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Curious about the names "Online Chess" and "Turn-Based Chess"

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1


    The designations "Online Chess" and "Turn-Based Chess" confused me for a while when I first discovered this great website. Of course I get it now, but I'm curious as to how these terms came to be selected.

    "Live Chess" is pretty obvious and not confusing--it's OTB Chess as it's played online. But there's that word . . . "online."

    "Online Chess" means CC Chess as it's played online. But "Live Chess" is played online, too, so . . . why was "Online Chess" selected for CC only? (I suppose it also could be pointed out that "Online Chess" is played live, too, but . . . that doesn't seem so confusing.)

    And "Turn-Based Chess" means "Online Chess," but not "Live Chess," even though all chess is based on players alternating turns. I don't encounter the phrase "Turn-Based Chess" anywhere except here at Chess.com, so how did that alternative name for "Online Chess" originate?

    "Okay, so what's better, Jack?"  I dunno . . . maybe just recognizing that here at Chess.com we play modern, online versions of both OTB and CC? So, maybe they could be called "Online OTB" and "Online CC" . . . or "OTB Online" and "CC Online."  (Perhaps with Over The Board Chess and Correspondence Chess written out in the introductory website pages for newbies.) I dunno if that's really better in any significant sense. But maybe it would be less confusing for newcomers. 

    Those who stick around don't seem to have any problem adjusting to the current terminology. But, of course, we never know about people who come and leave before they figure it out, so we can't say how confusing it is for how many folk for how long. I dunno, the phrases Online Chess and Turn-Based Chess just strike me as curious. Not a big deal though.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #2


    I know the name for online (turn-based) chess was brought in a survey a while back. It can be found at http://www.chess.com/survey/right-now-we-call-it-email-chess-but-what-do-you-think-we-should-call-this-kind-of-non-live-asyn2. Sorry for the long url Smile

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #3


    this was a long and crazy debate. we actually called it email chess at the beginning (which is why the URLs are called "echess"). but that was confusing because it has nothing to do with email. correspondence chess - what are you corresponding with and who under the age of 30 even knows what the word correspondence means? :) plus, it's not a term that new (non-tournament) players understand. then we considered turn-based chess, but in chess you always take turns, and turn-based is such a rediculous word anyway. most accurate would be asynchronous chess since you are asynchronously able to play (both players need not be at the board at the same time). anyway, in the end we didn't know what to do and chose a word that people understand. it isn't perfect, but until we figure something else out, it sticks.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #4


    Thanks for explaining the historical roots, Eric. Good point, I'm afraid, about young folk and the word correspondence. Kinda sad, though.

    After reading college seniors' essays during the '90s, and talking with business people, I advised my daughter to become an English major. Reason: It appears that a bachelor's degree in the U.S. is no longer assurance to people doing the hiring that an applicant can write. (E.g., I used to get this very often in essays: "They should of known . . .") Writing samples only purportedly from the applicant are no guarantee, either. But prospective employers know an English major can write. 

    Doonesbury, took somewhat of a shot at this correspondence generation gap in a recent panel in which Alex, a student at MIT, listens to her grandmother telling about having had to write hundreds of thank you notes once. Alex replies, "What's a thank you note?"

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #5


    Here's a quick summary of alternative labels used for the two forms of chess - from another discussion:

    Correspondence Chess  

    Over The Board Chess

    CC chess

    OTB chess

    Turn-based chess


    Asynchronous chess

    Synchronous Chess

    Pausable chess

    Impausable chess

    Modern chess

    Classical chess

    “Both-players-DO-NOT-HAVE-TO-BE-online-at-the-same-time” chess

    “Both-players-MUST-BE-online-at-the-same-time” chess

    “Game-may-be-completed-in-Multiple-sessions” chess

    “Game-must-be-completed-in-a-Single-session” chess

    Multi-session chess

    One-session chess

    “Days-per-move” chess

    “Minutes/Seconds-per-move” chess

    “Reference-materials-allowed chess

    “Reference-materials-NOT-allowed” chess


    Open-book chess

    Examination chess



  • 7 years ago · Quote · #6


    tunatin wrote: CC and Beta chess.

    *apologises and runs for hills*

    Alpha chess and Beta chess, surely.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #7


    Perhaps the two forms of chess can only be described obliquely, using metaphors and analogies, as illustrated in a recent discussion ...

    I agree with the poster who said that comparing Correspondence Chess with Over-The-Board Chess is like comparing the 100-meter dash with a 26-mile marathon 

    Did you ever meet a coach in any sport who would field one less player because he didn’t think it was right to use all that the rules allowed?

    and its equally, or even more silly, to use such resources as a crutch whenever you find yourself in an unusual opening.

