chess club

Internet Chess Club

The Internet Chess Club (ICC) is a commercial Internet chess server devoted to the play and discussion of chess and chess variants. ICC currently has over 30,000 subscribing members, and there are typically around 2,500 members logged on at any given time, including many internationally titled players. Since 1 August 2006 the 'guest' facility has been limited to asking questions in the help channel and observing unrated, non-master games.

Software

ICC provides the proprietary BlitzIn software, currently at version 2.7, and the Dasher program, released in 2006, currently at version 1.2.3. The software has functions to try to detect players using the assistance of chess programs. It does this, in part, by detecting changes in window input focus, and matching processes to known chess programs. It also detects if a non-FIDE titled player has a high percentage of its moves matching up with known computer programs. Also, ICC has paid employees to detect computer cheating.

There are other software front-ends which work with the ICC system including a number of Java Applet interfaces which allow full-featured play via a browser.

ChessDB, which is a free chess database, has a facility to import games from the history of players on ICC directly into the database.

Services available

  • playing chess at time controls ranging from twenty seconds to several hours for the whole game
  • a player rating system, based on the Elo system, categorized by type of game including correspondence
  • watching games played by titled players
  • live broadcast of grandmaster tournaments with professional audio commentary and text commentary
  • live audio interviews, simultaneous exhibitions, a searchable database of games played on ICC etc. by titled players
  • libraries of games of historic tournaments, famous players, and recent tournaments
  • recorded lectures on various chess themes
  • tournaments
  • private lessons by professionals (by player arrangement only, and at additional cost)
  • a variety of chess variants, including bughouse, crazyhouse, loser's chess, atomic chess, kriegspiel
  • chat channels on both chess and non-chess topics
  • computer opponents for practising tactics, endgames, and solving mate problems
  • non-chess entertainments including a trivia game, betting on ICC (and other) tournaments, a variation of the game Legend of the Red Dragon, and a text-based version of Monopoly

Subscriptions and trials

Trial memberships to ICC are available provided that the proprietary Blitzin or Dasher software for Windows is used. Trials are initially for one week but there is an automatic right to extend to a second week. The trial can be repeated every four months. On August 1, 2006, ICC raised its rates for the first time in 11 years from $49 to $59.95 per year for adult memberships with three year membership now priced at $149.95. Students and people under age 22 pay $29.95 per year.

Players with GM, IM, WGM, or WIM titles get two complimentary accounts. One of these accounts must carry a note of the player's real name, but the other account can be anonymous. However, the player must use the anonymous account less than the public account.

History

In the late 1980s a band of volunteers created the first Internet chess server (ICS) for fun. Players logged in by [], and the board was displayed as ASCII text. Bugs in the server software allowed illegal moves such as the taking of rooks en passant, but the server was popular among a small group of chess enthusiasts excited by the possibility of playing chess at great distances with the new technology.

Over time more and more features were added to ICS, such as Elo ratings and a choice of graphical interfaces. The playing pool grew steadily, many of the server bugs were fixed, and players began to have higher expectations for stability.

In 1992, Daniel Sleator (darooha) volunteered to take over as head programmer, and began a large overhaul of the server code. He addressed, among other issues, the frequent complaint that players would lose blitz games on time due to Internet lag. In 1994, he copyrighted the code, and began receiving purchase offers from companies wanting to commercialize the server.

On March 1, 1995, Sleator announced his intentions to commercialize ICS, renaming it the Internet Chess Club, or ICC, and charging a yearly membership fee of $49. Current players who had been on ICS for more than six months received six months of free membership. Players with a tenure of less than six months were given free time equal to their tenure. Money obtained from memberships was to be used in part to improve the server, improve the interface programs, and to attract titled players to play and give lectures.

This announcement was highly controversial among some existing members. Some volunteers who had contributed in various ways to the development of ICS were upset that anyone would attempt to profit from their efforts. ICC distributed several dozen free accounts to volunteers, but not everyone was mollified. Active players on the server who were used to the service being provided without charge were not pleased with the addition of the membership fee. Many people predicted the early demise of ICC. Students complained that the $49 per year bill was too much for them to pay, so ICC implemented a 50% discount for students. There were questions about whether Sleator was right to claim that the ICS was his intellectual property, since he did not code the original server, although he had made substantial improvements to its code and provided the hardware to run it.

Some programmers who had worked on the original ICS, led by Chris Petroff, became unhappy with what they saw as the commoditization of their project. They formed the Free Internet Chess Server (FICS), which to this day continues to allow everyone to access all features for free.

Chekels

Conjunction of the word Chess and Shekel, Chekels are an internal currency of the ICC (Internet Chess Club), that can be use to purchase products and services from other ICC members.

Chekels can be purchased online with a credit card. The current rate is 1 Chekel = 1 USD.

Channels and chat

The ICC contains several hundred different chat channels for most subjects including every state in the USA, most large nations and languages, chess theory(43), sports(34), politics(97), religion(103), literature, philosophy, music and even no subject at all (41) and so forth. Some of these channels have developed in on-line communities in their own right independent of chess.

External links

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