Gentle reader, do you actually get a little thrill when you see the Chess.com Maintenance page? Maybe, you think, as you play 1. e4 against Little Chess Partner, …maybe they went off-line so they can FINALLY add Blindfold Reverse Bughouse to the site… Oh, dare I hope?! And later, when the site comes back up, do you feel compelled to navigate the entire Chess.com site-map, hunting for stuff that wasn’t there before?
Well, if you experience those or similar symptoms, this blog is for you!
Welcome to the brand new (i.e. newly refurbished) and very official Chess.com blog. Its mission? To provide Chess.com members and wayward passers-by with easy access to information about the evolution of the site. We will use this space to highlight new features and to paint pictures of features that aren’t even new yet. As such, it is a vehicle for feedback and discussion that will illuminate better, more informed priorities and design decisions. Our pledge: We won’t leave you guessing. So when we DO finally release Blindfold Reverse Bughouse, you’ll be among the first to know.
Of course, it’s not like we’ve been completely dark on new features up till now – but this new blog will be better at consolidating current and historical announcements. Forum posts and news Articles are great for short-term publicity, but over time they become too scattered to provide a coherent vision of change.
So to get the ball rolling, it seems only appropriate to back-fill a selection of the great things that have come along over the last few years. So join me, if you will, on a journey through the mists of time - starting back, back in the innocent days of yesteryear: namely, Spring of ‘07…
- 05/18 - Woo hoo!!! Chess.com opens its doors to the public! (Erik would later admit that he regretted smashing a bottle of champagne against his monitor at the launch.)
- Blog options are improved with custom titles & URLs, HTML blocks, & description text
- Classifieds are added to the site - under the Resources menu
- E-Chess improvements make play more “live.” For instance, the interface began to show when opponents are online - and for the first time, the board automatically refreshes when it's your turn!
- Shortly after, the e-chess analysis board and private notes features appeared - as did the ability to review previous moves on screen
- Member photo galleries arrive, adding a personal touch - or at least a platform for showing off new chess sets!
- At this point, the Facebook Chess.com app was introduced
- Chessopedia arrives, providing a wealth of chess lore arranged alphabetically!
- New features arrive to better organize the forums - including icons for Locked, Sticky, Read, etc. Better yet, this was when we added the ability to ‘quote’ previous forum posts - no more manual cut & paste
- The Member Store arrives - and with it, the first official Chess.com mouse-pads! (Have you got yours?)
- Users get a greater level of control over Chess.com alerts in their email and Alert Box (My Home > Account > Alert & Email Settings)
- The blinking “MY MOVE” browser alert appears, furthering e-chess as a platform for real-time chess… at the office.
- Users now get the option to display board coordinates
- Also, users may have white always appear on the bottom if they wish
- Online Groups arrive - marking the single biggest change to community-building on Chess.com in the site’s history
- The interactive member map arrives
- Don’t like the Chess.com fonts & colors? Well, fine - for the first time, now you can build your own site themes!
- The e-chess interface gets some minor cosmetic and usability enhancements
- Sure, some are maybe a little strange, but they’re all fun: Trophies!!
- Even more in the fun category, this was when the endless quiz began! When will it end? Never, silly. Fortunately, you’re allowed to take breaks, which is good because some of those questions are tough!
- February also saw the introduction of your “status” message here - which shows on your profile, and on your games when you are on vacation
- With a mere mouse-over, little “Quickview” boards now show current positions right in your games list
- EDIT: This month also saw the first Chess.com tournaments - including the first official tournament which paid homage to 'the immortal game' with a thematic start: the Kings Gambit. (Thanks, PhilipN! How could we have forgotten!?)
- Conditional moves are added to e-chess, providing players with a great way to decrease their opponents' waiting-time in cases where the next move is predictable (if she goes there, I go here!)
- You can now view your Referrals from a link on your Home page (& thanks so much!)
