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This page is designed to give you the opportunity to read about some of the features of this site. Of course, the best way to find out is to actually use it, but this page can give you a glimpse of what is possible without you having to get your hands dirty.Current sections in this page:
Ease of use
The site is designed to be as easy to use and navigate as possible. For example, all of your active games are listed on the left hand side of every page you view so that you can get quick access to them. Each game in the list will be highlighted if it is your turn or some other action is required by you. There are also navigation links to common features of the site on every page so that you can always find what you're looking for.
The most important aspect of the site is the actual playing of the games, and so a great deal of effort has been put into making this as simple and user friendly as possible. You can make a move by typing the coordinates into the available textbox, for example "a1c2", but you can also simply click on your starting and finishing squares to make the move.
All moves for a game can be displayed beside the board and in a variety of notation styles. What's more, to get a quick view of what your opponent just did you can click on any move in the moves list to highlight the squares that they moved to and from.
Because some games can take weeks to complete you may come up with a brilliant plan but then forget about it by the time it's your next move. To help you with avoid this you can write online notes for each game which only you can see. These notes can be up to 4000 letters in length (just under 1000 words) so you should be able to write your every thought. Remember, your opponent can't see these notes, so there's no fear of them finding out what you're up to.
Just to add the icing to the cake, many aspects of the site can be altered and saved to your liking. For example, if you don't like the look of the chess board then change it! If you always want your pieces to be displayed on the bottom of the page (as opposed to the default of white always on bottom, black always on top) then you can do that too. If you'd rather only display games in the side menu where it's your turn instead of displaying all games then that can be done too. There are other small tweaks like this that help to make the site as easy as possible for YOU to use.
Playing at your speed
This site is primarily designed for correspondence (or email) chess where a player makes a move and then the other player makes their move when they have the time to do so. Some players will often be online when you move and so will respond within a couple of minutes, others prefer to take a few days to move. As with any site of this nature, you'll sometimes end up playing an opponent who appears to have abandoned the game. To help with this problem you can simply click a button to prompt a player if they have taken more than 7 days to move. If they don't move within 7 days of receiving a prompt then you can optionally force them out of the game (and you choose whether or not you want to take the rating points for the win) or you can prompt them again.
Playing people at your level
All members have a rating which is based upon how many games they have won, lost and drawn. From this rating you can get an idea of what their skill level is and whether you fancy playing them or not. When you join you will start with a rating of 1000, and this will be automatically recalculated after every game you complete. Player ratings are easily accesible and are also displayed in a line graph so that you can see how a player has perfomed over their recent games (in fact, over more than 100 of their recent games) and determine if they're on winning or losing streak.
Creating games with the right opponents is also very easy. On the game creation page you can either select a specific opponent to challenge or specify that the game is open to anyone whose rating falls between a certain range that you define. If a member falls outside of this range then they simply don't see the game invitation. Similarly, when you are challenged by another member you can see their rating and decide whether or not you accept or not. You can also create unrated games against players so that whatever the outcome, your rating and statistics won't be affected.
If you happen to be very picky about who you play then you can delve deeper into a player's history to see how they won each game, how likely they are to accept draws or resign, and even how recently they were last active on the site. As if that wasn't enough, you can view anyone's games and play back all of their moves to get a feel for their style.
Improving your gameplay
There are players on this site with a range of skill levels and all players have a different style, so you're bound to learn something. You can follow the progress of other members by adding their games to your 'watched games' list and use this to study their playing style.
You can view any completed games on the site and download a PGN (Portable Game Notation) file for it so that you can study the game without even being online. For just a quick playback of games you can replay any moves in a game and figure out where you or your opponent went wrong, or use it to marvel at that beautifully executed checkmate.
Friendliness of other members
Everybody is different, but the one thing you can guarantee you'll have in common with every other member is that you want to play chess. If you like to chat during your games then there is an integrated chat window beside every game. Some people use this to ask their opponent for help, some use it to get to know each other, others simply use it to say "good night" so that their opponent doesn't expect them to make a move any time soon.
As well as the private in-game chat feature there is also a private messages page where you can send a message to any other player on the site so your conversations don't have to end when your game ends. Many players use this to chat about just about anything and some very good friendships have been created through this feature.
This site is continuously growing and new features are added almost every week, and in some cases there are several new features implemented in a day. This level of growth is possible because players often dream up these ideas and suggest ways in which they should be integrated with the site. There is a 'Suggestions' section in the site's forum specifically designed for such ideas and everyone is encouraged to make suggestions if they have them. All suggestions will be replied to and given serious consideration. Of course, some things are harder to implement than others, but you never know - it could be your suggestion that really puts this site on the map.
You can also use the forums to highlight bugs with the site or things that don't really work as you think they should. Even if it's just a grammatical error on a page somewhere you should post it and whatever it is will be fixed.
Hot Tip: Change Your Chess Set
File last modified: Jun 14 2013 19:37