    I'm driving a car and suddenly I find myself on ice, my passenger is an experienced ice driver and says "let me help", but you say "no, the only way I'll learn is to crash and burn".

    playing correspondence chess and using databases as stopping my chess skills from getting a hunchback and a limp

    Using this analogy, let's liken it to a student who actually learns spelling and one who is always reliant on his spell-check to clean his game up for him.

    Your analogy of an in-class-open-book-exam is PERFECT!!  Just as the person who depends on their spell-checker is a perfect analogy for the people who use the databases just as improperly.

    I imagined some kind of like, pilots chair or bridge of the Enterprise set up with the ideal chess arrangement of data and stuff. Console with endgame tablebase displays and opening explorer and analysis board. Like, every utility at your fingertips, the ultimate chess machine.

    you shouldn't try and reinvent the wheel.  Instead, you should dedicate yourself to making a better wheel by utilizing the collective knowledge assembled by thousands of chess players

    your not trying to make a better wheel :( your just mimicing  a design proven to be effective. 

    Dating: gosh, wouldn't it be nice to just approach a girl normally?Oh, are all the other boys studying PUA (pick-up-artistry?). Well that means that I have to study it too if I want to get a girlfriend, doesn't it?

    chess.com is like a professional baseball 'big' league. Rael and others wish it was 'junior' league. The players-who-try-too-hard poster wishes chess.com was 'kiddy' league. (p.s. I know nothing about baseball).

    I think people who prefer to use the OTB style of play is like the professionals and the users are like T-ball players. They can't hit the ball or it would take them too long to hit the ball so lets put it on a tee in front of them so they can hit the ball .  

    Is there an athlete that doesn’t use shoes with spikes because it’s more pure? In any sport people use everything that’s allowed to perform better. And lots of them try to be better with help that’s not allowed.

    Over-The-Board chess like performing a piece of music

    OTB/CC hybrid chess like rehearsing a piece of music

    Correspondence chess like recording a piece of music (in a sound studio)

    To DB users especially the higher ranking ones (top seeds),if I had the chance to play with you and if I had the chance to have Deep Blue 2 (the only computer to beat KASPEROV),

    To SATELLITE NAVIGATION users especially the higher ranking ones (top seeds): if I had the chance to drive against you and if I had the chance to have Military Level SATELLITE NAVIGATION

    It would be like saying pick-up "american" football players are lazy because they don’t spend hours training for their game.

    Every time I see "Circle of Trust" I imagine a bunch of Wiccan man-haters standing in a circle puttin' hexes on their exes.

    Note: It's not my intention to disparage the group or it's members.  Though I don't agree with the philosophy I respect your decision to abide by it.  I just find the name very amusing!

    I would compare using database with being allowed to use books when you have an exam at school, which would be great sometimes but...

    And I would compare not using a database with trying to study for an exam without using books.

    a user only uses one arm when cuddling, he uses someone else’s to complete the cuddle

    No, I use the Kama Sutra to figure out my cuddling options...

    I use my pea sized brain

    It's a chicken and egg problem.  Are highly rated players highly rated because they use databases or do they use databases because they're highly rated? 

    I have a competitive air rifle club and there are strict rules on what equipment my students can use in each category.

    Imagine some people forming a group called "Only Shoot In Standing Position" and then arrogantly proclaiming themselves to be the only "purists" in the shooting world.


  • 5 years ago · Quote · #8


    No improved labels yet seemingly?

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #9


    artfizz is also known as the "threads reviver"

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #10


    The names are unfortunate, a thorn in my side and a rock in my shoe.

    Online Chess is actually offline chess, because you can logout from Chess.com, disconnect from the Internet, and still come back later to continue your game. That is offline play, clearly not online.

    Email Chess was the correct name for this feature, because you are notified of your opponent's move via email.

    The proper name for Live Chess is Online Chess, because you play it online. If you disconnect from the Internet, you forfeit your game.

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #11


    GeoffreyBernardo wrote:

    The names are unfortunate, a thorn in my side and a rock in my shoe.

    Online Chess is actually offline chess, because you can logout from Chess.com, disconnect from the Internet, and still come back later to continue your game. That is offline play, clearly not online.

    Email Chess was the correct name for this feature, because you are notified of your opponent's move via email.

    The proper name for Live Chess is Online Chess, because you play it online. If you disconnect from the Internet, you forfeit your game.

    You have to be online to play 'offline chess' as well!

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #12


    I agree.   I have always thought that the terms "Live Chess" and "Online Correspondence" were much more appropriate.

    "Turn based" is useless since all chess is turn based.  They could call 960 turn based.  Or checkers for that matter, it's a completely stupid name.

    The same can be said for "Online Chess"... it simply rules out checkers or tic tac toe.

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