- Live Chess goes into beta! New "member-online" icons arrive to show when your friends are logged into Live Chess
- Added Group News messaging (broadcasting news items to group members) and Group invites
- Improved Tactics Trainer home page is better looking and gives more metrics on your performance
- Optional sounds ("thunk!") are added to e-chess to signify when your opponent moves
June 12, 2008
- Awesome new learning tools: Chess Openings and Game Explorer are online!
- Live Chess member Home pages show up for the first time
- Main navigational menu bar is reorganized for more logic and ease of use
- New profile goodies show up: Now you can add your favorite games, videos and more
- Added a new & improved text editor for posts, articles, etc.
- Group-vs-Group Vote Chess is now playable
- Live Chess gets some new features: A "Friends" panel (for the ones you like), a Block User feature (for the ones you don't), & a new "pre-move" feature that helps you stay ahead of the clock
- Social bookmarking links added to articles, blogs and news items (see below - try them out even! Right now! )
- Enhanced member homepage statistics
- Member “mini-profiles” appear in forums when you mouse over their names or avatars - because nobody with a sub-2100 rating is worth listening to anyway, right? (Kidding!)
- Computer analysis feature for e-chess games makes its debut: Now you can get an expert opinion on your games, even if you don't have a coach or your own chess software at hand!
- Group and tournament invitation processes are improved
- Team matches can now be set with minimum and maximum player ratings to keep things from getting lop-sided
- Lots of detail (average rating, administrator lists, etc.) are added to Group home-pages
- Chess.com by phone! Yup, Mobile Chess 1.0 hits the airwaves
- The “Learn” mission of the site gets a major boost with an innovative new feature: the Computer Workout! Hit the "Learn" menu and hone your skills like never before
- Also good for learning: A new “Takeback” mode now allows for “do-overs” in games where somebody is being coached, etc. When setting up a new game, open the advanced settings and select "Takeback game" on the "Rated" drop-list
- E-chess gets a new 2-day time limit option
- Hurray!! Chess.com is “BETA” no more!
- For a short while, the e-chess analysis board goes completely free-form, allowing users to place pieces anywhere at all (just like a real analysis board). After considerable controversy, the “legal moves only” version returned a few days later, but the enforcement of legal moves can now be turned off
- Titled players are identified (by title) in articles and blogs
- Huge improvements add fairness and variety to the display of top bloggers' work on the Chess.com main page
- A selection of new board sizes are added to e-chess settings
- Improved controls and statistics for Group Tournaments
- Termination reason field is added to PGN to show whether the game ended by resignation, loss on time, and so on (good for some personal database users)
- The curtains open on Chess Video Lessons, making hours and hours of IM and GM guidance available on demand!
- Added "No Vacation Allowed" as a tournament option (by popular demand!)
- Added textured boards and 3D piece-set options AND allowed users to preview their configured chess-set without leaving Settings
- Added many new features (analysis board, create game, chat) to Mobile Chess
- Awesome redesign of e-chess page - not only better looking, but also integrated with the Game Explorer. Brilliant!
- Redesign of Chess.com main page
- Daily Columns become a regular feature of the “Read” menu
June 30, 2009
- Put down the books, people! We can play Chess960!! This most-popular of chess variants would see more new features, including tournaments of its own, over the month or so that followed.
July 29, 2009
- The Chess.com iPhone app goes into limited beta. Providing access to online chess, tactics training, a computer opponent AND video lessons, the app has since gone on to be one of the most successful chess offerings in the App Store.
- Analysis Board & Game Editor arrives ("Resources" menu) - a very useful tool indeed for chess study and sharing game data
- Live chat with Chess.com friends is enabled via a utility from Meebo
- The Chess.com Android app is available in the Android Market
- Cool! You can install your own Chess.com browser toolbar for speedy access to your favorite parts of the site (http://chesscom.ourtoolbar.com/)
Whew! Well, clearly, a LOT has happened in three short years to bolster Chess.com's position as the Internet’s #1 chess destination - and we’re certainly not planning to rest on our laurels! What does the future hold? Only Time will tell.
And this blog will be Time’s speech-bubble.
Until then - cheers!