are welcome.

Rankings - May 5th 2002

There are "official" m4T_Alt_Linkranking lists for the members of PlayChess. These lists are still preliminary, since they take only games into account that are finished since yesterday.

New server - May 3rd 2002

We finished moving to our dedicated server. The database is now on the same server as the programs, giving an additional performance boost.

New features - April 26th 2002

New players. From now on, new registered players are time-limited to 3 months. Thereafter, they cannot enroll in new tournaments, but they still can finish all running games. By upgrading to m4T_Alt_Linkpaid membership these accounts will become permanent.
Existing guest accounts are treated as "permanent" (nothing changes for "old" guests).

Close account. If you do not need your PlayChess account any longer, you can m4T_Alt_Linkclose it yourself. A corresponding link is at the bottom of this page. Do you have an alias account? Please use that link to get rid from this superfluous identity…

Black list. As a member, you can exclude abusive players and cheaters from your tournaments by putting them on your m4T_Alt_Linkblack list. Guests can only check if they are black-listed by other players.

We have our own server! - April 26th 2002

Faster than expected, we got our own server!

Only the database has not been moved to the new machine. This will be done in the following days. I will then have to close down the site for some hours. No need to be upset, should you see a corresponding message: this time, the site should be up and running quickly - and better than ever.
The clocks will be corrected - as always in such cases.

Let me thank you all for your support, encouraging words, ideas and technical help. And to all new and old members: thank you for your confidence!

The PlayChess server - April 15th 2002

We will soon have our own dedicated server! This should put an end to any performance problems we had in the past.

Originally, I had planned this step for the late summer, but the recent problems forced me into a quick decision. This decision, however, has been made easy by many ex-guests who showed their support by becoming new members.


The share of members is still "low enough" to make that dedicated server a financial adventure for me. So please consider: as a m4T_Alt_Linkmember, you get access to many m4T_Alt_Linkinteresting features - and I can sleep better…

Until we have this server (a matter of weeks, at most), please try to avoid starting new games or moving too quickly - as far as acceptable by you.

Server problems - April 12th 2002

PlayChess is a heavy load for the shared webserver it is running on.
Other sites running on the same machine complained about PlayChess. Therefore, we should try to play as few games as possible for a while (some weeks) to avoid overloading the server.

Please note that Members are not asked to reduce their number of games.
They paid for the right to play more games.

Server problems - April 10th 2002

PlayChess had severe performance problems. These problems were the result of measures against PlayChess taken by our webspace provider, because PlayChess created too much load on the shared server machine. This is the "worst case" that I m4T_Alt_Linkfeared and expected.

Our provider agreed that he re-establishes the old performance - for a limited time. Then, he will shutdown PlayChess permanently, unless I offer a better (that is: more expensive) solution.
We must try to reduce the load on the current server to prevent our provider from closing PlayChess.

This has several consequences:

Alias accounts. There are many Guest players who use more than one account to circumvent the 10-game limit. I know all these players, but I didn't prosecute such cases. If you are one of these players, please finish the games of your alias accounts as quickly as possible. And let your alias accounts die.
From now on, players using duplicate accounts will be deleted from this server.

Other guests. The circumstances force me to ask you to play fewer games.
But this is your decision: if you really "need" that new tournament, then enroll. But if you can live without it, please wait as long as you can. This would help PlayChess a lot.
Thank you in advance!

Membership. I will not m4T_Alt_Linkrepeat my arguments here. But if you are already playing with the idea of m4T_Alt_Linkbecoming a member, now is the perfect time to let this idea become reality!

Why bother to pay cash for PlayChess? - April 6th 2002

Player m4T_Alt_LinkEKALAYA describes his m4T_Alt_Linkpersonal experiences with the Premium membership.

List of private games - April 2nd 2002

The m4T_Alt_Linklist of private games is now available from this player homepage and from the player info page. Unanswered challenges for a private game are deleted after 7 days.

Draw offers are now visible in the game history.

Private games - March 25st 2002

You can play private games with any player. Members may challenge other players, while guests can only accept challenges from members.

These games are unrated and may be hidden from the public. Private games are taken into account when calculating your number of allowed games. Please read the details in the m4T_Alt_Linktutorial.

Annotations by opening - February 11th 2002

Stimulated by m4T_Alt_LinkEKALAYA, I created a new access method for annotations: you can now m4T_Alt_Linksearch annotations by opening. This idea was so excellent, I simply couln't resist implementing it.

Score against player - February 6th 2002

The player info pages have a link leading you to the new player score page. There you can see your score against that player.

Annotations - February 4th 2002

Writing annotations. The Playchess Annotation Manager has been improved. The handling is easier now and the session problems are resolved. You determine yourself if your annotation should be published in the annotation directory - or if it should be kept secret, because you're still working on it.

Annotation directory. The directory does no longer show incomplete annotations. This way, some 400 annotations are hidden now. New annotations will be shown with the result of the game.

Annotations of players. The player info pages have a member-only link showing all annotations of that player.

Pop-under windows - January 29th 2002

From now on, members will no longer get these advertisement windows that are created beneath your current browser window.

New features - January 12th 2002

Holidays. From now on, all players can take a leave from PlayChess.
m4T_Alt_LinkSee your holiday page for details.

Offline payments. You can get your PlayChess membership without using PayPal. To make this possible, PlayChess does now accept membership fees for any membership period. m4T_Alt_LinkSee the offline payment page for details.

Premium mode of Standard membership. Standard members have the same privileges as Premium members, as long as the end of their Standard membership is more than 6 months ahead. This applies to existing members as well. m4T_Alt_TutorPlease read the new rules.

Some corrections - January 7th 2002

Some minor bugs were corrected:
- Skip to next or previous game
- Move number of last move in game preview
- Improved cache control for all pages

The holidays season is over. The member-only pages are no longer available for guests. Please request a m4T_Alt_Linktrial membership, if you want to test the advanced features for members.

Just to make you curious: There will be a new feature available for all players within the following two weeks.


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